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Rating Agency Upgrades MetLife Sub

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Moody’s Investors Service has raised the insurance financial strength rating of a large life insurer.

Moody’s, New York, increased the insurance financial strength rating of MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company to Aa2, from Aa3.

The parent company, MetLife Inc., New York, “restacked” its operating companies in October 2006 and made MetLife Investors a wholly owned direct subsidiary of another subsidiary, MetLife Insurance Company of Connecticut, according to Moody’s.

MetLife Investors now is MetLife’s primary manufacturing and distribution center for individual annuity and life business distributed through third parties and written outside of New York state, Moody’s says.

Moody’s says it increased the subsidiary’s rating because of its increased importance within the MetLife Inc. family as well as because of considerations such as MetLife’s strong brand and its large career agent sales force.

Offsetting factors include the slow industry growth outlook for individual life products, MetLife’s growing exposure to institutional spread business, and its shift toward lower-margined asset accumulation products, Moody’s says.