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Insurance ratings actions: S&P lowers Hong Kong-based MetLife after deal news

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 affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Manulife Financial Corp. The rating agency also affirmed the financial strength ratings of A+ and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "aa-" of the company's life and health insurance subsidiaries, Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., John Hancock Life Insurance Co. (U.S.A.), John Hancock Life Insurance Co. of New York and John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Co. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect Manulife Financial's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and very strong enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Toyota Motor Insurance Co. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A- and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-" of Oxford Life Insurance Co. and its unit, Christian Fidelity Life Insurance Co. The outlooks were revised to positive from stable.

The financial strength rating of B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of North American Insurance Co., another subsidiary of Oxford Life, were also affirmed. The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The companies are owned by AMERCO.

The ratings of Oxford Life and Christian Fidelity Life reflect their balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as their adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The outlook revision considers an improving business profile within the senior market by Oxford Life and Christian Fidelity Life's execution of their business strategy in the annuity, final expense and Medicare supplement insurance marketplace, A.M. Best said.

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A.M. Best downgraded the financial strength rating to B+ from B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb-" from "bbb" of Jacksonville, Fla.-based FHM Insurance Co. The outlook was changed to stable from negative.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, limited business profile and marginal enterprise risk management.

The outlook revision takes into account the company's very strong level of balance sheet strength, according to A.M. Best.

The rating downgrades take into account a revision in the rating agency's assessment of the company's enterprise risk management to marginal from appropriate.

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A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength rating to A- from B+ and the long-term issuer credit rating to "a-" from "bbb-" of Boston Indemnity Co. Inc. Also, the rating agency downgraded the financial strength rating to A- from A and the long-term issuer credit rating to "a-" from "a" of Great Midwest Insurance Co.

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Houston Specialty Insurance Co., Oklahoma Specialty Insurance Co. and Imperium Insurance Co.

All of the ratings were removed from under review with developing implications. The outlook assigned to the ratings is negative.

The companies are members of Houston International Insurance Group Ltd.

The ratings reflect Houston International Insurance Group's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The negative outlooks consider A.M. Best's concern over the company's balance sheet strength connected to historical adverse reserve volatility.

Europe

A.M. Best removed from under review with developing implications and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Russia-based Insurance Co. of Gaz Industry Sogaz. The outlook assigned to the ratings is stable.

The rating actions come after the completion of the company's deal with VTB Group in November 2018, wherein it acquired VTB Insurance Ltd. and its subsidiaries, including VTB Life Insurance JSC.

The ratings reflect Insurance Co. of Gaz Industry's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb+" of Iceland's Tryggingamiðstöðin hf. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Moody's withdrew the A2 insurance financial strength rating of U.K.-based Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance Ltd. for its own business reasons. The outlook was stable at the time of the withdrawal.

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S&P Global Ratings assigned an A local currency long-term issuer credit and financial strength ratings to Zurich-based Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG. The outlook is stable.

S&P Global Ratings sees the company as a core subsidiary of Seoul's Korean Reinsurance Co. The ratings consider the rating agency's view that the company is integral for the group's strategy to expand its business in Europe.

S&P Global Ratings anticipates that the company will get strong support from the group in terms of operations, underwriting, reinsurance and risk management.

The outlook is stable, reflecting the outlook on Korean Re and the rating agency's view that the insurer will stay as a core subsidiary of the group over the next two years.

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S&P Global Ratings assigned a BBB+ financial strength rating to Stockholm-based Dina Försäkring AB.

The rating agency says the company has a somewhat vulnerable competitive position within the Swedish nonlife insurance market. It also considers the company's sound capitalization, despite being more exposed to economic downturns because of its relatively small size.

The outlook is stable, mirroring S&P Global Ratings' expectations that the company will maintain its solid levels of capital, grow in line with the market, and that underwriting profitability will at least stay at current levels.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of PT Asuransi Tokio Marine Indonesia. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. Also, the ratings consider the implicit and explicit support provided by Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of China Taiping Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co. Ltd. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. Additionally, China Taiping Insurance (Singapore) benefits from rating enhancement from the group of its ultimate parent, China Taiping Insurance Group Ltd.

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Moody's withdrew the Baa1 insurance financial strength rating with a stable outlook of Heungkuk Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. due to own business reasons.

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S&P Global Ratings downgraded to BBB+ from A+ the long-term issuer credit rating and insurer financial strength rating of Hong Kong-based MetLife Ltd. The outlook is developing.

The downgrade was due to the rating agency's belief that the company will not benefit any more from the support of its parent, New York-based MetLife Inc. The action comes after an announcement that FWD Management Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong-registered business of FWD Group, entered into an agreement to acquire MetLife Ltd. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of Hong Kong Ltd.

The rating is based on MetLife Ltd.'s standalone characteristics, including strong capitalization, despite a small capital base, and a modest business position, the rating agency said.

The outlook is developing, considering S&P Global Ratings' view that the rating could be modified depending on the progress of the sale, together with possible support or influence from the new parent group.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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