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A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to Housing Specialty Insurance Company; Affirms Ratings of the HAI Group Members

August 4, 2014



ENP Newswire - 04 August 2014

Release date- 01082014 - A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating (ICR) of 'a-' to Housing Specialty Insurance Company (HSIC).

The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable.

Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICRs of 'a' of Housing Authority Property Insurance, A Mutual Company (HAPI), Housing Authority Risk Retention Group, Inc. (HARRG)and their jointly owned subsidiary, Housing Enterprise Insurance Company, Inc. (all members of and together known as the HAI Group). The outlook for these ratings is stable. All companies are domiciled in Burlington, VT.

The ratings of HSIC reflect its strong capital position and the support it receives from the HAI Group. HSIC is an excess and surplus lines insurer that will be providing a non-traditional insurance program to public and affordable housing providers throughout the United States, as well as a for-profit, property/casualty stock insurer, which was incorporated in Vermont on Dec. 9, 2013. The company is jointly owned by HARRG and HAPI as a subsidiary.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the start-up nature of the company, which is mitigated by the successful performance and support of the HAI Group.

The ratings of the HAI Group acknowledge its excellent capitalization, very strong operating results, leading position and proven expertise in the niche public housing authority market. A.M. Best deviated from its 'Rating Members of Insurance Groups' criteria in regard to certain ownership limitations, which relate to the existence of a risk retention group within the HAI Group.

The HAI Group provides property and liability coverage to public housing authorities and their affiliated operations throughout the United States. While retaining a large percentage of its member insureds and regularly adding new members, the group maintains a market share of about 40% of this segment on a per unit basis. With its solid operating performance, HAI Group has progressively built up its surplus through retained earnings as its underwriting leverage is very low. The group's underwriting results remain strong due to its focused and disciplined underwriting approach and conservative reserving. Over the years, it has increased rates when appropriate and withdrawn from problematic accounts and lines of business, such as workers' compensation. In addition, HAI Group's operating performance benefits significantly from effective enterprise risk management, its tax efficient structure and strong client relationships, which are supported by a number of customized programs and services. The ratings also recognize management's conservative operating strategy consistent with the member insureds' expectations. The group maintains a conservative investment portfolio and utilizes reinsurance prudently.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the group's concentration of risk in the public housing authority sector, which magnifies the impact of market cycles and public policy and legislative changes.

A.M. Best expects HAI Group's future operating performance to be stable and strong; as the stable earnings profile should support controlling its growth and business writings, which are consistent with its capital and surplus position.

The ratings of HSIC and HAI Group are not expected to be upgraded nor their outlooks revised within the next 12-24 months as their operating performance and capital position have already been considered in A.M. Best rating process. However, downgrading of the ratings and/or a revision in the outlooks could occur if the group or each individual company's Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) declines, operating performance and risk profile deteriorate, insured losses deplete capital or significant changes and turnover occur in the management team or risk management controls and tolerances.

A.M. Best remains the leading rating agency of alternative risk transfer entities, with more than 200 such vehicles rated in the United States and throughout the world. For current Best's Credit Ratings and independent data on the captive and alternative insurance market, please visit www.ambest.com/captive.

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.

A.M. Best's credit ratings are independent and objective opinions, not statements of fact. A.M. Best is not an Investment Advisor, does not offer investment advice of any kind, nor does the company or its Ratings Analysts offer any form of structuring or financial advice. A.M. Best's credit opinions are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities, or to make any other investment decisions. View our entire notice for complete details.

A.M. Best receives compensation for interactive rating services provided to organizations that it rates. A.M. Best may also receive compensation from rated entities for non-rating related services or products offered by A.M. Best. A.M. Best does not offer consulting or advisory services. For more information regarding A.M. Best's rating process, including handling of confidential (non-public) information, independence, and avoidance of conflicts of interest, please read the A.M. Best Code of Conduct.

A.M. Best - Europe Rating Services Limited (AMBERS), a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company, is an External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) in the European Union (EU). Therefore, credit ratings issued by AMBERS may be used for regulatory purposes in the EU as per Directive 2006/48/EC.


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Source: ENP Newswire


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