Press Release - DECEMBER 14, 2009    

A.M. Best Special Report: Economic and Market Concerns Overshadow Strong 2009 Results

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Devin Inskeep
+(1) 908 439-2200, ext. 5449

Robert DeRose
+(1) 908-439-2200, ext. 5453

Public Relations
Jim Peavy
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5644

Rachelle Morrow
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5378







  OLDWICK, N.J., DECEMBER 14, 2009
A.M. Best Co.'s review of the Bermuda market's results finds these companies strongly capitalized but will face significant challenges during the current phase of the insurance cycle. A.M. Best believes that companies also must consider the opportunity costs for prematurely deploying capital, which could be grave if a catastrophe occurs or margin compression accelerates.

-- Most pressing are the lack of meaningful pricing improvements and the forecast for pricing pressure on January 1, 2010 renewals and beyond.

-- A.M. Best expects reserve adequacy to be pressured within the next 12 to 24 months. Bermuda's 2009 results are being bolstered by considerable reserve releases from prior years that have masked meaningful deterioration in recent accident years.

-- Large catastrophic events are a major industry concern; however, often overlooked are the compounding effects of underpriced casualty business and possible significant reserve charges over many years.

-- Uncertainty over the economy continues as the specter of inflation affects the demand for and pricing of insurance and reinsurance coverages.

-- Claims inflation is being compounded by pricing constraints in nearly all classes of property/casualty risks and by severe competition in primary insurance markets, particularly casualty products and large commercial accounts.

-- Credit/surety, directors and officers and longer-tailed casualty business lines such as workers' compensation and other liability are raising the most concerns.

To access a copy of this special report, please visit Special Report

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