A.M. Best Co. has assigned indicative ratings of “a” on senior debt, “a-” on subordinated debt and “bbb+” on the preferred stock of The Travelers Companies, Inc.’s (Travelers) (headquartered in New York, NY) [NYSE: TRV] recently filed shelf registration. The outlook assigned to these ratings is stable. The new shelf registration replaces Travelers’ previous shelf registration, which has expired. Consequently, the indicative ratings for the previous shelf registration have been withdrawn.
The rating assignments recognize Travelers’ strong risk-adjusted capitalization, favorable operating and underwriting results, proactive and comprehensive risk management, dominant market profile in commercial and personal lines (largely distributed through independent agents) and quality management team. As of September 30, 2011, Travelers’ unadjusted debt-to-capital and debt-to-tangible capital ratios were 20.8% and 23.6%, respectively, well within the guidelines for the ratings. While Travelers’ interest coverage declined from historical levels through the third quarter of 2011, largely due to a significant increase in catastrophe and weather-related losses, historical interest coverage had been very strong and well supportive of its ratings. In addition, despite significant share repurchases since 2006, as well as significant catastrophe and weather-related losses through the third quarter of 2011, Travelers maintained holding company liquidity of $2.4 billion.
The principal methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology -- Global Life and Non-Life Insurance Edition , which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and highlights the different rating criteria employed. Additional key criteria utilized include: “A.M. Best’s Ratings & the Treatment of Debt”; “Equity Credit for Hybrid Securities”; and “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies.” Methodologies can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
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