Press Release - MARCH 01, 2019

AM Best Removes From Under Review and Affirms Credit Ratings of Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. and Its Rated Subsidiaries

 Valeria Ermakova
Senior Financial Analyst
+44 20 7397 0269

Catherine Thomas
Senior Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0281

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644


OLDWICK - MARCH 01, 2019
AM Best has removed from under review with developing implications and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a” of Aspen Insurance UK Limited (AIUK) (United Kingdom), Aspen Bermuda Limited (ABL) (Bermuda), Aspen American Insurance Company (AAIC) (Dallas, TX) and Aspen Specialty Insurance Company (ASIC) (Bismarck, ND). Concurrently, AM Best has removed from under review with developing implications and affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb” of Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (Aspen) (Bermuda), the non-operating holding company of the Aspen group of companies, and the Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IRs) on the debt instruments and preference shares of Aspen. The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (Please see below for a detailed listing of the Long-Term IRs.)

The removal of the ratings from under review follows the completion of the acquisition of Aspen by certain investment funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (Apollo) and AM Best’s assessment of the change in ownership on Aspen’s rating fundamentals.

The ratings of Aspen reflect the group’s very strong consolidated balance sheet strength, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings of AIUK, ABL, AAIC and ASIC reflect their integration with and strategic importance to Aspen.

Aspen’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by strongest risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), a prudent reserving approach and a conservative investment portfolio. Under its new ownership, the group plans to gradually modify its investment asset allocation in an effort to increase its investment returns. Nonetheless, AM Best expects its overall investment risk profile to remain supportive of the group’s very strong balance sheet strength assessment. In 2018, Aspen increased its reliance on reinsurance in order to reduce its earnings volatility. In the medium term, Aspen is expected to increase its premium retention ratio for non-catastrophe exposed lines, whilst maintaining its catastrophe and tail-event protections.

Aspen’s operating performance has been subject to volatility, due to catastrophe losses and weaker-than-expected results in certain lines of business. The group has reported a five-year weighted average combined ratio of 103.1% (2014-2018). During 2018, Aspen took corrective actions to improve technical results, which included exiting non-performing lines, enhancing its underwriting risk selection and reducing operating expenses. AM Best’s assessment of the group’s operating performance reflects an expectation that these actions will lead to improvements in underwriting results in the medium term.

Aspen’s business profile is supported by a well-diversified portfolio of property/casualty and specialty insurance and reinsurance business, as well as a good geographical footprint. The group’s ERM is developed and well-aligned with its relatively high risk profile.

The following Long-Term IRs have been removed from under review with developing implications, affirmed and assigned a stable outlook:

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited—

— “bbb” on USD 300 million 4.65% senior unsecured notes, due 2023

— “bbb” on USD 250 million 6% senior unsecured notes, due 2020 (of which USD 125 million remains outstanding)

— “bb+” on USD 275 million 5.95% fixed-to-floating rate perpetual non-cumulative preference shares

— “bb+” on USD 250 million 5.625% perpetual non-cumulative preference shares

The following indicative Long-Term IRs under the universal shelf registration have been removed from under review with developing implications, affirmed and assigned a stable outlook:

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited—

— “bbb” on senior unsecured debt

— “bbb-” on senior subordinated debt

— “bb+” on junior subordinated debt

— “bb+” on preferred stock

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry.

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