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Ratings of two IPC reinsurance units downgraded


PEMBROKE, Bermuda—Standard & Poor's Corp. on Friday downgraded its financial strength ratings of two reinsurance units of IPC Holdings Ltd., due largely to the high concentration of catastrophic risk on the units' books, S&P said.

The downgrade to A- from A of Pembroke, Bermuda-based IPCRe Ltd. and Dublin, Ireland-based IPC Re Europe Ltd. reflects S&P's view that IPCRe's cat-related exposure to earnings and capital volatility is more in line with an A- business profile, credit analyst Laline Carvalho said in a statement.

IPCRe has an "established competitive position, seasoned management team, (and) very strong capitalization," Ms. Carvalho said. However, "these strengths are partially offset by IPCRe's limited strategic flexibility because of a relatively narrow business focus, exposure to balance-sheet and earnings volatility given the significant proportion of property catastrophe writings, and lower-than-expected risk-adjusted returns given its inherently volatile profile."