S&P Raises Norwegian P&I Club Ratings to ‘BBB’

November 11, 2004

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has raised its long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Oslo-based marine insurer Assuranceforeningen SKULD (Gjensidig) (Skuld or the club) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BB+’. The outlook is stable.

“The upgrade reflects significant improvements in operating performance and capitalization, both of which are now considered good, driven by management’s successful execution of strategy,” stated S&P credit analyst Simon Marshall. “The ratings also factor in Skuld’s strong competitive position.”

S&P explained that “Skuld is a midsize protection and indemnity (P&I) club, and one of the 14 members of the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (IG). The IG is a group of mutual organizations that insures 90 percent of the world’s shipping for third-party liability.”

Marshall noted that the “stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s expectation that, in 2005/2006, the combined ratio will be at or below 100 percent and risk-based capital adequacy will be good.” Growth in net premiums written is expected to be no more than 15 percent per year. Free reserves are expected to increase by approximately 15 percent by year-end Feb. 20, 2005.

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