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1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 136 COMPANIES INCLUDING SIX LARGE INSURERS

 1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 136 COMPANIES
 INCLUDING SIX LARGE INSURERS
 OLDWICK, N.J., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A.M. Best Company today released the 1992 Best's Ratings for 136 insurance companies, including Hartford Life Insurance Company, The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company, The Travelers Insurance Company, The Travelers Insurance Group and United States Fidelity and Guaranty 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. As of April 27, Best's Ratings have been assigned to 139 property/casualty and 139 life/health insurance companies. Best's Ratings are continuously monitored throughout the year with formal rating reviews performed on six-month and nine-month financial results.
 Rating rationales are presented below for the six large insurance entities:
 -- Hartford Life Insurance Company, Hartford, Conn., 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 Hartford Life's exceptional balance sheet quality, strong asset and liability management practices, increasing statutory earnings and favorable capitalization. To support the company's growth, $363 million has been contributed to Hartford Life's surplus over the past four years. The credit quality and liquidity of Hartford Life's investment portfolio is among the best in the industry. At the close of 1991, investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings comprised approximately 95 percent of invested assets. Hartford Life and its affiliates rank among the top 25 life/health insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic role as a subsidiary of Hartford Life, ITT Life Insurance Corporation, Milwaukee, 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 reflects the fact that ITT Life reinsures 90 percent of all insurance in-force and issued with its parent company, Hartford Life. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, Hartford, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's financial strength was upgraded from excellent to superior, and its rating level was upgraded from "A-" to "A+." This rating action reflects the company's strategic role as the immediate parent of Hartford Life as well as the integrated management and operations of both insurers.
 -- The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (MONY), New York, was
assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A-" (Excellent). The company's excellent financial strength was affirmed; however, its rating level was lowered from "A" to "A-." MONY had been placed on Best's Rating Watch List Jan. 6, 1992. This rating action reflects the increased level of underperformance in the company's mortgage and real estate portfolios, as well as its considerable ongoing exposure to these asset classes. In addition, MONY maintains a significant, although reduced, position in below-investment-grade securities.
 MONY's excellent financial strength is supported by its improved capitalization, its active management of the high-yield bond, mortgage and real estate portfolios, and its reduced exposure to guaranteed interest contracts. During 1991, the company experienced a 12 percent increase in surplus funds due to an improvement in statutory earnings performance and realized capital gains. At year-end 1991, MONY maintained a liquid investment position with nearly $4 billion in investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings. MONY ranks as one of the 15 largest life/health companies in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic role as a subsidiary of MONY, MONY Life Insurance Company of America, Phoenix, Ariz., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A-" (Excellent). The company's excellent financial strength was affirmed; however, its rating level was lowered from "A" to "A-". MONY Life Insurance Company of America had been placed on Best's Rating Watch List Jan. 6, 1992.
 -- New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Edmeston, N.Y., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The company's superior financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level was changed from "Contingent A+" to "A+." The property/casualty insurer continues to generate superior underwriting results with a 1991 combined ratio of 99.4, which led to a $7.4 million net operating gain and a 13 percent increase in policyholders' surplus.
 At year-end 1991, New York Central generated approximately $235 million in premium, supported by more than $63 million in surplus. The company maintains excellent liquidity to meet policyholder obligations and operates with satisfactory leverage. New York Central, a 100-year- old mutual insurer, is one of the largest underwriters of homeowners and private passenger automobile coverages in New York State.
 -- The Travelers Insurance Company (Life/Health), Hartford, Conn., was assigned a Best's Rating of "A" (Excellent). The life/health company's financial strength was downgraded from superior to excellent, and its rating level was downgraded from "Contingent A+" to "A." The company had been placed on Best's Rating Watch List Jan. 6, 1992. This rating action reflects the magnitude and increasing level of underperforming mortgage loans and real estate investments held by the company and the resulting adverse impact this will have on future operating earnings. The insurer's excellent financial strength is supported by the ongoing capital raising program of The Travelers Corporation, which should significantly strengthen Travelers Insurance Company's capitalization during 1992 and offset future asset write- downs.
 The Travelers Corporation contributed $300 million to the company's capital base during March 1992 through the sale of a private placement debt issue. The company's real estate portfolio is being actively managed by a group of experienced real estate professionals, who have developed legal, financial and strategic plans for each asset. The insurer maintains a favorable liquidity position with nearly $13 billion in investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term securities. The Travelers Insurance Company ranks among the top 10 life/health insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic role as a subsidiary of The Travelers Insurance Company, The Travelers Life and Annuity Company, Hartford, Conn., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A" (Excellent). The company's financial strength was downgraded from superior to excellent, and its rating level was downgraded from "Contingent A+" to "A." The Travelers Life and Annuity Company had been placed on Best's Rating Watch List Jan. 6, 1992.
 -- The Travelers Insurance Group (Property/Casualty), Hartford, Conn., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A-" (Excellent). The property/casualty group's excellent financial strength was affirmed and its "A-" rating level was unchanged. This rating applies to the group's six property/casualty inter-company pool members.
 The pool, led by The Travelers Indemnity Company, continues to produce excellent levels of profitability and combined with its capital gains has increased policyholders' surplus by over $1 billion, or 73 percent, over the last four years. Liquidity measures are lower than industry levels due to large premium balances and reinsurance recoverables but are satisfactory given the pool's strong cash flow. Real estate and mortgages represent 44 percent of surplus, but are down significantly from the 60 percent reported two years ago. The Travelers pool is the 10th ranking property/casualty underwriter in the United States.
 The Travelers Corporation, the parent company for the entire Travelers Group, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A-" (Excellent). Previously, Travelers Corporation had been assigned a rating "Not Assigned" category of "NA-4" (Rating Procedure Inapplicable).
 -- United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, Baltimore, Md., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A-" (Excellent). The company's excellent financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level of "A-" was unchanged.
 Over the past year, USF&G has been implementing a restructuring program that is improving the company's investment portfolio, underwriting and claims functions, while also reducing overall expense levels. The balance sheet was strengthened by the sale of real estate, equity issues and non-insurance affiliates, and 99 percent of all bond holdings are investment grade. Steps taken to improve underwriting results include the withdrawal from most of its business in Texas and Louisiana along with a sharp reduction in its workers' compensation writings. USF&G is one of the 20 largest property/casualty underwriters 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- 4/27/92
 /CONTACT: Christina Stein of A.M. Best Company, 908-439-2200, ext. 5642/ CO: Hartford Life Insurance Company; The Mutual Life Insurance Company
 of New York; New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company;
 The Travelers Insurance Company; The Travelers Insurance Group;
 United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company ST: Connecticut, New York, Maryland IN: INS SU: RTG


GK-TM -- NY031 -- 3071 04/27/92 11:10 EDT
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