|[August 31, 2021]|
AM Best has revised the outlooks to stable from negative and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a” (Excellent) of Everett Cash Mutual Insurance Company (Everett Cash Mutual) and 1st Choice Advantage Insurance Company, Inc., which are the members of ECM Insurance Group (ECM). Concurrently, AM Best has revised the outlook to stable from negative for the Long-Term ICR and affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term ICR of “bbb+” (Good) of Ever-Greene Mutual Insurance Company (Ever-Greene), an affiliate of Everett Cash Mutual. The outlook of the FSR is stable. All companies are domiciled in Everett, PA.
The ratings of ECM reflect the group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The revised outlooks are based on the group’s improved operating performance in recent years. The favorable turnaround is largely reflective of product and geographic expansion initiatives, improved results in the auto programs, enhanced pricing sophistication and continued profitable growth in Farm/Agriculture specialty business. Prospective operating performance metrics are expected to remain in line with the personal property composite, primarily driven by sustained profitability of the group’s niche farm programs despite the impact from weather-related events.
ECM maintains very strong overall balance sheet strength, supported by the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), partially offset by elevated net written premium and common stock leverage. ECM’s neutral business profile reflects its niche market footprint with a focus on agricultural and select commercial operations. Business is produced in 18 states, with the largest being Pennsylvania. Management continues to focus on Farm/Agriculture expansion geographically and across multiple distribution channels to refine the business profile furter. AM Best considers ECM’s ERM framework appropriate, with tolerances established for quantifiable risks, while qualitative risks are evaluated on the likelihood and potential impact of occurrence.
The ratings of Ever-Greene reflect the company’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, very limited business profile and appropriate ERM.
The revised Long-Term ICR outlook is based on Ever-Greene’s improved operating performance in recent years driven by consistently profitable underwriting results, enhanced by a steady flow of net investment income. Prospective operating trends are expected to remain strong with low to moderate volatility of key performance metrics based on ECM’s stabilized results. The company’s balance sheet strength is supported by the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by BCAR, somewhat offset by its limited scale and financial flexibility. Ever-Greene’s very limited business profile reflects its status as a reinsurer of commercial fire and inland marine business assumed from its affiliate, Everett Cash Mutual. The company’s ERM is integrated into the risk management structure of ECM. The ratings of Ever-Greene are enhanced by its strategic role as a tax-exempt entity within the ECM organization.
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