Forty-five risk retention groups–17.5 percent of the total–hold ratings assigned by one of two rating agencies, either A.M. Best Company or Demotech Inc.

While RRGs don't require ratings, many choose to get one, because they must compete in the marketplace with other insurers. Some insureds, such as physicians and hospitals, need rated paper.

Best's ratings ("A-double-plus" to "F"), which are assigned to RRGs that subscribe to its interactive rating service, represent an opinion based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of an RRG's balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile.

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