Another positive year for TT Club in 2006
29 March 2007
AM Best affirms TT's A- (Excellent) rating with Stable Outlook TT Club today announced a third consecutive year of rising premium income and a fifth consecutive year of increasing net worth for its 2006 financial year, marking another year of solid performance. The result pushed the total surplus and reserves to US$118.6 million, while net worth grew 8.6 per cent to US$136.4 million. However, the underlying growth was softened by an unexpected upturn in the value of large operational claims, mostly within the Club's retention before reinsurance, during the last four months of the year. The Club reported 2006 as a year largely free from natural disasters, contrasting positively with 2005. Despite a benign Atlantic hurricane season in 2006 - total damage estimates from the two Atlantic storms that made landfall in the US last year are around half a billion dollars compared to over US$100 billion in 2005 - forecasts for an active 2007 season, together with revised windstorm and storm surge models, have fuelled further increases in property rates for catastrophe exposures, especially in the coastal areas of the United States. Presenting TT Club's 2006 annual results, chief executive Paul Neagle observed that the Club had had to address a sharp upsurge in claims estimates toward the end of the year especially in relation to handling and carrying equipment. The Club reported that although claims frequency had remained fairly stable, the average value of each claim had risen substantially. Furthermore, detailed investigation of the claims development was leading to significant steps through loss prevention programmes to ensure that the future incidence of these types of loss, where a recurring theme is human error, is minimised. The Club's largest claim in 2006 was man-made, following an explosion and fire aboard the "Hyundai Fortune" off Aden in March which resulted in the loss of over 500 containers, with a substantial salvage award anticipated in due course. The final total of claims submitted by members is expected to exceed US$4 million. Under the terms of the Club's reinsurance programme, this and three other large claims totalling a further US$7 million will be fully retained by the Club. Reviewing other achievements in 2006, Mr Neagle remarked that "The most significant event was the recovery of the Club's AM Best A- (Excellent) rating in May, marking the successful completion of the financial recovery programme that began in 2002. The maintenance of the Club's financial strength and credit rating over the insurance market cycle is now the number one priority. In support of that objective, the Board took the opportunity in October to increase the Club's capital strength and regulatory solvency using favourably priced long-term subordinated debt, and issued US$ 30 million of loan notes maturing in 2036, which have been taken up by financial institutions in the United States. It is therefore pleasing to note the affirmation yesterday by AM Best that based on the Club's 2006 results; there is no change in the Club's A- (Excellent) rating with Stable outlook." (Copy of AM Best news release dated 28 March is below). "Above all," said Mr Neagle "this recovery was achieved due to the strong support and loyalty of our members, demonstrated by a high retention ratio on renewal averaging above 90 per cent." Mr Neagle disclosed that the retention on renewals from 2006 into 2007 included all of the Club's top ten accounts, reconfirming TT's position as the leading global insurer of containers, chassis and ports and terminals. Continued strong growth in trade during 2006 resulted in an increase in gross premium income of approximately five per cent to US$206.8 million, once again a record figure for the Club. Looking forward, Mr Neagle commented that, as a financially strong mutual with a very conservative investment policy, there was no longer a need for the Club to generate large underwriting surpluses even when market conditions were favourable. In fact he foresaw that 2007 could be a difficult year for the London insurance market as a whole, citing the sharp decline in the value of the dollar together with a likely further softening of market conditions and increasing cost pressures. Nevertheless, Club chairman Sir David Thomson stated: "The Club can face the strategic and financial challenges of 2007 with confidence." "The Club is financially strong with a very high level of solvency, it is less dependent on reinsurance than ever before - while maintaining comprehensive reinsurance protection against catastrophic risks - and it has an excellent reputation as the market leader in its chosen sectors." said Sir David. A PDF copy of the Financial Highlights can be found under Annual reports. ENDS Note to Editors: The TT Club is the international transport and logistics industry's leading provider of insurance and related risk management services. Established in 1968, the Club's membership comprises ship operators, ports and terminals, road, rail and airfreight operators, logistics companies and container lessors. As a mutual insurer, the Club exists to provide its policyholders with benefits, which include specialist underwriting expertise, a world-wide office network providing claims management services, and first class risk management and loss prevention advice. The full Annual Report and Financial Highlights can be reviewed or downloaded and printed from the home page of the web-site www.ttclub.com by accessing the menu item Publications/Annual reports. For further information please contact: Ian Lush, Marketing Director, TT Club Tel: +44 (0) 20 7204 2642 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ttclub.com Media contact: Peter Owen, ISIS Communications Tel: +44 (0) 1737 248300 E-mail: email@example.com www.isiscomms.com A.M. BEST UPRGRADES RATINGS OF TT CLUB OLDWICK, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A., May 3, 2006 - A.M. Best Co. has upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Very Good) of Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited (TT Bermuda) (Bermuda) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association (EurAsia) Limited (TT EurAsia) (United Kingdom). The two companies collectively trade as TT Club. At the same time, A.M. Best has upgraded the issuer credit ratings to "a-" from "bbb+" for both companies. The outlook for all ratings is stable. The upgrade of the ratings reflects TT Club's consistent strong underwriting performance in recent years, leading to an improvement in risk-adjusted capitalisation that A.M. Best believes is sustainable. Additionally, the quality of capital is likely to improve as TT Club's dependence upon reinsurance falls. The company's overall net premium retention is likely to increase to 74% in 2006, up from 67% in 2005. The ratings of TT EurAsia continue to reflect A.M. Best's view that the company is an integral part of TT Club's worldwide strategy. A.M. Best anticipates that TT Club's excellent recent performance will continue in 2006 and 2007, although underwriting profitability is likely to decline due to rate decreases that the company is expected to offer to certain TT Club members. The rate reductions, combined with higher catastrophe reinsurance costs, are likely to drive an increase in TT Club's combined ratio to approximately 95% in 2006, up from 74% in 2005. TT Club's sustained excellent performance is likely to be supported by its efforts to improve its business portfolio and underwriting controls. In 2005, TT Club's gross loss from the U.S. hurricanes was USD 60 million, but this reduced to a modest USD 2.5 million net of reinsurance. The company continues to benefit from comprehensive catastrophe reinsurance protection. A.M. Best believes that TT Club also benefits from a strong profile focused on the provision of insurance and risk management products for the international transport and logistics industry. Gross premiums in 2006 are likely to be approximately USD 212 million, a moderate increase of 4% over the previous year. For Best's Ratings, an overview of the rating process and rating methodologies, please visit www. ambest.com/ratings. A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at www.ambest.com.
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