A.M. Best Raises Rating of AXIS Specialty Limited

March 11, 2003

A.M. Best Co. announced that it has raised the financial strength rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) of AXIS Specialty Limited (AXIS) (Bermuda) and its operating affiliates with a stable outlook.

“This action reflects the company’s superior operating results in its first year of operation, which stem from the development of a strong broker distribution network along with the successful implementation of underwriting and risk management controls. Additionally, AXIS continues to maintain superior capitalization with almost $2 billion of shareholders’ equity at year-end 2002, along with a highly experienced management team,” said Best.

MMC Capital’s Trident II, L.P., private equity fund, an investment subsidiary of Marsh Inc., CSFB, J.P. MORGAN and other investors, formed the company following the Sept. 11 attacks. Best noted that “it has established a diversified book of business, both geographically and by line,” and “has successfully adhered to its original business plan, which focuses on broker-sourced short-tail lines, principally specialty lines in property, marine, energy and aerospace along with property, catastrophe, aviation and marine reinsurance.”

“AXIS produced a combined ratio of 71% in 2002 while benefiting from higher market rates, light catastrophes and an unencumbered balance sheet. Cash flows from operations were also strong in 2002 and resulted in cash and invested assets increasing by almost $600 million. The company’s investment portfolio remained conservative, primarily invested in high quality government and corporate fixed income securities,” the report concluded.

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