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26 Jun 2002
MOODY'S UPGRADES INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING OF RELIANCE STANDARD LIFE TO Baa1; CONFIRMS RATINGS OF DELPHI FINANCIAL
Approximately $110 Million of Debt Securities Affected.
New York, June 26, 2002 -- Moody's Investors Service raised the insurance financial strength rating
of Delphi's Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (Reliance Standard)
subsidiary to Baa1 from Baa2. The rating agency also confirmed
its Ba1 rating on Delphi Financial Group, Inc.'s (Delphi)
senior debt and its Ba2 rating on the capital securities issued by Delphi
Funding L.L.C. The outlook on the ratings is stable.
The rating action ends a review of Delphi's ratings that was initiated
on November 7, 2001.
Moody's placed the ratings of Delphi and its subsidiary under review for
possible upgrade, primarily in recognition of the company's reduction
of financial leverage, financed by the sale of holding company investments.
Since that time, the company took charges that were greater than
anticipated by Moody's in its excess workers' compensation business and
in its investment portfolio. For the fourth quarter of 2001,
Delphi took an after-tax charge of $26.3 million
for reserve charges primarily related to an unusually high number of large
losses in its excess workers' compensation business. The company
also reported $41.6 million of after-tax investment
Moody's believes that Delphi has an established, niche position
in the excess workers' compensation market through its subsidiary,
Safety National Casualty Corporation (Safety National). Over the
near to medium term, Moody's believes that Safety National should
be able to capitalize on a hardening market to offset reinsurance rate
increases and support earnings in this line. However, from
a ratings perspective we remain cautious about the volatility of this
business since a higher than anticipated number of large claims can have
a material impact on the financial results of the company, as demonstrated
by the seven claims over $2 million during 2001.
While Moody's recognizes that Delphi has decreased its holdings of more
exotic type investments at the holding company, the rating still
reflects the company's traditional appetite for investment risk through
more volatile MBS and below investment grade holdings. Moody's
notes that the company does have minimal exposure to commercial mortgage
loans. The rating agency also recognizes the significant reduction
in Delphi's financial leverage over the past year. Moody's expects
that Delphi will use proceeds from any future debt issuance to pay off
debt maturing over the near term, thereby maintaining moderate financial
The rating upgrade of Reliance Standard reflects the company's well-established
position in the small to medium size case group employee benefits market
and its solid underwriting discipline as demonstrated by its consistently
strong combined ratio for this business. Moody's also stated that
the rating action reflects a change in its rating methodology which is
placing more emphasis on expected loss in the rating process. In
recognition of the relative difference in expected loss between debt issued
out of a holding company and the expected loss to policyholders out of
an operating company, Moody's has and will continue to take rating
action to widen the notching between these two ratings.
The following rating was raised:
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company--insurance financial
strength to Baa1 from Baa2.
The following existing and provisional shelf ratings were confirmed:
Delphi Financial Group, Inc. -- senior debt
rating at Ba1; prospective senior debt rating at (P)Ba1; prospective
senior subordinated debt shelf rating at (P)Ba2; prospective junior
subordinated debt shelf rating at (P)Ba2; prospective preferred stock
shelf rating at (P)Ba3;
Delphi Funding L.L.C. -- preferred
stock rating of Ba2; prospective preferred stock shelf rating of
Delphi Financial Group, Inc. is a financial services holding
company with consolidated GAAP assets of $3.5 billion and
consolidated GAAP equity of $586 million at March 31, 2002.
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary
Moody's Insurance Financial Strength Ratings are opinions of the ability
of insurance companies to repay punctually senior policyholder claims
and obligations. For more information, visit our Web site
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
No Related Data.
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