OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bbb+” from “bbb” and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) for the members of the Virginia Farm Bureau Group: Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (Virginia Farm Bureau) and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Virginia Farm Bureau Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Virginia Farm Bureau Town and Country Insurance Company and Countryway Insurance Company (Countryway) (Syracuse, NY). The outlook of the FSR has been revised to positive from stable, while the outlook of the Long-Term ICR remains positive. All companies are domiciled in Richmond, VA except where specified.
The upgrade of the Long-Term ICR reflects Virginia Farm Bureau’s continuation of improved underwriting results and surplus appreciation. Additionally, these favorable operating trends have aided in an improved risk-adjusted capitalization. These results are due to significant risk management and exposure management initiatives in relation to their homeowners business that have materialized favorably. The addition of Countryway Insurance Company has provided geographic diversification and has improved operating trends sustainably in recent years. The positive outlooks reflect A.M. Best’s opinion that favorable operating results and improvements in risk-adjusted capitalization will continue.
Offsetting rating factors are Virginia Farm Bureau’s geographic concentration of risk and elevated underwriting leverage measures. With nearly 90% of direct premium written in Virginia, the group is exposed to frequent and severe weather-related events, which have resulted in volatile operating results in earlier years. While risk-adjusted capitalization has improved, the group’s underwriting leverage ratios remain elevated compared with the private passenger standard auto and homeowners composite. Additionally, the group’s expense ratio continues to be a lag on results, as they focus on further implementing Countryway into operations and update legacy systems.
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. 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 A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings.
A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.
Copyright © 2017 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.