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A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Torus Insurance Holdings Limited and Its Operating Subsidiaries.

LONDON -- A.M. Best Europe - Rating Services Limited has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-" of Torus Insurance (Bermuda) Limited (Torus Bermuda) (Bermuda), Torus Insurance (UK) Limited (Torus UK) (United Kingdom) and Torus Insurance (Europe) AG (Torus Europe) (Lichtenstein). A.M. Best has also affirmed the ICR of "bbb-" of the group's ultimate parent holding company, Torus Insurance Holdings Limited (Torus) (Bermuda).

In addition, A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and ICR of "a-" of Torus Specialty Insurance Company (Torus Specialty) and Torus National Insurance Company (Torus National) (both domiciled in Wilmington, DE). The outlook for all ratings remains stable.

The ratings reflect A.M. Best's expectation that Torus' consolidated risk-adjusted capitalisation will remain strong. Additionally, stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalisation at each Torus group subsidiary is expected to remain supportive of its rating level. Torus Bermuda operates as the recipient of the majority of the group's risk through a 65% quota share and an aggregate stop loss of Torus UK. In turn, Torus UK provides the same cover to Torus Specialty and Torus National. Torus Bermuda also provides reinsurance support to Torus Europe through a 95% quota share arrangement.

Strong growth, catastrophe losses and the poor performance of excess liability business placed downward pressure on Torus' risk-adjusted capitalisation in 2010. However, the actions taken by management during 2011, including the sale of the renewal rights of the group's property treaty reinsurance business and the withdrawal from the Bermudian excess liability market, have significantly reduced Torus' exposure to catastrophe risk and earnings volatility. These actions are expected to support the maintenance of the group's strong consolidated risk-adjusted capitalisation.

In 2011, Torus is expected to report a technical loss in excess of USD 50 million, reflecting its exposure to natural catastrophes in the first half of the year, including the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan and the Australian floods. Investment income from the group's conservative portfolio of cash and fixed income investments is likely to be positive but constrained by low interest rates.

Since inception in 2008, Torus has developed a well-diversified specialist portfolio with business written in London, Bermuda, the United States and continental Europe. Expansion has been achieved through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth. In 2012, growth will be driven by Lloyd's Syndicate 1301, which writes an established book of short-tail specialty lines business, including accident and health, property, specie, property schemes and bloodstock. Torus acquired the syndicate's corporate members, Broadgate Underwriting Limited and Broadgate Underwriting 2010 Limited, in September 2011. In addition, significant growth is anticipated in the U.S. admitted and excess and surplus lines markets, in spite of strong competition from established local insurers. A.M. Best will continue to closely monitor the performance and reserve development of this U.S. business, particularly in view of the prevailing weak and competitive rating environment and the potential impact of the economic downturn on claims experience.

The principal methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology -- Global Life and Non-Life Insurance Edition, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and highlights the different rating criteria employed. Additional key criteria utilised include: "Understanding BCAR For Property/Casualty Insurers"; "Understanding Universal BCAR"; "Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings"; "Rating Members of Insurance Groups"; "Rating New Company Formations"; and "Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies". Methodologies can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

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 .

A.M. Best Europe - Rating Services Limited is a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company. Founded in 1899, 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 [c] 2011 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 8, 2011
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