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1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 116 COMPANIES INCLUDING TWO LARGE INSURERS

 1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 116 COMPANIES
 INCLUDING TWO LARGE INSURERS
 OLDWICK, N.J., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A.M. Best Company today released the 1992 Best's Ratings for 116 insurance companies, including Grange Mutual Casualty Group and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
 Based on the evaluation of year-end 1991 financial results and subsequent relevant events, 1992 Best's Ratings will be released on a weekly basis through June. To date, rating have been released for 220 property/casualty and 174 life/health insurers. Best's Ratings are continuously monitored throughout the year with formal rating reviews performed on six-month and nine-month financial results.
 Brief rating rationales are presented below for the two large insurance entities:
 Grange Mutual Casualty Group, Columbus, Ohio, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A++" (Superior). The group's superior financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level was raised from "A+" to "A++". This rating applies to the group's two property/casualty members, Grange Mutual Casualty Company and Trustgard Insurance Company.
 The group has continued to strengthen policyholder security with a 59 percent increase in surplus over the last five years, showing strong profitability with an average operating ratio of 93. The group maintains a conservative leverage position with 1991 net writings of $311 million, supported by $185 million in surplus. Its balance sheet strength and liquidity are superior. U.S. Government bonds represent 40 percent of its $499 million of assets.
 The Grange Mutual Casualty Group is one of the 100 largest underwriters of personal automobile and homeowners insurance in the United States.
 Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wis., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A++" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level was raised from "A+" to "A++." This rating assignment reflects Northwestern Mutual Life's conservative operating strategy, consistently favorable profitability, strong capitalization and high quality investment portfolio.
 Over the last five years, Northwestern Mutual Life has recorded nearly $644 million in operating profits after the payment of $7.1 billion in policyholder dividends. This profitability, coupled with realized capital gains, has enabled the company to more than double its surplus base over the last five years. Northwestern Mutual Life's liquidity position is excellent. The company generates sizable operating cash flow and held more than $14.4 billion in investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term securities at year-end 1991. Northwestern Mutual Life maintains a leadership position in the individual life insurance market and ranks among the top 10 life insurers in the United States when measured by admitted assets.
 A.M. Best rates and reports on virtually all property/casualty and life/health insurers operating in the United States. Best's Ratings reflect A.M. Best's current opinion of insurers' financial strength and ability to meet policyholder obligations.
 The 1992 Best's Ratings are made available to subscribers and the public as soon as they are assigned, flowing through A.M. Best's publications and its telephone ratings service, BestLine, 900-420-0400. BestLine costs $2.50 per minute and access requires a touchtone telephone and the company's A.M. Best identification number.
 -0- 5/4/92
 /CONTACT: Christina Stein of A.M. Best, 908-439-2200, ext. 5642/ CO: A.M. Best Company ST: New Jersey IN: INS SU: ECO


SH-OS -- NY028 -- 5914 05/04/92 10:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 4, 1992
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