A.M. Best Co. announced Friday that it has placed the ratings of SPARTA Insurance Group’s members (collectively known as SPARTA) under review with negative implications.

The rating agency action comes in reaction to the group’s strategic plan to review certain options including, but not limited to, sale of the group.

Concurrently, A.M. Best has downgraded SPARTA’s financial strength rating to B++ (Good) from A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating to “bbb” from “a-“.

Best said in its announcement that the rating actions come in the wake of the rating agency’s recent discussions with SPARTA management about a large unanticipated prior-year reserve charge taken in the fourth quarter of 2013. A.M. Best said it plans to monitor the final results when SPARTA files its year-end 2013 statutory results.

SPARTA’s members include SPARTA Insurance Company, SPARTA American Insurance Company and SPARTA Specialty Insurance Company. All companies are headquartered in Hartford, Conn.

Source: A.M. Best Company