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July 4 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company's (SMMI) Insurer Financial Strength Rating at 'A-' with a Positive Outlook. At the same time, Fitch has withdrawn the rating.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Fitch has withdrawn the rating as SMMI has decided to stop participating in the rating process. Therefore, Fitch will no longer have sufficient information to maintain the ratings on SMMI. Accordingly, Fitch will no longer provide ratings or analytical coverage for SMMI.
The Positive Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that the recent merger with The North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association Limited (North), the world's second-largest marine mutual liability insurer as measured by owned tonnage, would improve SMMI's credit profile over time as part of a larger group.
North's strategic platform complements SMMI's and provides SMMI with access to further business development opportunities and provides cost savings through the purchase of external reinsurance on a greater scale.