FEBRUARY 13, 2015 10:47 AM (EST)

A.M. Best Withdraws Ratings of Companion Property and Casualty Group Members

 Gale Guerra
Senior Financial Analyst
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5069

Peter Dickey
Assistant Vice President
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5053

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5159

Jim Peavy
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5644


OLDWICK - FEBRUARY 13, 2015 10:47 AM (EST)
A.M. Best has removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) and the issuer credit ratings of "bbb" of Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, Companion Commercial Insurance Company (both of Columbia, SC) and Companion Specialty Insurance Company (District of Columbia), collectively referred to as Companion Property and Casualty Group (Companion). The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable. Concurrently, A.M. Best has withdrawn the ratings in response to Companion's request to no longer participate in A.M. Best's interactive rating process. Companion is ultimately owned by Enstar Group Limited [Nasdaq: ESGR].

The ratings for the members of Companion are based on the consolidation of Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its 100% reinsured subsidiaries, Companion Commercial Insurance Company and Companion Specialty Insurance Company. The ratings reflect the group's adequate risk-adjusted capitalization at the current rating level, overall improvement in the projected balance sheet strength as the company de-levers its risks and the expertise and support of Companion's new ultimate parent, Enstar Group Limited.

Somewhat offsetting these positive rating factors are the substantial underwriting and operating losses that have occurred over the past four years and the removal of rating enhancement that was afforded to the group members as a result of the explicit and implicit support provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which was removed in August 2014.

Since 2011, results have been adversely impacted by poorly performing programs, severe weather-related events, goodwill impairments and several other one-time charges driven, in part, by management's review of the group's operations. In addition, significant reserve strengthening occurred in 2013 as a result of an overhaul of the reserving process in order to more effectively evaluate the group's business.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Key insurance criteria reports utilized:

  • Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings

  • Insurance Holding Company and Debt Ratings

  • Rating Members of Insurance Groups

  • Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies

  • The Treatment of Terrorism Risk in the Rating Evaluation

  • Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers

This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. 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 visit A.M. Best's Ratings & Criteria Center .

A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.

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