A.M. Best Co. has revised the issuer credit rating (ICR) outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and ICRs of “a” of Great American Life Insurance Company (GALIC) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company (AILIC), the key life/health annuity subsidiaries of Great American Financial Resources, Inc. (GAFRI). The outlook for the FSR remains stable. GAFRI is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG) [NYSE: AFG]. Both companies are headquartered in Cincinnati, OH.
The revised outlook for the ICRs reflects the fact that GAFRI’s recent disposition of much of its supplemental health insurance business is indicative of a more focused commitment to its core annuity lines. Additionally, the strong growth in its annuity business over the past several years has helped GAFRI become a more material contributor to AFG’s consolidated revenue and earnings. As a result, A.M. Best believes that the strategic importance of GAFRI to AFG has increased to a level that now warrants partial rating enhancement.
The rating affirmations of GAFRI’s principal annuity subsidiaries reflect the companies’ market leading positions in the sale of fixed indexed annuity products in the 403(b) and banking market, consistent net operating earnings and improved risk-adjusted capitalization. GALIC and AILIC have reported a significant amount of single premium fixed and fixed indexed annuity statutory premium for three consecutive years. Both companies have been able to remain price competitive through actively managing crediting rates, modifying commission schedules and opportunistic investing. As a result, GALIC and AILIC reported over $2 billion of fixed annuity deposits in recent years, driven by indexed annuities and sales through their bank and independent channels. The sharp increase in annuity sales since 2009 has enabled GAFRI to report continued improvement of its statutory operating earnings. Moreover, the growth in operating earnings, in addition to a sizeable capital contribution to GALIC during the fourth quarter of 2012, has enabled GAFRI’s risk-adjusted capitalization to increase considerably as measured by A.M. Best’s capital model.