A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength ratings (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a-” of the pooled and reinsured members of the Tower US Pool (Tower). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb-” and debt rating of “bbb-” on $142.5 million 5.00% senior convertible notes due 2014 of the parent company, Tower Group, Inc. (TWGP) [NASDAQ: TWGP]. The outlook for all ratings is positive.
A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and ICR of “a-” of CastlePoint Reinsurance Company, Ltd. (CPRe) (Bermuda). The outlook for both ratings is stable. Additionally, A.M. Best has withdrawn the FSR of A- (Excellent) and ICR of “a-” of Mountain Valley Indemnity Company (MVIC). All companies are headquartered in New York, NY, unless otherwise specified. (See below for detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The rating affirmations for Tower’s members reflects their historically strong underwriting results, consistently favorable operating performance, supportive capitalization and diversified business platform. Tower has been able to expand the scope and breadth of its product offerings, distribution channels and geographic footprint through the successful execution of its mergers and acquisitions strategy, which has included both company acquisitions and renewal rights transactions. While Tower will continue to seek out insurance company acquisitions that fulfill specific corporate objectives, a key part of Tower’s future growth strategy includes the recent launch of an organic growth initiative.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is Tower’s execution risk associated with any future endeavors, including the recently announced investment in Canopius. This investment, which is subject to the completion of Canopius’ acquisition of Omega, would accelerate Tower’s involvement with the Lloyd’s market and also provide TWGP the option of combining with the Bermuda reinsurance business currently operated by Canopius. Additional offsetting rating factors include operating in a highly competitive environment characterized by significant price competition, the effects from adverse economic conditions and the substantial amount of business derived from the northeastern United States.
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