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Best upgrades Arch ratings

Posted On: Jan. 23, 2012 12:00 AM CST

OLDWICK, N.J.—A.M. Best Co. Inc. has upgraded the financial strength ratings of Arch Reinsurance Ltd., its strategic affiliates and its separately rated affiliate, Arch Specialty Insurance Co., to A+ from A, and the entities' issuer credit ratings to aa- from a+, the rating agency said Monday.

In addition, Oldwick, N.J.-based Best upgraded the issuer credit ratings to bbb+ from bbb of Arch Capital Group (US) Inc.

Best also upgraded the issuer credit rating to a- from bbb+, as well as all debt ratings, of the ultimate holding company, Hamilton, Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group Ltd.

Best revised the outlook for all ratings to stable from positive.

“The upgrades reflect Arch's continued superior operating performance amidst challenging market conditions, consistently excellent capitalization and demonstrated risk management ability,” said Best in a statement announcing the moves.

Best said Arch maintains “a very strong underwriting culture.” It said Arch's overall underwriting results since its inception have been strong and “in certain instances have exceeded most peers in the sector,” and that Arch typically has a smaller share of major industry losses.

Arch recently estimated that its losses from last year's Thai flooding could reach $65 million.

Best noted, however, that like its competitors, Arch must deal with soft market conditions.