AM Best has downgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “aa-” (Superior) from “aa” (Superior) and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of “A+” (Superior) of Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company based in Sheboygan, Wis. The outlook of the Long-Term ICR has been revised to stable from negative and the outlook for the FSR is stable.

The Credit Ratings (ratings) reflect Acuity’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses at the strongest level, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The stable outlooks are based on the expectation that the strongest level of balance sheet strength will be maintained and continue to be supported by a strong operating performance despite recent volatility primarily due to weather-related events.

The Long-Term ICR downgrade considers Acuity’s earnings deterioration in the last two years, primarily due to significant weather-related property losses in the midwestern states where Acuity mainly operates, as well as inflationary effects affecting the entire market.

While Acuity’s operating results have outperformed its commercial casualty composite peers for many years, 2022 and 2023 proved to be challenging for the company, similar to many of its regional peers, given the outsized weather catastrophe losses in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Consequently, the company’s assessment for its ERM was moved to appropriate from very strong. AM Best notes that Acuity in 2023 has implemented detailed strategic initiatives to restore underwriting profitability, which include action items such as rate changes, inflation guard pricing adjustments and geographic expansion to diversify its territorial footprint further. AM Best expects the group’s earnings to continue improving gradually in 2024.

Source: AM Best