QBE Insurance Group got a ratings upgrade from A.M. Best for operating subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Australia and North America, reflecting a positive response to the company’s ongoing revamp.

QBE now has an outlook of stable for those divisions, up from negative. A.M. Best also affirmed its financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the issue credit ratings of “a” for the same operations. Those arms of the company include QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited (United Kingdom), QBE Re (Europe) Limited (United Kingdom), QBE Insurance (International) Limited (Australia) and the pooled and reinsured members of QBE North America Insurance Group.

In more good news, A.M. Best also revised the outlook to stable from negative for QBE Optima Insurance Company in Puerto Rico, which is part of its Latin America operations. This division also won affirmation of its “a-” issuer credit rating.

A.M. Best said the change reflects QBE’s efforts through 2014 to improve its capital situation, reduce debt and reorganize.

“The revision of the ratings outlook to stable from negative reflects A.M. Best’s opinion that the group’s consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization has been restored to a strong level by a series of capital actions implemented during 2014,” A.M. Best said. “In addition, these actions, which included the raising of equity, the refinancing of debt and the sale of non-core assets, have reduced the group’s financial leverage.”

A.M. Best added it expects further improvement in 2015 supported as QBE unloads non-core assets.

One such action took place in mid-December, when QBE inked a deal to sell its insurance operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. for an undisclosed price. QBE CEO John Neal has also focused on selling shares and other assets.

Source: A.M. Best

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