AM Best has revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "a-" of National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGLIC) (Madison, WI) and its subsidiary, Settlers Life Insurance Company (Madison, WI). Concurrently, AM Best has removed from under review with negative implications and affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of "a-" of Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company (Commercial Travelers) (Utica, NY), also a subsidiary of NGLIC. The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings (ratings) is positive. Collectively, these companies are referred to as NGL Insurance Group (or the group).
In addition, AM Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the Long-Term Issue Credit Rating of "bbb" on the $47 million 6.45% surplus notes due 2035 issued by NGLIC.
The ratings reflect NGL Insurance Group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The revision of the outlooks to positive is driven by improvements in the balance sheet, including a decline in financial leverage, substantial capital and surplus growth, and a continuing conservative investment portfolio. The removal of Commercial Travelers’ ratings from under review was driven by discussions with and information provided by NGLIC’s management team that adequately demonstrated the entity’s continued importance to, and integration with the overall group following a strategic and financial partnership with a third party to offer group dental and vision products through both NGLIC and Commercial Travelers.
NGL Insurance Group continues to produce adequate operating results, primarily driven by individual and group preneed business and further supported by single premium immediate annuity sales. Under the recent strategy change involving NGLIC and Commercial Travelers, the group will also start selling and retaining more dental and vision benefits coverage. AM Best expects the group to maintain sufficient operating results with lower interest expenses and ongoing earnings contributions from its existing core lines of business, more than offsetting initial losses from its dental and vision initiative. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the high degree of competition NGL Insurance Group faces from other organizations in the senior market, as well as the execution risk associated with significantly growing its presence in the highly competitive dental and vision space, which is dominated by larger carriers.
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.
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