AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to Applied Medico-Legal Solutions Risk Retention Group, Inc.

December 15, 2021 by matray

AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) to Applied Medico-Legal Solutions Risk Retention Group, Inc. (AMS RRG) (Phoenix, AZ). The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect AMS RRG’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

AMS RRG’s balance sheet assessment is supported by risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), at the strongest level. The assessment also considers the company’s consistent surplus growth through earnings and required capital contributions from policyholders. In order to be an insured, members are required to contribute 30% of their mature claims-made premium as capital. These member contributions are paid over a three-year period, which results in a significant portion of capital being receivable from policyholders. The balance sheet is further solidified by an adverse development cover, which insulates the company from any future reserve development on business written in 2020 and prior. The very strong balance sheet strength assessment also considers enhancements to the company’s reinsurance program and planned capital contributions totaling $35 million in the form of surplus notes and equity, which are expected to be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2021.

While the company’s reported results have been subpar, more recent accident-year results have been on par with its peers when adjusted for swing-rated reinsurance. This assessment also considers management’s recent reinsurance initiatives, which are expected to insulate the company from much of its legacy business written prior to 2021. These initiatives include the elimination of swing-rated reinsurance with more traditional reinsurance going forward, the purchase of an adverse development cover, and the purchase of a swing premium protection cover – all of which are expected to reduce volatility of underwriting results and earnings drag going forward. The overall operating performance assessment of adequate places considerable weight on management’s projections and the company’s expected return to underwriting profitability in 2022.

AMS RRG provides medical professional liability (MPL) coverage to over 3,000 individual physician and small physician group members. The limited business profile assessment primarily reflects product and geographic concentration risks as a monoline MPL writer, with approximately 70% of premium volume in its top five states of operation, which exposes the group to risks associated with changes in underwriting cycles, loss cost trends, health care delivery and the legal, economic and regulatory environment.

The company benefits from an appropriate ERM program that promotes clear communication throughout the organization. A formally defined risk appetite and tolerance have been established as foundational elements of the framework. AMS RRG also maintains an appropriate fixed-rate reinsurance program in excess of its $500,000 net retention per claim and per clash. Furthermore, awards-made coverage of $10 million provides additional protection.

The stable outlooks reflect AM Best's expectation that the company will maintain its overall balance sheet assessment, supported by risk-adjusted capitalization at the strongest level, and restored level of underwriting results and operating profitability that are generally in line with management's projections.

Negative rating action could occur following a weakening of overall balance sheet strength, a considerable decline in risk-adjusted capitalization or other quantitative and/or qualitative balance sheet metrics. Negative rating action may also occur if operating and underwriting results differ materially from management's projections as a result of unfavorable shifts in claim frequency or severity, changes in market dynamics or the emergence of adverse loss reserve development on prospective accident years not covered by the adverse development cover.

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