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Best's Issuer Credit Rating

Effective April 22, 2015

A Best's Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) is an opinion of an issuer/entity's ability to meet its ongoing senior financial obligations. The rating is based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of a company's balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. For more detailed information, read our Guide to Issuer Credit Ratings.

These ratings are assigned to insurance companies, holding companies or other legal entities authorized to issue financial obligations. The insurance company ICR is the foundation for its Financial Strength Rating (FSR) and the ICR of its holding company. The FSR is derived by converting the rating from the ICR scale to the FSR scale. If an insurer issues public debt, A.M. Best will assign a rating specific to its view of the credit quality of the debt issue. The debt rating is established by reference to the insurance company ICR.

A.M. Best's rating process incorporates specific methodologies designed to address Issuer Credit Ratings and the credit marketplace. Read Insurance Holding Company and Debt Ratings, which outlines the relationship between Best's Financial Strength Ratings, Issuer Credit Ratings and Debt Ratings. View the complete Best's Credit Rating Methodology (BCRM).

A Best's Issuer Credit Rating is not a warranty of an entity's creditworthiness and ability to meet its financial obligations. View this Important Notice for complete details.

Understanding Best's Issuer Credit Ratings

Below is the rating scale used when assigning a Best's Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (ICR).

Insurance Company ICR Non-Insurance Company ICR
Investment Grade Non-Investment Grade Investment Grade Non-Investment Grade
aaa (Exceptional) bb (Fair) aaa (Exceptional) bb (Speculative)
aa (Superior) b (Marginal) aa (Very Strong) b (Very Speculative)
a (Excellent) ccc, cc (Weak)
a (Strong) ccc, cc, c (Extremely Speculative)
bbb (Good) c (Poor) bbb (Adequate) d (In Default)
rs (Regulatory Supervision/Liquidation)

Ratings from "aa" to "ccc" may be enhanced with a "+" (plus) or "-" (minus) to indicate whether credit quality is near the top or bottom of a category.

An Outlook is assigned to an interactive Best's Issuer Credit Rating (aaa to c) to indicate its potential direction over an intermediate term, generally defined as 12 to 36 months. An Outlook can be:

Outlook Definition
Positive Indicates possible rating upgrade due to favorable financial/market trends relative to the current rating level.
Negative Indicates possible rating downgrade due to unfavorable financial/market trends relative to the current rating level.
Stable Indicates low likelihood of a rating change due to stable financial/market trends.

A Best's Short-Term Issuer Credit Rating is an opinion as to the ability of the rated entity to meet its senior financial commitments on obligations maturing in generally less than one year. The list below outlines the specific ratings in this area along with the associated descriptions.

Short-Term ICR
Investment Grade Non-Investment Grade
AMB-1+ (Strongest) AMB-4 (Speculative)
AMB-1 (Outstanding) d (In Default)
AMB-2 (Satisfactory)
AMB-3 (Adequate)

Rating Modifiers may be assigned to both Long- and Short-Term Issuer Credit Ratings.
Note: The public data modifier does not apply to Short-Term Ratings which are only assigned on an interactive basis.

Modifier Descriptor Definition
u Under Review Indicates the rating may change in the near term, typically within six months. Generally is event driven, with positive, negative, or developing implications.
pd Public Data Indicates rating assigned to a company that chose not to participate in A.M. Best's interactive rating process (discontinued in 2010).
i Indicative Indicates rating assigned is indicative.
s Syndicate Indicates rating assigned to a Lloyd's syndicate.

Not Rated Designation

The Not Rated (NR) designation may be assigned to issuers or issues that are not rated.

Usage of Best's Ratings

Best's Credit Ratings are proprietary and may not be reproduced without permission from A.M. Best. A company assigned a Best's Credit Rating should review the Guide to Proper Use, which outlines the acceptable parameters of the use of these ratings.

All queries regarding the use of proprietary information or to obtain a licensing agreement or a letter of consent should be directed to:
A.M. Best Company
Office of Intellectual Property
Ambest Road
Oldwick, New Jersey 08858

Phone: (908) 439-2200, ext. 5644

View our Legal and Licensing information for details on the use of A.M. Best trademarks, logos and service marks.

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