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Insurance ratings actions: A.M. Best removes Cigna from under review

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.

US and Canada

A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Cigna Corp.

The agency also removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of the key life and health subsidiaries, health maintenance organizations, New Zealand and European insurance companies of Cigna.

Concurrently, A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and upgraded the financial strength ratings to A from A- and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a" from "a-" of the members of the Cigna Supplemental Benefits Group.

Additionally, the agency removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength ratings of A- and long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-" of the Cigna HealthSpring companies.

The outlook assigned to these ratings is stable.

The ratings actions follow the clarity on the timing of the debt issuance and discussions with Cigna regarding the Express Scripts Holding Co. transaction.

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A.M. Best revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Burlington, Vt.-based Restoration Risk Retention Group Inc.

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

The revision reflects the company's continuing improvement in its operating performance and its ability to outperform the industry averages despite the inherent challenges that come along with being a monoline specialty, niche insurer.

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A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Bermuda-domiciled BF&M Ltd.

The agency also affirmed the financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of BF&M Life Insurance Co. Ltd., BF&M General Insurance Co. Ltd. and Island Heritage Insurance Co. Ltd.

Furthermore, A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Insurance Corp. of Barbados Ltd.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings of BF&M Life, BF&M General and Island Heritage reflect the companies' very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Fitch Ratings affirmed the long-term issuer default ratings of American International Group Inc., AIG International Inc. and AIG Life Holdings Inc. at A-.

The outlook is negative for AIG and AIG International, but Fitch revised the outlook for AIG Life to stable from negative.

The agency also affirmed the A insurer financial strength ratings of the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries with a negative outlook. The subsidiaries are AIU Insurance Co., American Home Assurance Co., AIG Assurance Co., AIG Europe Ltd., AIG Property Casualty Co., AIG Specialty Insurance Co., Commerce and Industry Insurance Co., Granite State Insurance Co., Illinois National Insurance Co., Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, Lexington Insurance Co., National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. and New Hampshire Insurance Co.

Additionally, Fitch affirmed the A+ insurer financial strength ratings of life insurance subsidiaries AGC Life Insurance Co., American General Life Insurance Co., Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. and United States Life Insurance Co. in the City of New York. The outlook was revised to stable from negative.

The agency also affirmed the issuer default rating of Validus Holdings Ltd. at A- and the insurer financial strength rating of Validus Reinsurance Ltd. at A. The outlook for the issuer default rating is negative, while the outlook for the insurer financial strength rating is stable.

Fitch said the life insurance subsidiaries continue to enjoy favorable financial results and strong capitalization, which it expects to continue — thus leading to the outlook revision.

The negative outlooks were due to weak underwriting results from 2015 to 2017, which were brought on by adverse reserve development and large 2017 catastrophe losses, leading to lower overall profits and parent company interest coverage below rating guidelines.

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Moody's affirmed the issuer ratings of Charlotte, N.C.-based Brighthouse Financial Inc. and Brighthouse Holdings LLC at Baa3.

The agency also affirmed the insurance financial strength ratings of Brighthouse Life Insurance Co. and New England Life Insurance Co. at A3, as well as the short-term insurance financial strength rating of Brighthouse Life at P-2.

The outlook on all ratings is stable.

The affirmation of Brighthouse Financial's operating entities' ratings is based on the company's solid asset quality, with modest amount of exposure to high-risk assets, namely below-investment-grade securities and alternative investments.

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S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit rating on Ohio National Financial Services Inc. to BBB from BBB+.

The agency also downgraded its long-term issuer credit and financial strength ratings on Ohio National's core operating companies, Ohio National Life Insurance Co. and Ohio National Life Assurance Corp., to A from A+. The outlook is negative.

The downgrade reflects Ohio National Financial Services' revised strategy, which refocuses on its current life and disability income businesses.

Europe

A.M. Best upgraded the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a+" from "a" and affirmed the financial strength ratings of A of Mapfre Global Risks, Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros SA; Mapfre Re, Compañía de Reaseguros SA; and Mapfre España, Compañia De Seguros Y Reaseguros SA. The outlooks remain stable.

The upgrade reflects improved rating fundamentals, characterized by a very strong balance sheet, a strong operating performance, with solid earnings from their Spanish insurance and global reinsurance operations, and favorable business profiles.

A.M. Best also affirmed the financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of Puerto Rico-domiciled Mapfre Praico Insurance Co. and its affiliate, Mapfre Pan American Insurance Co.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

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

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Fitch revised the outlooks of nine Italian insurance groups to negative from stable while affirming their insurer financial strength ratings and long-term issuer default ratings.

The nine groups are Generali, Società Reale Mutua di Assicurazioni, SACE SpA, Intesa Sanpaolo Vita SpA, ITAS Mutua, Poste Vita SpA, Unipol Gruppo SpA and UnipolSai Assicurazioni SpA, SIAT Societa Italiana Assicurazioni e Riassicurazioni SpA and Vittoria Assicurazioni SpA.

The revision follows the change of Italy's outlook to negative. Fitch also affirmed the ratings of certain subsidiaries.

Middle East and Africa

A.M. Best downgraded the financial strength rating to B++ from A- and the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb+" from "a-" of Bahrain-based Arab Insurance Group (BSC).

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

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

The downgrade reflects A.M. Best's revised view of the company's enterprise risk management following failures in its framework highlighted by a recently discovered incident of fraud.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of United Arab Emirates-based Oman Insurance Co. PSC with a stable outlook.

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

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of New Zealand-based Beneficial Insurance Ltd. with a stable outlook.

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

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Fitch assigned China-based Aviva COFCO Life Insurance Co. Ltd. an insurer financial strength rating of A- with a stable outlook.

The company's rating reflects its strong capitalization and operating results, which are offset by a moderate business profile.

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.

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