A.M. Best Upgrades Endurance Rating

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NU Online News Service, May 29, 9:14 a.m.EDT?A.M. Best said it has upgraded the financial strengthrating of Bermuda-based Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd. to "A"from "A-Minus", with a "Stable" outlook.

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The Oldwick, N.J.-based ratings firm noted that Endurance'sentire book produced a combined ratio of 86 percent in 2002, thanksto higher market rates and light catastrophes.

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Best also took favorable note of Endurance's selectiveacquisitions, including the purchase of renewal rights to LaSalleRe's property catastrophe business, as well as the recentacquisition of renewal rights to selected portions of Hartford Re'sbook of business.

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"Endurance has established a diversified book of business, bothgeographically and by line," Best noted in its ratings report."Each acquisition was complementary to Endurance's existing book ofbusiness and did not include the addition of any historicalliabilities," the ratings firm said.

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Endurance offers a variety of property-casualty coverage throughits subsidiaries in Bermuda, the U.K. and the United States, withan emphasis on catastrophe policies.

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The company's primary lines include property individual risk andcasualty individual risk, while reinsurance lines include propertyper risk treaty reinsurance and property catastrophe reinsurance,as well as casualty treaty reinsurance. Chicago-based AonCorporation owned 26 percent of Endurance before its initial publicoffering in March.

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Based on its 64.6 million shares outstanding, Endurance's marketcapitalization is currently about $1.5 billion. Founded in 2001 inthe wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the company posted anet income of $102.1 million in 2002, from $421.5 million insales.

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