Recent financial moves by Conseco Inc. have led a credit rating agency to increase its rating for the company.

Standard & Poor’s, New York, announced it has raised the rating on the Conseco holding company to B- from CCC and removed it from its CreditWatch status.

S&P also assigned BB- counterparty credit and financial strength ratings to Conseco’s new Washington National Insurance Co. subsidiary.

The outlook on both these companies is stable, S&P said.

Washington National Insurance Co. is the result of a merger of Conseco Insurance Co. and Conseco Health Insurance Co., expected to be completed by the first half of 2010.

Conseco’s financial flexibility has improved following its recent stock offering, which raised net proceeds of about $200 million, along with agreements by banks to revise loan terms to the company, S&P explained. The loan changes pushed the company’s debt obligations out over the next several years, it noted. Conseco also completed a convertible debt restructuring in October.

S&P had placed Conseco, Carmel, Ind., on CreditWatch Dec. 11. It removed it from that status “with positive implications,” according to a report from the agency.

“We consider the group’s competitive position adequate, and its operating performance is improving,” S&P stated in its report. However, it said, “offsetting these positive factors are Conseco’s weak capitalization and poor enterprise financial controls.”