|[February 07, 2013]
A.M. Best Assigns Debt Rating to New Senior Notes of ING U.S., Inc.
OLDWICK, N.J. --(Business Wire)--
A.M. Best Co. has assigned a debt rating of "bbb" to the recent
issuance of $1.0 billion 2.90% five-year senior unsecured notes of
ING U.S., Inc. (ING U.S.) (headquartered in New York, NY). ING U.S.
is currently the holding company for the U.S. operations of ING Groep
N.V. (ING Group) (Netherlands) (NYSE: ING). The assigned outlook is
The rating recognizes ING U.S.' strong market position in the life
insurance and retirement markets, profitable operating results and sound
level of risk-adjusted capital. Although historically supported by its
European parent, A.M. Best notes that ING Group has filed with the SEC (News - Alert)
for an initial public offering (IPO) of its U.S.-based retirement,
insurance and investment operations during 2013.
The assigned rating also reflects A.M. Best's expected completion of
this process, which will demonstrate ING U.S.' ability to successfully
execute its capital plans. The new senior notes, together with the $850
million 5.5% 10-year notes issued in July 2012 and proceeds from the
anticipated IPO, should facilitate ING U.S. achieving its targeted
independent capital structure. As such, ING U.S.' financial leverage and
interest coverage are expected to fall within A.M. Best's guidelines for
its current ratings. The proceeds from the new senior notes will be used
for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of outstanding
Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is ING U.S.' ongoing
exposure to both equity markets and interest rates through product
guarantees, spread compression as well as its material holdings of below
investment grade structured securities and commercial mortgage loans.
Additionally, the inherent uncertainty surrounding the timing and
execution of the IPO process could negatively affect the group's
business profile with respect to products, customers, distribution and
market positions, in addition to having an unfavorable effect on
leverage and interest coverage metrics.
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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