OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A++ (Superior) and the issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aaa” of the members of Government Employees Group (GEICO) (Chevy Chase, MD). A.M. Best also has affirmed the ICR of “aaa” as well as the debt rating of “aaa” on $150 million 7.35% senior unsecured debentures, due 2023, of the immediate parent holding company, GEICO Corporation (Wilmington, DE). The outlook for all ratings is stable. (See below for a detailed list of companies and ratings.)
The rating affirmations reflect GEICO’s solid risk-adjusted capitalization, continued strong operating performance, brand name recognition and preeminent national market position in the personal automobile segment. GEICO’s strong operating results reflect a considerable underwriting expense advantage, driven by its direct distribution business model. In addition, the group continues to produce favorable loss experience while benefiting from a solid stream of investment income. As a result, GEICO has generated substantial capital over the previous five-year period, which has supported steady growth in premiums and enabled it to pay significant dividends to GEICO Corporation.
All ratings also recognize the considerable resources and financial strength of GEICO Corporation’s parent company, National Indemnity Company, as well as its ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Omaha, NE) [NYSE: BRKa and BRKb], whose financial profile includes approximately $227.6 billion of stockholders’ equity at March 31, 2014, minimal debt and a long history of strong profitability. Moreover, GEICO Corporation maintains modest financial leverage and strong cash flows to fund fixed charges.
GEICO’s negative rating factors include high investment leverage derived from its significant allocation of invested assets to unaffiliated equities, which could lead to fluctuations in its risk-adjusted capitalization due to market swings, as evidenced by the stock market downturn in 2008. In addition, GEICO maintains a modest geographic concentration that exposes it to legislative changes and judicial decisions, as its top five states account for slightly more than half of its direct premiums written. However, this risk is largely mitigated by GEICO’s geographic spread throughout the United States and management’s proven ability to quickly adapt to changing market conditions.
A.M. Best believes that the members of GEICO are well positioned at their current rating levels. If either deteriorating underwriting results or an equities market downturn result in a significant decline in risk-adjusted capital, negative rating pressure would be exerted on the ratings.
The FSR of A++ (Superior) and the ICRs of “aaa” have been affirmed for the following members of Government Employees Group:
- Government Employees Insurance Company
- GEICO Indemnity Company
- GEICO Casualty Company
- GEICO General Insurance Company
- GEICO Advantage Insurance Company
- GEICO Choice Insurance Company
- GEICO Secure Insurance Company
- GEICO County Mutual Insurance Company
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
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