A.M. Best Assigns ‘A- (Excellent)’ Rating to Endurance Specialty

January 23, 2002

A.M. Best has assigned an initial financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) to Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd. the Bermuda-based insurance company recently formed by Aon and Zurich Financial Services following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Best noted that Endurance has an initial capitalization of $1.2 billion through a private placement equity offering led by Aon and Zurich. Its plans call for establishing a global insurance organization underwriting property, casualty, catastrophe, excess workers’ compensation, aviation and space reinsurance, primary property, excess casualty and D&O insurance.

“The rating reflects Endurance’s strong initial capital base, experienced management team and strong sponsorship. Endurance will be led by Kenneth J. LeStrange, chairman, president and chief executive officer, who brings extensive insurance industry experience and a demonstrated track record for producing strong results,” said Best’s announcement. It also noted that, “Since it commenced operations in December 2001, Endurance has received, authorized and bound a significant amount of insurance and reinsurance business through a diverse group of brokers.”

The ratings reflect Best’s expectations that Endurance’s management will “establish strong underwriting and risk management controls to ensure pricing discipline and controlled exposure aggregates.” It did note, however, that “These strengths are offset by the challenges associated with a start-up company, and indicated that as new capital has rapidly entered the industry; it “could potentially dampen expected returns if pricing and terms fail to meet anticipated levels.”

Best said it would continue to “closely monitor Endurance’s operations over the near-term to ensure rating expectations are achieved.”|”a.m., best, assigns, ‘a-, (excellent)’, rating, endurance, specialty

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