Winnipeg mutual insurer Wawanesa’s financial strength rating of A+ (superior) has been affirmed by rating agency A.M. Best. The rating also applies to U.S. subsidiary Wawanesa General. The rating reflects Wawanesa’s strong capitalization and operating performances, as well as its long-standing position in the Canadian property and casualty market, says A.M. Best. The company is also praised for its sound underwriting, conservative reserving strategy and customer service, including claims handling. Canada’s extremely competitive market and unfavorable results in the company’s Ontario and Atlantic region auto business are listed as offsetting factors. Also recently, A.M. Best downgraded the financial strength ratings of Optimum General’s insurance subsidiaries to B (fair) from B+ (very good). The change reflects poor capitalization as a result of lackluster underwriting performance, says the rater.