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Insurance ratings actions: 3 agencies act on New York Life after Cigna deal news

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

Fitch Ratings affirmed the AAA insurer financial strength rating and the AA+ long-term issuer default rating of New York Life Insurance Co. following the announcement that the company is acquiring Cigna's group life and disability business.

The rating agency also affirmed the AAA insurer financial strength rating of New York Life Insurance & Annuity Corp. The outlooks are stable.

The ratings reflect the company's extremely strong capitalization and leverage and favorable business profile. The ratings also reflect the rating agency's view that the transaction will help diversify New York Life's overall risk profile into shorter-tail, noninterest sensitive protection products.

Moody's also affirmed the Aaa insurance financial strength ratings of New York Life Insurance and its affiliate, New York Life Insurance and Annuity. The outlooks were revised to negative from stable.

The negative outlook reflects the rating agency's view that the transaction will move New York Life Insurance's business and financial profiles incrementally further away from its core participating whole life insurance focus, which is a trajectory it has been on for years.

The ratings reflect New York Life Insurance's strengths as the largest U.S. mutual life insurer, its strong business diversity and liquidity, good distribution and strong capitalization.

Additionally, S&P Global Ratings affirmed the AA+ long-term financial strength and issuer credit ratings of New York Life Insurance and its core subsidiaries, as well as the A-1+ short-term issuer credit rating of New York Life Insurance.

The outlook remains stable, reflecting the rating agency's expectation that the company will maintain AAA capital redundancy following the closing of the transaction and that its current success in the individual life business will not be diminished by the acquisition.

The affirmation reflects the rating agency's view that New York Life Insurance's capital adequacy will remain excellent after the deal with Cigna closes.

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Fitch affirmed the BBB long-term issuer default ratings of Cigna Corp., Medco Health Solutions Inc., Express Scripts Holding Co., Express Scripts Inc. and Cigna Holding Co. The outlooks are stable.

The rating agency also affirmed the A insurer financial strength ratings of Cigna's operating subsidiaries, Life Insurance Co. of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Co. of New York. The ratings were placed on Rating Watch Positive following the announcement of Cigna's deal with New York Life Insurance.

Fitch also affirmed the A insurer financial strength ratings of Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. and Cigna Worldwide Insurance Co. The outlooks are stable.

The affirmation of Cigna's ratings reflects the neutral credit impact of selling the group life business, which the company no longer considers as a core operation.

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Fitch affirmed the BBB+ long-term issuer default ratings of Voya Financial Inc. and Equitable of Iowa Cos. The outlooks are stable.

The rating agency also affirmed the A insurer financial strength ratings of ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. of New York, Voya Retirement Insurance & Annuity Co. and ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. The outlooks are stable.

Fitch also affirmed the A insurer financial strength rating of Security Life of Denver Insurance Co. The rating was placed on Rating Watch Negative following Voya's announcement that it has agreed to sell the Security Life of Denver and its life captive subsidiaries to Resolution Life Group Holdings LP.

The rating agency views the transaction as positive due to the underperformance and the modest-to-negative contribution of the life business to the company's overall earnings over the last two years. Fitch expects Voya's earnings to exhibit greater stability and to improve over the longer term as it focuses on its core institutionally focused business segments.

Moody's downgraded the insurance financial strength rating to A3 from A2 of Security Life of Denver Insurance following the announcement of its sale. The rating was also placed on review for downgrade.

The downgrade reflects the removal of any future financial or capital support from Voya, according to the rating agency.

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A.M. Best affirmed the "a" long-term issuer credit rating of Western & Southern Financial Group Inc. and the A financial strength rating and the "a+" long-term issuer credit rating of Gerber Life Insurance Co.

The rating agency also affirmed the A+ financial strength ratings and the "aa" long-term issuer credit ratings of Western & Southern Financial Group's life insurance subsidiaries, Western & Southern Life Insurance Co., Western-Southern Life Assurance Co., Columbus Life Insurance Co., Integrity Life Insurance Co., National Integrity Life Insurance Co. and its affiliate, Lafayette Life Insurance Co. The outlooks are stable.

The ratings of the Western & Southern Financial Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile, and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings of Gerber Life reflect its 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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A.M. Best affirmed the A- financial strength rating and the "a-" long-term issuer credit rating of Royal Neighbors of America Inc. The outlooks were revised to positive from stable.

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

The revision reflects the company's improving operating performance trends, including premium growth and overall profitable earnings in 2018 through 2019. The rating agency expects that the company will continue to see a positive earnings trend in the near term.

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A.M. Best affirmed the A financial strength ratings and the "a" long-term issuer credit ratings of Safeway Insurance Group members Safeway Insurance Co., Safeway Insurance Co. of Alabama Inc., Safeway Insurance Co. of Georgia and Safeway Insurance Co. of Louisiana. The outlooks were revised stable from negative.

The ratings reflect the 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.

The outlook revision is based on the company's improved underwriting and operating results in 2018 through the third quarter of 2019, which the rating agency expects to continue over the near to intermediate term.

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A.M. Best affirmed the "bbb-" long-term issuer credit rating of Argus Group Holdings Ltd.

The rating agency also affirmed the A- financial strength ratings and the "a-" long-term issuer credit ratings of Argus Group's subsidiaries, Argus Insurance Co. Ltd. and Bermuda Life Insurance Co. Ltd. The outlooks are stable.

The ratings reflect the group'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.

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A.M. Best affirmed the A financial strength rating and the "a" long-term issuer credit rating of Loudoun Mutual Insurance Co. The outlooks were 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, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The revision reflects the company's underwriting losses in recent years, driven by a downturn in underwriting and operating performance metrics caused by significant and frequent weather-related events.

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A.M. Best affirmed the A+ financial strength ratings and the "aa-" long-term issuer credit ratings of Nationwide Mutual Group's member Nationwide Life Insurance Co. and Nationwide Life subsidiaries Nationwide Life & Annuity Insurance Co. and Jefferson National Life Insurance Co. The outlooks were revised to stable from negative.

The rating agency also affirmed the "a-" long-term issuer credit rating of Nationwide Financial Services Inc. The outlook is stable.

A.M. Best affirmed the A- financial strength rating and the "a-" long-term issuer credit rating of Harleysville Life Insurance Co., the B+ financial strength rating and the "bbb-" long-term issuer credit rating of Nationwide Indemnity Co., and the B++ financial strength rating and the "bbb" long-term issuer credit rating of Titan Insurance Co. The outlooks remain stable.

The ratings of Nationwide reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its marginal operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The ratings also consider the organization's breadth of resources as reflected in its consolidated results.

The ratings of Nationwide Life and its subsidiaries reflect their balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

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

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

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

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A.M. Best affirmed the A financial strength rating and the "a+" long-term issuer credit rating of First Guard Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Biglari Holdings Inc. The outlook remains stable.

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

Europe

A.M. Best affirmed the A financial strength rating and the "a" long-term issuer credit rating of Santa Lucía SA Compañía de Seguros y Reaseguros. The outlook remains 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.

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A.M. Best affirmed the A financial strength ratings and the "a+" long-term issuer credit ratings of Generali and its main rated subsidiaries, Generali Italia SpA, Generali Deutschland AG, AachenMünchener Lebensversicherung AG, Generali Deutschland Versicherung AG, Cosmos Lebensversicherungs AG, Cosmos Versicherung AG, Central Krankenversicherung AG, Generali Vie SA, Generali IARD SA, Česká pojišťovna a.s. and Generali España SA de Seguros y Reaseguros. The outlook is stable.

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

Middle East and Africa

A.M. Best affirmed the B++ financial strength rating and the "bbb" long-term issuer credit rating of Misr Life Insurance Co. and the B++ financial strength rating and the "bbb" long-term issuer credit rating of Misr Insurance Co. The outlooks are stable.

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

Misr Life Insurance and Misr Insurance are directly owned by Misr Insurance Holding Co.

Asia-Pacific

A.M. Best affirmed the A- financial strength rating and the "a-" long-term issuer credit rating of Peak Reinsurance Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary, Peak Reinsurance AG. The outlook is stable.

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

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S&P Global Ratings upgraded the financial strength and long-term issuer credit ratings to AA- from A+ of Chubb Insurance Japan. The ratings were also removed from under criteria observation.

The outlook is stable, reflecting the rating agency's expectation that the company will remain a highly strategic part of Chubb Ltd.

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S&P Global Ratings upgraded the financial strength rating and long-term issuer credit ratings to A from A- of Nippon Wealth Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

The outlook is positive, reflecting the rating agency's positive outlook on Nippon Wealth Life's parent, Nippon Life Insurance Co.

The upgrade reflects the change in S&P Global Ratings' assessment to highly strategic from strategically important of the company's status within the Nippon Life group. The ratings also reflect the improvement in the company's stand-alone credit profile and the decline in its financial leverage.

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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