JUNE 03, 2020 11:00 AM (EDT)
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Illinois Casualty Company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - JUNE 03, 2020 11:00 AM (EDT)
The ratings reflect ICC’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
ICC’s balance sheet strength is assessed as very strong and reflects the company having the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), its favorable underwriting leverage measures compared with the commercial casualty composite averages, and its conservative reserving practices. ICC also has access to the capital markets through its publicly traded parent, ICCH. ICC reported surplus growth in 2019 primarily driven by net investment income and unrealized capital gains. Surplus modestly declined in the first quarter of 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, due to a downward shift in the equity market and subsequent unrealized capital losses; however, this level partially rebounded in the second quarter.
ICC’s operating performance remains adequate. The company’s five-year average combined ratio is slightly better than the commercial casualty composite average, but its five-year average operating ratio, pre-tax return on revenue and total return on equity lag the composite averages. ICC has reported positive pre-tax operating and net income in each of the past five years, but has reported underwriting losses in two of those years due to increased weather-related activity. While the food and beverage industry has been materially impacted by the pandemic, the loss impact for ICC is mitigated by exclusionary language embedded within its insurance policies. Furthermore, the company has acquired Federal Home Loan Bank system loans to offset potential liquidity issues after it implemented premium deferrals to ease payment pressures on its policyholders.
The company’s business profile is assessed as limited, primarily driven by its concentration in several Midwestern states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa, and its niche role in the food and beverage industry. ICC has a long-standing history of serving its target markets and is the exclusively endorsed insurer for several industry associations. ICC has expanded since it demutualized, and it currently writes business in 11 states.
ICC’s ERM practices are appropriate for its risk profile as a public, specialty insurer primarily operating in the Midwest. The company maintains a developed ERM framework that focuses on the company’s most critical risks. It maintains formalized risk appetite and tolerance statements, and actively measures, monitors and manages each of its identified risks. Additionally, ICC purchases significant reinsurance, mitigating the risk of long-tail events.
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 Guide to 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 credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.