Press Release - JULY 30, 2014

A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited
and Guardian General Insurance Limited


CONTACTS:
 
Marisa Bernardes – L/H
Financial Analyst
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5802
marisa.bernardes@ambest.com

Scott Mangan – P/C
Financial Analyst
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5593
scott.mangan@ambest.com


Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5159
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5644
james.peavy@ambest.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OLDWICK - JULY 30, 2014
A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-" of Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited (GLOC) and Guardian General Insurance Limited (GGIL). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of "bbb-" of Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL), a publicly traded holding company and ultimate parent of GLOC and GGIL. The outlook for all ratings is stable. GHL is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago stock exchange. All companies are domiciled in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The affirmation of the ratings of GLOC and GGIL reflect GHL's fairly stable leverage position, consolidated balance sheet strength and premium growth over the past several years. The consistent profitability of GLOC and GGIL, which are core insurance subsidiaries of GHL, enhances the overall strength of GHL's balance sheet and debt servicing capabilities. Nevertheless, A.M. Best notes that the outstanding level of financial leverage at GHL remains somewhat elevated relative to total capitalization. Moreover, GHL's exposure to Jamaica through its life and non-life operations remains an area of concern.

The ratings of GLOC acknowledge its strategic position within the GHL group, strong competitive position in the Trinidad and Tobago markets, consistently positive operating results from its life and pension and health insurance lines and its adequate level of risk-adjusted capitalization.

Offsetting these positive rating factors are GLOC's moderately increased insurance benefits and claims expenses, the impact of continuing volatility in the local, regional and global equity markets and the competitive and mature nature of the Trinidad and Tobago insurance marketplace.

The ratings of GGIL recognize its leading regional market presence, historically profitable operating performance and more than adequate risk-adjusted capitalization. Additionally, GGIL's strong return metrics and underwriting performance compares favorably with its property/casualty Caribbean peers.

Offsetting these positive rating factors are GGIL's exposure to catastrophic events in the region, the company's reliance on reinsurance to protect its earnings and surplus and the increasingly competitive regional markets in which GGIL operates.

Positive rating movement is unlikely in the near term as all key financial metrics are reflected in the current ratings. Key factors that could result in negative rating actions include decreased risk-adjusted capitalization, a deteriorated financial condition of the ultimate parent company or increased Jamaican exposure through further acquisitions or organic growth.

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.

A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.


Related Companies

For information about each company, including the Best's Credit Reports, group members (where applicable) and news stories, click on the company name. An additional purchase may be required.