JULY 07, 2017 04:00 PM (EDT)
A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Employers Mutual Casualty Company and Its Subsidiaries
Senior Financial Analyst – P/C
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - JULY 07, 2017 04:00 PM (EDT)
A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a” of Employers Mutual Casualty Company (EMCC) and its six property/casualty subsidiaries (collectively referred to as EMC Insurance Companies), which operate under an inter-company pooling agreement led by EMCC. In addition, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a” of EMCC’s separately rated, indirectly owned subsidiary, EMC Reinsurance Company (EMC Re). Furthermore, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a-” of EMC National Life Company (EMCNL). Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb” of EMC Insurance Group Inc. (EMCI) [NAS: EMCI], a downstream holding company majority owned by EMCC. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. All of the EMC entities are domiciled in Des Moines, IA, except for Dakota Fire Insurance Company, which is domiciled in Bismarck, ND. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies.)
The ratings of EMC Insurance Companies and EMC Re reflect their excellent level of risk-adjusted capital, supportive earnings, consistently favorable loss reserve development and favorable core underwriting results, as well as the benefits these companies will continue to derive from management’s actions in recent years to improve pricing and risk selection, claims management and reserving methodology. The group has developed and implemented predictive modeling tools and sophisticated monitoring systems as part of its overall risk management program, which have resulted in an improved ability to differentiate and monitor risk concentrations and to quantify and track the quality of business over time. These tools are leveraged by the group’s extensive regional network and supported by long-standing agency relationships. These enhancements were designed to enable management to more effectively manage the group’s business through market cycles, resulting in improved underwriting performance since 2011.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are EMC Insurance Companies’ and EMC Re’s exposure to weather and catastrophe-related events, elevated (but manageable) common stock leverage and continued challenging, albeit improving, market conditions in the group’s core markets. Further offsetting rating factors for EMC Re are its significant dependence on EMCC; its exposure to natural catastrophe and weather events; and the competitive challenges associated with its position as a smaller company in the reinsurance market, which has grown more competitive on increased capacity driven by the infusion of capital from alternative markets.
The ratings of EMCNL reflect it strategic importance to its parent, EMCC, diversified product profile of life, annuity and workplace products, strong risk-adjusted capitalization and positive but fluctuating earnings in recent years. EMCNL continues to maintain a strong relationship with EMCC, which is reflected in EMCNL’s ratings. While EMCC has a majority economic interest in EMCNL, EMCC maintains a minority voting interest. EMCNL’s board of directors, which includes the presidents of EMCC and EMCNL, is integrated and supports both legal entities in the group. Consequently, A.M. Best deviated from its “Rating Members of Insurance Groups” methodology regarding the lack of common voting ownership among the group members.
Partially offsetting these rating factors include a high percentage of interest-sensitive liabilities at minimum guaranteed crediting rates, challenges of building scale in its workplace business and having a significant percentage of annuity liabilities that lack surrender protection.
The ratings of EMCI recognize the capital strength of its property/casualty affiliates, the support of EMCC and the absence of financial leverage with no outstanding debt.
The FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a” have been affirmed, each with a stable outlook, for Employers Mutual Casualty Company and its following property/casualty subsidiaries:
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. 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 A.M. 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 A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.
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