A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "aa-" of the primary life/health insurance subsidiaries of MetLife, Inc. (MetLife) (New York, NY) [NYSE: MET]. Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of “a-” as well as all debt ratings of MetLife. Additionally, A.M. Best has assigned debt ratings to the recently filed shelf registration. A.M. Best also has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICRs of “a+” of the property/casualty companies consisting of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Warwick, RI) and its eight reinsured subsidiaries. The outlook for all ratings is stable. (See link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)
The rating affirmations reflect MetLife’s diverse business mix, prominent market position and global brand recognition in several business lines, favorable operating results and significant operating scale. MetLife continues to report solid operating earnings while maintaining adequate risk-adjusted capital. Despite net derivative losses for the first nine months of 2013, mainly driven by increases in interest rates and changes in foreign currencies, earnings remain strong due to recent de-risking strategies and increased earnings share from international markets. A.M. Best will continue to monitor the impact of the current macroeconomic environment including interest rate movements on MetLife’s insurance operation’s earnings and risk-adjusted capital.
Through its broad and diversified distribution channels, MetLife has the scale and distribution capabilities necessary to maintain its leadership positions in a number of product lines. Moreover, A.M. Best recognizes the strong diversity of earnings and revenue generated by the organization’s expanded international presence. In addition, MetLife’s ratings reflect continued improvement in its financial leverage and interest coverage ratios. MetLife maintains a very strong liquidity position at the holding company level, despite recent international acquisitions, including AFP Provida S.A., a leading Chilean pension fund administrator. Additionally, with MetLife taking full advantage of the current low interest rate environment, it has recently issued senior debt securities at very favorable rates, and it expects to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of outstanding senior debt maturing in 2014.