A.M. Best Co. upgraded the financial strength rating to “A-” (excellent) from “B++” (very good) of Infrassure Ltd., based in Switzerland, and assigned an issuer credit rating of “a-“. The outlook for both ratings is stable.
The ratings reflect Infrassure’s improving business position, continuous excellent earnings and very strong capitalisation. An offsetting factor continues to be the inherent volatility in the company’s book of business.
In Best’s opinion, Infrassure established a strong niche business position in the engineering insurance market and has become a leading specialist for risks relating to the construction and operation of power plants and other infrastructure projects. Best believes Infrassure will continue to successfully grow its book of business and expects gross premiums written to increase by a further 45 percent to $84 million in 2006.
Best expects Infrassure to report excellent after tax earnings of approximately $12 million in 2006, translating into a return on premiums of 20 percent, reflecting the company’s stringent risk selection policy. Best does not anticipate Infrassure’s ongoing diversification into other industries (such as energy, petro-chemicals and process industries) to lead to a deterioration in earnings going forward.
In Best’s opinion, Infrassure’s risk-adjusted capitalisation is very strong despite net premiums written increasing by over 50 percent in 2005 to $52 million. Best expects Infrassure to maintain this high level of capitalisation going forward despite significant growth forecasted in the next two years. This will be achieved through a mixture of retained earnings and allocation to the equalisation reserve.
While Infrassure remains exposed to the volatility inherent in its engineering portfolio, the company’s focus on smaller lines in higher layers along with its adequate reinsurance programme will limit the potential for large losses.
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