Best Upgrades Bristol West to ‘A-‘ FSR

May 17, 2006

A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating to “A-” (Excellent) from “B++” (Very Good) and the issuer credit ratings (ICR) to “a-” from “bbb+” of Coast National Insurance Company (California), Bristol West Insurance Company (Pennsylvania), Bristol West Casualty Insurance Company (Ohio) and Security National Insurance Company (Florida), all members of the Bristol West Insurance Group. Concurrently, A.M. Best has upgraded the ICR to “bbb-” from “bb+” of Bristol West Holdings, Inc., the publicly-traded holding company. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

The rating upgrades reflect Bristol West’s enhanced capitalization and favorable overall operating performance in recent years. Improvement in the group’s surplus position has been driven by operating earnings. The group’s operating profitability is attributed to management’s disciplined underwriting approach, product line expertise and utilization of sophisticated technologies within the pricing, risk selection and claims handling processes.

The rating upgrades also consider the significant investments made in technology to improve risk segmentation, refine pricing, enhance loss reserve monitoring and provide better service to producers and customers. As a result of these initiatives and generally favorable market conditions, operating profits have been reported in each of the past three years.

Bristol West provides non-standard private passenger automobile insurance in 21 states, with California comprising approximately 50 percent of its direct premiums written. Business, which is marketed through independent producers, is produced by affiliated general agencies.

Source: A.M. Best

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