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31 Oct 2005
MOODY'S RATES SELECTIVE INSURANCE GROUP'S SENIOR NOTES Baa2
$100 million 30-Year Note Offering.
New York, October 31, 2005 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Baa2 rating to the $100
million in 30-year senior notes to be issued by Selective Insurance
Group, Inc (Nasdaq: SIGI). In addition, Moody's
has affirmed the company's current debt ratings (senior notes at Baa2,
subordinated debt at Baa3) and the A2 insurance financial strength ratings
of the group's insurance subsidiaries. The outlook for the ratings
Moody's ratings of Selective are based on its solid franchise as a regional,
independent agency insurer, as well as its conservative underwriting
posture and financial discipline. The company has a highly focused
distribution system with an efficient use of technology. In recent
years, the company has taken measures to improve its earnings and
geographic diversification by expanding into the Midwest and New England
and by adding fee-for-service products. The rating
agency commented that Selective's profitability has also benefited
from the strong pricing environment in the commercial lines market over
the past few years.
Moody's said that negative factors that impact Selective's rating
profile include the keen competition in its chosen businesses, its
limited scale, and its continuing substantial geographic concentration
despite the incremental expansion discussed above. In particular,
the company operates in several states with adverse regulatory and market
environments such as New York and New Jersey. The company has experienced
some income volatility in recent quarters relating to its New Jersey personal
The rating agency expects that the firm will continue to maintain its
core franchises in various regional markets, and will continue to
grow profitably. Going forward, factors that could impact
Selective's ratings include the company's ongoing geographic diversification
efforts, its financial and underwriting leverage profile and its
ability to maneuver through some of its more adverse markets such as New
York and New Jersey. Selective's current ratings assume long term
debt-to-capital of between 20% and 30%,
gross underwriting leverage at about 5x, and minimal adverse reserve
development. Moody's notes that the new senior note offering
will raise the company's debt-to-capital ratio from
20% to 26%, which is still in line with rating expectations.
In addition, some of the proceeds are expected to be used to pay
down existing debt, which will reduce financial leverage over the
Selective Insurance Group, Inc., located in Branchville,
NJ, is a publicly-traded, insurance holding company
for six property and casualty insurance companies and several fee-for-service
operations. The group reported total revenue of $1.3
billion and net income of $107 million for the first nine months
of 2005. Stockholders' equity at September 30, 2005 was $953
Moody's Insurance Financial Strength Ratings are opinions of the ability
of insurance companies to repay punctually senior policyholder claims
and obligations. For more information, visit our website
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
No Related Data.
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