AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a” of American Southern Insurance Company (Topeka, KS) and its wholly owned and 100% reinsured subsidiary, American Safety Insurance Company (collectively referred to as American Southern Group). Additionally, AM Best has affirmed the FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a-” of Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company and its wholly owned and 100% reinsured subsidiary, Bankers Fidelity Assurance Company (collectively referred to as Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Group [BFLIG]). Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” of the parent company, Atlantic American Corporation (Atlantic American) [NASDAQ: AAME]. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. All companies are domiciled Atlanta, GA, unless otherwise specified.
The ratings reflect American Southern Group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).
The ratings also incorporate the group’s consistent trend of operating profitability, management’s disciplined underwriting approach and its local market expertise. American Southern Group’s balance sheet strength assessment reflects risk-adjusted capitalization that ranks at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), partially offset by the group’s payment of substantial stockholder dividends, which Atlantic American historically uses to service its debt.
The ratings also consider the financial leverage and interest coverage at Atlantic American, with its adjusted debt-to-total capital at 14.3% as of Dec. 31, 2020. Interest coverage historically receives adequate support from the insurance operating companies to cover debt service obligations at the parent, given the companies’ ability to generate sufficient earnings.
The ratings of BFLIG reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM.
The group has benefited over the last several years from explicit capital support provided by its parent company, Atlantic American Corporation. Infusions have helped to maintain capital strength as new business development had strained capital, and AM Best expects that the parent organization will continue to support the group. BFLIG returned to operating profitability in 2020 after having implemented initiatives in prior years to improve the underwriting performance of its Medicare supplement business, including adjustments to distribution and related compensation, underwriting practice changes and rate increases. In the four years prior to 2020, the group had reported increasingly higher underwriting losses and expenses, in addition to related required reserve increases, from business development and growth strategy in its Medicare supplement segment. BFLIG is now marketing new, redesigned individual supplement accident and health products to diversify its business mix, and continues to expand its supplemental worksite business strategically to more states.
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