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Life Health > Annuities > Fixed Annuities

Life and Annuity Issuers Look Strong: S&P

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The big, well-known life insurers that back many of your clients’ life insurance policies and annuities are getting high grades from rating analysts at S&P Global.

S&P analysts tell lenders and insurance buyers how strong insurers are. The strength ratings affect how much insurers pay to borrow money, and how much they can charge for insurance and annuities.

S&P reported today, in a presentation released at an online conference, that the U.S. life insurance sector is one of the most highly rated sectors the firm tracks, with 91% of the rated companies in the AA or A rating categories.

U.S. life insurers are “very stable,” Katilyn Pulcher, an S&P life analyst said. “Not only are the ratings are stable, but the outlooks are stable, meaning that we don’t expect the ratings to change for the next few years.”

Life insurers’ overall performance improved in the second quarter of the year, which ended June 30, because COVID-19 mortality eased, and the spread between what the companies paid customers and what they earned on their own investments widened, Pulcher said.


S&P analysts say that whether a recession will hit in the coming year is a toss-up.

Life insurers appear to be preparing for the threat of a recession by shifting assets into investments with higher credit ratings, and by holding more cash and cash equivalents, Pulcher said.

She told conference attendees that another trend has been the increased use of “pre-capitalized trust securities,” or P-Cap facilities.

A P-Cap facility is a corporate rainy day fund that invests in Treasury Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities, or STRIPS. The fund appears on the issuer’s balance sheet but has little effect on its income state or leverage ratios.

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