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Insurance ratings actions: Fitch affirms Kemper, Brighthouse Financial

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 financial strength rating to B++ from A- and the long-term issuer credit rating to "bbb+" from "a-" of Bethlehem, Pa.-based Saucon Insurance Co. 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, very limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The downgrade considers a revision in the rating agency's assessment of Saucon Insurance's business profile to very limited from limited, given the ongoing moratorium on new business since 2008 and the continued erosion of perpetual policies in force.

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A.M. Best affirmed the financial strength ratings of A and the long-term issuer credit ratings of "a" of Donegal Insurance Group's members Atlantic States Insurance Co., Donegal Mutual Insurance Co., Le Mars Insurance Co., Michigan Insurance Co., Mountain States Commercial Insurance Co., Mountain States Indemnity Co., Peninsula Indemnity Co., Peninsula Insurance Co., Sheboygan Falls Insurance Co., Southern Insurance Co. of Virginia and Southern Mutual Insurance Co.

Also, A.M. Best affirmed the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb" of Donegal Group Inc. This affirmation recognizes the overall financial strength of the company's property and casualty insurance operation, its moderate amount of financial leverage and the subordination of its creditors to the insurance companies' policyholders.

The outlook of all of these ratings was revised to negative from stable. The revision reflects the decline in Donegal Insurance Group's operating performance in 2017 and 2018, which placed pressure on the rating agency's current assessment of adequate.

The ratings reflect Donegal Insurance Group's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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Fitch Ratings affirmed the issuer default rating of BBB of Kemper Corp. It also affirmed the insurer financial strength ratings of A- of the company's operating subsidiaries, Trinity Universal Insurance Co., United Insurance Co. of America Inc., Union National Life Insurance Co. and Reliable Life Insurance Co.

The outlook of Trinity Universal's rating was revised to positive from stable, reflecting the company's improved underlying underwriting results, including the acquired Infinity Property & Casualty Corp. business, its strong capitalization, and moderate business profile with a developing competitive position after the acquisition. The outlook of Kemper's rating was also revised to positive from stable.

The ratings of Kemper's life and health subsidiaries consider stable underlying earnings, strong capitalization and effective niche in the home service market, despite being a slow-growth market.

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Fitch affirmed the long-term issuer default rating of BBB+ of Brighthouse Financial Inc. and the insurer financial strength ratings of A of its subsidiaries, Brighthouse Life Insurance Co. and New England Life Insurance Co. The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings action considers the rating agency's view that Brighthouse Financial continues to meet its rating expectations. Brighthouse Financial's ratings reflect its very strong capital level, offset by a more moderate business profile, including above-average business risk given a heavy concentration on variable annuities and universal life.

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Kroll Bond Rating Agency affirmed with a stable outlook the insurance financial strength rating of A- of Tri-State Consumer Insurance Co.

The rating was also removed from the Watch Developing status, where it was placed Dec. 10, 2018, after Standard Diversified Inc.'s announcement that it signed a definitive stock purchase agreement for Tri-State Consumer Inc., the parent holding company of Tri-State Consumer Insurance. WT Holdings Inc., the parent of Tri-State Consumer, informed the rating agency on March 8 that Standard Diversified exercised its option to terminate the agreement.

Tri-State Consumer Insurance's rating considers its low underwriting leverage, consistent generation of net income, disciplined homeowners underwriting selection and local market knowledge.

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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