Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings updates its ratings on the stocks it covers. The proprietary ratings model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period, including both price appreciation and dividends. Buy, hold or sell ratings designate how the Ratings group expects these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.While the ratings model is quantitative, it uses both subjective and objective elements. For instance, subjective elements include expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and company earnings forecasts. Objective elements include volatility of past operating revenue, financial strength and company cash flows. Independence Holding Co. ( IHC) is a life and health insurance group. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's revenue growth of 14.5% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year outpaced the industry average of 13.2%. Its debt-to-equity ratio is also beneath that of the industry. Independence reported EPS growth of 62.50% in that timeframe, and while it has reported somewhat volatile earnings of late, TheStreet.com Ratings believe it is poised for earnings growth in the coming year. As a counter to these strengths, the company's weaknesses include a weak operating cash flow and a stock price decline of 18.94% in the past 12 months. Independence Holding had been rated a buy since September 2005.