Unrated insurer was originally aiming for first quarter this year

Unrated Gibraltar-based insurer Elite now expects to get a rating in the second quarter this year, despite originally aiming to be rated in the first quarter.

The company started working with rating agency AM Best in November 2013. Elite chief executive Jason Smart said: “Whilst it was originally anticipated that the process would be complete by the end of the first quarter 2014 it is now clear that this was an unrealistic timeframe.

“As we currently stand it is now likely late second quarter 2014 being a more likely outcome.”

Elite is seeking a rating because of the negative market view of unrated insurers and mounting calls to curb the use of unrated capacity.

For example the Solicitors Regulation Authority is proposing that all solicitors professional indemnity (PI) insurers will need a rating of at least B to appear on the list of insurers that lawyers can use.  

The backlash has followed the high-profile failure of a number of unrated  insurers writing UK solicitors’ PI, including Lemma Europe, Balva and European Risk Insurance Company (ERIC).

Smart said: “Newly-introduced restrictions in the market are putting pressure on unrated insurers to gain rated status.

“We’ve never felt we have anything to prove. Our growth year on year speaks for itself. However, the demise of other unrated insurers has meant that we have been put in a position where a rating becomes necessary.”