(Missoula Current) A Missoula-based insurance company with a national reach saw its financial strength upgraded by AM Best this week from A- to A, marking a significant achievement in the industry.

ALPS, headed by president and CEO David Bell in Missoula, provides legal professional liability insurance for smaller law firms, though AM Best said the company is geographically diversified.

According to The Insurer, AM Best also noted that ALPS management has devoted significant resources to develop “pricing and data analytics capabilities, including its risk management algorithm and straight-through processing applications.”

“These resources enable ALPS to manage and price risks effectively while maintaining a scalable expense structure, contributing toward profitable growth,” AM Best wrote in its findings. “Through these efforts, the company is leveraging technology to improve overall operating results and the customer experience.”

Bell, who also serves as a board member for the Missoula County Airport Authority, joined ALPS in 2012 after a decade at Allied World, where he was a founding executive and served as chief operating officer.

ALSP is based in the Florence Building in downtown Missoula.

“When the de facto regulator of insurer solvency (AM Best) moves a carrier from A- to A, it's a pretty big deal,” Bell told the Missoula Current. “It happens once in a career lifetime.”

Bell credited the ALPS team in Missoula for the achievement.

“This international insurance industry news is the product and result of hard-working people in Missoula,” he said.