A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” of Kansas City Life Insurance Company (Kansas City Life) [NASDAQ: KCLI] and its subsidiary, Sunset Life Insurance Company of America. The outlook for these ratings is stable. Additionally, A.M. Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and ICR of “bbb+” of Old American Insurance Company (Old American), the group’s final expense life insurance subsidiary. All companies are domiciled in Kansas City, MO. The ratings primarily reflect Kansas City Life’s solid risk-adjusted capitalization, conservative balance sheet and consistently profitable statutory operating results. In addition, the company maintains a diversified product portfolio that consists of ordinary life insurance, fixed and variable annuities and group accident and health and life insurance products. A.M. Best notes that the decline in ordinary life premiums experienced in recent periods, which was partially due to the recessionary economic environment, has been offset by a noticeable increase in fixed annuity sales. However, A.M. Best expects overall sales to decline over the near term as market conditions for fixed annuities cause sales to moderate. Furthermore, A.M. Best believes Kansas City Life will be challenged to increase sales of its ordinary life and group insurance products due to competitive market conditions and the economic environment. A.M. Best notes that overall premium trends also are impacted somewhat by previously acquired closed blocks of ordinary life insurance. The positive outlook on Old American’s ratings recognizes the favorable trend in new business sales it has experienced in recent periods, the sufficient levels of risk-adjusted capital and the favorable growth opportunities due to the significant size and expansion of the senior market. While net written premiums had declined in prior years, Old American recorded positive premium growth over the most recent period due to increasing sales of its final expense whole life insurance product, which is attributable to concerted marketing efforts in this segment. A.M. Best also notes that Old American has maintained positive statutory operating gains despite the strain from new sales. A.M. Best will continue to monitor the premium growth rate and mortality experience for this line of business as these will be determining factors of Old American’s future profitability.
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