CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has placed the 'A' Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) ratings of Wilton Reassurance Company, Wilton Reinsurance Bermuda Limited, Wilton Reassurance Life Company of New York and Texas Life Insurance Company (collectively referred to as Wilton Re), as well as the long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB+' of Wilton Re Holdings Limited, on Rating Watch Positive.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Today's rating action follows the announcement that Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) will be acquiring the stock of Wilton Re Holdings Limited, the privately held holding company which owns Wilton Re. The transaction is expected to close no later than the third quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Fitch views the transaction as a potential credit positive for Wilton Re, since it removes uncertainty regarding the long-term ownership structure of the company and improves the company's financial flexibility. CPPIB manages the retirement funds on behalf of 18 million Canadians, with C$201.5 billion in assets under management as of year-end 2013.
Wilton Re's existing management team will remain in place following the acquisition. Fitch expects Wilton Re will continue its strategic focus on U.S. life insurance and its disciplined approach toward new business opportunities which has resulted in its strong operating performance.
Fitch would upgrade the IFS rating following the close of the transaction with the final rating based upon its evaluation of Wilton Re's capitalization and any updates to its operating plans, strategic importance to CPPIB and degree of support.
Fitch could affirm the current 'A' IFS rating if the transaction fails to close or Fitch ultimately views Wilton Re as not having strategic importance to CPIBB.
Fitch places the following ratings on Rating Watch Positive:
Wilton Reassurance Company
Wilton Reinsurance Bermuda Limited
Wilton Reassurance Life Company of New York
Texas Life Insurance Company
--IFS at 'A'.
Wilton Re Holdings Limited
--Long-term IDR at 'BBB+'.
Wilton Re Finance LLC
--5.875% Senior Notes due Mar. 30, 2033 at 'BBB'.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Insurance Rating Methodology', dated Nov. 13, 2013.