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/FIRST ADD -- A.M. BEST RELEASES 1993 RATINGS FOR 150 INSURERS/

 Cincinnati Financial Group, Cincinnati, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A++" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A++" was unchanged.
 The rating reflects the group's continued outstanding financial performance, conservative operating strategy and very strong capital position. These positive rating factors are derived from management's disciplined underwriting approach, strong agency relationships and a favorable operating environment in the Midwest, where the bulk of the group's business is generated.
 Over the past five years, the group's profitability has outperformed the industry by an average of 10 points on the combined ratio. The group's favorable results are driven by its consistently favorable loss results within its commercial lines book, which represents approximately half of its total business. In addition the group utilizes a centralized home office approach combined with a field and claims personnel staff that operates out of their homes. This operating structure eliminates the need for branch offices and attendant overhead expenses. While the group generates approximately 15 percent of its business volume from workers' compensation, a problematic line in many jurisdictions for the industry, its underwriting results have not been adversely impacted by residual market assessments, due to the group's Midwest market orientation and deliberate avoidance of certain problem states. Outstanding capitalization is maintained, with $933 million in surplus supporting $1 billion of written premiums, enhanced by a high- quality investment portfolio and significant financial flexibility at the parent holding company with nominal debt. Over 85 percent of the group's assets are invested in investment-grade bonds. Cincinnati Financial Group ranks among the top 50 property/casualty insurers with over $4 billion in assets.
 Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged.
 This rating assignment reflects the company's strong earnings performance, its high-quality balance sheet and excellent capitalization. Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa continues to generate strong earnings results from its stable traditional individual life insurance segment, where historically, the company has concentrated its sales activities. However, since the close of 1990, growth in new individual life sales has declined modestly. Offsetting this decline has been the company's expansion of its individual annuity operations in recent years. The company currently is benefiting from improving results in this line.
 Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa's investment portfolio is of high quality, which, combined with strong cash flow, provide the company with excellent liquidity. At year end, investment-grade bonds and cash comprised nearly two-thirds of invested assets.
 Due to its strategic role as a subsidiary of Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa, USG Annuity & Life Company, Oklahoma City, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged. This rating is based on the consolidated performance of the parent and the subsidiary. USG Life & Annuity specializes in the sale of flexible and single-premium annuity contracts. Since 1988, expansion of its individual annuity operations has resulted in total assets increasing from $159.1 million at year-end 1988 to $2.8 billion at the close of 1992. USG Annuity & Life's balance sheet is of excellent quality with investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings representing over 92 percent of invested assets.
 Franklin Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Ill., was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A++" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A++" was unchanged.
 This rating assignment reflects the company's conservative operating strategy, the strong earnings performance of its traditional individual life business, excellent balance-sheet quality and superior risk- adjusted capitalization. Franklin Life historically has concentrated its activities on the sale of traditional individual life insurance products. However, expansion in the company's individual annuity operations in recent years has resulted in considerable growth in assets. Individual annuity liabilities currently account for 36 percent of total reserves.
 Franklin Life's investment portfolio is of very high quality, which, combined with strong annual cash flow, provides the company with excellent liquidity. At year-end 1992, investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings represented over three-quarters of invested assets. Franklin Life ranks among the 60 largest life insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic marketing role as a subsidiary of Franklin Life, The American Franklin Life Insurance Company, Springfield, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating "A++" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A++" was unchanged. This rating is based on the consolidated performance of the parent and the subsidiary. American Franklin Life writes universal and variable life coverages and operates as a marketing arm of its parent, Franklin Life Insurance Company.
 In addition, Franklin United Life Insurance Company, Garden City, N.Y., was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged. Franklin United Life principally markets its products in the state of New York where it operates as a marketing arm of its parent, Franklin Life Insurance Company.
 Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C., was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A++" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A++" was unchanged.
 The rating reflects the group's continued outstanding underwriting performance, conservative operating strategy and strong capital position. These positive rating factors are derived from management's successful underwriting approach of targeting affinity groups, largely government employees and military personnel, as well as its significant competitive expense advantage through its direct response distribution system. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the group's modest exposure to catastrophes, as evidenced by its pretax loss of $70 million from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, reflecting its large concentration of business along the East Coast of the United States.
 For the past five years, the group's profitability has been superior, outperforming the industry by an average of almost 13 points on its combined ratio. The group's favorable results are driven by its outstanding preferred personal automobile experience and low acquisition costs. Strong capitalization is maintained with $2.1 billion of premiums supported by $928 million of surplus within the insurance group, supplemented by an additional $225 million of equity securities held at the parent holding company for the benefit of the insurance operations. The parent holding company has considerable financial capacity with modest leverage and a debt-to-equity ratio under 25 percent. Over 60 percent of the company's assets are conservatively invested in investment-grade bonds and the balance of the investment portfolio is invested in high-quality equities.
 The rating applies to the Government Employees Insurance Company and three affiliated companies that derive their financial strength through either a strategic operating or reinsurance relationship with the lead company. GEICO Indemnity Company, which provides standard automobile business predominantly to military personnel, is integral to the group's overall personal lines strategy. Due to this strategic relationship, this company's Best Rating was upgraded from "A+" to "A++". The GEICO Group ranks among the top 25 property/casualty insurers with over $3.6 billion in assets.
 Hanover Insurance Companies, Worcester, Mass., was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A" (Excellent). The group's excellent financial strength was affirmed and its rating level was raised from "A-" to "A".
 The rating applies to Hanover Insurance Company and two affiliates -- Hanover Lloyds Insurance Company and Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company. The increased rating reflects the improved operating performance of the group and the continued superior profitability of its dominant property/casualty subsidiary, Citizens Insurance Company of America (see separate Rating Rationale below). In addition, the rating reflects the group's substantial improvement in underwriting leverage and a strong middle-market presence in the Northeast and Michigan in the standard commercial and personal lines marketplace, and management's renewed underwriting focus on Hanover's stand-alone performance, excluding Citizens Insurance.
 The group's underwriting results improved in 1992 despite poor results for the overall industry and are reflective of management's focus on pricing actions and a reduction in workers' compensation losses and exposures in undesirable states. The group's underwriting leverage improved in 1992, with an over 50 percent increase in surplus achieved through improved earnings and the successful sale of two subsidiaries during the first quarter of 1993. The two transactions were the private sale of 100 percent of Beacon Insurance Company of America and an initial public offering of 20 percent of Citizens Insurance. Substantially all of the sale proceeds were reinvested into the group. While Hanover's underwriting leverage remains high relative to its peers, with $1.6 billion of premiums supported by $772 million of surplus at year-end 1992, its leverage position is tempered by the maintenance of a high-quality investment portfolio, strong reinsurance protection, good management of catastrophe exposure and very strong loss reserves.
 Citizens Insurance Company of America, Howell, Mich., was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its qualified rating modifier was removed, reflecting its reduced exposure to reinsurance recoverables from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a state-mandated residual market facility that insurers bodily injury claims in excess of $250,000. The MCCA has substantially reduced its deficit position and has an orderly plan to eliminate it entirely.
 The "A+" rating affirmation reflects Citizens' continued outstanding operating results, its relatively conservative leverage and disciplined underwriting approach. These positive factors are derived from the company's dominant personal and standard commercial lines market position in Michigan, a favorable regulatory and rate environment, and its extremely strong relationship with its independent agents.
 Over the past five years, Citizens' combined ratio has outperformed the industry by nine points, due to successful targeting of various affinity groups, which represent about one-half of the company's business. The company's underwriting leverage has improved due to a very successful IPO in March 1993, in which 20 percent of the company was sold to the public. The IPO resulted in over $160 million of capital being contributed to Citizens Insurance, which will support its controlled business expansion into neighboring states outside of Michigan.
 Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged.
 This rating assignment reflects Nationwide Life's leadership position in the public sector marketplace, excellent asset quality, strong capitalization and the support of its property/casualty parent, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Offsetting these strengths is Nationwide Life's modest statutory earnings performance in recent years, which is reflective of the company's significant growth in new business activity. Nationwide Life's strong niche in the public sector market, coupled with increasing sales to the members of the National Education Association (NEA) and a joint venture with Citibank, has resulted in considerable growth in its individual and group annuity lines. To support this growth, Nationwide Life received a $200 million surplus infusion from its property/casualty parent during 1991.
 Although Nationwide Life has been gradually increasing its investment activity in the mortgage sector, its conservative underwriting guidelines, geographic diversification and small average loan size have resulted in low delinquency levels. The company's strong cash flow and large investment-grade bond portfolio (over $8.2 billion) provide the company with excellent liquidity.
 Due to its strategic marketing role as a subsidiary of Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Financial Horizons Life Insurance Company, Columbus, OH, was assigned a 1993 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged. This rating is based on the consolidated performance of the parent and the subsidiary.
 -0- 4/19/93 R
 /PRNewswire -- April 19/
 /SECOND AND FINAL ADD TO FOLLOW/


KD -- NY072XX -- 7581 04/19/93 16:20 EDT
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