A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a+” of American National Insurance Company (ANICO) (NASDAQ:ANAT). Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of “a” of American National Life Insurance Company of Texas, Garden State Life Insurance Company (League City, TX), Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company, American National Life Insurance Company of New York and Farm Family Life Insurance Company (both domiciled in Glenmont, NY), all subsidiaries of ANICO. The outlook for all ratings is stable. All the above companies are headquartered in Galveston, TX, unless otherwise specified.

The rating affirmations of ANICO are based on its good consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization, improved GAAP and statutory earnings including a turnaround in the health line of business, diverse product offerings, which cover life, annuities, health, and property/casualty insurance segments. The ratings also recognize the recovery in ANICO’s investment portfolio performance, which has resulted in higher net investment income for 2010, as well as realized and unrealized gains in its fixed income portfolio rather than significant losses due to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. ANICO benefits from revenue and income from diverse sources, which include its life/health and property/casualty affiliates, as well as from its non-insurance affiliates. A.M. Best also notes that the financial leverage at ANICO remains modest relative to its consolidated equity level.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are ANICO’s high exposure to interest-sensitive liabilities, variability in GAAP and statutory earnings over the past five years, particularly in its property/casualty lines, growing exposure to mortgage loans and real estate holdings and the challenges of optimizing the company’s returns on a sustained basis.

The ratings of the life insurance subsidiaries of ANICO acknowledge their improved operating trends, more than adequate risk-adjusted capitalization and continuing contribution to ANICO’s consolidated results. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the life subsidiaries’ somewhat fluctuating premiums and earnings trends, limited business profiles and the challenges to grow their business lines.

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