A.M. Best Co. announced that it has affirmed the financial strength ratings of “A” (Excellent) or “A-” (Excellent) of Assurant, Inc.’s subsidiaries. The outlook for all the ratings is stable.
The Assurant group was spun off by its parent, Belgium’s Fortis, Inc., last February when it conducted a successful initial public share offering. The company offers consumer-protection and homeowner’s insurance; individual and group health insurance; group dental, disability and life insurance policies, as well as pre-funded funeral insurance.
Best also affirmed the senior debt ratings of “bbb” on Assurant, Inc.’s $500 million 5.625 percent 10-year senior notes and $475 million 6.75 percent 30-year senior notes, as well as its commercial paper rating of AMB-2.
“Assurant’s diversified specialty insurance operations have reported favorable operating gains overall recently and continue to have excess capitalization for the current financial strength ratings,” said Best. “Additionally, Assurant’s insurance entities can readily support the existing debt servicing obligations of the parent organization. At March 31, 2004, Assurant’s debt to capital ratio was under 22 percent, with a favorable fixed charge coverage ratio.”
Best noted that the “group has strong presence in numerous niche insurance markets through its Assurant Solutions (consumer protection, specialty property and warranty businesses), Assurant Health (individual and small group major medical insurance), Assurant Employee Benefits (employee benefits products such as dental, group life and disability income) and Assurant Pre-Need (pre-need life insurance) business units.”
The rating agency also said that Assurant’s management has historically “taken a disciplined approach in focusing on maximizing long-term profitability for the group. Now that Assurant is a publicly-traded entity, it faces pressure from outside parties to supply additional top line growth, as well as to more efficiently utilize the capital within the organization. A.M. Best will be closely monitoring the organization in these areas for each of its operating units going forward.”