S&P Affirms ‘A’ Rating on Norwegian Hull Club

June 17, 2002

Standard & Poor’s announced a revised outlook, from negative to stable, and affirmed its single-‘A’ long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on mutual insurer Norwegian Hull Club (NHC).

NHC writes marine hull insurance for domestic and international shipping companies. It was formed from the merger of Norway’s two largest mutual marine insurers–Bergen Hull Club and Unitas Gjensidig Assuranseforening–on Jan. 1, 2001, and has around a 30 percent share of the Norwegian market.

NHC is expected to benefit from “improvements in marine insurance premium rates seen in 2001 and so far in 2002, and the expectation that further increases will occur in 2003,” stated Stephen Searby, a director at Standard & Poor’s Financial Services Group in London.

S&P estimates that NHC will achieve a combined ratio in the region of 110%-115% and a small pretax profit in 2002, as a result of the continued rate increases,

.Searby indicated. “Furthermore, Standard & Poor’s does not expect NHC’s business mix or market share to change significantly over the next few years, due to the club’s continued focus on profitable underwriting. Capitalization is expected to remain very strong,” he continued.

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