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Insurance ratings actions: S&P upgrades Sun Life Financial, subsidiaries

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 rating to A from A- and the long-term issuer credit rating to "a" from "a-" of Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. The outlook of these ratings was revised to stable from positive.

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

The ratings action considers a revision in the rating agency's assessment of the company's operating performance to strong from adequate.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A- and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a-" of Trustmark Insurance Co., Trustmark Life Insurance Co. of New York and Trustmark Life Insurance Co. The long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Trustmark Group Inc., the holding company, was also affirmed.

The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings of Trustmark Insurance and Trustmark Life Insurance Co. of New York reflect their balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as their adequate operating performance, neutral business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings of Trustmark Life Insurance reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

Trustmark Group, Trustmark Insurance and Trustmark Life Insurance are all based in Lake Forest, Illinois.

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A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb+" of Hiscox Ltd., the ultimate non-operating holding company of the Hiscox group of companies. The financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a+" of Hiscox Insurance Co. (Bermuda) Ltd., London-based Hiscox Insurance Co. Ltd., Hiscox Insurance Co. (Guernsey) Ltd., Chicago-based Hiscox Insurance Co. Inc. and Lloyd's of London Syndicate 33 were also affirmed. The outlook of these ratings remains stable.

The ratings of Hiscox reflect the group's consolidated balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings of Hiscox Insurance Bermuda, Hiscox Insurance Co. Ltd., Hiscox Insurance Guernsey and Hiscox Insurance Co. Inc. reflect their strategic importance to Hiscox, as well as their strong integration within the group.

The ratings of Lloyd's Syndicate 33 reflect the balance sheet strength of the Lloyd's of London market, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as the market's strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate risk management.

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A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength ratings to B+ from B- and the long-term issuer credit ratings to "bbb-" from "bb-" of the Allstate Insurance Co. subsidiaries, Castle Key Insurance Co., Castle Key Indemnity Co., Encompass Floridian Insurance Co. and Encompass Floridian Indemnity Co. The outlook of these ratings remains stable.

The ratings reflect the companies' balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as adequate, as well as their adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The upgrade takes into account the improvement in the companies' balance sheet strength, with consistent organic surplus growth and a strengthened catastrophe reinsurance program that now responds to more severe windstorm events.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A- and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a-" of Kansas City, Mo.-based Ozark National Life Insurance Inc. The outlook is stable.

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

The ratings action comes after the company's sale to National Western Life Insurance Co.

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Kroll Bond Rating Agency affirmed the BBB- issuer rating of Clear Blue Financial Holdings LLC and the A- insurance financial strength ratings of its subsidiaries, Clear Blue Specialty Insurance Co. and Clear Blue Insurance Co. The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings consider the subsidiaries' sound capitalization, conservative investment portfolio, lack of underwriting risk as a pure fronting specialist and reasonable underwriting leverage.

Europe

A.M. Best placed under review with negative implications the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Ironshore Europe DAC.

The ratings action comes after the announcement that Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. will sell Ironshore Europe, along with Pembroke Managing Agency Ltd. and Dubai-based Visionary Underwriting Agency Ltd., to Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd.

If the transaction closes under the current terms, A.M. Best could downgrade Ironshore Europe's ratings to be commensurate with Hamilton's ratings, following completion of the rating agency's assessment after transaction close.

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Kroll Brond Rating Agency affirmed the insurance financial strength rating of A of Hamilton Re Ltd. and the issuer rating of BBB+ of the Bermuda-based specialty reinsurer's holding company, Hamilton Insurance Group.

The outlook for these ratings is stable, reflecting the agency's expectations that the companies will still maintain their sound capitalization as they prudently execute their business plan.

The ratings actions also follow the agreement signed by the holding company to acquire Ironshore Europe, Pembroke Managing Agency and Visionary Underwriters from Liberty Mutual.

The ratings consider Hamilton Re and Hamilton Insurance Group's 2018 results, which are in line with the expectations of the rating agency. It also reflects the strategic benefits that will be provided through the acquisition.

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S&P Global Ratings upgraded the financial strength rating and the issuer credit rating to A+ from A of Sun Life Financial Inc. The agency also upgraded the financial strength ratings and the issuer credit ratings to AA from AA- of its subsidiaries, Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada (US Branch) and Sun Life & Health Insurance Co.

The outlook is stable, reflecting S&P Global Ratings' expectation that the group will still keep its status as a top-three insurer in Canada and continue to grow its businesses in Asia and the U.S., as well as its asset management businesses.

Sun Life Financial's financial risk profile continues to be characterized by healthy capitalization and strong financial flexibility, according to the rating agency.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Starr Property & Casualty Insurance (China) Co. Ltd. The outlook of these ratings remains stable.

The ratings reflect the company's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. They also reflect the insurer's high level of integration within its group and the support it receives in various areas including capital management, underwriting expertise, inward business, reinsurance and risk oversight.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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