A.M. Best Affirms New York Life’s Highest Ratings for Financial Strength; Standard & Poor’s Restores Stable Outlook
NEW YORK, June 19, 2013—New York Life, America’s largest mutual life insurer, today announced that A.M Best affirmed the company’s highest possible ratings for financial strength, while Standard & Poor’s restored the company’s stable outlook following a similar move restoring the outlook of the United States to stable. S&P has taken the position that no financial institution can carry a higher rating or outlook than its sovereign. The return of the United States rating to a stable outlook paved the way for the return of New York Life and five other insurance groups to that outlook.
A.M. Best affirmed the company’s financial strength rating of A++ (superior), its highest possible rating, on June 4, 2013. In February, Fitch Ratings affirmed its AAA (exceptionally strong) financial strength rating on New York Life, its highest possible rating. Both agencies have New York Life on a stable outlook as well. Moody’s currently has New York Life at Aaa (exceptional).
New York Life remains one of only three life insurers with the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded by all four of the major rating agencies, out of about 900 life insurers in the United States.
Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO said, “We’re pleased with the affirmation by A.M. Best and the return of the S&P outlook to stable. While these are welcome, we don’t manage the company for the reaction of the rating agencies. Our long track record has shown that we maintain strong capital and liquidity so we can always provide the highest level of safety and security for our policyholders, no matter what the external environment is like. We will continue to manage New York Life so we can always be there for our policyholders, just as we have for the last 168 years.”
In its comment about New York Life released yesterday, S&P explained that while it moves New York Life in lockstep with the United States in the areas of issuer credit and financial strength ratings, the New York Life group credit profile is ’aaa indicative’ to reflect “one additional final notch to incorporate our holistic view of the organization’s creditworthiness including its mutual status, the strength and predictability of company earnings, and the overall success of its business model.”
Among the highlights from the major rating agencies’ comments in affirming New York Life’s ratings are:
A.M. Best—Rating of A++ (highest) affirmed June 4, 2013
- Leading market position in the U.S. life industry;
- Highly productive career agency force;
- Superior risk-adjusted capitalization;
- Favorable liability profile;
- Stable operating earnings; and
- Commitment to mutuality.
Fitch Ratings—Rating of AAA (highest) affirmed February 1, 2013
- Extremely strong capital;
- Consistent operating earnings driven by its large book of traditional life insurance reserves;
- Strong brand name;
- Leading position in the U.S. life insurance and annuity markets;
- Effective career distribution channel targeting middle-market customers; and
- Strong performance of its diversified and liquid investment portfolio.
In addition to Fitch and A.M. Best, the current ratings and opinions of Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s remain in effect.
Moody’s Investors Service—Rating of Aaa (highest) affirmed December 11, 2012
- Leading position in core market;
- Excellent distribution channels;
- Strong underwriting skills;
- Robust and resilient balance sheets; and
- Mutual structure that helps align the interests of policyholders, creditors and the company management.
Standard & Poor’s—Rating of AA+ (highest for life insurers) affirmed June 10, 2013 in conjunction with government action (excerpts below are from June 18, 2013 S&P review issued on New York Life)
- Excellent business risk profile which is complemented by an extremely strong financial risk profile;
- Very strong competitive position, reflecting its widely recognizable brand and significant controlled distribution;
- Noted the company’s U.S. career agency system’s formidable number of agents, market penetration and overall excellent productivity;
- Extremely strong capital strength and strong earnings; and
- Strong enterprise risk management.
For the agencies’ complete news release commentary on New York Life click here:
New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States** and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).*** Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments**** provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s website at www.newyorklife.com for more information.
* Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, May 20, 2013. See http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2013/faq/?iid=F500_sp_method%20 for methodology.
**Source: Individual Third Party Ratings Reports as of 6/4/13.
***New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.