OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb+” (Good) of Southern Pioneer Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Southern Pioneer) (Jonesboro, AR).
The Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect Southern Pioneer’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The revised outlooks to positive from stable reflect Southern Pioneer’s ability to maintain favorable balance sheet strength positions including the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Credit Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), a generally conservative investment portfolio with solid liquidity and operating cash flows, below average leverage metrics, and consistently favorable calendar-year loss reserve development. The company’s balance sheet strength further benefits from increased financial flexibility from its parent company, Biglari Holdings Inc. [NYSE: BH]. Southern Pioneer reported surplus growth in four of the past five years, driven primarily by underwriting income. Net losses developed in 2022, which were marked by elevated weather losses and coupled with unrealized capital losses, cumulatively led to a decline in surplus that year. Capital rebounded in 2023 reflecting improvement in investment performance and a return to net profit. In an effort to fortify operating results, the company increased rates, tightened underwriting guidelines, and enhanced homeowner pricing models. AM Best expect these efforts to benefit prospective results and future capital growth.
The limited business profile reflects geographical concentrations and niche focus on non-franchised auto dealerships. AM Best assesses Southern Pioneer’s ERM program as appropriate for its size and complexity, which includes stress testing for catastrophe risks. The company further employs a comprehensive reinsurance program that protects surplus against shock losses.
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