Press Release - APRIL 05, 2019
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United Services Automobile Association, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - APRIL 05, 2019
The ratings reflect USAA’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its very strong operating performance, very favorable business profile and very strong enterprise risk management (ERM).
USAA maintains diversified sources of earnings and strong ERM, with a full range of financial products and services to its membership of military and ex-military personnel and their dependents. USAA’s low cost structure, high customer retention, effective use of technology and exceptional customer service capabilities have enabled it to build a sustainable competitive advantage in the personal lines sector. As a result of these strengths, USAA has built a sizeable market position, especially in the P/C segment, as the nation’s fifth-largest private passenger auto and fourth-largest homeowners’ policy provider, based on AM Best 2018 industry direct premium data. In addition, USAA maintains a relatively conservative investment strategy, which has enabled it to experience favorable investment returns even during times of significant market turmoil and record low interest rates. As part of its ERM strategy, USAA has developed strong catastrophe management, and a sound reinsurance program that has preserved the capital and financial security of its membership through years of significant catastrophe activity, particularly over the past three years. USAA also implemented a series of initiatives to address recent negative trends in frequency and severity in the personal auto lines, which led to notable improvement in auto results over the past two years.
Modestly offsetting these positive rating factors is USAA’s exposure to frequent and severe weather-related events. This exposure was demonstrated in each of the past three years, as USAA experienced some of its worst catastrophe loss years in its history, for both losses and claim counts. In 2016, results were impacted by a series of hailstorms in Texas and Colorado. In 2017 and 2018, results were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Michael, as well as significant wildfires in California each year. In addition, while recent improvement has been noted, the previously referenced negative trends in frequency and severity of automobile losses as a result of macroeconomic factors also have pressured USAA’s loss ratio in recent years.
The ratings of USAA Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary, USAA Life Insurance Company of New York (Highland Falls, NY), together referred to as USAA Life, reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and very strong ERM. The ratings reflect not only the financial strength of USAA, it also considers the depth and strong persistency of business generated from the company’s association with its military affinity group.
Risks to the insurance operations consist of challenges related to earnings and reserves associated with a diverse mix of business, which includes ordinary life, annuity, and accident and health segments. Additional embedded risks include maintaining appropriate spreads related to the annuity block of business in a low interest rate environment along with the growth in ordinary life sales, which is challenging for the broader life industry segment.
The FSR of A++ (Superior) and the Long-Term ICRs of “aaa” have been affirmed with a stable outlook for United Services Automobile Association and its following P/C and L/H subsidiaries:
USAA Capital Corporation—
The following Long-Term IR has been assigned with a stable outlook:
— “aaa” on $400 million 3.000% senior unsecured medium-term notes, due 2020
The following indicative Long-Term IR under the universal shelf registration has been affirmed:
— “aaa” on the senior unsecured medium-term note program
The following Long-Term IRs have been affirmed:
— “aaa” on $350 million 2.125% senior unsecured medium-term notes, due 2019
— “aaa” on $400 million 2.450% senior unsecured medium-term notes, due 2020
— “aaa” on $400 million 2.000% senior unsecured medium-term notes, due 2021
The following Short-Term IR has been affirmed:
— AMB-1+ on the commercial paper program
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.
AM Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry.