Recently, the issuer credit rating (ICR) and debt rating of
W. R. Berkley Corporation
) were affirmed by A.M. Best Co. at "a-" and "bbb" for senior
secured notes and trust preferred securities, respectively. The
rating agency also assigned a "bbb+" debt rating to the company's
$350 million 5.625% subordinated debentures due 2053.
Additionally, A. M. Best affirmed the financial strength
rating (FSR) and ICR of W. R. Berkley Insurance Group at "A+" and
"aa-", respectively. W. R. Berkley Insurance Group consists of
Berkley Insurance Company and 24 of its reinsured subsidiaries
All the above-mentioned ratings of W. R. Berkley carry a
The ratings for W. R. Berkley Insurance Group were affirmed on
the basis of its long-term trend of favorable underwriting and
operating results, strong brand name, reasonable diversification
level, and low exposure to catastrophic events.
Good planning and execution of business strategies and
favorable prior-year loss reserve development over the past few
years also played a role. However, the impact of poor economic
environment, falling investment results and high competition
partially offset these positives.
While the stable outlook indicates low possibility of a rating
revision in the near term, if W. R. Berkley Insurance Group
generates significant improvement in operating earnings, leading
to stronger risk-adjusted capitalization and enhanced financial
leverage, as well as continues to maintain a conservative
approach to reserve creation, then an upward revision in outlook
Alternatively, if W. R. Berkley Insurance Group witnesses
considerable adverse reserve development, weakening risk-adjusted
capitalization, deteriorated financial leverage and significant
decline in operating earnings or future earning prospects, then a
downward revision can take place.
W. R. Berkley carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other property
& casualty insurers worth considering are
White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
Hilltop Holdings Inc.
Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd.
). All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
HILLTOP HLDGS (HTH): Free Stock Analysis
MONTPELIER RE (MRH): Free Stock Analysis
BERKLEY (WR) CP (WRB): Free Stock Analysis
WHITE MTN INS (WTM): Free Stock Analysis
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