OREANDA-NEWS. Fitch Ratings has published an Unrated Issuer Report (UIR) on Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited. UIRs provide analytical perspective and transparency on key issues that impact an organization's creditworthiness but without providing a credit rating or rating-like opinion.

In addition to highlighting what Fitch considers to be Aspen's main credit issues and trends, the report takes a closer look at:

--Business profile;

--Financial performance and earnings.

Aspen and other small to midsize reinsurers are facing increasing market pressures to become larger as a means to survive. This stress can create underwriting and operating risks for companies as they determine how to best adapt to the new world or risk becoming irrelevant. Fitch believes that Aspen may seek to boost operating scale in the future through an acquisition, or become a target for a larger buyer.

Changes in Aspen's business mix, including a shift away from reinsurance and more into insurance should reduce volatility. Expansion into more specialty businesses, Lloyd's of London, and the recent entrance into crop (re)insurance could potentially improve the company's competitive market position and profitability, but also create additional risks in underwriting quality and pricing adequacy on new business.

Aspen's profitability is characterized by combined ratios in the 85%-95% range and high single-digit to low double-digit returns on equity in most years. However, earnings are exposed to potential volatility and can decline materially in response to large catastrophe-related events. This was the case in 2005 and 2011, when significant insured catastrophe events pushed the company to an underwriting loss and an overall net loss in each year.

A peer analysis and a summary of market-based indicators round out the UIR.

UIRs are not solicited by the issuer, and Fitch receives no compensation from the issuer for the provision of an UIR. While a UIR is typically based primarily on public information, Fitch analysts may ask questions of an issuer's management while preparing the report. The level of management participation, if any, can vary significantly from case to case.