Best Downgrades Ratings of Tower Hill Prime Insurance of Florida

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AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to B++ (Good) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bbb+” from “a-” of Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co., headquartered in Gainesville, Fla.

The outlook of the FSR has been revised to stable from negative, while the outlook of the Long-Term ICR is negative.

Best said the ratings reflect Tower Hill Prime’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

The rating downgrades reflect significant volatility in underwriting performance that has resulted in operating performance that no longer supports the adequate assessment, Best said. Tower Hill Prime’s underwriting performance has been unfavorably impacted by elevated weather activity and an adverse legal claims environment, as well as adverse loss reserve development due to challenging claims trends. Best noted that while Tower Hill Prime has implemented a number of corrective actions to improve performance such as rate increases, more aggressive agency management, refinement of underwriting schemes and more selective risk criteria, its underwriting performance has not yet stabilized.

The negative outlook on the Long-Term ICR reflects an unfavorable trend in risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), as well as elevated reinsurance dependency and continued adverse loss reserve development. As the overall balance sheet strength is currently assessed at the high end of very strong, continued pressure from the aforementioned factors pressures this position. Elevated reinsurance dependency will continue to challenge the company in the wake of a hardening reinsurance market; however, management intends to reduce exposure and thus reduce the level of necessary reinsurance.

Prior efforts to stabilize loss reverse development have resulted in modest year over year improvement but deficiencies remain, Best said.

The business profile assessment of limited reflects Tower Hill Prime’s concentration in Florida, which is a hurricane-prone state. Catastrophe risk management remains a focal point of the company’s ERM program, which is considered appropriate. The ERM program includes comprehensive catastrophe reinsurance coverage, formal documentation of risks, and specific risk appetites and tolerances statements.

Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co. is part of the Tower Hill Group of companies that also include Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Co. and Tower Hill Signature. Effective June 1, 2020, Tower Hill Signature merged with Tower Hill Select and Omega to create one consolidated company, Tower Hill Signature. The group is among the largest residential insurers in Florida with more than 1.7 million policyholders in the state. It has written business in the state since 1972.

Tower Hill is represented by more than 850 insurance agencies, offering personal and commercial lines coverage.

Source: AM Best

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