On March 20, 2011, Moody’s Investors Service placed the financial strength rating of the Company and its principal subsidiary, Flagstone Suisse, under review. On July 29, 2011, Moody’s Investor Services indicated that they have decided to extend their review for possible downgrade in order to continue to evaluate the steps taken by the Company to reduce risk and the extent of further planned changes. On December 19, 2011, Moody’s Investor Services confirmed Flagstone Suisse’s financial strength rating of A3, confirmed that the outlook is negative and removed the ratings from under review. On March 31, 2011, Fitch Ratings re-affirmed the A- insurer financial strength of Flagstone Suisse and revised its outlook to negative. On March 1, 2012, Fitch Ratings placed the financial strength ratings of the Company’s and its subsidiaries on rating watch negative following Fitch’s normal periodic review. Fitch noted that the Company suffered a high level of underwriting losses in 2011 that led to a steep decline in shareholders’ equity (30%) that was significantly greater than comparably rated peers. Fitch’s concern was further heightened by the Company’s modest size which presents the possibility that further capital erosion could compromise the Company’s competitive viability. Fitch anticipates resolving the rating watch in the second half of 2012 when the outcome of steps that the Company has taken, or is expected to take in the near term, to improve its financial profile and operating performance, will become more evident. Upon resolution of the rating watch, Fitch’s expectation is that the Company’s ratings will either be downgraded one notch or affirmed at their current levels. On April 12, 2011, A.M. Best Co. re-affirmed the A- financial strength rating of Flagstone Suisse and revised its outlook to negative. On October 24, 2011, A.M. Best Co. commented that the Company’s financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) is unchanged following the restructuring announcement and also noted that the outlook for the Company’s financial strength rating remains negative. On April 4, 2012, after the Company announced that it had entered into definitive agreements for the sale of its Lloyd’s business and Island Heritage, A.M. Best Co. commented that the Company’s financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) remains unchanged and also noted that the outlook for the Company’s financial strength rating remains negative. On May 18, 2012, A.M. Best Co. affirmed the Company’s financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and again noted that the outlook for the Company’s financial strength rating remains negative. Currently, the majority of Flagstone Suisse reinsurance contracts permit cancellation if our financial strength rating is downgraded below A- by A.M. Best Co. Resolution of the negative outlook is dependent on our ability to generate a reasonable and sustainable level of profitability, reduce our dependence on retrocessional support, bring our risk appetite in line with our available capital, continuation of our expense reduction initiatives and, most importantly, improving our overall financial flexibility. We are working to successfully address each of these items. A downgrade or sustained negative outlook by any rating organization could result in a significant reduction in the number of reinsurance contracts we write and in a substantial loss of business as our customers, and brokers that place such business, move to other competitors with higher financial strength ratings, as well as resulting in negative consequences for our results of operations, cash flows, competitive position and business prospects. Although we regularly provide financial and other information to rating agencies to both maintain and enhance existing financial strength ratings, we cannot assure that our financial strength ratings will not remain on negative outlook or be downgraded in the future by any of these agencies.
Flagstone Re Reports Second Quarter 2012 Results
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