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AM Best Downgrades Credit Ratings of Accuro Health Insurance Society Limited

SINGAPORE, April 28, 2023–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to B (Fair) from B+ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bb” (Fair) from “bbb-” (Good) of Accuro Health Insurance Society Limited (Accuro) (New Zealand). The outlooks of these Credit Ratings (ratings) have been revised to stable from negative.

The ratings reflect Accuro’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as weak, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The rating downgrades reflect a deterioration in AM Best’s view of Accuro’s balance sheet fundamentals. The company’s risk-adjusted capitalisation for fiscal-year ended 31 August 2022, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), fell to adequate from strong at the previous year end. Accuro’s risk-adjusted capitalisation is expected to fall to the weak level over the near term, primarily as a result of underwriting growth outpacing the growth in tangible capital. The company has undertaken a substantial investment to upgrade its policy administration system in recent years, which gave rise to material intangible assets relative to its capital base of NZD 11.8 million as of 31 August 2022. Accuro’s prospective capital adequacy is highly sensitive to changes in the development and implementation costs arising from this infrastructure investment, as well as to variations in future earnings.

AM Best expects Accuro’s regulatory solvency position to remain appropriate, although the company is expected to record a weaker solvency position than previously indicated at fiscal year-end 2023, due to a cyber incident that adversely impacted its cashflow position. AM Best considers Accuro’s financial flexibility to be limited, given its status as a member-owned organisation. However, the company has the ability to make rate adjustments on relatively short notice to support profitability, if required.

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Legal office that provides defense for high-profile crimes in Nebraska faces dwindling money source

Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing four people last summer in the small northeastern Nebraska community of Laurel.

Jason Jones, 42, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the August killings the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said would justify a death sentence.

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Jones, who investigators say shot and killed Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, Dana Twiford, 55, and Michele Ebeling, 53, is being represented by the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy in the case.

Created in 1995 to provide criminal defense services for high-profile cases including first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury or death, sexual assault, robbery, or kidnapping, the commission has a two-fold mission.

First, it creates a stable of defense attorneys capable of ensuring defendants’ constitutional rights to legal counsel and a fair trial are protected in areas of the Cornhusker state where there may not be any other attorneys qualified to do so.

Second, the commission reduces the cost to rural counties and thereby lessens the impact on property taxpayers.

A combination of factors in recent years — the switch from general funds to a court-assessed fee and declining numbers of case filings across the state — has put financial strain on the commission’s ability to meet the needs throughout the state, however.

Jeff Pickens, chief counsel for the commission, said fewer case filings have meant a $540,000 drop in revenue between the 2008-09 fiscal year budget ($1.2 million) and the 2021-22 fiscal year budget ($747,000).

At the same time, in order to continue providing criminal defense services across the state the commission has had to dip into an emergency cash fund to cover expenses every year since 2014-15.

Pickens said the cash fund had a little more

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