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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms Marsh & McLennan, Aon, Willis Towers

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 affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "c" of Atlas Financial Holdings Inc. and the financial strength ratings of C and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "ccc" of the company's subsidiaries, American Service Insurance Co. Inc., American Country Insurance Co. and Gateway Insurance Co.

Also, A.M. Best downgraded the financial strength rating to C+ from C++ and the long-term issuer credit rating to "b-" from "b" of Global Liberty Insurance Co. of New York, another subsidiary of Atlas Financial.

The outlook of these ratings is negative.

Concurrently, A.M. Best withdrew the ratings as per the company's request to no longer participate in the interactive ratings process of the agency.

The ratings of American Service Insurance, American Country Insurance and Gateway Insurance reflect the companies' balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very weak, as well as their marginal operating performance, neutral business profiles and marginal enterprise risk management.

The downgrade of Global Liberty's rating considers the significant reserve strengthening charge taken in the fourth quarter of 2018, which has led to a material contraction in surplus and deterioration in risk-adjusted capitalization. The ratings of the company reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as weak, as well as its marginal operating performance, limited business profile and marginal enterprise risk management.

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A.M. Best affirmed with a stable outlook the financial strength ratings of A+ and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "aa-" of the Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based members of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies The members are WestGUARD Insurance Co., AmGUARD Insurance Co., EastGUARD Insurance Co. and NorGUARD Insurance Co. These members operate under an intercompany pooling agreement.

The ratings reflect the members' balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as their strong operating performance, neutral business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Fitch Ratings affirmed the A- long-term issuer default rating and the F2 short-term issuer default rating of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.

The outlook stays negative, reflecting the additional financial leverage the company used to finance its acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC.

The ratings consider the company's top-tier competitive position as the biggest global insurance broker, including positive organic growth and an EBITDA margin that continues to be in line with the company's closest peers.

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Fitch affirmed the long-term issuer default rating of BBB+ and short-term issuer default rating of F2 of Aon PLC and Aon Corp. The outlook is stable.

The affirmation considers Aon's top-tier competitive position, solid and improved profit margins and cash flows in 2018, in spite of the absorption of material restructuring expenses, and very good financial flexibility, partly offset by elevated financial leverage. The affirmation of the short-term issuer default rating reflects Aon's good short-term credit quality.

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Fitch affirmed the BBB long-term issuer default ratings of Willis Towers Watson PLC and its subsidiaries, Willis North America Inc. and Trinity Acquisition plc. The outlook is stable.

The ratings action takes into consideration Willis Towers Watson's top-tier competitive position, improved financial leverage, expanding margins and improvement in the absolute EBITDA level, and strong cash flow.generation.

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Kroll Bond Rating Agency affirmed Adrian, Mich.-based Gleaner Life Insurance Society Inc.'s insurance financial strength rating of A-. The outlook is stable.

The rating considers Gleaner Life's conservative balance sheet and stable net operating gains. The agency believes the company employs disciplined product pricing and crediting rate practices on current products.

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Kroll Bond Rating Agency affirmed the A- insurance financial strengths ratings for Fortegra Financial Corp. subsidiaries Lyndon Southern Insurance Co., Insurance Co. of the South, Response Indemnity Co. of California, Life of the South Insurance Co., Southern Financial Life Insurance Co. (KY) and Bankers Life of Louisiana.

The rating agency also affirmed the BBB issuer rating of Fortegra Financial. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

The ratings recognize Fortegra Financial's favorable underwriting results, balanced mix of revenue and earnings, adequate capitalization and prudent operating strategy.

Europe

A.M. Best withdrew the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a+" of Spain's Mapfre Global Risks Compañia Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros SA, a subsidiary of Mapfre SA.

The withdrawal comes after the authorization received from Spain's Ministry of Economy and Finance for the total spin off of the company in favor of Mapfre España Compañia De Seguros Y Reaseguros SA, Mapfre Re Compañía de Reaseguros SA, Mapfre Global Risk Agencia de Suscripcion and Servifinanzas SAU. The spinoff, which took effect March 6, is part of the restructuring of Mapfre group's global risk operations.

Also, Mapfre Global Risks's authorization to conduct insurance and reinsurance activities has been revoked by the ministry, resulting in the rating agency's noncompletion of a final rating opinion.

Middle East

A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength rating of A and the long-term issuer credit rating of "a" of Dubai-based Oman Insurance Co. PSC. The outlook was revised to negative from stable.

The ratings reflect the company's 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 revised outlook largely reflects the decline in the company's operating performance, which has placed pressure on A.M. Best's current assessment of strong.

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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