AM Best Information Services

OCTOBER 13, 2017 09:25 AM (EDT)

A.M. Best Releases Updated Best’s Credit Rating Methodology and Related Criteria Procedures

 Stephen A. Irwin
Senior Director
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5454

Carlos Wong-Fupuy
Senior Director
+44 20 7397 0287
Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644


OLDWICK - OCTOBER 13, 2017 09:25 AM (EDT)
A.M. Best today announced the publication of the updated Best’s Credit Rating Methodology (BCRM), designed to further increase transparency in the Credit Rating (rating) analysis. In conjunction with the implementation of the revised BCRM, the following updated BCRM-related criteria procedures have been published and are also effective immediately:

  • Understanding BCAR for U.S. Property/Casualty Insurers

  • Understanding BCAR for Canadian Property/Casualty Insurers

  • Understanding BCAR for U.S. and Canadian Life/Health Insurers

  • Understanding Universal BCAR

  • Available Capital and Holding Company Analysis

  • Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings

  • Evaluating U.S. Surplus Notes

  • The Treatment of Terrorism Risk in the Rating Evaluation

  • Alternative Risk Transfer

  • A.M. Best Ratings on a National Scale

  • A.M. Best’s Stress Liquidity Ratio for U.S. Life Insurers

  • Analyzing Perpetual Insurers

  • Evaluating Country Risk

  • Measuring Transfer & Convertibility Risk

  • Rating Funding Agreement-Backed Securities Programs

  • Rating Lloyd’s Operations

  • Rating Monoline Financial Guarantors in the Public Finance Sector

  • Rating New Company Formations

  • Rating Reinsurance Pools

  • Rating Run-Off Insurers & Specialists

  • Rating Surety Companies

  • Rating Takaful (Shari’a Compliant) Companies

  • Rating Title Insurance Companies

A.M. Best published its first request for comment related to this revision process on March 10, 2016. Subsequently, A.M. Best published four additional requests for comment: Nov. 14, 2016; April 27, 2017; June 30, 2017; and July 26, 2017.

The updated BCRM is a reorganization of the previous methodology, utilizing a building block approach to provide greater detail and clarity to the rating analysis. The BCRM offers a forum for discussion with analytical staff and also will provide greater clarity in the rating process. While the methodology has been updated, the core components of the analytical process—balance sheet strength, operating performance, business profile and enterprise risk management—remain the key pillars of the analysis and thus do not represent a fundamental change to the rating analysis. In addition to reflecting the building block approach, some of the revised criteria procedures are amalgamations of previously in-use criteria procedures. Those that relate to the rating of specialty insurers emphasize what is unique or different between the analysis of the specialty insurer and the analytical process as outlined in the updated BCRM.

Some of the most significant areas of refinement are highlighted as follows:

  • Reorganization of the methodology and criteria procedures to highlight the building block approach to the rating process;

  • Incorporation of the redesigned BCAR models; and

  • Expansion of the discussion of available capital and equity credit.

The revisions to the methodology and criteria procedures are expected to result in rating changes to a small portion of A.M. Best’s outstanding ratings. Each rating potentially impacted by the updated BCRM will be subject to the full committee process under the revised criteria. A review of the affected ratings will be completed within six months from the effective date of the criteria. A.M. Best expects that less than 5% of its published ratings will be affected.

A.M. Best is publishing 80 comments received during the five public consultation periods. A.M. Best would like to thank all respondents that participated in the consultation periods by submitting comments. The results of the comments are published here: .

This publication concludes A.M. Best’s criteria refinement exercise that began in March 2016. Please note that all criteria procedures are available in the methodology section of A.M. Best’s website.

For more information related to the BCRM, A.M. Best has prepared a list of questions and answers. To see the Best’s Briefing, please visit: .

For brief overviews of the BCRM release and its related criteria procedures, please see the following video interviews:

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.