SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 02:16 PM (EDT)
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of BCBSM, Inc. and HMO Minnesota; Revises ICR Outlook to Negative for MII Life Insurance, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 02:16 PM (EDT)
Concurrently, AM Best has revised the outlook to negative from stable for the Long-Term ICR and affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term ICR of “bbb+” of MII Life Insurance, Incorporated (MII Life) (Eagan, MN). The outlook of the FSR is stable.
The ratings of BCBSM and HMO Minnesota reflect their balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strong, as well as their adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The ratings of BCBSM continue to be supported by strong risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). BCBSM has been able to grow capital organically, even after dividend payments in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue in the near term. Furthermore, financial flexibility is enhanced through access to Federal Home Loan Bank borrowings and lines of credit with several banks. Through mid-2020, BCBSM has reported stronger underwriting and net income with favorable results across its various core product lines. The company has very good brand name recognition and maintains a solid market position in Minnesota, with a large membership base and a diverse product portfolio. Membership gains have been robust over the most recent five-year period, and through mid-2020. Nevertheless, there is a geographic limitation to its business based on the Blue Cross Blue Shield licenses. Offsetting factors include earnings volatility and capital-position pressure from dividend payments to the parent holding company, Aware Integrated, Inc.
The ratings of MII Life reflect the company’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as weak, as well as adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM.
The revised Long-Term ICR outlook to negative for MII Life is based on continued pressure on its balance sheet strength assessment through mid-2020, driven by COVID-19-fueled market volatility. Risk-adjusted capital, as measured by BCAR, is expected to remain at the weak level in support of its current business and investment risk. In addition, the company operates in a very competitive consumer-driven health marketplace, and there continues to be concern with the underlying credit quality of some of its investment holdings and historical dependence on capital support from its parent.
MII Life ratings also consider the implicit and explicit support from its ultimate parent, Aware Integrated, Inc. The stable FSR outlook reflects MII Life’s strategic importance to the organization, as it provides opportunities for revenue and earnings diversification through health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, voluntary employee beneficiary association and a Medicare Part D product for prescription drug coverage. MII Life also writes medical stop-loss insurance, which it reinsures to its affiliate, BCBSM. MII Life plans to discontinue the Medicare Part D product in 2021. MII Life has operated as a medical spending account administrator for over 25 years and ranks as one of the leading administrators in the United States. It also is positioned among the top voluntary employee beneficiary association administrators. The company has reported a strong growth trend by number of accounts, total deposits and revenue, with continued profitability over the past several years.
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AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.