updated 10/18/2010 8:46:19 AM ET 2010-10-18T12:46:19

HOUSTON, Oct. 18, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HCC) today announced that A.M. Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to "A+" (Superior) and the Issuer Credit Ratings (ICR) to "aa-", with a stable outlook, for the following insurance company subsidiaries:

  • American Contractors Indemnity Company
  • United States Surety Company
  • Perico Life Insurance Company

A.M. Best has also affirmed the FSR and ICR of "A+" (Superior) and "aa-", respectively, for the following insurance company subsidiaries:

  • Houston Casualty Company
  • Avemco Insurance Company
  • U.S. Specialty Insurance Company
  • HCC Specialty Insurance Company
  • HCC Life Insurance Company

For the affirmed ratings above, the outlook for the FSR is stable, with an outlook for the ICR of positive, other than HCC Life Insurance Company which is stable.

A.M. Best has also affirmed the FSR and ICR of "A-" (Excellent) and "a-", respectively, with a stable outlook for Pioneer General Insurance Company.

The ICR for HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. and the debt rating on the $300 million 6.300% Senior Notes due 2019 of the holding company remain at "a-" with a positive outlook.

"Our ratings are a reflection of our successful Specialty strategy,conservative investment philosophy, and financial flexibility despite challenging market conditions," HCC Chief Executive Officer John N. Molbeck, Jr., said.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a leading international specialty insurance group with offices across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland. As of June 30, 2010, HCC had assets of $9.0 billion and shareholders' equity of $3.2 billion. HCC's major domestic and international insurance companies have a financial strength rating of "AA (Very Strong)" from Standard & Poor's Corporation. HCC's major domestic insurance companies have a financial strength rating of "AA (Very Strong)" from Fitch Ratings, "A1 (Good Security)" from Moody's Investors Service, Inc., and "A+ (Superior)" by A.M. Best Company, Inc.

For more information about HCC, please visit http://www.hcc.com .           

Forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made under "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The types of risks and uncertainties which may affect the Company are set forth in its periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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