OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating (FSR) to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “a” from “a-” of Horace Mann Insurance Company and its property/casualty insurance affiliates (collectively referred to as Horace Mann P/C). The outlook for both ratings has been revised to stable from positive.
Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICR of “a” of the life/health insurance company, Horace Mann Life Insurance Company (Horace Mann Life). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “bbb” and issue rating of the parent company, Horace Mann Educators Corporation (HMEC) [NYSE:HMN]. The outlook for these ratings is stable. All companies are headquartered in Springfield, IL. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The upgrade of the ratings of Horace Mann P/C reflects the group’s strong underwriting results, attributable to the implementation of rate adjustments and numerous strategic initiatives by its management team. As a result, operating performance has been favorable and overall risk-adjusted capitalization has strengthened. The ratings also acknowledge Horace Mann P/C’s competitive advantage deriving from its strict expense management, improved underwriting and operating standards, evolving exclusive agent business model, comprehensive enterprise risk management program and its strong name recognition in the K-12 educators’ market. The ratings also reflect the financial flexibility of HMEC through its access to capital markets, moderate financial leverage and solid fixed-charge coverage.
A.M. Best believes upward rating movement is unlikely for Horace Mann P/C in the near term. Negative ratings actions could occur if there were a sustained deterioration in the group’s operating and underwriting performance, an occurrence of a sudden large catastrophic loss event that materially hinders risk-adjusted capitalization or if there was any material deviation from the company’s submitted financial projections.
The ratings of Horace Mann Life reflect its strategic role within HMEC and the benefits it derives from HMEC's strong business franchise in the K-12 educators' market. The ratings also reflect Horace Mann Life's favorable risk-adjusted capital position, aided by reduced stockholder dividends to HMEC in recent periods. In addition, operating performance is stable with good return on equity ratios that continue to benefit from separate account fees, strong life insurance sales and generally favorable mortality and persistency in its ordinary life segment.
Partially offsetting rating factors are Horace Mann Life's significant block of annuity business with high minimum interest rate guarantees, its increasing exposure to interest sensitive liabilities and continued spread compression due to the ongoing low interest rate environment. While the increased focus on life insurance sales has reversed the decline in life insurance in-force, it has led to decreased fee income from third-party vendors. A.M. Best notes that approximately 86% of its fixed annuity account balances are at the guaranteed minimum interest rate, which is contributing to ongoing spread compression over the past year. A.M. Best believes that overall earnings will remain favorable over the near to medium term, but could be pressured somewhat if interest rates remain at current levels.
A.M. Best believes that positive rating action could occur if there is a significant increase in Horace Mann Life's core 403(b) market share while maintaining profitable results. However, negative rating action could occur should there be a material deterioration in operating performance due to spread compression, or if an extraordinary stockholder dividend taken by HMEC leads to a material decline in capital.
The FSR have been upgraded to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “a” from “a-” for Horace Mann Insurance Company and its following property/casualty insurance affiliates:
- Horace Mann Property & Casualty Insurance Company
- Teachers Insurance Company
- Horace Mann Lloyds
The following issue rating has been affirmed:
Horace Mann Educators Corporation—
-- “bbb” on $250 million 4.5% senior unsecured notes, due 2025
This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page.
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