News Column

A.M. Best Revises Outlook to Stable for Lancer Insurance Company

May 8, 2014



OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A.M. Besthas revised the outlook to stable from positive and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” ofLancer Insurance Company(Lancer) (Chicago, IL).

The revised outlook is based on the company’s declining operating results over the past two years, driven by some deterioration in underwriting results, as well as a significant decline in investment income over the past two years. This decline is partially due to the company’s decision to realize gains in 2013. As such, operating returns in those years no longer exceed composite norms. When the company’s positive outlook was assigned in 2012, operating results had consistently outperformed the composite over a number of years, and such outperformance was expected to continue. Although overall results do remain favorable, there is some uncertainty as to the trajectory of future earnings.

The ratings reflect Lancer’s solid market presence in the specialty transportation market, its strong risk-adjusted capitalization and overall favorable return measures over a five and 10-year period. These positive rating factors are derived from the company’s strong market profile as one of the largest specialty passenger transportation insurers of motor coaches, school buses, transit buses, limousines and vanpools in the United States. Lancer’s ability to generate favorable operating and after-tax income has allowed it to largely maintain its reasonable underwriting leverage and favorable risk-adjusted capitalization, despite paying significant dividends to its parent over the past five years.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are Lancer's history of large stockholder dividends and the increase in the severity of losses in 2013. Furthermore, severity losses increased in 2013, which led to underwriting losses for the entire year. Soft market conditions have led to rising loss ratios over the past three years. Nonetheless, the company has a history of after-tax operating results that have led to strong pre-dividend earnings.

A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and the ICR of “bbb” ofLancer Indemnity Company (Long Beach, NY). The outlook for both ratings is stable. The ratings for both companies could be negatively impacted by a significant decline in risk-adjusted capitalization or operating results.

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. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2014 by A.M. Best Company, Inc.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.





A.M. Best Company, Inc.

Marc Liebowitz, 908-439-2200, ext. 5071

Senior Financial Analyst

marc.liebowitz@ambest.com

or

Gerard Altonji,908-439-2200, ext. 5626

Assistant Vice President

gerard.altonji@ambest.com

or

Rachelle Morrow, 908-439-2200, ext. 5378

Senior Manager, Public Relations

rachelle.morrow@ambest.com

or

Jim Peavy,908-439-2200, ext. 5644

Assistant Vice President, Public Relations

james.peavy@ambest.com

Source: A.M. Best Company, Inc.


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