STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Holding Company (NYSE:IHC) today announced that A.M. Best Company has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings of "a-" of Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc., Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York and Independence American Insurance Company. The outlook for all ratings is stable. A.M. Best stated, "The ratings reflect the group's consistent profitability, the execution of its business strategy and its more than adequate risk-adjusted capitalization. Independence Holding's insurance operating companies, facilitated by strong relationships with various partners, continue to generate fairly consistent operating earnings across its many lines of business. Earnings continue to improve driven by increased medical stop-loss and group major medical sales in addition to more conservative underwriting, which has resulted in lower loss ratios." A.M. Best further commented, "The ratings also reflect the implementation of Independence Holding's strategic business plan to facilitate premium growth, which entailed selectively expanding its product portfolio and emphasizing lines that were expected to be only marginally impacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Recent product offerings include pet insurance, international medical and non-subscriber occupational accident from Independence American." Roy Thung, Chief Executive Officer of IHC, commented, "We are very gratified that A.M. Best has affirmed our group rating of 'A- (Excellent).' In doing so, A.M. Best has recognized our organization's continuing product and earnings diversification, conservative underwriting and enhanced capital position. We are particularly pleased with the significant increase in interest in IHC's new stop-loss products for smaller self-funded groups and group captive arrangements. Group captive arrangements provide an excellent alternative for small- to medium-sized employers to avail themselves of the advantages of self-funding while enjoying the safety in numbers afforded by the pooling of risk within the captive structure. We believe that stop-loss and ancillary products are becoming increasingly attractive options for purchasers of group health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act."