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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms MassMutual; A.M. Best affirms Beazley

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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms MassMutual; A.M. Best affirms Beazley

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

Life and health

Fitch Ratings affirmed the long-term issuer default rating of Unum Group at BBB+.

Fitch also affirmed the insurer financial strength ratings for all of the company's domestic operating subsidiaries at A. The subsidiaries include Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co., Provident Life & Casualty Insurance Co., Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., Unum Insurance Co., First Unum Life Insurance Co. and Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co.

The outlook is stable.

Fitch said the affirmation of Unum Group's ratings reflects the company's strong business profile, continued strong and stable operating performance in its core businesses, moderate investment risk and solid capital and liquidity at both the insurance subsidiary and holding company levels.

The company's ratings also reflect the impact of the ongoing low interest rate environment, above average exposure to legacy long-term care policies, competitive challenges in the company's core U.S. disability business and Brexit-related headwinds that continue to pressure its U.K. business' operating performance, the rating agency said.

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Fitch Ratings affirmed Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s insurer financial strength rating of AA+ and the issuer default rating of AA.

The rating agency also affirmed the insurer financial strength rating of AA+ of C.M. Life Insurance Co. and MML Bay State Life Insurance Co., two affiliates that are guaranteed by MassMutual.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

Fitch said its ratings reflect MassMutual's strong market position in several major and broadly diversified business lines and its very strong statutory capitalization. The ratings also consider the company's recent higher earnings variability from one-time charges, the ongoing impact of the low interest rate environment and potential financial market volatility.

The ratings on C.M. Life Insurance and MML Bay State Life Insurance are based on Fitch's view that these entities are core operating companies within the MassMutual organization.

Property and casualty

A.M. Best affirmed Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd.'s long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb."

The outlook was revised to stable from positive.

At the same time, A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A (excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Aspen Insurance UK Ltd., Aspen Bermuda Ltd., Aspen American Insurance Co. and Aspen Specialty Insurance Co.

The long-term issuer credit ratings outlook was revised to stable from positive, while the financial strength ratings outlook remains stable.

A.M. Best said the ratings for these companies reflect their integration with and strategic importance to Aspen Insurance Holdings, which is the ultimate non-operating holding company and consolidating unit for the Aspen group.

Aspen's balance sheet strength is underpinned by the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, prudent reserving philosophy and a low-risk investment portfolio, the rating agency said. Additionally, A.M. Best said the group benefits from an effective capital management policy and good financial flexibility.

Aspen has a good performance record, although it is subject to volatility from exposure to catastrophe events, the rating agency said.

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A.M. Best affirmed Bremen Farmers Mutual Insurance Co.'s financial strength rating of B++ (good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb."

The long-term issuer credit ratings outlook was revised to positive from stable, while the financial strength ratings outlook remains stable.

A.M. Best said the positive outlook reflects the company's stable favorable results in recent years. Bremen's strong surplus growth, driven by its solid underwriting income, has outpaced premium writings and caused leverage measures to decrease, the rating agency said. Additionally, the company's reserves have been consistently redundant, and A.M. Best said property lines are naturally shorter-tailed in nature.

A.M. Best expects these results to continue, as Bremen management adheres to strict underwriting guidelines.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A++ (superior) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "aa+" of Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance Co. and its five property and casualty affiliates: Cypress Insurance Co., Oak River Insurance Co., Redwood Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., Brookwood Insurance Co. and Continental Divide Insurance Co.

The outlook is stable.

A.M. Best said the ratings reflect the group's strong risk-adjusted capitalization, historically profitable operating performance and the executive team's successful track record in managing operations. The ratings also acknowledge the group's consistent underwriting, aggressive claims management and a history of conservative loss reserving standards, the rating agency said.

A.M. Best added that the ratings consider the additional financial flexibility and support provided by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the group's ultimate shareholder.

The positive rating factors are somewhat offset by challenging market conditions and the group's business profile, which is concentrated in the workers' compensation business line, primarily in California.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A (excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Beazley Insurance Co. Inc. and Beazley Insurance Designated Activity Co.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

A.M. Best said the ratings reflect the companies' strategic importance to and integration within Beazley Plc, their ultimate non-operating holding company and consolidating unit.