Centurion Life Insurance Co. and Centurion Casualty Co.
A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a” of Centurion Life Insurance Co. (CLIC). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A- (excellent) and ICR of “a-” of Centurion Casualty Co. (CCC). CLIC and CCC are subsidiaries of Wells Fargo Financial Inc. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
The ratings for CLIC reflect its excellent risk-adjusted capital position, consistently positive operating results and growth in new individual annuity business premium. CLIC has expanded its overall business recently due to reinsurance assumed in combination with direct business written, and it has maintained stable earnings due to its low cost operation and favorable loss experience.
Fitch Ratings downgraded the issuer default rating (IDR) of Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF) two notches to B+ from BB. Fitch also has downgraded the insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings of FNF's title insurance subsidiaries one notch to BBB- from BBB, with the exception of the former LandAmerica title subsidiaries, which Fitch has affirmed at BBB-. The rating outlook for all ratings is negative.
The IFS rating downgrade reflects continuation of what Fitch considers to be an aggressive capital management strategy where the operating leverage of the underwriting subsidiaries has increased to a level beyond peer companies. On a consolidated basis, Fitch's Risk Adjusted Capital (RAC) ratio for the title group was 73% at year-end 2008, and deteriorated slightly to an estimated 71% on June 30, 2009. FNF continues to reduce statutory surplus at the underwriters through dividends to the parent to support shareholder dividends and share buybacks at the holding company level.
A.M. Best Co. affirmed the FSR of A- (excellent) and ICR of “a-” of Greenlight Reinsurance Ltd. A.M. Best also has affirmed an ICR of bbb- of Greenlight Re’s holding company, Greenlight Capital Re Ltd. The ICR of Greenlight Capital Re is strictly based on holding company methodology, since the company does not carry debt.
The ratings of Greenlight Re are based on its excellent risk-adjusted capitalization, experienced management team and the disciplined implementation of its business plan. The ratings also recognize the company’s enhanced balance sheet strength following the successful initial public offering (IPO) on May 30, 2007 of Greenlight Capital Re.
A.M. Best Co. assigned an FSR of B (fair) and an ICR of bb+ to International Energy Insurance Plc (IEI). The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable.
The ratings and outlook reflect IEI’s strong business profile within Nigeria, good expected financial performance and strong risk-adjusted capitalization.
In A.M. Best’s opinion, IEI is well placed to achieve significant growth whilst retaining high renewals, owing to its standing in the market, sizeable branch network and strong relationships with distributors.
A.M. Best Co. affirmed the FSR of A (excellent) and ICR of “a” of National Life Insurance Co. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (together, known as National Life). These companies are the insurance subsidiaries of NLV Financial Corp. (NLVF), which is the intermediate holding company in the organization’s mutual holding company structure.
Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of bbb and senior debt ratings of bbb of NLVF. A.M. Best also has assigned a debt rating of bbb+ to NLIC’s recently issued $200 million, 10.50% surplus notes due 2039. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
The ratings reflect National Life’s profitable operations, conservative risk profile and diverse distribution channels. The company also benefits from its competitive positions in the indexed universal life insurance and 403(b) indexed annuity markets as well as its good expense management.
Protective Life Corp. and its Subsidiaries
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the IDR of Protective Life Corp. to BBB+ from 'A-' and its senior debt ratings to BBB from BBB+. In addition, Fitch has downgraded PL's trust preferred ratings to BBB- from BBB. The IFS ratings of PL's primary life insurance subsidiaries have been downgraded to 'A' from A+. The rating outlook is negative.
The downgrade reflects Fitch's concerns regarding the statutory capitalization of PL's primary life insurance subsidiaries, which have been under pressure due to investment losses and reserve strain associated with the company's term life insurance business.
Fitch's analysis of PL's statutory capital levels includes an assumption for future investment losses in the range of 1.5% to 2% of invested assets.
Swiss Re Treasury Corp.
A.M. Best Co. has assigned a debt rating of “a+” to the US$750 million 4.125% senior unsecured notes issued by Swiss Re Treasury (US) Corp. and guaranteed by Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd. (Swiss Re). The assigned outlook is stable.
The notes are issued under Swiss Re’s European Medium-Term Note Programme (EMTN). The proceeds will be utilized for general corporate purposes.
Symetra Financial Corp. and its Subsidiaries
A.M. Best Co. affirmed the FSR of A (excellent) and ICR of “a+” of Symetra Life Insurance Co. (Symetra Life) and its subsidiary, First Symetra National Life Insurance Co. of New York. Concurrently, A.M. Best affirmed the ICR of bbb+ and debt ratings of bbb+ on $300 million of 6.125% senior unsecured notes, due 2016 and bbb- on $150 million of fixed-to-floating rate unsecured junior subordinated notes due 2067 of Symetra Financial Corp. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
The ratings reflect the organization’s solid liquidity and risk-adjusted capital position, the consistent operating profitability of its four business segments and its continued progress in delivering strong top-line growth despite the difficult economic climate. The ratings also reflect that Symetra’s balance sheet carries somewhat less asset risk than many of its similarly rated peers, with limited exposure to the subprime and Alt-A residential mortgage markets.
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