|[January 22, 2013]
A.M. Best Revises Outlook of Zale Life Insurance Company
OLDWICK, N.J. --(Business Wire)--
A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to positive from stable and
affirmed the financial strength rating of B+ (Good) and issuer credit
rating of "bbb-" of Zale Life Insurance Company (Zale Life)
The revised outlook reflects Zale Life's solid and consistent level of
risk-adjusted capitalization, positive earnings stream and the moderate
increase in its premium levels. A.M. Best also notes that Zale Life's
investment portfolio is very short term in nature with little credit
risk and high levels of liquidity.
While recognizing Zale Life's solid capital position and its consistent
profitability, A.M. Best notes that its growth is highly dependent upon
the strength of the overall economy along with the continued
stabilization of the retail operations at its parent, Zale
Corporation (Zale Corp) (headquartered in Irving, TX). A.M.
Best notes that a potential decrease in consumer actiity can still
adversely impact the associated opportunities to market Zale Life's core
Factors that could lead to positive rating actions on Zale Life include
continued strong earnings, maintenance of solid capitalization levels,
increased strategic importance to the insurance group and continued
improvement in the retail operations of Zale Corp, which could lead to
expansion of Zale Life's business profile.
Key rating drivers that could lead to an additional revision in the
outlook (back to stable) include a material deterioration in
capitalization or operating performance as well as contraction in retail
sales at Zale Corp, resulting in lower premium growth and a diminished
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit
Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M.
Best's rating process and contains the different rating criteria
employed in the rating process. Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be
found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most
authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more
information, visit www.ambest.com.
Copyright © 2013 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS
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