Ratings Recap: Toyota Motor, Medical Protective, AMERISAFE

June 12, 2012

A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a-” of Iowa-based Toyota Motor Insurance Company. Best said the revised outlook “reflects TMIC’s continued solid capitalization levels, steady surplus appreciation and strong underwriting results. Moreover, TMIC’s ultimate parent, Toyota Motor Corporation, has shown a willingness to support TMIC if necessary.” Best also noted that TMIC “plays a strategic role within the Toyota organization by providing vehicle service and guaranteed auto protection agreements sold through Toyota, Lexus and affiliated dealerships throughout the United States.” As partial offsetting actors Best cited “TMIC’s limited business profile as a single parent captive and its reliance on sales at the parent level for premium generation. Factors that could lead to rating upgrades include continued strong underwriting profitability resulting in continued surplus appreciation. However, TMIC’s outlook could be revised if its operating performance or risk-based capitalization deteriorates to levels below Best’s expectations.”

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A++’ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings of “aa+” of Indiana-based The Medical Protective Company and its two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group (both domiciled in the District of Columbia). The outlook for all of the ratings is stable. These ratings “reflect Medical Protective’s excellent capital strength, strong national business profile and extended trends of favorable operating performance,” Best explained. “The company’s solid underwriting performance is driven by conservative reserving practices, disciplined underwriting standards and a proactive claim handling philosophy. The ratings also consider the leading market position the organization holds across multiple jurisdictions. Furthermore, these ratings continue to benefit from the implicit and explicit support provided by Medical Protective’s ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.” Best said the backing “is in the form of a pair of significant reinsurance transactions with two Berkshire subsidiaries, Columbia Insurance Company and National Indemnity Company. In addition to these agreements, Berkshire has established an extended track record of supporting its member companies.” As partial offsetting factors Best cited “Medical Protective’s product concentration in the highly cyclical medical professional liability market and its above average concentration levels in select investments.”

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of ‘A’ (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” of American Interstate Insurance Company, Silver Oak Casualty, Inc. and American Interstate Insurance Company of Texas (collectively referred to as Amerisafe), all property/casualty subsidiaries of AMERISAFE, Inc. Best also affirmed the ICR of “bbb” and debt rating of “bb+” of AMERISAFE, Inc. The outlook for all of the ratings is stable. All of the companies are headquartered in DeRidder, Louisiana, unless otherwise specified. These rating actions reflect Amerisafe’s “excellent capitalization, strong operating profitability, which has outperformed its peer composite over the long term, and the group’s established market presence and experience operating in the workers’ compensation market for high hazard risks,” said Best. Amerisafe’s solid operating performance has been driven by its “strong underwriting results, which are driven by management’s adherence to prudent practices and pricing discipline, focused loss control and safety programs and active claims management, which have resulted in favorable calendar year reserve development trends over the current five-year period.” As partial offsetting factors Best noted “Amerisafe’s product concentration and pockets of adverse loss reserve development, which caused earnings volatility in earlier years. The stable outlook reflects Best’s expectation that operating results will remain strong, resulting in continued solid capitalization that is well supportive of Amerisafe’s ratings. While the ratings for Amerisafe are stable, future positive rating actions may result from its continued strong underwriting and operating performance. However, negative rating actions could result if operating performance falls markedly short of Best’s expectations.”

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