Best Affirms AXA (US) ‘A-‘ Ratings

May 15, 2009

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of ‘A-‘ (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of New York-based AXA Insurance Company, both with stable outlooks.

Best also affirmed the FSRs of ‘B++’ (Good) and ICRs of “bbb” of the other U.S. affiliates of French insurer AXA S.A. – Coliseum Reinsurance Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, AXA RE Property and Casualty Insurance Company (AXA Re P&C), AXA Corporate Solutions Life Reinsurance (ACSLRe), which are in run off. The companies are domiciled in Delaware, and the outlook on the ratings is stable.

“The ratings of AXA Insurance Company reflect its solid risk-adjusted capitalization, which is supported by an extensive reinsurance program, its favorable liquidity and enhanced strategic importance to its ultimate parent, AXA S.A., within the overall AXA group,” Best noted. “The company serves as AXA group’s primary domestic insurer of reverse flow business representing the U.S. portion of multinational accounts generated primarily by the clients of AXA Corporate Solutions SA and AXA Versicherung AG. AXA Insurance Company also provides 60 percent quota share reinsurance coverage for the very profitable portfolio of AXA Art Insurance Corporation (AXA Art) (New York, NY), an affiliate, to better utilize its capital.

“Acting essentially in a fronting role, most business is reinsured to AXA Insurance Company’s affiliates through quota share reinsurance agreements.”

Best also pointed out that while “heavy reliance on affiliated reinsurance leads to high ceded underwriting leverage, the predominant portion of the company’s outstanding reinsurance recoverables is collateralized. The company also benefits from the financial flexibility of the AXA group. Although operating performance has historically been volatile and at times poor, A.M. Best expects this performance to continue improving over the long term based on AXA Insurance Company’s present and clearer strategy, along with its continued reinsurance protection.”

In addition Best explained that both “Coliseum Re and AXA Re P&C remain in run off. In January 2007, AXA RE P&C entered into an aggregate quota share agreement with Coliseum Re, its direct parent, reinsuring 100 percent of the remaining net technical liabilities including any uncollectible insurance and reinsurance. Coliseum Re continues to maintain a solid level of capitalization and adequate liquidity relative to its run-off activities.

“ACSLRe, a run-off subsidiary of Coliseum Re, reinsures the minimum guaranteed benefits of a closed block of variable annuities. ACSLRe’s operating results were poor in 2008, and capitalization declined principally because of the need to substantially increase reserves due to falling interest rates and sharp declines in equity market indices. AXA group made a $250 million capital contribution to Coliseum Re, which was passed through to ACSLRe as a surplus note.”

Source: A.M. Best –

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