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Insurance ratings actions, Oct. 6

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Insurance ratings actions, Oct. 6

S&P Global MarketIntelligence compiles ratings actions in the insurance space daily through 5:30p.m. ET. Actions after 5:30 p.m. ET will be included in the following day'sroundup.

Life and health

Fitch Ratings downgraded the insurer financial strength ratingsof MetLife Insurance Co.USA and New EnglandLife Insurance Co. to A+ from AA- and removed the ratings fromRating Watch Negative.

The rating agency also affirmed the long- and short-termissuer-default ratings on MetLifeInc. at A and F1, respectively.

MetropolitanLife Insurance Co. and General American Life Insurance Co.'s insurer financialstrength ratings were affirmed at AA-. Metropolitan Life's F1+ short-termissuer-default and A+ long-term issuer-default ratings also were affirmed.

The outlook on all ratings is stable.

Fitch said the ratings actions come after MetLife'splan to spin off itsretail operations into the newly branded, publicly traded Brighthouse Financial.

The ratings actions reflect Fitch's application of criteriafor noncore entities to the units, which are expected to be separated fromMetLife and included in Brighthouse Financial. The agency now views theentities to be of limited importance to their current parent.

Fitch said the affirmation of the rest of MetLife's ratingsreflects its view that the company's strong balance sheet fundamentals,excellent financial flexibility, and very strong market positions in severalmajor insurance product lines and markets in the U.S. and select internationalmarkets remain consistent with rating expectations.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its A+ long-termcounterparty credit and financial strength ratings on MetLife Insurance Co.USA, New England Life Insurance Co. and First MetLife Investors Insurance Co.

The outlook on these entities remains negative.

The ratings actions come after MetLife filed a Form 10detailing its plan to spin off its retail operations.

Other ratings on the MetLife group remain unaffected.

S&P said it affirmed ratings on the to-be-spun-offBrighthouse Financial's operating entities based on its announced businessstrategy and recapitalization plan.

The negative outlook on the companies indicates aone-in-three chance that S&P might lower the ratings further in the next 12months to 24 months. That reflects the possibility of deterioration in thecredit profile and execution risk associated with the spinoff transaction.

Property and casualty

A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength ratings to A++from A- and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "aa+" from"a-" of Mount VernonSpecialty Insurance Co. and Radnor Specialty Insurance Co., strategic affiliates ofUnited States Liability InsuranceCo.

The rating agency also affirmed the financial strengthratings of A++ and the "aa+" long-term issuer credit ratings ofUnited States Liability Insurance and its units andU.S. Underwriters InsuranceCo.

The outlook on the ratings is stable.

A.M. Best said the ratings of the insurance operatingcompanies take into account their superior risk-adjusted capital position,extended trends of underwriting and operating profitability.

The agency said the ratings also continue to benefit fromimplicit and explicit support provided to United States Liability Insurance andits units by their ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

A.M. Best has withdrawn the A financial strength rating andthe "a" long-term issuer credit rating of

The agency previously placed the ratings under review withdeveloping implications.

United National Specialty, previously a subsidiary ofDiamond State InsuranceCo., was sold as a clean shell to on Oct. 1.

The sale has resulted in the agency withdrawing the ratings.

GlobalIndemnity plc is the parent of United National Specialty andDiamond State Insurance.

Fitch Ratings affirmed the issuer default rating ofAmerican Equity Investment LifeHolding Co. at BBB-.

The rating agency also affirmed the BBB+ insurer financialstrength ratings of the company's insurance operating units , American EquityInvestment Life Insurance Co. of New York and Eagle Life Insurance Co. at BBB+.

Fitch said the affirmation of American Equity Investment'sratings reflects its low-risk bond portfolio, continued solid operatingresults, strong risk-adjusted capitalization, reasonable financial leverage andcompetitive position in the fixed indexed annuity market.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its BBB+ long-termcounterparty credit rating on Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd.

The rating agency also affirmed its A counterparty creditand financial strength ratings on Endurance's core operating units , EnduranceWorldwide Insurance Ltd., Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., , EnduranceAssurance Corp., Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co. andEndurance American InsuranceCo.

The outlook remains stable.

The ratings actions come after Endurance's agreement to beacquired bySompo Holdings Inc.for $6.3 billion in cash.

S&P said the affirmation takes into account the agency'sview that under Sompo's ownership, Endurance will be a strategically importantentity to Sompo and will preserve its extremely strong capitalization with anintact balance sheet.

The stable outlook reflects S&P's expectation thatEndurance will maintain a strong competitive position, extremely strong capitaladequacy and a stable management team.