OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has downgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “aa-” (Superior) from “aa” (Superior) and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) of the members of Allstate Insurance Group (Allstate). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
In addition, AM Best has removed from under review with negative implications and downgraded the FSR to B (Fair) from B+ (Good) and the Long-Term ICR to “bb” (Fair) from “bbb-” (Good) of the members of Castle Key Group (Castle Key). The outlook assigned to these ratings is stable.
At the same time, AM Best has downgraded the Long-Term ICRs to “aa-” (Superior) from “aa” (Superior) and affirmed the FSR of A+ (Superior) of American Heritage Life Insurance Company (American Heritage) (Jacksonville, FL), Direct General Life Insurance Company (Orangeburg, SC) and National Health Insurance Company (Dallas, TX). The outlook of these ratings is stable. Concurrently, AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a” (Excellent) of the members of Allstate New Jersey Insurance Group (collectively referred to as Allstate New Jersey) (headquartered in Bridgewater, NJ). Additionally, AM Best has downgraded the Long-Term ICR to “a-” (Excellent) from “a” (Excellent), and all existing Long-and Short-Term Issue Credit Ratings, (Long-Term IR; Short-Term IR) of the ultimate parent, The Allstate Corporation (Allcorp) [NYSE: ALL]. The outlook of these ratings is stable.
AM Best also has downgraded the Long-Term ICR to “a-” (Excellent) from “a” (Excellent) and Long-Term IRs of National General Holdings Corp. (Delaware), an intermediate holding company of Allcorp. At the same time, AM Best has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a-” (Excellent) of ASMI Auto Group’s members. AM Best also has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a” (Excellent) of First Colonial Insurance Company (Jacksonville, FL) (FCIC). The outlook of these ratings is stable. All of the aforementioned companies are headquartered in Northbrook, IL, except where specified. (See link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The ratings of Allstate reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The downgrade of Allstate’s Long-Term ICR reflects the negative impact of challenging macro-economic trends on underwriting results and risk-adjusted capitalization, driven by higher than anticipated loss cost trends in personal auto and higher than average catastrophe losses in the homeowners’ line of business. The company continues to address the challenging macro trends through significant rate increases along with other extensive underwriting actions. Offsetting the negative trends is the group’s favorable market position in the private passenger auto and homeowners’ markets, as well as its strong geographic reach and distribution capabilities that have underpinned its historically profitable operations and provided significant capital generation capabilities.
AM Best expects that Allstate’s underwriting and operational expertise, significant pricing actions and ongoing expense efficiencies will lead to an improvement in operating results. In addition, the company’s recently announced suspension of its share repurchase program is expected to have a positive impact on capital generation capabilities. However, despite Allstate’s sophisticated risk management practices and robust reinsurance program, the company remains inherently exposed to natural disasters occurring throughout the United States. AM Best notes that Allcorp maintains strong financial flexibility through its access to capital markets and various other sources of liquidity. The organization’s financial leverage and coverage metrics are in line with peers and are adequate for its current ratings.
The ratings of Castle Key reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as weak, as well as its marginal operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate ERM. The downgrade of Castle Key is a result of material deterioration in its surplus position as a result of challenging personal property insurance conditions in Florida, including higher loss severity, catastrophe-related losses and the increased cost of reinsurance. Castle Key management has taken significant corrective underwriting actions and is actively engaged in discussions with state regulators on appropriate capitalization levels.
The ratings of American Heritage reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The company operates profitably in the competitive employee benefits market reporting strong returns and loss ratios in line with expectations. American Heritage continues to execute on its strategy for growth and operational efficiency and maintains its strategic importance as a member of the Allstate companies.
The ratings of Direct General Life Insurance Company and National Health Insurance Company reflect their balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as their adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The companies add depth and diversification to the Allstate organization through the marketing of their various life and health products.
The ratings of Allstate New Jersey reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate ERM. Additionally, the ratings recognize the financial strength, ERM and continued support of Allstate Insurance Company and Allcorp. The negative outlook reflects the higher than anticipated loss cost trends in personal auto and higher than average catastrophe losses in the homeowners’ line of business, which have driven a material decline in surplus within this group of companies. Allstate New Jersey has implemented various actions to restore its surplus position, which are anticipated to improve capitalization and overall profitability in the intermediate term.
The ratings of ASMI Auto Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, very limited business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also reflect the risk management and service agreement support of its ultimate parent, Allcorp.
The ratings of FCIC reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. FCIC’s ratings also benefit from the explicit and implicit support provided by Allcorp, its ultimate parent.
A complete listing of The Allstate Corporation and its P/C and life/health subsidiaries’ FSRs, Long-Term ICRs and Long- and Short-Term IRs is available.
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