A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating of AXIS Specialty Ltd. and its operating affiliates to “A+” (Superior) from “A” (Excellent) and its issuer credit ratings to “aa-” from “a+”.

Best also upgraded the issuer credit ratings to “a-” from “bbb+” and all existing debt ratings of AXIS’s parent, AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd.

The outlook for all ratings has been revised to stable from positive.

Best says the ratings reflect AXIS’s superior risk-adjusted capitalization, strong operating performance through varied market conditions and robust enterprise risk management controls.

AXIS is well positioned with a diversified book of business and an expanding worldwide infrastructure, says Best. The company’s book of business has historically emphasized short to medium-tail lines and focuses on specialty risks including property, marine, professional lines, accident and health, credit and bond, agriculture, and property-catastrophe coverages.

AXIS’s historical operating performance has placed it among the top of its Bermudian peer group, says Best, and the company retains a very strong level of risk-based capitalization under various A.M. Best stress scenarios.

Factors that could lead to a downgrading of AXIS’s ratings or a revision in its outlook to negative include unfavorable operating profitability trends, outsized catastrophe or investment losses relative to peers, significant adverse loss reserve development and/or a material decline in its risk-adjusted capital, says Best.

Alternatively, factors that could lead to an upgrading of the company’s ratings include continued long-term favorable operating profitability coupled with maintaining strong risk-adjusted capital levels.

Source: A.M. Best