FEBRUARY 06, 2013 12:00 AM (EST)

A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings of Nodak Mutual Group Members

David Fidecaro
Senior Financial Analyst
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5420

Rick Decker
Assistant Vice President
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5423
Rachelle Morrow
Senior Manager, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5378

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


OLDWICK, N.J. - FEBRUARY 06, 2013 12:00 AM (EST)
A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating (FSR) to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) to “a” from “a-” of the Nodak Mutual Group (Nodak) members, Nodak Mutual Insurance Company (Nodak Mutual) (Fargo, ND) and its reinsured affiliate, Battle Creek Mutual Insurance Company (Battle Creek, NE). The outlook for the ratings has been revised to stable from positive.

The upgrading of its members’ ratings reflects Nodak’s solid capitalization, positive operating results and business profile as one of the leading writers of property/casualty insurance in North Dakota. In addition, the ratings recognize management’s strong enterprise risk management practices that have contributed to the group’s long-term favorable operating results.

Somewhat offsetting these positive rating factors are Nodak’s concentration of business in North Dakota, which exposes it to the potential for frequent and severe weather-related events, as well as judicial and regulatory actions. Nodak’s business concentration is somewhat mitigated through ceded reinsurance treaties and extensive individual risk management techniques.

Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and ICR of “bbb+” of Nodak Mutual’s wholly owned, separately rated subsidiary, American West Insurance Company (Fargo, ND). The outlook for these ratings is stable.

Negative rating actions could occur following a sudden, unexpected and material decline in risk-adjusted capitalization, a sustained deterioration in its operating performance or diminished liquidity measures.

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.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.

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