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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms VOYA Financial's ratings (subsidaries' IFS at A3); outlook to positive

13 May 2014

New York, May 13, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength (IFS) rating of the VOYA Financial life insurance companies (VOYA, formerly ING U.S., Inc.), and changed the rating outlook to positive from stable. Other VOYA affiliated ratings were also affirmed with a positive outlook (see complete rating list, below). Debt ratings guaranteed by ING Groep NV (ING NV, senior unsecured at A3, negative) -- VOYA's minority owner - were not affected by these rating actions.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Commenting on the affirmation of the A3 IFS rating of the insurance entities of VOYA, Moody's said it was based on the group's important position in the U.S. retirement services and life insurance markets, particularly in the specialized 403(b) and 457 pension sectors, where the company has leading market shares, and by its good capitalization, considering the weaker capital adequacy of its reinsurance captives.

"VOYA focuses on maintaining good regulatory capital levels (NAIC Risk-Based Capital (RBC) ratio, based on Company Action Level of 503% at year-end 2013) at its operating subsidiaries, while also keeping adequate--but a relatively much lower level of--capital at its onshore captives, as well as managing its variable annuity hedging program to maintain statutory capitalization under a stress scenario. These are key factors supporting the group's ratings," said Vice President, Laura Bazer. The analyst noted that VOYA's minimum target RBC ratio of 425% and higher 2013 RBC ratio were appropriate, given the significant reserve, earnings, and capital volatility associated with its roughly $45 billion block of legacy variable annuities and certain no-lapse universal life and term life financing captives onshore.

Commenting on the positive outlook, Moody's noted that VOYA's GAAP and statutory profitability, although still volatile, were improving with rising equity markets and interest rates. In addition, profitability is expected to improve as new, profitable pension business is put on the books and the weaker-performing legacy variable annuity business runs off. The rating agency said that this, together with state regulatory approvals, in May 2013, for the reset of the group's statutory dividend threshold, should help ensure the flow of ordinary dividends to the parent (when its subsidiaries have sufficient profits), while improving debt service coverage ratios, particularly cash coverage (currently averaging about 2.5x over the past 3 years, and at 4.4x in 2013), over time.

Moody's said the following factors could lead to an upgrade of the VOYA group's ratings: the successful completion of VOYA's exit from ING NV's remaining ownership without deterioration to business, profitability, or other financial metrics; reduction in earnings volatility, resulting in return on capital (ROC) consistently at 6% or better; RBC ratio consistently at or above 375% (company action level), while maintaining good capital adequacy at captives; and cash coverage of over 3x, and earnings coverage of at least 5x, each on a consistent basis.

The rating agency added that the following factors could result in a return of the outlook to stable: the erosion of VOYA's business franchise and distribution; ROC's consistently below 6%; consolidated RBC ratio falling below 375% (company action level) excluding the captive, which, separately, must be adequately capitalized; cash coverage of less than 3x; and earnings coverage of below 5x.

The following ratings were affirmed with the outlook changed to positive from stable:

ING Life Insurance & Annuity Company: insurance financial strength rating at A3;

ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company: insurance financial strength at A3;

Security Life of Denver Insurance Company: insurance financial strength at A3;

Reliastar Life Insurance Company: insurance financial strength at A3;

Reliastar Life Insurance Company of New York: insurance financial strength at A3;

ING USA Global Funding Trust 3: funding agreement-backed senior secured debt at A3;

Lion Connecticut Holdings, Inc.: long-term issuer rating at Baa3.

VOYA Financial, Inc.: issuer rating at Baa3 (guaranteed by Lion Connecticut); senior unsecured debt rating (guaranteed by Lion Connecticut) at Baa3; junior subordinated debt rating (guaranteed by Lion Connecticut) at Ba1(hyb).

Equitable of Iowa Capital Trust II: preferred stock at Ba1(hyb).

The following ratings were affirmed:

ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company: short-term insurance financial strength at P-2;

Security Life of Denver Insurance Company: short-term insurance financial strength at P-2.

VOYA Financial is a public company traded on the NYSE since May 1, 2013. It is minority owned (approximately 43% since March 2014) by the ING Groep, N.V. At March 31, 2014, it had consolidated GAAP assets of almost $224 billion and shareholders' equity of approximately $16 billion. The two largest subsidiaries, ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company, and ING Life Insurance & Annuity Company reported year-end 2013 statutory assets of $69 billion and $86 billion, respectively, and statutory surplus of approximately $2 billion and $2 billion, respectively.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Life Insurers published on 19 December 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Laura Bazer
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Robert Riegel
MD - Insurance
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's affirms VOYA Financial's ratings (subsidaries' IFS at A3); outlook to positive
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