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A.M. Best Places Ratings of Umialik Insurance Company Under Review With Positive Implications

OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best Co. has placed under review with positive implications the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of "a-" of Umialik Insurance Company (Umialik) (Anchorage, AK) following the recent announcement by Western National Insurance Group (WNIG) that its flagship company, Western National Mutual Insurance Company (Western National Mutual) (Edina, MN) has executed a definitive agreement to purchase 100% of the stock of Umialik from Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation that owns various businesses.

"Catastrophe Risk Management Incorporated Within the Rating Analysis"

Subsequent to the planned acquisition, Umialik is expected to be added into WNIG's current pooling agreement among its six regional property/casualty insurance companies and become a member of the group, effective January 1, 2011. WNIG currently has an FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of "a", and both ratings have a stable outlook. WNIG currently serves personal and commercial customers in 10 states in the mid-western, northwestern and southwestern United States. The transaction is expected to close by year end pending customary closing conditions, approval by Western National Mutual's board of directors and regulatory authorities. Umialik's ratings will be removed from under review following the addition of the company to WNIG's pool and A.M. Best's discussions with management.

Umialik, a regional property/casualty insurance company, will continue to operate as a separate entity writing commercial and personal lines in Alaska and Washington. Umialik will be joining a larger, more diversified insurance group, which will result in greater economies of scale and product enhancements for the company.

The principal methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology -- Global Life and Non-Life Insurance Edition, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and highlights the different rating criteria employed. Additional key criteria utilized include: "Rating Members of Insurance Groups"; "Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies"; "Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers"; "Catastrophe Risk Management Incorporated Within the Rating Analysis"; "Natural Catastrophe Stress Test Methodologies"; and "The Treatment of Terrorism Risk in the Rating Evaluation." Methodologies can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is a global full-service credit rating organization dedicated to serving the financial and health care service industries, including insurance companies, banks, hospitals and health care system providers. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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