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Fitch upgrades Lloyd's ratings


LONDON—Ahead of the release of Lloyd's of London's 2006 results on Thursday, Fitch Ratings has upgraded Lloyd's financial strength rating by one notch to A+. The rating outlook was said to be stable.

The upgrade followed confirmation on Tuesday that Equitas, which reinsures the pre-1993 longtail liabilities of Lloyd's of London syndicates, has completed a reinsurance transaction with Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, National Indemnity Co., as announced in October last year.

Omaha, Nebraska-based National Indemnity has reinsured all of Equitas' liabilities and has provided an additional $5.7 billion in cover to Equitas. In addition to reinsurance cover, Berkshire will take on the staff, operations and management of the runoff of Equitas.

Fitch said that it had previously regarded the potential for reserve deterioration through Equitas as being a significant drag on the Lloyd's ratings. "The additional buffer provided by the transaction with Berkshire removes much of this risk and is the prime driver behind the upgrade," the rating agency said in a statement.