A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “aa-” of RiverSource Life Insurance Company (Minneapolis, MN) and its wholly owned subsidiary, RiverSource Life Insurance Company of New York (Albany, NY). A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICRs of “a+” for IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company (IDS) and its wholly owned, fully reinsured subsidiary, Ameriprise Insurance Company (both domiciled in De Pere, WI). Together, these companies represent the key life/health and property/casualty insurance subsidiaries of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (Ameriprise) (headquartered in Minneapolis, MN) (NYSE:AMP).
Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “a-” and the existing debt ratings of Ameriprise. The outlook for all ratings is stable. (Please see below for a detailed listing of the debt ratings.)
The ratings of the life/health companies primarily reflect their strong risk-adjusted capital positions, despite significant stockholder dividends in recent periods, and their favorable statutory operating performance, after adjusting for the capital impact of Ameriprise’s hedging programs. A.M. Best notes that statutory operating results are significantly impacted by fluctuations in reserves for variable annuity guaranteed benefits driven largely by movements in equity markets. However, these impacts are substantially offset by unrealized gains and losses on derivatives, which are not included in income, but as below-the-line adjustments to statutory capital. Historically, Ameriprise has employed effective hedge programs that are primarily constructed to hedge GAAP income and economic risk but also had the effect of limiting statutory capital volatility. The group also has continued to reduce the risk of some of its product offerings. At the holding company level, Ameriprise maintains a moderate level of financial leverage of approximately 20%-25% with very strong interest coverage.
The ratings also consider Ameriprise’s broad multi-platform network of financial advisors, its leading market position and well-developed enterprise risk management program. A.M. Best notes that the number of branded financial advisors has generally remained flat in recent periods, but overall retention rates on experienced advisors remain very high in the mid 90% range.