OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has assigned indicative ratings of “a-” to senior unsecured debt, “bbb+” to subordinated debt and “bbb” to preferred stock of W.R. Berkley Corporation (W.R. Berkley) (Greenwich, CT) [NYSE:WRB]. These securities may be issued under W.R. Berkley’s recently filed shelf registration, which took effect Nov. 20, 2014. W.R. Berkley’s previous shelf registration was set to expire on Nov. 21, 2014. The outlook assigned to these ratings is stable.
The indicative ratings reflect W.R. Berkley’s successfully executed business strategies that continue to produce substantial operating earnings driven by excellent underwriting results, in addition to the well-established market profile and solid risk-adjusted capitalization of its operating subsidiaries. These positive factors partially offset the company’s moderate financial leverage, measured on the basis of W.R. Berkley’s unadjusted total debt-to-capital, which is just above A.M. Best’s guideline for “a” rated holding companies. On an adjusted basis, however, the company’s financial leverage falls below the threshold. The concern over W.R. Berkley’s financial leverage is largely mitigated by the consistent level of operating excellence and robust coverage ratios that are owed to positive operating cash flows, along with considerable business diversification.
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.
Key insurance criteria reports utilized:
- Analyzing Insurance Holding Company Liquidity
- Equity Credit for Hybrid Securities
- Insurance Holding Company and Debt Ratings
- Rating Members of Insurance Groups
- Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies
- Understanding Universal BCAR
This press release relates to rating(s) 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 visit A.M. Best’s Ratings & Criteria Center.
A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.
Copyright © 2014 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.