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 “aa+” of the property/casualty subsidiaries of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) (headquartered in New York, NY) [NYSE: TRV], collectively known as Travelers Group (Travelers). In addition, A.M. Best has also affirmed the FSR of A++ (Superior) and the ICR of “aa+” of Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America (TCSA) (Hartford, CT), and TCSA’s affiliates, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of Europe Limited (TCSCE) (United Kingdom) and Travelers Insurance Company of Canada (TICC) (Ontario).
Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR and senior issue ratings of “a+” of TRV and its two wholly owned downstream holding companies, Travelers Property Casualty Corp. and Travelers Insurance Group Holdings Inc. (both headquartered in Hartford, CT). All outstanding securities issued by the two downstream holding companies are guaranteed by TRV. All other issue ratings guaranteed by TRV and TRV’s indicative issue ratings have also been affirmed. The outlook for each of the above ratings is stable.
A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICR of “a” of The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company (Dominion) (Toronto Ontario, Canada). The outlook for each of these ratings is stable.
A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICR of “a+” of The Premier Insurance Company of Massachusetts (Premier) (Hartford, CT) and the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the ICR of “a-” of First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Company (First Floridian) (Tampa, FL). The outlook for each of these ratings is stable. (Please see link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The rating affirmations reflect Travelers’ solid risk-adjusted capitalization, trend of favorable operating and underwriting results, excellent market profile in commercial and personal lines (largely distributed through independent agents) and effective management team. The ratings also acknowledge Travelers’ proactive and comprehensive risk management, underwriting and financial discipline, relatively conservative investment portfolio, geographic and product diversification, and enhanced technology and internal information systems, which have improved its underwriting effectiveness and ability to service agents and customers in both commercial and personal lines. In addition, Travelers’ superior product breadth, industry leading data and analytics and leading position within its distribution network have enabled it to report a trend of strong earnings that have outperformed the majority of its peers over time.
Travelers’ ratings also consider the financial flexibility and liquidity provided by TRV. Despite significant share repurchases since 2006, TRV maintained $1.7 billion of cash and marketable securities, and its adjusted debt-to-capital ratio, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI), remained moderate at 21.1% at March 31, 2016. The ratio of adjusted debt-to-tangible capital (excluding AOCI) ratio was 24.2%, well within A.M. Best’s expectations at the current rating level, as was interest coverage.
Offsetting these positive rating factors are the ongoing competitive environment within the property/casualty markets, Travelers’ relatively significant exposure to natural and man-made catastrophes and challenges in its personal auto business. Travelers has comprehensive reinsurance and risk management programs in place to manage its spread of risk and limit its overall exposure. Despite reporting an increased level of catastrophe losses in 2011 and 2012, Travelers reported solid returns in those years while maintaining strong liquidity and risk-adjusted capitalization, demonstrating the group’s conservative operating philosophy, strong business profile and comprehensive risk management program. More recently, the group produced strong results in the first quarter of 2016, even as catastrophe losses increased substantially from the prior year. Expense reductions and the implementation of the Quantum 2.0 underwriting system have driven recent growth in personal auto.
The ratings of TCSA and its 100% reinsured affiliate, TCSCE, primarily recognize the companies’ strong consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization, specialized underwriting expertise, highly favorable underwriting and operating performance and leadership position in the surety, fidelity and management liability segments. These strengths are partially offset by TCSA’s limited product diversification, as well as the negative impact that continued competitive property/casualty markets and challenging macroeconomic conditions may have on premium and profitability levels.
The ratings of Travelers Insurance Company of Canada (TICC) reflect its superior risk-adjusted capitalization, favorable underwriting and operating profitability, excellent brand recognition, strong profile as a leading specialty lines writer in the surety and corporate management liability segments, as well as the implicit and explicit support received from its direct parent, TCSA, as well as its ultimate parent, TRV. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are continued soft market conditions and its relatively elevated expense ratio due, in part, to investments in technology.
The ratings of Dominion reflect its solid risk-adjusted capitalization; excellent brand recognition; established nationwide Canadian market presence, with a focus in Ontario; and the implicit and explicit support it receives from its parent, TRV. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the company’s fluctuating operating performance driven by legacy issues within its Ontario auto business, which pre-date current ownership. An adverse development cover that the company entered into in connection with the Dominion acquisition should mitigate future variability related to those legacy issues. Additional offsetting factors include recent increased competition and continued lower investment yields.
The ratings of Premier acknowledge its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, historically favorable operating profitability and the additional operational support and financial flexibility afforded by Travelers and TRV. These positive rating factors are partly offset by Premier’s underwriting losses earlier in most recent five-year period and the concentration of its business in a single state and line of business, specifically, Massachusetts private passenger automobile.
The ratings of First Floridian recognize its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, trend of highly profitable operating results in recent years, operating efficiencies and local market focus, which enables it to respond effectively to issues associated with Florida’s personal lines market, and the additional operational support and financial flexibility afforded by TRV. Partially offsetting these strengths are First Floridian’s continued, albeit declining, exposure to catastrophe losses and single state geographic concentration in Florida.
Positive rating movement is unlikely in the near term. Factors that could lead to negative rating actions include deterioration in underwriting and operating performance to a level below similarly-rated peers, an erosion of surplus that causes a decline in risk-adjusted capital to a level that is no longer supportive of the current ratings or a deterioration in TRV’s overall financial strength or credit quality.
For a complete listing of The Travelers Companies, Inc.’s FSRs, ICRs and issue ratings, please visit The Travelers Companies, Inc.
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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