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Life Health > Life Insurance

Rating Agencies Praise Allmerica

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NU Online News Service, Jan. 10, 6:12 p.m. – Allmerica Financial Corp., Worcester, Mass., is getting good reviews for its efforts to improve its capital position.

Insurance analysts from three major rating agencies have put out bulletins praising Allmerica’s actions and suggesting that they might raise the company’s ratings.

Allmerica pledged in September 2002 to take aggressive steps to cope with the effects of the stock market slump on its life insurance subsidiaries’ risk-based capital ratios. The company made good on its promise Wednesday by announcing plans to change its organizational structure, refinance funding agreements, reinsure guaranteed minimum death benefits linked to variable annuities, and sell its fixed universal life business to John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston.

Analysts at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, New York, note that Allmerica still has some exposure to fluctuations in the stock market, but they say Allmerica’s actions could lessen future earnings volatility.

Fitch Ratings, New York, and Moody’s Investors Service, New York, released similar evaluations.

Moody’s analysts are predicting that Allmerica’s death-benefit reinsurance program will be more effective at shielding the company from mortality risk and reducing statutory reserving requirements than at insulating the company from stock market volatility.


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