A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” of the property/casualty subsidiaries of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (AFSI) (New York, NY) [NASDAQ: AFSI] also known as AmTrust Group (AmTrust). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb” of AFSI. The outlook for all ratings is stable. (See below for a detailed list of the companies.)
The rating actions reflect AmTrust’s balance sheet strength, profitable underwriting and operating performance within its niche market segments and access to additional capital to support expanding operations from its parent, AFSI, if needed. AmTrust has been successful in executing its business plan, which is focused on growth through acquisitions of renewal rights offerings and established books of business at appropriate rates, terms and conditions. This enables AmTrust to further benefit from its expandable underwriting platform to drive expense savings.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are AmTrust’s continued significant growth in both premium volume and associated liabilities in recent years, primarily achieved through renewal rights transactions and the inherent risk associated with expansion into new markets and integrating new business.
AFSI’s adjusted debt-to-total capital of 19.2% and its adjusted debt-to-tangible capital of 26.7% at the first quarter of 2012 were within A.M. Best’s expectations at its current rating level. Combined with its availability to a $150 million credit facility and operating company dividend capacity, AFSI has ample liquidity to meet its corporate obligations. AFSI maintains a strong interest coverage ratio that is well within A.M. Best’s guidelines for its ratings.Key rating factors that may lead to future positive rating actions include the organization outperforming its peers for an extended period of time. However, negative rating actions could result if the group’s operating performance falls markedly short of A.M. Best’s expectations or if risk-adjusted capitalization significantly declines.
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