A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings of “a” of Aspen Specialty Insurance Company (ASIC) (Bismarck, ND) and Aspen American Insurance Company (AAIC) (Dallas, TX). Both companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of their ultimate parent, Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (Aspen) (Bermuda) (NYSE:AHL). The outlook for all ratings is stable.
These ratings are based upon ASIC and AAIC’s strategic importance and roles in Aspen’s U.S. business platform. In addition, the ratings also reflect the explicit support provided via the substantial quota share reinsurance of ASIC and AAIC’s net business through their Bermuda-based affiliate, Aspen Bermuda Limited (ABL). Moreover, ABL also provides a guarantee for all of ASIC and AAIC’s third-party reinsurance recoverables. Additionally, ASIC’s balance sheet is further protected by an adverse development cover for its outstanding loss reserves as of December 31, 2008. The ratings also acknowledge the implied support of future parental commitment.
Both ASIC and AAIC continue to maintain solid stand-alone capitalization, which has been and continues to be enhanced by low underwriting and investment leverage as well as capital contributions from Aspen. While market competition continues to pose a significant challenge to ASIC and AAIC as both companies work to establish Aspen’s presence in the United States, pricing pressures appear to be diminishing as the commercial lines marketplace has been more receptive to rate increases recently. Toward this end, management has made significant investments in new underwriting teams and infrastructure. A.M. Best will continue to closely monitor the operating performance of both companies, with particular focus on execution and their ability to achieve business projections.
Any future rating actions for ASIC and AAIC will likely be in accordance with any future rating actions on ABL.Factors that may lead to negative rating actions on both companies could result from their continued sub-par operating results, a material deterioration in their stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalization and/or any lessening of support (implied or explicit) provided by ABL.