A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook for the issuer credit rating (ICR) to positive from stable as well as affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A’ (Excellent) and ICRs of “a” of the property/casualty subsidiaries of XL Group plc, which is based in Ireland, and led by XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd.
The outlook for the FSR is stable. Best also revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the ICRs of “bbb” of XL and XLIT Ltd. (Cayman Islands) as well as all debt ratings of XLIT Ltd.
The rating affirmations “reflect the organization’s excellent risk-based capitalization, strong worldwide market presence and stabilization of the group’s overall earnings profile,” Best explained. “XL subsidiaries’ property/casualty operating results have been profitable through the first six months of 2013 with a combined ratio of 90.8 percent.”
Best also said the “positive outlook reflects the organization’s improved trend in operating performance and overall profitability in recent quarters. XL’s management team has implemented strategies that support and promote an enhanced risk management program as well as a continued focus on underwriting as the key component of the group’s business approach.
“Management’s focus on its core underwriting strengths has been exhibited by the additions of a substantial number of new experienced senior underwriting managers over the past few years in its global insurance operations.
“XL’s debt-to-capital ratio is expected to remain in the 15 percent-25 percent range as capital is anticipated to be enhanced by strong earnings. The fixed charge coverage has stabilized and is expected to remain comparable with the current level over the near term.”
In conclusion Best said: “Positive rating actions could occur if over the next several years XL exhibits consistency in underwriting and net earnings in line with other comparably rated peers along with retained earnings growth.
“Negative rating actions could occur if the organization’s operating performance is consistently below the market by a significant margin for several years or capital erosion due to operating performance or investment volatility exceeds A.M. Best’s expectations.”
Best summarized the entities affected by the ratings as follows:
The FSR of’ A’ (Excellent) and ICRs of “a” have been affirmed for the following subsidiaries of XL Group plc:
•XL Re Ltd
•Indian Harbor Insurance Company
•Greenwich Insurance Company
•XL Insurance Company of New York, Inc.
•XL Insurance America, Inc.
•XL Select Insurance Company
•XL Reinsurance America Inc.
•XL Specialty Insurance Company
•XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd
•XL Re Latin America Ltd
•XL Insurance Company PLC
•XL Re Europe Plc
•XL Insurance Switzerland Ltd
The following debt ratings have been affirmed:
– “bbb” on $600 million 5.25 percent senior unsecured notes, due 2014
– “bbb” on $350 million 6.375 percent senior unsecured bonds, due 2024
– “bbb” on $325 million 6.25 percent senior unsecured notes, due 2027
– “bb+” on $999.5 million Series E non-cumulative preferred Securities, redeemable 2017 —- “bbb” on $400 million 5.75 percent senior unsecured bonds, due 2021
– “bb+” on $345 million non-cumulative preferred stock
The following indicative ratings on shelf securities have been affirmed:
– “bbb” on senior unsecured
– “bbb-” on subordinated
– “bb+” on preferred stock
Source: A.M. Best