News Column

A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings of Universal Life Insurance Company

July 5, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Investment Weekly News -- A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the issuer credit rating to "a-" from "bbb+" for Universal Life Insurance Company (Universal Life) (Hato Rey, PR). The outlook for both ratings has been revised to stable from positive.

The upgrades reflect Universal Life's well-established marketing presence and brand name recognition in the Puerto Rico insurance marketplace, the financial commitment of its parent, Universal Group, Inc., its strong level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as well as its positive operating earnings trends and consistent premium growth. In addition, the ratings consider Universal Life's improved interest spread, despite the low interest rate environment, and competitive advantage as a unique provider of tax advantaged annuities in Puerto Rico.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are Universal Life's geographic concentration risk in an economically challenged environment and its high interest-sensitive product concentration. While the company does market variable annuities, there is minimal risk to Universal Life as benefit guarantees are reinsured.

Key rating factors that may result in positive rating actions include improvement in Universal Life's operating results in its ancillary lines of business, the decrease in its product concentration and stabilized high risk-adjusted capitalization. Key rating factors that may result in negative rating actions include loss of support from its financially stronger parent, significant operating losses and further product concentration.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit Copyright © 2014 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Keywords for this news article include: A.M. Best, Insurance Companies, Investment and Finance.

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Source: Investment Weekly News

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