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A.M. Best upgrades Allstate Assurance; affirms Allstate, units

A.M. Best said April 7 that it has upgraded the financial strengthrating to A+ from A and the issuer credit rating to "aa-" from "a+"of Allstate Assurance Co.

The outlook for both of the ratings has been revised to stablefrom positive. Allstate Assurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of ,a holding company directly owned by AllstateCorp.

Additionally, A.M. Best affirmed the A+ financial strength ratingsand "aa-" issuer credit ratings of the members of Allstate Insurance Groupwith a stable outlook.

The affected members are AllstateCounty Mutual Insurance Co., AllstateFire & Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Allstate Insurance Co., Allstate North American Insurance Co., Allstate Northbrook Indemnity Co., Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., , ,Encompass Home and Auto InsuranceCo., Encompass IndemnityCo., Encompass IndependentInsurance Co., EncompassInsurance Co., EncompassInsurance Co. of America, EncompassInsurance Co. of Massachusetts, EncompassProperty and Casualty Co., EsuranceInsurance Co., EsuranceProperty and Casualty Insurance Co., and North Light Specialty Insurance Co.

Concurrently, A.M. Best affirmed the A+ financial strength ratingsand "aa-" issuer credit ratings of the key life and health members ofthe Allstate Financial Cos. with a stable outlook. These members are , and American Heritage Life InsuranceCo.

A.M. Best also affirmed the A- financial strength ratings and"a-" issuer credit ratings of the members of Allstate New Jersey InsuranceGroup with a stable outlook. The affected companies are Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co., Allstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance Co.,Encompass Insurance Co. of New Jersey,Encompass Property and Casualty InsuranceCo. of New Jersey, and EsuranceInsurance Co. of New Jersey.

A.M. Best also affirmed the "a-" issuer credit ratingof the ultimate parent Allstate, and the B++ financial strength rating and "bbb+"issuer credit rating of IntramericaLife Insurance Co. The outlook for the ratings is stable.

The upgrade of Allstate Assurance's ratings reflects the company'simproved business profile and strategic value to Allstate Financial, the ratingagency said. Additionally, A.M. Best said the ratings of Allstate Financial Cos.reflect its positive and diversified GAAP operating performance, which has benefitedfrom the organization's strategy to focus on growing its core protection and workplacesupplemental health products while continuing to de-emphasize its exposure to spread-basedproducts, and its adequate consolidated stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalization.The affirmation also recognizes the financial strength and continued support ofAllstate Insurance as well as Allstate. The affirmations further reflect the benefitreceived from the Allstate brand name, as well as the competitive advantages derivedfrom Allstate's exclusive agencies and insurance specialists that provide cross-sellingopportunities.

A.M. Best noted that Allstate Insurance Group's strong capitalposition reflects its favorable earnings, which has contributed to surplus growthin most of the past five-year periods, excluding dividends paid to its parent company.The rating agency also said that the affirmation of the ratings of the members ofAllstate New Jersey reflects favorable risk-adjusted capitalization, improved underwritingtrends and management's local market knowledge.