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Insurance ratings actions: Agencies act on MassMutual

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 upgraded the financial strength ratings to A from A- and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "a" from "a-" of San Diego-based Insurance Co. of the West and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Explorer Insurance Co. and VerTerra Insurance Co.

The outlook of these ratings was revised to stable from positive.

The ratings reflect the group's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings upgrade is based on the group's improved operating and underwriting results over the past several years, driven primarily by favorable loss experience in its leading line of business, workers' compensation.

_____________________

A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of New York-based MetLife Inc.

The agency also revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a+" of MetLife's property and casualty companies, consisting of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co. and seven fully reinsured subsidiaries, as well as Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Concurrently, A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A+ and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "aa-" of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Co.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings of the P&C companies reflect their very strong balance sheet, adequate operating performance, favorable business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The positive outlooks reflect a trend of favorable underwriting performance that has consistently outperformed the composite on a five- and 10-year basis.

_____________________

Fitch Ratings affirmed the AA issuer default rating and AA+ insurer financial strength rating of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. and the AA+ insurer financial strength ratings of subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Co. and MML Bay State Life Insurance Co.

The outlook is stable. The action came after Invesco Ltd. agreed to acquire MassMutual's asset management affiliate, OppenheimerFunds Inc., for approximately $5.6 billion.

Additionally, Moody's placed the Aa2 insurance financial strength ratings of MassMutual and the two subsidiaries on review for downgrade. The outlooks were also changed to under review from negative.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed the AA+ insurer financial strength and long-term issuer credit ratings on MassMutual and the two subsidiaries. The outlook is stable.

The agency said MassMutual's business risk profile remains excellent, which is indicative of its relatively low-risk product portfolio with "solid" market position in whole life insurance and a "very strong" distribution platform.

S&P expects the company to continue growing its whole life and retirement services businesses.

_____________________

Fitch affirmed the A long-term issuer default rating and F1 short-term issuer default rating of Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial Inc.

Additionally, the agency affirmed the AA- insurer financial strength rating, A+ long-term issuer default rating and F1+ short-term issuer default rating of subsidiary Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Fitch also affirmed the AA- insurer financial strength ratings of subsidiaries Pruco Life Insurance Co., Prudential Annuities Life Assurance Corp., Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Co. and Pruco Life Insurance Co. of New Jersey.

The outlook is stable. Fitch noted Prudential Financial's very strong business and financial profile, which remain in line with rating expectations.

Europe

S&P assigned an A+ financial strength rating to Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC based on its core status within the Aviva PLC group.

The outlook is positive.

Middle East and Africa

A.M. Best revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating of B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb+" of Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance P.S.C.

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

The positive outlooks reflect the company's efforts to strengthen its enterprise risk management capabilities and framework substantially in recent years, implementing tools to identify and quantify key risks.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best downgraded the financial strength rating to B from B++ and the long-term issuer credit rating to "bb+" from "bbb" of United India Insurance Co. Ltd.

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

The downgrades reflect United's diminished risk-adjusted capitalization and its marginal enterprise risk management. The negative long-term issuer credit ratings outlook reflects the downside risks to United's risk-adjusted capitalization and operating performance.

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

_____________________

A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength rating of C++ and the long-term issuer credit rating of "b+" of Capital General Insurance Co. Ltd.

Concurrently, A.M. Best removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the financial strength rating of C- and long-term issuer credit rating of "cc" of Capital Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

The outlook assigned to Capital Life Insurance's ratings is negative, while the outlook assigned to the ratings of Capital General Insurance is stable. They are subsidiaries of Capital Insurance Group Ltd. and domiciled in Papua New Guinea.

The latest ratings actions follow the conclusion of A.M. Best's full assessment of the rating fundamentals of the subsidiaries, which were placed under review as part of rating actions taken on June 22.

The ratings of Capital Life Insurance reflect its weak balance sheet, adequate operating performance, limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management.

The ratings of Capital General Insurance reflect its strong balance sheet, strong operating performance, limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management.

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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