AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of W. R. Berkley Corporation and Its Subsidiaries

BY Business Wire | CORPORATE | 06/08/22 03:38 PM EDT

OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of ?a-? (Excellent) of W. R. Berkley Corporation (WRB) (Greenwich, CT) [NYSE: WRB] and all associated Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IRs) and indicative Long-Term IRs for securities issued by W. R. Berkley (WRB). At the same time, AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term ICRs of ?aa-? (Superior) of Berkley Insurance Company (BIC) (Wilmington, DE) and its reinsured subsidiaries and affiliates, collectively referred to as the W. R. Berkley Insurance Group (the Berkley Group). AM Best also has affirmed the FSR of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term ICR of ?aa-? (Superior) of Berkley Life and Health Insurance Company (Berkley Life and Health) (Urbandale, IA). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (See below for a detailed list of the companies and ratings).

Concurrently, AM Best has assigned an FSR of A+ (Superior) and a Long-Term ICR of ?aa-? (Superior) to W. R. Berkley?s newly reinsured affiliates Intrepid Specialty Insurance Company and Intrepid Casualty Company (both domiciled in Urbandale, IA). The outlook assigned to these ratings is stable.

The ratings of the Berkley Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

Berkley Group?s balance sheet strength assessment is rooted by its consistent strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best?s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). The company has demonstrated its ability to access capital markets when needed, and has continued to be focused on creating enhanced permanency of capital and lower cost of debt. Debt leverage is somewhat higher than benchmark for similarly rated companies at 24.6%, adjusted. The group?s interest coverage and liquidity metrics remain strong. Berkley Group effectively maintains a diversified portfolio of investments to support its liabilities, and is focused on creating the most favorable return while maintaining its risk tolerance levels.

The group continues to boast favorable market share in its core lines of business, and its recognized presence in both domestic and international markets is a nod to the diversity of its distribution and operations. The group?s historically consistent operating results and profitability metrics point to both nimble underwriting and pricing discipline and effective risk management expertise. Berkeley Group reported net premium growth of 18% in the first quarter of 2022 with favorable net income benefiting from sizable realized investment gains.

The ratings of Berkley Life and Health reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM, as well as the financial and operational support of the parent company.

Berkley Life and Health?s balance sheet strength assessment is supported by its risk-adjusted capitalization, assessed at the strongest level, as measured by Best?s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Berkley Life and Health has shown incremental strengthening of its risk-adjusted capitalization over the past five years, while also maintaining a high-quality investment portfolio and favorable liquidity metrics.

Berkley Life and Health reported premium growth in 2021 mainly due to higher sales in its group captive product line with significant growth that is outpacing the stop-loss segment, which is the company?s core product.

Berkley Life and Health enjoys a market niche in the small group medical stop-loss space and is a market leader in the related benefits group captive market. However, the medical stop-loss market is highly competitive and is dominated by larger national carriers. The company receives implicit and explicit support from W. R. Berkley (WRB) and is fully integrated into the parent organization?s operations and strategic plans.

The FSR of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term ICRs of ?aa-? (Superior) have been affirmed with a stable outlook for the following members of the W. R. Berkley Insurance Group:

  • Acadia Insurance Company
  • Admiral Indemnity Company
  • Admiral Insurance Company
  • Berkley Casualty Company
  • Berkley Assurance Company
  • Berkley Insurance Company
  • Berkley National Insurance Company
  • Berkley Regional Insurance Company
  • Berkley Specialty Insurance Company
  • Carolina Casualty Insurance Company
  • Clermont Insurance Company
  • Continental Western Insurance Company
  • Firemen?s Insurance Company of Washington, D.C.
  • Gemini Insurance Company
  • Great Divide Insurance Company
  • Intrepid Insurance Company
  • Key Risk Insurance Company
  • Midwest Employers Casualty Company
  • Nautilus Insurance Company
  • Preferred Employers Insurance Company
  • Queen?s Island Insurance Company, Ltd.
  • Riverport Insurance Company
  • StarNet Insurance Company
  • Tri-State Insurance Company of Minnesota
  • Union Insurance Company
  • Union Standard Lloyds
  • W. R. Berkley Europe AG
  • Berkley International Seguros Mexico S.A.
  • Berkley International Fianzas Mexico S.A.

The following Long-Term IRs have been affirmed with a stable outlook:

W. R. Berkley Corporation (WRB)?
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on $250 million, 6.25% senior unsecured notes, due 2037
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on $350 million, 4.75% senior unsecured notes, due 2044
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on $470 million, 4.0% senior unsecured notes, due 2050
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on $400 million, 3.55% senior unsecured notes, due 2052
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on $350 million, 3.15% senior unsecured notes, due 2061
-- ?bbb+? (Good) on $185 million, 5.7% subordinated debentures, due 2058
-- ?bbb+? (Good) on $300 million, 5.1% subordinated debentures, due 2059
-- ?bbb+? (Good) on $250 million, 4.25% subordinated debentures, due 2060
-- ?bbb+? (Good) on $300 million, 4.125% subordinated debentures, due 2061

The following indicative Long-Term IRs under the shelf registration have been affirmed with a stable outlook:

W. R. Berkley Corporation (WRB)?
-- ?a-? (Excellent) on senior unsecured debt
-- ?bbb+? (Good) on subordinated debt
-- ?bbb? (Good) on preferred stock

W. R. Berkley Capital Trust III?
-- ?bbb? (Good) on preferred securities

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best?s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best?s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best's Credit Ratings. For information on the proper use of Best?s Credit Ratings, Best?s Performance Assessments, Best?s Preliminary Credit Assessments and AM Best press releases, please view Guide to Proper Use of Best?s Ratings & Assessments.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright ? 2022 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Source: AM Best

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