A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of
A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-'' of Horace
Mann Insurance Company and its property/casualty insurance
affiliates (Horace Mann P/C). Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the
FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of "a'' of the life/health insurance
company, Horace Mann Life Insurance Company (Horace Mann Life).
Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of '"bbb'' and debt ratings
of the parent company, Horace Mann Educators Corporation (HMEC)
[NYSE: HMN]. The outlook for all ratings is stable. All companies are
headquartered in Springfield, IL. (See below for a detailed listing of
the companies and ratings.)
The affirmation of the ratings of Horace Mann P/C acknowledges its
strong overall capitalization, moderate five-year operating earnings and
continued expertise in writing personal lines products in the educators'
market, which has enabled the group to obtain numerous endorsements from
local, state and national educational associations. Horace Mann P/C's
competitive advantages are derived from its strict expense management,
improved underwriting and operating standards, redirected and evolving
exclusive agent business model, comprehensive enterprise risk management
program, as well as its strong name recognition in the educators'
market. Horace Mann P/C further benefits from its exclusive agency
force, many of whom are former educators, which affords strong ties to
local education communities. Through recent supplemental education and
support of its agency force, the group is positioning its agents to
fully utilize their positions in the market.
Additionally, Horace Mann P/C reported improved operating earnings in
2012, driven by favorable underwriting results that were attributable to
the implementation of rate adjustments and numerous strategic
initiatives by its management team. The ratings also reflect the
financial flexibility of HMEC, through its access to capital markets,
moderate financial leverage and solid fixed-charge coverage.
These strengths are partially offset by the deterioration in Horace Mann
P/C's pre-tax operating earnings in 2011, driven by underwriting losses
that were attributable to increased property catastrophe and
non-catastrophe storm losses and Florida sinkhole losses. In response,
the organization has implemented homeowners' rate increases, increased
re-inspections, implemented a multi-variate rating program and is in the
process of reducing its coastal exposures in a number of states. Florida
sinkhole exposures that were concentrated in Hernando, Hillsborough and
Pasco counties have been non-renewed as of December 31, 2011.
Additionally, Horace Mann P/C maintains modestly above-average
underwriting leverage relative to industry norms, although underwriting
leverage has trended steadily downward over the previous five-year
period. Furthermore, Horace Mann P/C has made significant stockholder
dividend payments to HMEC over the previous five-year period, which
somewhat tempered its surplus growth. However, the group's stockholder
dividend payments have been at a reduced percentage of overall
stockholder dividend payments in recent years, which has helped to
augment its surplus position.
As Horace Mann P/C's outlook is stable, positive rating actions could
occur if there is a sustained favorable trend in its operating results.
Negative rating actions could occur if there is deterioration in its
operating results similar to what occurred in 2011 and/or a material
decline in its risk-adjusted capitalization, potentially driven by
operating losses or stockholder dividends payments.
Horace Mann Life's ratings reflect its important role within HMEC and
the benefits it derives from HMEC's strong business franchise in the
K-12 educators' market. The ratings also reflect Horace Mann Life's
strong risk-adjusted capital position, despite increased stockholder
dividends in recent periods. In addition, the company has recorded
favorable operating results due to increased separate account fees
associated with a rising level of assets under management and its
ability to maintain interest rate spreads on its fixed annuity block by
effectively managing crediting rates in recent periods.
Partially offsetting these strengths is Horace Mann Life's significant
block of annuity business with high interest rate guarantees, its
increasing exposure to interest sensitive liabilities and its generally
low ordinary life insurance premium growth. However, A.M. Best does note
that ordinary life sales have increased considerably over this most
recent period. While the company has experienced favorable operating
results, A. M. Best believes earnings may be pressured going forward due
to spread compression as a majority of its interest sensitive
liabilities are at or near the minimum guaranteed interest rate.
Horace Mann Life is well positioned at its current rating level.
However, a material deterioration in the operating performance of its
property/casualty affiliate or excessive stockholder dividends taken by
HMEC may result in a material decline in its risk-adjusted
capitalization and a downgrading of its ratings.
The FSR of A- (Excellent) and ICRs of "a-'' have been affirmed for Horace
Mann Insurance Company and its following property/casualty insurance
Horace Mann Property & Casualty Insurance Company
Teachers Insurance Company
Horace Mann Lloyds
The following debt ratings have been affirmed:
Horace Mann Educators Corporation--
-- "bbb'' on $75 million
6.05% senior unsecured notes, due 2015
-- "bbb'' on $125 million
6.85% senior unsecured notes, due 2016
The following indicative ratings have been affirmed on securities
available under the $300 million shelf registration:
Horace Mann Educators Corporation--
-- "bbb'' on senior
-- "bbb-'' on subordinated debt
-- "bb+'' on
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. Key criteria utilized include: "Rating
Members of Insurance Groups"; "Risk Management and the Rating Process
for Insurance Companies"; "Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty
Insurers"; "Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings"; "Understanding
BCAR for Life/Health Insurers"; and "Insurance Holding Company and Debt
Ratings." Best's Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
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
A.M. Best Co.
Kenneth Tappen?P/C, 908-439-2200, ext. 5248
Adams?L/H, 908-439-2200, ext. 5133
Senior Financial Analyst
Morrow, 908-439-2200, ext. 5378
Senior Manager, Public
Peavy, 908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Assistant Vice President,