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TMCNet:  A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Seaworthy Insurance Company

[March 21, 2014]

A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Seaworthy Insurance Company

OLDWICK, N.J. --(Business Wire)--

A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and the issuer credit rating of "aa" of Seaworthy Insurance Company (Seaworthy) (Annapolis, MD). The outlook for both ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect Seaworthy's strong capitalization, management's specialty niche expertise and the implicit and explicit financial support provided by the ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire), and a Berkshire subsidiary in the form of significant reinsurance transactions and capital contributions.

The ratings also take into consideration the increased reinsurance protection provided by National Indemnity Company (NICO) (Omaha, NE), as well as the reinsurance previously provided by NICO via 50% loss portfolio transfer and 50% quota share reinsurance, which were provided at the time of Berkshire's acquisition of Seaworthy and its parent, Boat America Corporation, in August 2007. A separate 80% quota share agreement on all super yacht program business went into effect October 1, 2011. At December 31, 2012, the loss portfolio agreement was increased to 75%, and effective January 1, 2013, the quota share was increased to 75%. Efective June 1, 2013, Seaworthy entered into a reinsurance agreement with NICO, whereby NICO assumes 100% of named windstorm losses. In addition to Berkshire's track record of supporting its member companies, these transactions demonstrate the explicit commitment provided by Berkshire.


These positive rating factors are partially offset by Seaworthy's product and revenue concentration and the risks associated with the expansion beyond the business generated from members of the Boat Owners Association of The United States. Seaworthy also is challenged by the prevailing low interest rate environment and its emphasis in highly liquid, low credit risk assets comprised mostly of cash and equities.

Negative rating actions could occur if Seaworthy's capitalization and/or operating performance falls markedly short of A.M. Best's expectations as a result of significant deterioration in loss trends, and any sudden change in parental commitment. Given Seaworthy's limited business scope, the ratings also are subject to any sudden shifts within its core market niche, a drastic change in its business profile and any sudden and unforeseen disruption in its distribution.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2014 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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