Western National Insurance Group and Members Upgraded

September 1, 2009

A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating to “A” (Excellent) from “A-“(Excellent) and issuer credit ratings to “a” from “a-” of Edina, Minn.-based Western National Insurance Group (WNG) and its members.

The group’s ratings are based on the consolidated operating results and financial positions of Western National Mutual Insurance Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company and Western Home Insurance Company. The outlook for all ratings has been revised to stable from positive.

According to Best, WNG’s ratings reflect its excellent risk-adjusted capitalization and strong operating performance.

WNG’s strong operating performance over the past five years resulted from five consecutive years of underwriting profits generated from its broad array of commercial and personal lines products and consistently increasing net investment income. The group expanded its geographic diversification into Nevada and Utah through the successful integration of the Farmers’ Home Group, while maintaining its significant market presence in Minnesota where it ranks among the top 10 companies in the state.

Somewhat offsetting these positive rating factors are WNG’s continued exposure in Minnesota where it writes the majority of its business. However, the group mitigated the potential impact of catastrophic weather-related events on its operating performance and capitalization by reducing property exposures over the past three years and by a comprehensive reinsurance program, which includes catastrophe and aggregate coverage.

Source: A.M. Best, www.ambest.com/ratings.

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