A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc.

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A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc.
News from Sacramento Bee:

/CNW Telbec/ – For the first time in its history, SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc. has received a credit rating from A.M. Best Co. The credit rating agency today published the results of its analysis and has assigned a financial strength rating of “A- (Excellent)” to SSQ, Life Insurance Company Inc. The agency has also assigned an issuer credit rating of “a-”. The outlook for both ratings is stable.

“We are particularly pleased with this first experience with A.M Best. The ratings we were assigned reflect our strength and performance. Despite sluggish financial markets and relatively low, declining interest rates, we pursued business growth and delivered stable and reasonable financial results with returns varying between 10% and 15% over the last 20 years all while continuing to offer our clients world-class service. The fact that we are able to repeat this performance year after year proves how solid and well-managed our company is. In that regard, we honour our commitment to being a modern and high-performing mutual financial institution with its values in the right place,” said SSQ Financial Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. René Hamel.

The credit rating reflects SSQ Financial Group’s dominant position in Quebec’s group insurance market, consistent and solid earnings as w…………… continues on Sacramento Bee

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Life insurance sector takes hit as QE3 packs a punch
News from InvestmentNews:

Harder times for the U.S. life insurance industry, thanks in large part to the Federal Reserve, led Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday to cut its outlook for the group to negative, from stable.

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The carriers, already staggering under the weight of perpetually low interest rates, were dealt another blow that day when the Fed announced a third round of quantitative easing in an effort to boost job growth.

The central bank said it plans to snap up $ 40 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities every month and keep the federal funds rate at between zero and 0.25% at least through mid-2015.

That’s terrible news for life insurance companies, which already have seen returns on their huge fixed-income investments dry up. The profitability of spread-based insurance businesses, including fixed annuities and universal life insurance, as well as long-dated business such as long-term care insurance, also have plummeted.

The next three years promise to be difficult ones for the insurers, who will take a hit to their capital and could be downgraded, according to Joel Levine, associate managing director at Moody’s Investors Service.

“The industry will have a reckoning in terms of profitability deteriorating more rapidly,” he said. “Companies will…………… continues on InvestmentNews

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