MAY 21, 2009 12:00 AM (EDT)

A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings of IFG Companies and Its Members

Duncan McColl
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5826

Joseph Roethel
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5630
Public Relations
Jim Peavy
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5644

Rachelle Morrow
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5378


OLDWICK, N.J. - MAY 21, 2009 12:00 AM (EDT)
A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating to "a" from "a-" of the IFG Companies (Hartford, CT) and its members, led by First Financial Insurance Company (Springfield, IL) and its three wholly owned subsidiaries, The Burlington Insurance Company (Burlington, NC), Alamance Insurance Company (Springfield, IL) and Guilford Insurance Company (Springfield, IL), all of which operate under an inter-company pooling arrangement. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

The rating actions reflect IFG's strengthened capitalization, profitable underwriting results and conservative investment practices. The rating action also considers the company's well-established agency and broker relationships, its strong underwriting expertise in the surplus lines market and its effective use of technology to source, underwrite and monitor its underwriting exposure.

These positive factors are partially offset by modest adverse reserve development on California contractor's business written in earlier years. Notwithstanding, IFG has demonstrated its ability to create a sustainable underwriting and risk mitigation infrastructure as evidenced by its consistent underwriting performance over time.

The stable outlook reflects A.M. Best's expectations that IFG will continue to produce healthy underwriting results and actively manage its capitalization to a level supportive of the current ratings.

For Best's Credit Ratings, an overview of the rating process and rating methodologies, please visit Best's Ratings & Analysis.

The principal methodologies used in determining these ratings, including any additional methodologies and factors that may have been considered, can be found at Best's Credit Rating Methodology.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is a global full-service credit rating organization dedicated to serving the financial and health care service industries, including insurance companies, banks, hospitals and health care system providers.

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