OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has removed from under review with positive implications and upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the issuer credit rating to “a-” from “bbb+” of Starmount Life Insurance Company (Starmount) (Baton Rouge, LA). The outlook assigned to each rating is stable.
The rating actions follow Unum Group’s (Unum) completed acquisition of Starmount and its holding company parent, H & J Capital, LLC. The transaction closed on Aug. 2, 2016. A.M. Best expects Starmount’s management team and organizational structure to remain intact with additional plans for a more concentrated - albeit - national expansion through Unum’s distribution channels for its group dental and vision business lines. The rating upgrades primarily reflect Starmount’s favorable overall operating performance in recent periods, as well as the increased financial flexibility and potential operational efficiencies to be gained as part of Unum. A.M. Best notes that Starmount remains a leading independent dental and vision benefits company that is expected to add to Unum’s employee benefits product portfolio and distribution platform, and further strengthen the company’s ability to compete in the employee benefits market.
While Starmount is licensed in 49 states and the District of Columbia, A.M. Best notes that a material amount of business is concentrated in the Southeastern United States. However, Starmount has worked to diversify its operations in recent years and the company should benefit as a result of Unum’s plans to increase the company’s geographic presence going forward. While Starmount’s earnings have been modestly impacted by fees associated with healthcare reform in recent periods, A.M. Best notes that loss ratios have been relatively steady and expects earnings to remain favorable over the near to medium-term. Going forward, Starmount’s business strategy is expected to continue to be focused in the group dental and vision product lines.
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