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What’s New: In Brief (February 07, 2007)


February 7, 2007   by Canadian Underwriter


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Toronto Insurance Women’s Association (TIWA)’s annual Wine and Cheese event will be held this year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Feb. 15, 2007.
Featuring complimentary wine, hors d’oeuvres, draw prizes from many industry sponsors and great entertainment, the event will be held between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Tickets can only be purchased in advance (they are not allowed to be sold at the door).
Please check <http://tiwa.org/index_files/events.html> for the registration form or simply email TIWA co-chair Nancy Carnahan at ncarnahan@kingsway-general.com.
Founded in 1960, TIWA is a “not-for-profit” group of insurance professionals who meet in a social atmosphere to educate and assist its members in reaching their potential both professionally and personally, promote the spirit of friendship and service in the industry, and encourage and foster high ethical standards in business and social relations.

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of B- (Fair) and assigned issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “bb-” to Optimum Insurance Co. (Optimum Insurance) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Optimum Farm Insurance Inc. (Optimum Farm) (both of Montreal).
A.M. Best has also upgraded the FSR to B- (Fair) from C++ (Marginal) and assigned an ICR of “bb-” to Optimum West Insurance Co. (Optimum West) (Vancouver, Canada)
In addition, A.M. Best has assigned an ICR of “ccc+” to Optimum General Inc. (Montreal ) [TSX:OGI.A]. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
“The rating affirmations reflect Optimum Insurance’s elevated underwriting leverage and historically adverse operating performance,” A.M. Best announced in a press release. “These negative rating factors are partially offset by Optimum Insurance’s improved underwriting results in recent years, a conservative investment profile and favorable reserve development.”
A.M. Best also noted that Optimum West, which now carries the group ratings, has been “impacted by adverse, prior-year underwriting results that have strained its profitability.”
In particular, these adverse results “were mainly due to reserve strengthening from prior accident years and an unfavorable ruling concerning leaky condominiums in British Columbia,” A.M. Best observed.
Since then, indications are favorable, A.M. Best says, because Optimum West has reported improvement in underwriting performance, operating earnings and reserve development.