(Oldwick, N.J.) A.M. Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “a+” from “a” and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) of Nodak Insurance Company (Nodak Insurance) (Fargo, ND), and its reinsured affiliate, Battle Creek Mutual Insurance Company (Battle Creek, NE). Collectively, these companies are referred to as Nodak Insurance Group (Nodak). The outlook of the Long-Term ICR has been revised to stable from positive while the outlook for the FSR remains stable. Also, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a-” of American West Insurance Company (American West) (Fargo, ND), a wholly owned and separately rated subsidiary of Nodak Insurance. The outlook of these ratings remains stable.
Concurrently, A.M. Best has upgraded the Long-Term ICR to “bbb+” from “bbb” for NI Holdings, Inc. (Fargo, ND) [NASDAQ: NODK], a publicly traded holding company of Nodak Insurance. The outlook has been revised to stable from positive. NI Holdings owns 100% of Nodak Insurance.
The ratings reflect Nodak’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). Nodak has been a strong performer as a leading writer of property and casualty insurance in North Dakota while maintaining the strongest level of capitalization. The company’s surplus growth is attributable to overall positive underwriting income complemented by a steady stream of net investment income. The long-term favorable operating results arise from management’s conservative operating strategies and local market expertise.
The ratings of American West reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate ERM. American West’s results and risk management benefit from the support received from Nodak. American West is fully integrated into Nodak’s ERM framework and is protected by the group’s extensive reinsurance program. Favorable underwriting income has resulted in steady surplus growth and a solid balance sheet. The company’s profile remains limited due to its geographic concentration of risk and limited product offerings. Business is produced in South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota, which subjects results to frequent and severe weather-related events. In addition, crop results are in direct correlation with commodity pricing, which management has no control over.
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