A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of The West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association

LONDON--()--A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a-” of The West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association (WoE or the Club) (Luxembourg). The outlook for both ratings remains stable.

The ratings reflect WoE’s strong risk-adjusted capitalisation and the continued improvement in technical performance. Additionally, the Club has a good niche business profile, which benefits from its membership of the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (International Group).

WoE’s risk-adjusted capitalisation is expected to remain at a strong level throughout 2016, supported by a conservative growth strategy and solid earnings retention. WoE’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by its prudent reserving strategy and modest investment risk profile – areas of its business that in the past have represented sources of volatility to the Club’s risk-adjusted capitalisation.

For the policy year ending February 2015, WoE reported a combined ratio of 97.4%, compared with 100.8% for the same period in 2014. The sustained improvement in the Club’s technical performance is the result of several measures implemented by management to de-risk WoE’s insurance portfolio and strengthen its reserving approach. Overall earnings remained positive, owing to a stable income stream derived from its investment portfolio of predominantly cash and fixed-income securities. As a result, WoE’s free reserves increased to USD 244 million in February 2015, from USD 216 million reported in the previous year.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1060/2009, the following is a link to required disclosures: A.M. Best Europe - Rating Services Limited Supplementary Disclosure.

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 © 2015 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

A.M. Best Company
David Drummond, +(44) 20 7397 0327
Senior Financial Analyst
david.drummond@ambest.com
or
Catherine Thomas, +(44) 20 7397 0281
Senior Director, Analytics
catherine.thomas@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com

Contacts

A.M. Best Company
David Drummond, +(44) 20 7397 0327
Senior Financial Analyst
david.drummond@ambest.com
or
Catherine Thomas, +(44) 20 7397 0281
Senior Director, Analytics
catherine.thomas@ambest.com
or
Christopher Sharkey, +(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, +(1) 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com