OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating (FSR) to B+ (Good) from B (Fair) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “bbb-” from “bb+” of Hartland Mutual Insurance Company (Hartland Mutual) (Minot, ND). The outlook for the ICR has been revised to stable from negative, while the outlook for the FSR remains stable.
The rating upgrades for Hartland Mutual are reflective of the significant improvement in its risk-adjusted capitalization and earnings performance in recent years. In addition, the company has strengthened its underwriting guidelines and lowered its retention on its property catastrophe reinsurance treaty, which is expected to favorably impact earnings going forward.
These positive ratings factors are partially offset by the company’s concentration in personal lines homeowners and farmowners coverages in North Dakota. This concentration exposes Hartland Mutual to severe weather conditions as well as potential changes in the regulatory, legislative and judicial environments in the state. In addition, competitive market conditions are strong and most business is placed through the independent agent channel. These concerns are partially mitigated by routine property inspections on both new and renewal business, Hartland Mutual’s long-standing presence in North Dakota and acquisition of several agencies to improve sales, claims handling and customer service.
Positive rating actions may occur if Hartland Mutual continues its favorable earnings performance. Negative rating actions may occur following a sudden and unexpected decrease in the company’s capitalization, an unfavorable earnings trend or a significant diminution of balance sheet liquidity.
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.
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