Best Sees No Change in AIG’s Ratings from U.S. Treasury Share Sale, ILFC Deal

December 12, 2012

A.M. Best Co. has commented that the issuer credit rating of “bbb” of American International Group is unchanged following the announcement of the U.S. Treasury’s plan to sell its remaining holdings of AIG’s common equity and AIG’s agreement with an investor group to sell up to a 90 percent stake in its International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) subsidiary.
In addition Best said the “financial strength ratings (FSRs) and the issuer credit ratings (ICRs) of AIG’s property/casualty subsidiaries also are unchanged by those announcements, as well as the release of the anticipated loss from Superstorm Sandy. The outlook for all of the ratings also remains unchanged.”

Best explained that the sale of the majority interest in ILFC and the UST’s decision to sell its remaining common interest in AIG “mark the completion of AIG’s plan to remove itself from U.S. Government ownership and refocus its operations on its core insurance business.”

Best added that its “assessment of AIG’s financial position has, in recent years, considered the potential calls on the holding company related to the debt of ILFC. Although this debt was secured by physical assets owned by ILFC and was without recourse to AIG, the reputational risk to AIG should timely payments not be made on that debt was considerable. With the sale of a majority position in ILFC, Best’s future assessment of AIG will no longer include a stressed scenario under which AIG would make payments on the ILFC debt.”

Best also indicated that, since the announcement of AIG’s recapitalization plan in 2011, its ratings of AIG “have not considered any benefit related to U.S. Government financial assistance. The eventual sale of the UST’s common equity position in AIG was anticipated in Best’s ratings.”

At this time Best said its ratings of AIG “reflect the assessment of its operating insurance companies, with consideration of the potential calls on liquidity related to the Direct Investment Book (DIB). Consequently, the reduction of the UST’s ownership interest does not have an impact on Best’s ratings of AIG or any of its subsidiaries.”

As far as concerns over the losses from Hurricane Sandy are concerned, Best indicated that the $2 billion pre-tax and $1.3 billion after-tax, potential net loss that AIG’s property/casualty subsidiaries will bear as a result of the storm “is material and will have an impact on the companies’ full-year 2012 earnings.”

However, Best also noted that the size of the loss is “well within the probable maximum loss (PML) incorporated in the assessment of the companies’ risk-adjusted capitalization using Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). As such, the loss will not have any immediate effect on the ratings of those companies. AIG’s decision to infuse capital into the operating companies to partially offset the losses from Sandy substantially mitigates the impact of those losses on the companies’ consolidated risk-adjusted capital position.”

Source: A.M. Best

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