A.M. Best Upgrades Issuer Credit Rating of W.R. Berkley Insurance (Europe), Limited

2012-12-14 19:00:11 -

A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Ltd. has upgraded the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “a+” from “a” and affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) of W.R. Berkley Insurance (Europe), Limited (WRB Europe) (United Kingdom). The outlook for both ratings remains stable.

The upgrade reflects the introduction of explicit parental support in the form of a guarantee provided by

Berkley Insurance Company (BIC), a subsidiary of its ultimate parent, W.R. Berkley Corporation, for all WRB Europe’s liabilities. The unlimited and unconditional guarantee was put in place on 13 September 2012.

WRB Europe’s stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalisation is expected to remain excellent into 2013, supported by full retention of earnings.
Rating conditions remain competitive for WRB Europe’s core lines of business. In spite of this, the company is expected to report an improved combined ratio in 2012 (2011: 100.8%), supported by a positive contribution from its newer branches and reduced claims activity during the year to date.

WRB Europe’s business profile continues to evolve, as it diversifies away from UK casualty insurance into various other lines of business in and outside the United Kingdom. In addition to operations in the United Kingdom, the company has four branches in Europe, as well as an Australian branch. WRB Europe continues to be strategically important to BIC as a means of access to the UK and European insurance markets.

A positive change in the ratings of BIC could lead to positive rating actions on WRB Europe.

Negative rating movements could occur if there were a material fall in risk-adjusted capitalisation and/or a notable and continuous deterioration in the company’s underwriting performance. Additionally, any change in the company’s significance to its parent or in the explicit support provided by its parent could place downwards pressure on WRB Europe’s ratings.

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. Key criteria utilised include: “Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings”; “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies”; “Rating Members of Insurance Groups”; “Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers”; and “Understanding Universal BCAR”. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at : .. .

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1060/2009, the following is a link to required disclosures: A.M.

Best Europe - Rating Services Limited Supplementary Disclosure : .. .

A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited is a subsidiary of A.M.

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

For more information, visit : .. .

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