A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aa-” of the key life/health subsidiaries of Lincoln National Corporation (Lincoln) (headquartered in Radnor, PA) [NYSE: LNC], consisting of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York (New York, NY) (together known as LNL). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “a-” as well as the existing debt ratings of Lincoln.
Additionally, A.M. Best has downgraded the FSR to A (Excellent) from A+ (Superior) and ICR to “a+” from “aa-” of Lincoln’s stand-alone subsidiary, First Penn-Pacific Life Insurance Company. The rating downgrades reflect the company’s limited new business profile while incorporating its continued relevance to Lincoln and LNL. The outlook for all ratings is stable. All companies are domiciled in Fort Wayne, IN, unless otherwise specified. (See link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The ratings of LNL primarily reflect its leadership position across various lines of business, diverse distribution channels, improved investment performance and solid level of risk-adjusted capital. A.M. Best notes LNL’s proactive efforts in managing both its universal life with secondary guarantees (ULSG) and variable annuity living benefit liabilities. A.M. Best believes that enterprise risk management is a core strength for Lincoln that is further evidenced by active interest rate management across its product lines and investment portfolio. Overall, A.M. Best believes LNL’s capital level adequately supports its current balance sheet risks under most stress scenarios.
Operating earnings have benefitted from improved underwriting, lower but solid investment returns and a significant decline in credit impairments. In addition, operating results have been supported by an increase in separate accounts during 2012, driven by positive net flows from both the individual variable annuity and group retirement businesses, along with generally favorable performance of the U.S. equity markets. LNL has successfully enacted a pivot strategy to adjust to changing market dynamics and has relied on its strong and diversified distribution platform to record favorable sales results throughout the period. Additionally, the company has continued to implement price and benefit changes to its products to maintain competitiveness while reducing overall risk.