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Catlin disappointed by Best rating review


HAMILTON, Bermuda—Rating agency A.M. Best Co. has placed the financial strength ratings of Hamilton, Bermuda- based Catlin Insurance Company Ltd. and London-based Catlin Insurance Company (UK) Ltd. under review with negative implications.

The A financial strength rating of the two companies was placed under review by Best due to its concerns over the insurer's level of catastrophe exposure and the likely future impact of major events on risk-adjusted capitalization.

Last month, Catlin announced that it plans to enter a catastrophe swap agreement that would provide it with coverage of up to $200 million.

As part of the financial strength rating evaluation process, Best intends to assess the benefit, if any, to CICL of its proposed catastrophe swap agreement, the rating agency said in a statement.

In a statement Catlin said that it was "surprised" by Best's decision, calling its concerns "unwarranted".

Stephen Catlin, chief executive of Catlin Group Ltd., said in the statement "we are puzzled by A.M. Best's decision to place the ratings of Catlin Group companies under review, especially in the light of our performance and achievements during 2006.

We will concentrate our efforts to engage in constructive communication with A.M. Best to alleviate any concerns Best may have regarding Catlin's catastrophe exposures."

Best's A rating of Catlin's Syndicate 2003 at Lloyd's of London are unaffected by the rating action.