Ratings Roundup: Unique, Montpelier U.S., MedPro

October 3, 2011

A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to stable from positive, downgraded the issuer credit rating to “bb” from “bb+” and affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘B’ (Fair) of Chicago-based Unique Insurance Company. Best explained that the revised outlook and downgrading of the ICR are “based on Unique’s recent contribution of $2 million to help with the start-up of a sister company, Stonegate Insurance Company, which has been formed to primarily underwrite higher limit standard auto insurance business in Illinois. This is in contrast to Unique’s book of business, which is primarily composed of non-standard auto insurance. The capital contribution has somewhat weakened Unique’s previously favorable risk-adjusted capitalization and has resulted in reduced flexibility for Unique in withstanding any potentially significant future loss events that may impair its capital base. However, the affirmation of Unique’s FSR is reflective of its risk-adjusted capitalization remaining adequate for the company’s current rating level, as well as Unique’s generally favorable underwriting performance in recent years.”

A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to stable from positive, downgraded the issuer credit rating to “bb” from “bb+” and affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘B’ (Fair) of Chicago-based Unique Insurance Company. Best explained that the revised outlook and downgrading of the ICR are “based on Unique’s recent contribution of $2 million to help with the start-up of a sister company, Stonegate Insurance Company, which has been formed to primarily underwrite higher limit standard auto insurance business in Illinois. This is in contrast to Unique’s book of business, which is primarily composed of non-standard auto insurance. The capital contribution has somewhat weakened Unique’s previously favorable risk-adjusted capitalization and has resulted in reduced flexibility for Unique in withstanding any potentially significant future loss events that may impair its capital base. However, the affirmation of Unique’s FSR is reflective of its risk-adjusted capitalization remaining adequate for the company’s current rating level, as well as Unique’s generally favorable underwriting performance in recent years.”

A.M. Best Co. has placed under review with positive implications the financial strength rating of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of Oklahoma City-based Montpelier US Insurance Company (MUSIC). The rating actions follow the recent announcement that Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. has entered into a definitive agreement with Selective Insurance Group, Inc. for the sale of MUSIC, its U.S. excess and surplus lines insurance business.” Best said the ratings will remain under review pending regulatory review, approval and the completion its analytical process. “At the close of the transaction, MUSIC will be added to the Selective Insurance Group pool. The FSR of ‘A+’ (Superior) and ICR of “aa-” of Selective were affirmed in May 2011 with a negative outlook.”

A.M. Best Co. has commented that the financial strength rating of ‘A++’ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings of “aa+” of The Medical Protective Company, which is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and its two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group, both domiciled in the District of Columbia, are unchanged following the recent announcement that Medical Protective will purchase 100 percent ownership of Princeton Insurance Company from Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC) in an all-cash transaction. Princeton Insurance Company is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of MLMIC Holding Company, Inc., a downstream holding company, 100 percent owned by its parent, MLMIC. With the acquisition of Princeton Insurance Company, Medical Protective is purchasing a company that specializes in providing professional liability insurance and risk solutions to physicians, surgeons, medical professionals and hospitals in New Jersey. The acquisition, which already has been approved by the directors and shareholders of MLMIC, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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