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A.M. Best Assigns Initial Rating to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and its Subsidiary.

Business Editors

OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2003

A.M. Best Co. has assigned an initial financial strength rating of B++ (Very Good) to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and Vermont Health Plan LLC (both located in Montpelier, VT). The rating outlook is stable.

BCBSVT maintains a dominant presence and holds a significant market share position within Vermont. BCBSVT and its subsidiaries service nearly 59% of the available population. BCBSVT has consistently reported favorable operating and net income for the last several years due to rising premiums and increased cost controls. The company has been able to show profitability in each of its lines of business and does not rely on any one line to drive its results.

Although capitalization has been increasing each year and the company's risk-based capital has steadily improved, BCBSVT is modestly capitalized. The company operates in a relatively sparsely populated state, and future growth will be challenged due to strong competition from both national and regional competitors.

The regulatory environment in Vermont has been favorable to the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan; however, there is a concentration risk of being under the control of only one regulatory agency, which could significantly impact BCBSVT's pricing and operations.

A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at www.ambest.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 23, 2003
Words:237
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