Ambac Launches Specialty Program Insurance Business Everspan Group Assigned AM Best Financial Strength Rating of ‘A-’ (Excellent)
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: AMBC) (“Ambac’), a financial services holding company, today announced that it has launched Everspan Group, a specialty, participatory fronting program insurance business. Earlier today, A.M. Best issued a Financial Strength Rating (“FSR”) of ‘A-’ (Excellent) for Everspan Group’s core insurance companies, Everspan Indemnity Insurance Company, an excess and surplus lines insurer and Everspan Insurance Company, an admitted carrier. With capital in excess of $100 million, Everspan Group will operate as a Financial Size Category Class VIII (as categorized by AM Best) property and casualty insurer and is expected to begin writing new specialty programs in the first half of 2021.
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AM Best's ratings reflect Everspan Group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile, and appropriate enterprise risk management.
Claude LeBlanc, Ambac’s President, and CEO of Ambac and Everspan Group, stated “The launch of Everspan Group reflects a milestone event and the core foundation for Ambac’s specialty program insurance strategy. Everspan Group’s advanced participatory fronting model positions us to be a leading market for insurance distributors. Mr. LeBlanc continued, “Our broader specialty insurance strategy is focused on establishing and acquiring targeted best in class businesses with quality growth-oriented business models and proven management teams. With the launch of Everspan Group and the recent acquisition of Xchange, Ambac is progressing its goal of developing capital efficient specialty insurance businesses that we believe will create long term value for our shareholders.”
Ambac formed Everspan Group in response to market dynamics and demand for capacity. Everspan Group will pursue a sustainable, long-term property and casualty, participatory fronting strategy by underwriting diverse classes of risks. Everspan Group will source business primarily through managing general agents, program administrators, brokers, regional insurers, reinsurers, and the insurance-linked securities market and may retain up to 30% of underwriting risk per program.
Wyatt Blackburn, President of Everspan Group, stated “Everspan Group’s strong capital position and focus on underwriting results, measured risk retention, long-term relationships, and avoidance of channel conflicts, will differentiate our platform in the specialty program market.” Mr. Blackburn continued, “Everspan Group’s experienced executive team, with an established track record in the specialty program industry, combined with public company support, including deep operational and credit expertise, will allow Everspan Group to provide financial strength, stability, commitment, and continuity to our business partners.”
Ambac’s platform diversification strategy
Ambac has launched its platform diversification, three pillar strategy into (I) specialty program insurance, (II) managing general agency/underwriting, and (III) other insurance and insurance related businesses that meet preestablished criteria and that we expect will generate long-term stockholder value with attractive risk-adjusted returns. Everspan Group represents the commencement of business under Pillar I of Ambac’s platform diversification strategy.
Please visit www.everspangroup.com to access the A.M. Best news release about Everspan Group.
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (“Ambac” or “AFG”), headquartered in New York City, is a financial services holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Ambac Assurance Corporation and Ambac Assurance UK Limited, are financial guarantee insurance companies currently in runoff. Ambac is also in the process of acquiring and/or developing new businesses, including its subsidiaries Everspan Insurance Company and Everspan Indemnity Insurance Company, and Xchange Benefits, LLC and Xchange Affinity Underwriting Agency, LLC. Ambac’s common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AMBC”. The Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Ambac contains substantial restrictions on the ability to transfer Ambac’s common stock. Subject to limited exceptions, any attempted transfer of common stock shall be prohibited and void to the extent that, as a result of such transfer (or any series of transfers of which such transfer is a part), any person or group of persons shall become a holder of 5% or more of Ambac’s common stock or a holder of 5% or more of Ambac’s common stock increases its ownership interest. Ambac is committed to providing timely and accurate information to the investing public, consistent with our legal and regulatory obligations. To that end, we use our website to convey information about our businesses, including the anticipated release of quarterly financial results, quarterly financial, statistical and business-related information. For more information, please go to www.ambac.com.
About Everspan Group
Everspan Group is a specialty property and casualty insurance platform comprised of Everspan Insurance Company, an admitted insurer and Everspan Indemnity Insurance Company, a surplus lines insurer. Everspan Group plans to operate nationwide on an admitted and non-admitted basis. The companies which comprise the Everspan Group are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AMBC), a financial services holding company. For more information please refer to www.everspangroup.com.
In this press release, statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “planned,” “potential” and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,” “could,” and “may,” or the negative of those expressions or verbs, identify forward-looking statements. We caution readers that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, which may by their nature be inherently uncertain and some of which may be outside our control. These statements may relate to plans and objectives with respect to the future, among other things which may change. We are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the expected objectives or anticipated results that may be suggested, expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed under “Risk Factors” in our most recent SEC filed quarterly or annual report.
Any or all of management’s forward-looking statements here or in other publications may turn out to be incorrect and are based on management’s current belief or opinions. Ambac’s actual results may vary materially, and there are no guarantees about the performance of Ambac’s securities. Among events, risks, uncertainties or factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are: (1) the highly speculative nature of AFG’s common stock and volatility in the price of AFG’s common stock; (2) uncertainty concerning the Company’s ability to achieve value for holders of its securities, whether from Ambac Assurance Corporation ("Ambac Assurance") and its subsidiaries or from transactions or opportunities apart from Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries, including new business initiatives; (3) changes in Ambac’s estimated representation and warranty recoveries or loss reserves over time; (4) failure to recover claims paid on Puerto Rico exposures or incurrence of losses in amounts higher than expected; (5) adverse effects on AFG’s share price resulting from future offerings of debt or equity securities that rank senior to AFG’s common stock; (6) potential of rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance; (7) dilution of current shareholder value or adverse effects on AFG’s share price resulting from the issuance of additional shares of common stock; (8) inadequacy of reserves established for losses and loss expenses and possibility that changes in loss reserves may result in further volatility of earnings or financial results; (9) increased fiscal stress experienced by issuers of public finance obligations or an increased incidence of Chapter 9 filings or other restructuring proceedings by public finance issuers, including an increased risk of loss on revenue bonds of distressed public finance issuers due to judicial decisions adverse to revenue bond holders; (10) Ambac's inability to realize the expected recoveries included in its financial statements; (11) insufficiency or unavailability of collateral to pay secured obligations; (12) credit risk throughout Ambac’s business, including but not limited to credit risk related to residential mortgage-backed securities, student loan and other asset securitizations, public finance obligations (including obligations of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities and agencies) and exposures to reinsurers; (13) credit risks related to large single risks, risk concentrations and correlated risks; (14) the risk that Ambac’s risk management policies and practices do not anticipate certain risks and/or the magnitude of potential for loss; (15) risks associated with adverse selection as Ambac’s insured portfolio runs off; (16) adverse effects on operating results or the Company’s financial position resulting from measures taken to reduce risks in its insured portfolio; (17) disagreements or disputes with Ambac's insurance regulators; (18) our inability to mitigate or remediate losses, commute or reduce insured exposures or achieve recoveries or investment objectives, or the failure of any transaction intended to accomplish one or more of these objectives to deliver anticipated results; (19) Ambac’s substantial indebtedness could adversely affect its financial condition and operating flexibility; (20) Ambac may not be able to obtain financing or raise capital on acceptable terms or at all due to its substantial indebtedness and financial condition; (21) Ambac may not be able to generate the significant amount of cash needed to service its debt and financial obligations, and may not be able to refinance its indebtedness; (22) restrictive covenants in agreements and instruments may impair Ambac's ability to pursue or achieve its business strategies; (23) loss of control rights in transactions for which we provide insurance due to a finding that Ambac has defaulted; (24) the impact of catastrophic environmental or natural events, including catastrophic public health events like the COVID-19 pandemic, on significant portions of our insured and investment portfolios; (25) adverse tax consequences or other costs resulting from the characterization of Ambac Assurance’s surplus notes or other obligations as equity; (26) risks attendant to the change in composition of securities in Ambac’s investment portfolio; (27) changes in prevailing interest rates; (28) the expected discontinuance of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate; (29) factors that may influence the amount of installment premiums paid to Ambac; (30) default by one or more of Ambac's portfolio investments, insured issuers or counterparties; (31) market risks impacting assets in Ambac’s investment portfolio or the value of our assets posted as collateral in respect of interest rate swap transactions; (32) risks relating to determinations of amounts of impairments taken on investments; (33) the risk of litigation and regulatory inquiries or investigations, and the risk of adverse outcomes in connection therewith, which could have a material adverse effect on Ambac’s business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows; (34) actions of stakeholders whose interests are not aligned with broader interests of Ambac's stockholders; (35) system security risks, data protection breaches and cyber attacks; (36) changes in accounting principles or practices that may impact Ambac’s reported financial results; (37) the economic and regulatory impact of “Brexit”; (38) operational risks, including with respect to internal processes, risk and investment models, systems and employees, and failures in services or products provided by third parties; (39) Ambac’s financial position that may prompt departures of key employees and may impact its ability to attract qualified executives and employees; (40) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely impact the insured portfolio in the event of loss reserves or claim payments denominated in a currency other than US dollars and the value of non-US dollar denominated securities in our investment portfolio; (41) decisions made by Ambac Assurance’s primary insurance regulator for the benefit of policyholders that may result in material adverse consequences for holders of Ambac’s securities or holders of securities issued or incurred by Ambac Assurance; and (42) other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time.