S&P’s Revises Western Growers Ins. Co. Rtgs to ‘R’

January 24, 2003

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that it revised its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Western Growers Insurance Co. to ‘R’ from ‘CCCpi’.

“The ratings were revised after learning that the Orange County Superior Court of California signed a liquidation order with a finding of insolvency against the company on Jan. 17, 2003,” said S&P’s credit analyst James Sung. The court appointed the California Insurance Commissioner as Liquidator of the company.

In assigning its previous ‘CCCpi’ rating on Western Growers, Standard & Poor’s cited concerns about the company’s depleted capital, and the extremely competitive workers’ compensation market in California.

Western Growers, based in Newport Beach, Calif., provides workers’ compensation and group accident and health coverage for members of the Western Growers Assn., a nonprofit association of produce growers in California and Arizona. Western Growers commenced operations in 1986.

An insurer rated ‘R’ is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision, the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others. The rating does not apply to insurers subject only to nonfinancial actions such as market conduct violations.

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