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1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 221 COMPANIES INCLUDING EIGHT LARGE INSURERS

 1992 BEST'S RATINGS ASSIGNED TO 221 COMPANIES
 INCLUDING EIGHT LARGE INSURERS
 OLDWICK, N.J., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A.M. Best Company today released the 1992 Best's Ratings for 221 insurance companies, including American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, Allied Group, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Golden Eagle Insurance Company, Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Ohio Casualty Group, Progressive Insurance Group, and SAFECO 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, ratings have been released for 610 property/casualty and 384 life/health insurers. Best's ratings are continuously monitored throughout the year with formal rating reviews performed on annual, six-month and nine-month financial results.
 Brief rating rationales are presented below for the eight large insurance entities:
 American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (AFLAC), Columbus, Ga., 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 assignment reflects AFLAC's leadership position as a provider of supplemental cancer insurance in Japan, its expanding base of supplemental health coverage in the United States, exceptionally strong profitability, excellent capitalization and conservative investment practices. Over the last five years, AFLAC has increased capital and surplus nearly three-fold due to statutory operating profits of $596 million.
 The company's substantial liquidity is supported by considerable operating cash flow, and by investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings which represented 96 percent of invested assets at year-end 1991. AFLAC ranks among the top 40 life/health insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic marketing role as a New York subsidiary of AFLAC, American Family Life Assurance Company of New York, Albany, N.Y., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). This rating is based on the consolidated performance of the parent and the subsidiary.
 Allied Group (property/casualty), Des Moines, Iowa, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A" (Excellent). The property/casualty group's financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level of "A" was unchanged. The rating applies to the group's four inter-company pool members and a subsidiary of the pool, Western Heritage Insurance Company.
 The pool, led by Allied Mutual Insurance Company, continued to produce profitable operating results with a 1991 operating ratio of 96, despite an unusually high level of storm losses for the second year in a row. Leverage measures were conservative and consolidated policyholders' surplus increased 46 percent over the past two years to $214 million and adequately supported $495 million in direct writings. A reorganization plan implemented in 1990 resulted in more than $80 million of capital contributions to the pool's surplus since the end of 1989. Liquidity remains adequate, enhanced by consistently strong cash flows from operations.
 The Allied Group is the 73rd largest property/casualty group in the United States. The group writes personal lines insurance primarily in the central and western states.
 Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (property/casualty), Warren, N.J., 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 group rating applies to five inter-company pool members and four other Chubb companies that are fully reinsured by pool members.
 The domestic group, led by the Federal Insurance Company, continued to produce superior underwriting results with a five-year combined ratio of 100. Growth in net investment income, combined with substantial investment gains, produced the company's largest net income of the last five years and led to a 19 percent increase in policyholders' surplus. Chubb Insurance Group's policyholders' surplus increased 70 percent over the last five years to $1.76 billion, while net writings of $3 billion remained relatively stable, producing very conservative leverage measures.
 The group maintains prudent liquidity measures enhanced by strong cash flows that average more than $0.5 billion a year. The group's investment portfolio is well diversified and of investment-grade quality. The Chubb Group is the 18th largest property/casualty underwriter in the United States. (If grouped with the four U.S. branches of Sun Alliance, which Chubb managed through the end of 1991, Chubb would rank 14th.) The group specializes in standard and specialty commercial lines and property lines of insurance. The group has more than $8 billion in assets.
 Golden Eagle Insurance Company, San Diego, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "B" (Good). Prior to receiving its initial letter rating, the company was assigned a rating "not assigned" category of "NA-3" (Insufficient Operating Experience) with a Financial Performance Index of 6 (Above Average).
 Golden Eagle reported good profitability over the past five years with an average combined ratio of 97. Since 1989, total operating earnings of $53 million and capital contributions of $74 million have increased policyholders' surplus 691 percent to $141 million. Liquidity measures have improved since 1987 and were satisfactory. At year-end 1991, invested assets exceeded net liabilities by 12 percent. Leverage measures were higher than industry norms due to the company's rapid growth in premium volume and loss reserves.
 In less than ten years, Golden Eagle has become one of the country's top 100 property/casualty underwriters. Focusing on commercial lines and workers' compensation, the company had 1991 direct writings of $447 million and assets of $699 million at year-end.
 Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing, Mich., was assigned a 1992 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 competitive position in the interest-sensitive annuity and life markets, its favorable earnings performance, reduced investment risk, excellent liquidity and capitalization, and financial support from its ultimate parent, Prudential Corporation plc. Since its acquisition by Prudential Corporation plc in 1986, Jackson National has generated substantial growth with total assets increasing nearly six-fold. During 1991, the company significantly reduced its holdings of high-yield securities to 8 percent of total assets.
 Through strong operating profitability and a surplus contribution from its parent company, Jackson National increased capital and surplus 64 percent to $686.3 million at the close of 1991. The company's liquidity is supported by considerable operating cash flow, and by investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings of more than $11.5 billion at year-end 1991.
 Jackson National ranks among the 25 largest life/health insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Ohio Casualty Group (property/casualty), Hamilton, Ohio, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The group's superior financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged. This rating applies to the group's four property/casualty inter-company pool members.
 The pool, led by the Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, had a 38 percent increase in policyholders' surplus to $643 million in 1991. This $170 million increase comprised $80 million of net operating gains and $90 million of unrealized capital gains. Underwriting results improved and a combined ratio of 104 was reported. The group's balance sheet strengthened and at year-end invested assets exceeded net liabilities by 14 percent. In addition, a sizeable reduction in the group's high-yield bond portfolio was achieved. Leverage measures were substantially improved by the large increase in surplus funds and adequately supported the group's writings and obligations.
 Ohio Casualty Group is the 33rd largest property/casualty underwriter in the United States, with assets of more than $3 billion.
 Progressive Insurance Group, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). The property/casualty group's financial strength was affirmed, and its rating level of "A+" was unchanged. This rating applies to the group's 13 inter-company pool members and the Progressive County Mutual, which is 100 percent reinsured by a pool member.
 The pool, led by Progressive Casualty Company, produced superior profitability with a five-year average operating ratio of 90. This profitability led to a 108 percent increase in policyholders' surplus over the last five years to $652 million. Direct writings increased 89 percent during this period, and conservative leverage measures were maintained.
 Liquidity is excellent, with invested assets exceeding net liabilities by 6 percent, and is enhanced by strong cash flows. The Progressive Insurance Group is one of the 20 largest automobile insurance writers in the United States, with more than $2.4 billion in assets.
 SAFECO Life Insurance Company, Seattle, was assigned a 1992 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 SAFECO Life's strengthened earnings performance, favorable capitalization, excellent liquidity and financial support from its parent company. Although the company experienced increased losses from its below-investment-grade bond holdings in recent years, these writedowns were more than offset by operating profitability and a $75 million surplus contribution during 1991. In the last three years, capital and surplus funds increased nearly three-fold.
 SAFECO Life's liquidity is supported by strong operating cash flow, and by investment-grade bonds, cash and short-term holdings of nearly $5.4 billion at the close of 1991. The company ranks among the 45 largest life/health insurers in the United States when measured by total assets.
 Due to its strategic marketing role as a New York subsidiary of SAFECO Life Insurance Company, First SAFECO National Life Insurance Company of New York, East Syracuse, N.Y., was assigned a 1992 Best's Rating of "A+" (Superior). This rating is based on the consolidated performance of the parent and the subsidiary.
 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 policyholders' 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 touch-tone telephone and the company's A.M. Best identification number.
 -0- 5/26/92
 /CONTACT: Christina Stein of A.M. Best Company, 908-439-2200, ext. 5642/ CO: American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus; Allied Group;
 Chubb Group of Insurance Companies; Golden Eagle Insurance Company;
 Jackson National Life Insurance Company; Ohio Casualty Group;
 Progressive Insurance Group; SAFECO Life Insurance Company ST: Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Ohio, Washington IN: INS SU: RTG


GK -- NY011 -- 3645 05/26/92 09:38 EDT
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Date:May 26, 1992
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