A.M. Best Co. has commented that the ratings of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The Hartford) (Hartford, CT) [NYSE: HIG] and its property/casualty subsidiaries will remain under review with developing implications, and the ratings of its life subsidiaries will remain under review with negative implications following the recent announcement that The Hartford has closed on the previously announced sale of its retirement plans business to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) (Springfield, MA) and its individual life business to Prudential Financial, Inc. (Prudential) (Newark, NJ) [NYSE: PRU], as well as its individual annuity new business capabilities to Forethought Financial Group, Inc. (headquartered in Houston, TX). The closure of The Hartford’s sale of Woodbury Financial to American International Group, Inc. (New York, NY) was announced in December 2012.
The completion of these transactions is consistent with The Hartford’s strategy to refocus on its property/casualty, group benefits and mutual funds businesses, as outlined by management in early 2012. With the close of these transactions, The Hartford has successfully executed its announced restructuring and will move forward with a strategy centered on those core businesses. Management anticipates $2.2 billion of statutory capital benefit from these transactions, including both increased surplus at the U.S. life operations and reduced risk-based capital requirements for those businesses.
While the closure of these transactions is a key step in The Hartford’s transformation to a primarily property/casualty oriented business, the under review status will remain pending further review of management’s capital plans, including planned utilization of sales proceeds and potential dividends to be upstreamed from the life operations, as well as a stress analysis of the run-off variable annuity business that is being retained by The Hartford.
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Key criteria utilized include: “Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers”; “Understanding Universal BCAR”; “Analyzing Commercial Paper Programs”; “Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings”; “Equity Credit for Hybrid Securities”; “Insurance Holding Company and Debt Ratings”; “Rating Members of Insurance Groups”; “Rating Natural Catastrophe Bonds”; “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies”; and “The Treatment of Terrorism Risk in the Rating Evaluation.” Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com. Copyright © 2013 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.