Press Release - NOVEMBER 10, 2017
A.M. Best Revises Issuer Credit Rating Outlook to Negative for The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - NOVEMBER 10, 2017
The negative Long-Term ICR outlook reflects the company’s risk associated with its moderate quality of capital and limited financial flexibility as evidenced through the reliance on reinsurance captive solutions to support the company’s future capital position and new business growth. In addition, operating losses at the captive level would continue to be a drag on absolute capital at the operating level in the intermediate term until the statutory reserves of the captives reach their inflexion point.
Partially offsetting the quality of capital is SBLI’s overall balance sheet, which is categorized as “strongest” by A.M. Best. This is supported by a solid level of risk-based capital, as measured by the Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), a good reserve profile, and adequate liquidity measures. Further, in the third quarter of 2017, the company bought back the full outstanding external private shareholder stakes, which represented 37.5% of the company’s ownership. This was financed through the issuance of a $57 million in surplus note due in 2047. While A.M. Best believes the servicing of the surplus note in the short run will negatively impact capital relative to prior shareholder dividends paid, the cleaner ownership structure coupled with capping and stabilizing future servicing costs to providers of capital are potential long-run positives. The company has identified sources of capital that could be used to repay the surplus notes at or prior to maturity if so desired.
A.M. Best will continue to monitor the company’s capital position and the remaining of its operation.
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