A.M. Best Co. has placed under review with positive implications the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a-” of Sequoia Insurance Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, Sequoia Indemnity Company, collectively referred to as Sequoia.
Concurrently, A.M. Best has placed under review with developing implications the FSR of A- (Excellent) and ICR of “a-” of Personal Express Insurance Company (Personal Express), a subsidiary of Sequoia. All companies are headquartered in Monterey, CA.
The under review status for all three companies follows the announcement that Sequoia’s immediate parent, Strongwood Insurance Holdings Corporation (Strongwood), has entered into a definitive agreement under which it will sell Sequoia and Personal Express to AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (headquartered in New York, NY) [NASDAQ:AFSI].
The under review with positive implications status for Sequoia reflects the potential benefits it is expected to derive from being part of the AmTrust enterprise, with access to additional financial and managerial resources. The under review with developing implications status for Personal Express reflects A.M. Best’s uncertainty of AmTrust’s future strategic plans for the company given that AmTrust does not currently write personal lines business.
The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2013, pending regulatory approval. The ratings will remain under review until the transaction closes and A.M. Best’s analysis is completed.
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.
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