AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” (Excellent) of most of the rated operating subsidiaries of James River Group Holdings, Ltd. (JRG Holdings) [NASDAQ: JRVR]. In addition, AM Best has revised the outlook to negative from stable and affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” (Good) of JRG Holdings. Concurrently, AM Best has downgraded the FSR to B++ (Good) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR to “bbb+” (Good) from “a-” (Excellent) of JRG Reinsurance Company, Ltd. (JRG Re). Concurrently, AM Best has placed JRG Re’s Credit Ratings (ratings) under review with negative implications. JRG Holdings is domiciled in Pembroke, Bermuda, while its subsidiaries are based in Pembroke, Richmond, VA, and Raleigh, NC. (See below for a detailed listing of the subsidiaries.)

The ratings of JRG Holdings’ subsidiaries reflect their balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and marginal enterprise risk management (ERM).

These rating actions follow JRG Holdings’ recent announcements that it has identified a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting, it will sell JRG Re and it will explore strategic business alternatives for the organization. As part of this process, the board stated that it will consider a wide range of options including, among other things, a potential sale, merger or other strategic action. The negative outlook reflects the uncertainty that these announcements will have on the organization, whilst also reflecting the execution risk associated with some of these initiatives.

The ratings of JRG Re reflect the company’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, limited business profile and marginal ERM. The ratings also benefit from lift that is attributable to operational and past financial support from JRG Holdings.

The rating downgrade of JRG Re reflects AM Best’s view that the company is less integral to JRG Holdings’ strategic, operational and financial objectives. This view is supported by management’s decision to suspend underwriting business in JRG Re earlier this year following operating losses over the past several quarters. Furthermore, JRG Holdings recently announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell JRG Re to Fleming Intermediate Holdings LLC at .75x the book value of JRG Re at closing.

JRG Re has been placed under review with negative implications. Pending required regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2024.

The FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a-” (Excellent) have been affirmed with the outlooks revised to negative from stable for the following subsidiaries of JRG Holdings:

  • James River Insurance Company
  • James River Casualty Company
  • Falls Lake National Insurance Company
  • Stonewood Insurance Company
  • Falls Lake Fire and Casualty Company
  • Carolina Re, Ltd.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best's Credit Ratings. For information on the proper use of Best’s Credit Ratings, Best’s Performance Assessments, Best’s Preliminary Credit Assessments and AM Best press releases, please view Guide to Proper Use of Best’s Ratings & Assessments.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2023 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Gordon McLean Senior Financial Analyst +1 908 882 2109 gordon.mclean@ambest.com

Edin Imsirovic Director +1 908 882 1903 edin.imsirovic@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey Associate Director, Public Relations +1 908 882 2310 christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Al Slavin Senior Public Relations Specialist +1 908 882 2318 al.slavin@ambest.com

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