A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Queen City Assurance Inc. and Vine Court Assurance Inc.

  A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Queen City Assurance Inc. and Vine Court
  Assurance Inc.

Business Wire

OLDWICK, N.J. -- February 1, 2013

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and
the issuer credit ratings of “a” of Queen City Assurance Inc. and Vine Court
Assurance Inc. (both domiciled in Burlington, VT). The outlook for both
ratings is stable.

The ratings are based on Queen City Assurance Inc. and Vine Court Assurance
Inc.'s individual and combined profiles as single parent captives of The
Kroger Co. (parent). The ratings also are based on both companies’ excellent
risk-adjusted capitalization, substantial net income and underwriting
profitability, a growing capital base, conservative investments and a strong
adherence to the parent company’s robust risk controls and its overall risk
culture. Additionally, return measures on a group and individual basis are
consistently on positive levels reflective of the organization’s prudent
pricing and deployment of capital.

These significant strengths are partially offset by the companies' risk
concentration, which are the result of being single parent captives of the
parent company, coupled with a substantial aggregate limit retained by the

Key rating triggers that could result in a downgrading of the ratings include
a precipitous decline in the companies’ risk-adjusted capital strength. Key
rating triggers that could result in an upgrading of the ratings include a
consistently profitable operating performance coupled with a substantial
increase in risk-adjusted capitalization.

Either a rating enhancement or a deterioration in the capitalization of the
parent could result in either an upgrading or a downgrading of the ratings of
Queen City Assurance Inc. and Vine Court Assurance Inc.

A.M. Best remains the leading rating agency of alternative risk transfer
entities, with more than 200 such vehicles rated in the United States and
throughout the world.

For current Best’s Credit Ratings and independent data on the captive and
alternative insurance market, please visit www.ambest.com/captive.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating
Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating
process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating
process. Key criteria utilized include: “Risk Management and the Rating
Process for Insurance Companies”; “Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty
Insurers”; “The Treatment of Terrorism Risk in the Rating Evaluation”;
“Evaluating Non-Insurance Ultimate Parents”; and “Alternative Risk Transfer
(ART).” Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most
authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information,
visit www.ambest.com.

       Copyright © 2013 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


A.M. Best Co.
Fred Eslami
Senior Financial Analyst
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5406
Steven Chirico, CPA
Assistant Vice President
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5087
Rachelle Morrow
Senior Manager, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5378
Jim Peavy
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
(908) 439-2200, ext. 5644
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