A.M. Best has assigned an issue rating of “bbb” to the recently issued CAD 130 million non-cumulative rate reset Series 1 preferred shares of The Empire Life Insurance Company (Empire Life) (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). The outlook assigned to the rating is stable, which is consistent with the outlook for the existing ratings of Empire Life. (For further details, please see A.M. Best’s press release dated May 19, 2015).
Empire Life intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the preferred shares for regulatory capital and general corporate purposes. The Series 1 preferred shares’ initial dividend rate is set at 5.75%, payable quarterly until April 17, 2021. Subsequent to this initial period, and every five years after, Empire Life will determine on the 30th day prior to the first day of the subsequent fixed rate period the annual fixed dividend based upon the five-year Canadian bond yield. A.M. Best notes that Empire Life’s overall financial leverage is expected to remain below 30%, while interest coverage is expected to remain above five times. Both measures are within A.M. Best’s guidelines for Empire Life’s current rating level.
The rating recognizes Empire Life’s continued earnings growth and sustainable market presence in Canada with multiple lines of business. Empire Life is among the 10 largest life insurance companies in Canada (based on general and segregated fund assets), although the company has a 6% market share or less in its three major product lines. Empire Life markets a broad range of life insurance and investment products, employee benefit plans and financial services to individuals, professionals and the small to medium group market through multiple distribution channels. Additionally, A.M. Best will continue to monitor the company, which has been challenged due to sustained low interest rates and recent equity market volatility given its large segregated fund block of business.
This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page.
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Erik Miller, 908-439-2200, ext. 5187
Senior Financial Analyst
Edward Kohlberg, 908-439-2200, ext. 5664
Managing Senior Financial Analyst
Christopher Sharkey, 908-439-2200, ext. 5159
Manager, Public Relations
Jim Peavy, 908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations