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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of MetLife, Inc. and Key Life/Health Subsidiaries; Upgrades Credit Ratings of Other Life/Health Subsidiaries

·7 min read

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "aa-"of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MLIC) (New York, NY) and Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company (Lincoln, NE). Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of "a-" and the Long- and Short-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IR; Short-Term IR) of MetLife, Inc. (MetLife) (headquartered in New York, NY) [NYSE: MET].

In addition, AM Best has upgraded the FSR to A+ (Superior) from A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs to "aa-" from "a+" of MetLife’s dental and vision subsidiaries, consisting of the SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. providers, and Delaware American Life Insurance Company (Wilmington, DE). At the same time, AM Best has upgraded the FSR to A+ (Superior) from A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR to "aa-" from "a" of MetLife Global Benefits, Ltd. (Cayman Islands).

The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. The aforementioned subsidiaries collectively are referred to as Metropolitan Life Insurance Group. (See below for a detailed listing of companies and Long- and Short-Term IRs.)

The ratings of Metropolitan Life Insurance Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, very favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The rating upgrades of the SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. providers, Delaware American Life Insurance Company and MetLife Global Benefits, Ltd. reflect these subsidiaries strategic importance to the MetLife organization, which is increasingly focused on employee benefits and retirement income solutions in its global and U.S. markets, a high degree of integration and a demonstrated track record of supporting MetLife’s business strategy.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Group’s strong balance sheet assessment is supported by qualitative considerations of its reserve profile and a consolidated view of capital adequacy, which is enhanced by the liquidity and financial flexibility of the holding company that has historically maintained significant levels of excess liquidity. Additionally, the ratings recognize the reduction of risk on its balance sheet related to equity and interest rate risk as MetLife Holding’s product portfolio declines over time. Financial leverage is approximately 25%, and interest coverage, excluding holding company liquidity, is strong at approximately 8 times interest payments.

MetLife continues to generate profitable revenue growth and consistently positive operating metrics on a statutory and GAAP basis. Earnings are diversified geographically and volatility is lower within its group benefits segment. MetLife has made improvements in its operating efficiency ratio, and although there has been some volatility in recent quarters due to variable investment income returns, adjusted GAAP operating earnings are strong. AM Best views Metropolitan Life Insurance Group’s operating performance as strong, with the group focused on higher margin product lines with lower volatility of returns, expense efficiencies and a consistent trend of double-digit GAAP returns on equity. ERM is viewed as appropriate, as the group has continued to focus on improving its overall program and capital modeling.

The ratings also reflect the organization’s strong, defensible market positions in its core lines of business and the diversity of its products and geographic markets in the United State, Asia and Latin America, as well as the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

The FSR has been upgraded to A+ (Superior) from A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs to "aa-" from "a+", each with a stable outlook, for the following dental and vision subsidiaries of MetLife, Inc.:

  • SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. (CA)

  • SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. (FL)

  • SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. (TX)

The following Short-Term IRs have been affirmed:

MetLife Funding, Inc.—
-- AMB-1+ on commercial paper

MetLife, Inc.—
-- AMB-1 on commercial paper

The following Long-Term IRs have been affirmed, each with a stable outlook:

MetLife, Inc.—
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 4.75% senior unsecured notes, due 2021
-- "a-" on USD 500 million 3.048% senior unsecured debentures, due 2022
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 4.368% senior unsecured debentures, due 2023
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 3.60% senior unsecured notes, due 2024
-- "a-" on GBP 350 million 5.375% senior unsecured notes, due 2024
-- "a-" on USD 500 million 3.60% senior unsecured notes, due 2025
-- "a-" on USD 500 million 3.0% senior unsecured notes, due 2025
-- "a-" on JPY 25.2 billion 0.495% senior unsecured notes, due 2026
-- "a-" on JPY 64.9 billion 0.769% senior unsecured notes, due 2029
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 4.55% senior unsecured notes, due 2030
-- "a-" on JPY 10.7 billion 0.898% senior unsecured notes, due 2031
-- "a-" on USD 600 million 6.50% senior unsecured notes, due 2032
-- "a-" on USD 750 million 6.375% senior unsecured notes, due 2034
-- "a-" on JPY 26.5 billion 1.189% senior unsecured notes, due 2034
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 5.70% senior unsecured notes, due 2035
-- "a-" on JPY 24.4 billion 1.385% senior unsecured notes, due 2039
-- "a-" on USD 750 million 5.875% senior unsecured notes, due 2041
-- "a-" on USD 750 million 4.125% senior unsecured notes, due 2042
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 4.875% senior unsecured notes, due 2043
-- "a-" on USD 500 million 4.721% senior unsecured debentures, due 2044
-- "a-" on USD 1.0 billion 4.05% senior unsecured notes, due 2045
-- "a-" on USD 750 million 4.6% senior unsecured notes, due 2046
-- "bbb" on USD 1.25 billion 6.40% junior subordinated debentures, due 2066
-- "bbb" on USD 750 million 9.25% junior subordinated debentures, due 2068 (exchanged for and replaced trust securities originally issued by MetLife Capital Trust X)
-- "bbb" on USD 500 million 10.75% junior subordinated debentures, due 2069
-- "bbb" on USD 600 million floating rate non-cumulative preferred stock, Series A
-- "bbb" on USD 1.5 billion 5.25% fixed to floating rate non-cumulative preferred stock, Series C
-- "bbb" on USD 500 million 5.875% non-cumulative preferred stock, Series D
-- "bbb" on USD 805 million 5.625% non-cumulative preferred stock, Series E
-- "bbb" on USD 1.0 billion 4.75% non-cumulative preferred stock, Series F
-- "bbb" on USD 1.0 billion 3.85% non-cumulative preferred stock, Series G

MetLife Capital Trust IV—
-- "bbb" on USD 700 million 7.875% exchangeable surplus trust securities (junior subordinated), due 2067

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company—
-- "a" on USD 250 million 7.80% surplus notes, due 2025
-- "a" on USD 150 million 7.875% surplus notes, due 2024 (originally issued by New England Mutual Life Insurance Company)

Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company—
-- "a" on USD 107 million 7.625% surplus notes, due 2024 (originally issued by General American Life Insurance Company)

Metropolitan Life Global Funding I— "aa-" program rating
-- "aa-" ratings on the notes issued hereunder

The following indicative Long-Term IRs have been affirmed, each with a stable outlook:

MetLife, Inc.—
-- "a-" on senior unsecured debt
-- "bbb+" on subordinated debt
-- "bbb" on preferred stock

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM 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 AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201217006140/en/


Louis Silvers
Senior Financial Analyst
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5802

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

Rosemarie Mirabella
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5892

Jim Peavy
Director, Communications
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644