OLDWICK, NJ–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best confirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit ratings (long-term ICR) of “a+” (Excellent) of the members of the Athene group (Athene). Athene, which focuses on the Group Retirement Annuities, Funding Arrangements, Fixed Indexed Annuities and Fixed Annuities market segments, is the consolidation of the organization’s U.S. operating companies, as well as its reinsurance affiliates domiciled in Bermuda. In addition, AM Best confirmed the long-term ICR of “bbb+” (good), the existing long-term issue credit ratings (long-term IRs) and indicative long-term IRs of Athene Holding Ltd. . (Bermuda). Athens Holding Ltd. operates as a holding company for operations in the United States and Bermuda. The outlook for these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (See below for a detailed list of companies and ratings.)
At the same time, AM Best has assigned an FSR of A (Excellent) and a long-term ICR of “a+” (Excellent) to Athene Annuity Re Ltd. (Bermuda). The outlook attributed to this rating is stable.
The ratings reflect Athene’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its strong operational performance, favorable business profile and appropriate management of business risks.
AM Best considers Athene’s consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization to be the strongest, as measured by Best’s capital adequacy ratio (BCAR), and supported by favorable financial flexibility. Athene has demonstrated its ability to access capital markets and maintains additional access to capital and liquidity through a revolving credit facility, Federal Home Loan Bank borrowing capacity and a registration statement in pending, as well as uncalled capital commitments of Athene Co-Invest Reinsurance Affiliates (ACRA) investors. The completed merger with Apollo Global Management, Inc. should increase Athene’s financial flexibility.
Leverage measures have improved over the past year as capital growth has outpaced debt issuance. However, AM Best notes that Athene holds high allocations to more complex and less liquid investments, which could be significantly affected in adverse market conditions.
Athene has a track record of strong earnings driven by favorable earnings spreads and operating profitability, despite challenges from the persistent low interest rate environment and strong competitive pressures.
Athene’s favorable business profile reflects continued improvements through additional distribution channels in its retail markets, and expansion of its pension risk transfer business in the US and UK, increased issuance funding agreements and its flow reinsurance channel in Japan in recent years. In addition, ACRA and the recent fixed annuity reinsurance agreement with Jackson National Life Insurance Company had an accretive effect on earnings.
The FSR of A (Excellent) and the long-term KPIs of “a+” (Excellent) have been confirmed with stable outlooks for the following members of the Athene group:
Athens Annuity & Life Assurance Company
Athens Annuity & Life Assurance Company of New York
Athens Annuity and Life Company
Athens Life Insurance Company of New York
Athens Life Re Ltd.
Athens Life Re International Ltd.
Athens Co-Invest Reinsurance Affiliate International Ltd.
Athens Co-Invest Reinsurance Affiliate 1A Ltd.
Athens Co-Invest Reinsurance Affiliate 1B Ltd.
The following long-term IRs have been confirmed with a stable outlook:
Athens Holding Ltd. —
— “bbb+” (good) on $500 million 3.45% senior unsecured notes, due 2052
— “bbb+” (good) on $500 million 3.95% senior unsecured notes, due 2051
— “bbb+” (Good) on $1.0 billion 4.125% senior unsecured notes, due 2028
— “bbb+” (good) on $500 million 6.15% senior unsecured notes due 2030
— “bbb+” (good) on $500 million 3.5% senior unsecured notes, due 2031
— “bbb-” (good) on $750 million 6.35%, Perpetual Non-Cumulative Preferred Shares, Series A
— “bbb-” (good) on $300 million 5.625%, perpetual and non-cumulative preferred shares, series B
— “bbb-” (good) on $600 million 6.375%, preferred stock
— “bbb-” (good) on $575 million 4.875%, preferred stock
The following indicative long-term IRs have been confirmed with a stable outlook:
Athens Holding Ltd. —
— “bbb+” (good) on senior unsecured debt
— “bbb” (Good) on subordinated debt
— “bbb-” (Good) on junior subordinated debt
— “bbb-” (good) on preferred stock
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