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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms Navigators Insurance, James River

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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best affirms Navigators Insurance, James River

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 downgraded the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb" from "bbb+" and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) of St. Louis-based National Fire and Indemnity Exchange.

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

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

The ratings actions reflect the company's volatility in operating performance, driven primarily by adverse underwriting performance.

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A.M. Best revised the outlook to positive from stable for the long-term issuer credit rating and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Raleigh, N.C.-based Forestry Mutual Insurance Co.

The outlook of the financial strength rating remains stable.

These ratings reflect Forestry Mutual's strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The outlook revision is based on A.M. Best's expectation that the company's operating performance may continue to drive organic surplus growth and further improve risk-adjusted capitalization, along with stabilizing reserve development trends.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a+" of Navigators Group Inc.'s U.S. subsidiaries, Navigators Insurance Co. and Navigators Specialty Insurance Co. with a positive outlook.

Additionally, the agency affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a+" of U.K.-based subsidiary Navigators International Insurance Co. Ltd. with a stable outlook.

The ratings of the U.S. subsidiaries reflect their balance sheet, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, their adequate operating performance, favorable business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management. The positive outlook reflects their improved underwriting and operating performance in recent years, along with a strengthening of their risk-adjusted capitalization. The performance in their core lines of business have benefited from strict underwriting discipline.

The ratings of the U.K. subsidiary reflect its very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" Bermuda-based James River Group Holdings Ltd. and the financial strength ratings of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of its rated operating subsidiaries with a stable outlook.

The subsidiaries are JRG Reinsurance Co. Ltd., James River Insurance Co., James River Casualty Co., Falls Lake National Insurance Co., Stonewood Insurance Co., Falls Lake General Insurance Co. and Falls Lake Fire and Casualty Co.

Concurrently, A.M. Best assigned a financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and a long-term issuer credit rating of "a" to Carolina Re Ltd. with a stable outlook.

The ratings of the operating subsidiaries reflect their very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, neutral business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings assigned to Carolina Re reflect its key role as a member of James River Group.

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A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Austin, Texas-based National Western Life Group Inc. and the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of subsidiary National Western Life Insurance Co.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

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

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S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit and financial strength ratings on Puerto Rico-based Triple-S Salud Inc. to BBB from BBB+ with a stable outlook.

The outlook reflects the agency's expectations that the company will generate flat revenue growth in 2018 to 2019, a pretax return on revenue of negative 1% to negative 2% in 2018 and 0% to 2% in 2019, with capital redundancy at BBB/A in 2018-2019. S&P also expects financial leverage below 20%.

Asia-Pacific

Fitch Ratings Indonesia affirmed Indonesia-based PT Asuransi Sinar Mas' national insurer financial strength rating at AA+(idn) with a stable outlook.

The rating denotes a very strong capacity to meet policyholder obligations relative to all other obligations or issuers in the same country, across all industries and obligation types, the agency said.

The affirmation reflects the company's strong capitalization, its moderate business profile and prudent investment risk profile. It also considers the company's operating profitability and management of risks in the catastrophe-prone Indonesian market.

The stable outlook is based on Fitch's expectation that the company will maintain an ample capital buffer, and prudent underwriting and reinsurance management to support its business operations.

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S&P affirmed its A financial strength and issuer credit ratings on Australia-based Suncorp Life & Superannuation Ltd. with a stable outlook after the announcement of a proposed sale to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty. Ltd.

The ratings were affirmed based on the insurer's stand-alone credit strengths, including its sound market position, very strong capital position and expected group support. The final ratings include a one-notch uplift above its "a-" stand-alone credit profile, reflecting S&P's view that it is expected to benefit from group support from Suncorp Group Ltd.

The stable outlook reflects that on the Suncorp Group and the agency's expectation that the group will continue to provide ongoing and extraordinary support to the point of sale, if required.

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 feature can be found here and here.

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