A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a+” of National Lloyds Insurance Company (National Lloyds), as well as the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of “a” of American Summit Insurance Company (American Summit).
Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb+” of Hilltop Holdings Inc. (HTH) (headquartered in Dallas, TX) (NYSE: HTH). National Lloyds and American Summit are subsidiaries of HTH. The outlook for all ratings is stable. All companies are domiciled in Waco, TX, except where specified.
HTH currently operates as a public holding company that is endeavoring to make opportunistic acquisitions on an ongoing basis.
The ratings of National Lloyds reflect its solid risk-adjusted capitalization, generally favorable operating earnings in most years and local market expertise within its niche of the personal property insurance market. These positive rating factors are somewhat offset by National Lloyds’ geographic concentration of risk primarily in the Texas marketplace, with susceptibility to frequent and severe weather-related events. This was evidenced during 2008 and 2011 when multiple storm losses negatively impacted underwriting results. However, National Lloyds continues to improve its underwriting guidelines in an effort to reduce inherent risk.
The ratings of American Summit recognize its solid risk-adjusted capitalization and generally favorable operating performance. These positive rating factors are somewhat offset by American Summit’s geographic concentration of risk and limited product offerings as primarily a provider of insurance for the mobile home market. As a result, American Summit’s underwriting performance is susceptible to the frequency and severity of localized storm activity. This was evidenced in 2010-2011 as a large hailstorm in Arizona negatively impacted underwriting results.
However, American Summit maintains a prudent catastrophe reinsurance program in conjunction with its affiliate company, National Lloyds, to mitigate losses associated with severe weather-related catastrophe events.
The ratings/outlook of both companies could be downgraded if operating performance falls materially short of A.M. Best’s expectations or if there is a material deterioration in capital strength as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR).
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. Key criteria utilized include: “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies”; “Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers”; and “Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings.” Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
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