A.M. Best Revises Outlooks to Negative for Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company

OLDWICK, N.J.--()--A.M. Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” of Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (Mountain West) (Laramie, WY).

The outlook revision to negative is the result of continued poor operating performance. Volatile underwriting results can be attributed primarily to frequent and severe catastrophe events, including multiple significant hail events in 2016. In the prior five years, surplus deterioration contributed to a decline in overall risk-adjusted capitalization. Additionally, Mountain West’s five-year return on revenue is negative and well below the private passenger standard auto and homeowners composites.

The focus of Mountain West is to service the members of the Farm Bureau Federation. Management’s initiatives to improve underwriting performance include increasing rates, reducing exposures and utilizing data analytics in the risk selection process; however, Mountain West’s underwriting performance has not yet been positively impacted by these initiatives. The company’s concentration in Montana and Wyoming exposes it to adverse regulatory or legislative changes in either state. Additionally, operating losses have resulted in steadily increasing underwriting leverage, which is now in line with that of the composite average.

These negative rating factors are offset by Mountain West’s favorable overall risk-adjusted capitalization, despite the recent decline, and consistently favorable reserve development. Strong investment income has partially offset the poor underwriting performance and aided liquidity measures that are above the composite. In addition, Mountain West maintains a strong market presence in its areas of operations, aided by its affiliation with the Farm Bureau Federations in its respective states.

Factors that could result in negative rating action include continuation of the unfavorable trend in operating performance or a material decline in risk-adjusted capitalization. Factors that could result in a stabilization of the current outlook include a sustained improvement in underwriting results.

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.

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Contacts

A.M. Best
Dan Hofmeister
Financial Analyst
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5385
dan.hofmeister@ambest.com
or
Joseph Burtone
Director
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5125

joseph.burtone@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644

james.peavy@ambest.com

Contacts

A.M. Best
Dan Hofmeister
Financial Analyst
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5385
dan.hofmeister@ambest.com
or
Joseph Burtone
Director
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5125

joseph.burtone@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644

james.peavy@ambest.com