Leading ratings agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has confirmed North of England P&I club
’s ‘A’ financial strength rating and stable outlook for the fourth consecutive year. According to S&P, the rating reflects the club’s continued ‘strong competitive position, very strong financial flexibility and historical operating performance relative to its peers’.
S&P analysts Rowena Potter and Ali Karakuyu said the club’s compound annual growth in free reserves over the past 10 years of 13.9% placed it ‘at the top of its peer group and represents an out-performance of the International Group as a whole.’ Total free reserves of the 13 International Group clubs grew 3.8% from 1998 to 2007.
S&P also praised North of England’s management for its continuity and commitment to service quality. ‘The average length of service of the senior management team is more than 20 years, underlining an extremely strong continuity of management. Broader staff retention and growth has also been key to the maintenance of service standards against the backdrop of the club’s substantial growth,’ said the agency.
The analysts said they considered North of England has a strong service ethic with a high level of member support. ‘The club’s competitive position is also enhanced by the provision of a number of value-added services, in particular the club’s risk-management department which provides member with free practical advice on loss prevention,’ they said.
However, S&P warned North of England it faces a severe challenge from the increasing frequency and cost of International Group claims.