A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “bbb” of the key life/health subsidiaries of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (CNO Financial)(Carmel, IN)(NYSE:CNO). At the same time, A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) of the life/health subsidiaries of CNO Financial. The outlook for the FSR is stable. Concurrently, A.M. Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the ICR of “bb” and the existing senior debt ratings of CNO Financial. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The revised outlook for the ICRs and debt ratings reflects the continuing favorable trends in CNO Financial’s statutory operating earnings, risk-adjusted capitalization and core life insurance sales. In addition, A.M. Best acknowledges CNO Financial’s success in executing its strategic business plan. CNO Financial’s enhanced operating results have been attributable to the growth in revenue in its life/health insurance subsidiaries, as well as its ongoing expense management. Improved revenue across several business segments, especially in its life products, has been driven by agent growth, timely rate increases, the introduction of new products and the modification of some existing products. CNO Financial’s enhanced operating results, combined with its consistent investment performance, have resulted in improved risk-adjusted capitalization for the insurance operating companies. A.M. Best notes that Bankers Life and Casualty Company (Chicago, IL), the group’s lead operating entity, has seen considerable improvement in its risk-adjusted capitalization over the past two years.
The revised outlook for the ICRs and debt ratings also reflects the success CNO Financial has had in executing its business strategy, which included focusing on markets where true competitive advantages are achievable while, at the same time, actively managing risk. This strategy included exiting/de-emphasizing non-core product lines through divestiture and/or reinsurance, considerable expense reductions and the completion of its recapitalization plan.