Ratings downgrades and negative ratings agency reports are piling up.
During the first half of February, ratings agencies announced reviews and actions concerning many major insurers.
Here is a sampling of some of them:
- Aegon N.V., The Hague, Netherlands: Aegon’s U.S. life insurance operating companies had their insurance financial strength ratings downgraded to A1, from Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, New York, and the outlook on all Aegon companies termed negative.
The downgrade reflects deterioration in profitability and financial flexibility as well as tighter liquidity, according to Moody’s.
- Ameriprise Financial Inc., Minneapolis: Ameriprise and its life units were assigned a negative outlook by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Corp, New York.
- Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va.: Genworth’s primary life insurance subsidiaries have had their insurance financial strength rating downgraded to A minus, from A plus, by Fitch, and Fitch has assigned the company a negative outlook. The change reflects factors including the company’s statutory capitalization, liquidity and financial flexibility.
- Lincoln National Corp., Radnor, Pa.: The Aa3 insurance financial strength rating of Lincoln’s subsidiaries is under review for a possible downgrade by Moody’s.
- Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto: Manulife subsidiaries Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, and John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) have had their Aa1 insurance financial strength rating placed under review by Moody’s for a possible downgrade. Moody’s said any downgrade likely would be limited to one notch.
- MetLife Inc., New York: MetLife’s Aa2 insurance financial strength ratings were affirmed by Moody’s but the outlook on the company was changed to negative.
- Pacific LifeCorp., Newport Beach, Calif.: The insurance financial strength ratings of Pacific LifeCorp and its life insurance subsidiaries have been affirmed but the outlook changed to negative, from stable, by Moody’s.
- Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa: Principal is now on S&P’s CreditWatch with negative implications.
- Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J.: The Aa3 insurance financial strength rating of Prudential’s subsidiaries is on review by Moody’s for a potential downgrade.
And S&P revised the outlook on Pru’s insurance subsidiaries to negative, from stable, and affirmed the AA financial strength ratings of these companies.
- Sun Life Financial Corp., Toronto: The ratings of Sun Life and the ratings of its insurance units, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada U.S., have been downgraded by Moody’s to Aa3, from Aa2. Moody’s has returned the ratings outlook for the parent to stable, but the outlook remains negative for the insurance units.
S&P has placed the AA minus ratings of Sun Life and Sun Life’s life subsidiaries on CreditWatch with negative implications, citing deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.
The ratings agencies also have issued special reports that indicate that insurers still need to clear major hurdles.
Fitch Ratings, New York, has predicted that broad, shallow downward activity will continue throughout the year, with many ratings falling 1 or 2 notches.