The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released new guidance that is “designed to expand the use of income annuities in 401(k) plans.”
A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of "a" of ASSA Compania de Seguros, S.A. (ASSA) (Panama City, Panama).
The outlook for both ratings is stable.
The ratings reflect ASSA's continued excellent operating results, favorable capitalization and strong business profile. ASSA maintains a well diversified book of business that includes both property/ casualty and life/health products. ASSA is ultimately owned by Grupo ASSA, S.A. (Grupo ASSA), a publicly traded financial services holding company on the Panama stock exchange.
ASSA has shown disciplined underwriting in a highly competitive market, while its risk-based capitalization remains fully supportive of the current ratings and outlook. ASSA's underwriting profitability is complemented by consistent levels of investment income, which has enabled the company to steadily appreciate surplus while still providing Grupo ASSA with dividend payments. ASSA also benefits from established risk management systems and strong reinsurance programs across most lines of business.
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is ASSA's risk concentration in a geographically limited insurance market along with operating in a country, which A.M. Best considers to have an elevated level of country risk. Additionally, the Panamanian insurance market is becoming increasingly competitive as local and large outside insurers continue to vie for market share.
Positive rating actions could occur if ASSA maintains its consistently strong underwriting performance and long-term profitability in conjunction with an upgrade in Panama's country risk tier. Negative rating triggers could include a significant decline in the company's risk-based capitalization, sustained adverse operating performance or a downgrade in Panama's country risk tier.
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Key criteria utilized include: "Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies"; "Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers"; "Understanding Universal BCAR"; "Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings"; and "Assessing Country Risk." Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at ambest.com/ratings/methodology
A.M. Best Company is an insurance rating and information source.
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