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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best downgrades AmTrust; S&P cuts Infinity

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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best downgrades AmTrust; S&P cuts Infinity

S&P Global Market Intelligence compiles ratings actions in the insurance space daily through 5 p.m. ET. Actions after 5 p.m. ET will be included in the following day's roundup.

U.S. and Canada

A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and downgraded the long-term issuer credit rating of New York-based AmTrust Financial Services Inc. to "bbb-" from "bbb" and downgraded all of the company's long-term issue credit ratings and indicative long-term issue credit ratings by one notch.

The agency also removed from under review with negative implications and downgraded the financial strength ratings to A- (Excellent) from A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a-" from "a" of AmTrust Financial Services subsidiaries AmTrust Captive Solutions Ltd., AmTrust Europe Ltd., AmTrust Insurance Co. of Kansas Inc., AmTrust Insurance Luxembourg SA, AmTrust International Insurance Ltd., AmTrust International Underwriters Designated Activity Company, ARI Insurance Co., Associated Industries Insurance Co. Inc., CorePointe Insurance Co., Developers Surety and Indemnity Co., First Nonprofit Insurance Co., Heritage Indemnity Co., Indemnity Co. of California, Milford Casualty Insurance Co., Nationale Borg Reinsurance NV, Republic Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., Republic Lloyds, Republic Underwriters Insurance Co., Republic-Vanguard Insurance Co., Rochdale Insurance Co., Security National Insurance Co., Sequoia Indemnity Co., Sequoia Insurance Co., Southern County Mutual Insurance Co., Southern Insurance Co., Southern Underwriters Insurance Co., Technology Insurance Co. Inc. and Wesco Insurance Co.

Additionally, A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of AmTrust Title Insurance Co.

The outlook assigned to all of these ratings is stable.

The ratings actions reflect the group's very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and marginal enterprise risk management.

The recently approved plan under which the parent company will be privatized has a neutral impact on the rating, A.M. Best said.

The ratings of AmTrust Title Insurance reflect its very strong balance sheet, marginal operating performance, limited business profile and marginal enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best upgraded the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb+" from "bbb" and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) of Washington, D.C.-headquartered Union Labor Life Insurance Co.

The outlook of the long-term issuer credit rating has been revised to stable from positive, while the outlook of the financial strength rating remains stable.

The ratings reflect the company's very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a-" from "bbb+" of Springfield, Ore.-based PacificSource Health Plans with a stable outlook.

The ratings reflect the company's strong balance sheet, marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The upgrade recognizes the growing benefit the company receives due to its strategic role within an integrated healthcare delivery system as part of PacificSource and Legacy Health.

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S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit rating on Birmingham, Ala.-based Infinity Property and Casualty Corp. to BBB- from BBB and the financial strength ratings on the company's operating subsidiaries to A- from A with a stable outlook.

At the same time, the ratings were removed from CreditWatch with negative implications. The action follows Kemper Corp.'s announcement that it completed its acquisition of Infinity.

S&P expects Kemper to manage Infinity's capital more in line with the group at the AA level. The agency now views Infinity as strategically important to Kemper.

The stable outlook was based on S&P's view that Infinity and its operating subsidiaries will maintain their very strong capital adequacy and strong business risk profiles commensurate with the rating.

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S&P downgraded its issuer credit and financial strength ratings on Austin, Texas-based National Western Life Insurance Co. to A- from A with a stable outlook.

The company recently decided to stop accepting new applications from residents of all international markets. The ratings action reflects the company's weakening geographic diversification and increased business concentration in a highly competitive domestic life and annuity market, the ageny said.

The stable outlook is due to S&P's expectation that the company will maintain its "extremely strong" capitalization and positive earnings during the next 12 to 24 months.

Europe

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of B+ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Bosna Reosiguranje d.d. Sarajevo with a stable outlook.

The ratings reflect Bosna Re's very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Fitch Ratings affirmed Italy-based Generali's and its core subsidiaries' insurer financial strength ratings at A- (Strong), as well as the parent company's long-term issuer default rating at A-.

The subsidiaries are AachenMuenchener Lebensversicherung AG, AachenMuenchener Versicherung AG, Advocard Rechtsschutzversicherung AG, Central Krankenversicherung AG, Cosmos Versicherung AG, Cosmos Lebensversicherungs-AG, Dialog Lebensversicherungs-AG, Generali Deutschland AG, Generali Deutschland Pensionskasse AG, Generali Versicherung AG, Envivas Krankenversicherung AG, Generali Iard, Generali Vie SA, Generali España SA de Seguros y Reaseguros and Generali Versicherung AG (Austria).

Additionally, the agency affirmed Generali (Schweiz) Holding AG's issuer default rating at BBB.

The outlooks are stable.

The ratings recognize the group's strong and resilient capitalization, improved financial leverage and very strong business profile, in particular strong market positions in Italy, Germany and France.

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Fitch affirmed the long-term issuer default rating of U.K.-based Phoenix Group Holdings at A and the A+ (Strong) insurer financial strength ratings of subsidiaries Phoenix Life Ltd. and Phoenix Life Assurance Ltd. with stable outlooks.

The agency also assigned Standard Life Assurance Ltd. an expected insurer financial strength rating of A+(EXP), which will be finalized upon the completion of Phoenix's acquisition of the company from Standard Life Aberdeen PLC.

The ratings of Phoenix reflect its very strong capitalization and leverage, and its strong debt service capabilities/financial flexibility, earnings and business profile.

Middle East and Africa

S&P upgraded the national scale ratings on several South African insurers and removed the ratings from under criteria observation.

The agency upgraded the South Africa national scale ratings to zaAAA from zaAA+ of AIG Life South Africa Ltd., AIG South Africa Ltd., Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty South Africa Ltd., GIC Re South Africa Ltd., Liberty Group Ltd., Old Mutual PLC's Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. (South Africa) Ltd., Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd. and Santam Ltd.

The same ratings of Sanlam Capital Markets Pty. Ltd. and Santam Structured Insurance Ltd. were upgraded to zaAA+ from zaAA-.

Sanlam Ltd.'s South African national scale rating was also upgraded to zaAA- from zaA.

S&P said the ratings actions do not reflect any change in the fundamental credit quality of the insurers, while its global scale issuer and issue credit ratings were not affected by the actions.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings. The original S&P Global Ratings documents referred to in this news brief can be found here and here.

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