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   Financial strength
  Financial Strength
  Standard & Poor's credit rating   With Profit strength
  Moody's credit rating   
    
    

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Standard & Poor's credit rating
There are a number of ways of determining the financial strength of providers. The simplest is the rates these providers are given by independent credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poors. This is a measure of the capacity to meet policyholder obligations under a variety of economic and underwriting conditions. The ratings are as follows:

Standard & Poor's credit rating
AAA Superior
  Superior financial security on an absolute and relative basis. Capacity to meet policyholder obligations is overwhelming under a variety of economic and underwriting conditions.
AA Excellent
  Excellent financial security. Capacity to meet policyholder obligations is strong under a variety of economic and underwriting conditions.
A Good
  Good financial security but capacity to meet policyholder obligations is somewhat susceptible to adverse economic and underwriting conditions.
BBB Adequate
  Adequate financial security but capacity to meet policyholder obligations is susceptible to adverse economic and underwriting conditions.
BB May be adequate
  Financial security may be adequate, but capacity to meet policyholder obligations, particularly with respect to long term or "long trail" policies, is vulnerable to adverse economic and underwriting conditions.
B Vulnerable
  Vulnerable financial security. Currently able to meet policyholder obligations but capacity to meet policyholder obligations is particularly vulnerable to adverse economic and underwriting conditions.
CCC Extremely
vulnerable
  Extremely vulnerable financial security. Continued capacity to meet policyholder obligations is highly questionable unless favourable economic and underwriting conditions prevail.
NR Not Rated
  Financial security not rated. Standard & Poor's has not been requested to rate the capacity to meet policyholder obligations.


Moody's credit rating
Another major independent credit rating agency is Moodys that provide a similar rating as Standard & Poors. Again Moodys credit rating is a measure of the capacity to meet policyholder obligations under a variety of economic and underwriting conditions. The ratings are as follows:

Moody's credit rating
Aaa Exceptional
  Insurance companies rated Aaa offer exceptional financial security. While the financial strength of these companies is likely to change, such changes as can be visualised are most unlikely to impair their fundamentally strong position.
Aa Excellent
  Insurance companies rated Aa offer excellent financial security. Together with the Aaa group, they constitute what are generally known as as high-grade companies and rated lower than Aaa companies because long-term risks appear somewhat larger.
A Good
  Insurance companies rated A offer good financial security. However, elements may be present which suggest a susceptibility to impairment sometime in the future.
Baa Adequate
  Insurance companies rated Baa offer adequate financial security. However, certain protective elements may be lacking or may be characteristically unreliable over any length of time.
Ba Questionable
  Insurance companies rated Ba offer questionable financial security. Often the ability of these companies to meet policyholder obligations may be very moderate and thereby not well safeguarded in the future.
B Poor
  Insurance companies rated B offer poor financial security. Assistance of punctual payment of policyholder obligations may be very moderate and thereby not well safeguarded in the future.
Caa Very Poor
  Insurance companies rated Caa offer very poor financial security. They may be in default on their policyholder obligations or there may be present elements of danger with respect to punctual payment of policyholder obligations and claims.
Ca Extremely
Poor
  Insurance companies rated Ca offer extremely poor financial security. Such companies are often in default on their policyholder obligations or have other marked shortcomings.
C Lowest
  Insurance companies rated C are the lowest rated class of insurance company and are regarded as having extremely poor prospects of ever offering financial strength.


With Profit strength
In addition information is available regarding the providers total assets under management (TA), free assets (FA) and free asset ratio as follows:

With Profit financial strength
Life company S & P TA (£bn) FAR FA (£m)
AXA AA £555 9.5% £1,081
Britannic BBB £15 6.4% £440
Clerical Medical AA £62 9.5% £2,039
Eagle Star A- £16 4.5% £526
Friends Provident AA- £66 7.7% £1,775
Legal & General AAA £120 7.1% £2,757
Liverpool & Victoria BBB £6.5 13.6% £541
MGM Assurance NR £1.3 3.3% £45
Norwich Union AA £200 8.9% £2,866
NPI A+ £100 4.6% £758
Royal London NR £21 5.6% £1,185
R & S Alliance NR N/A 6.1% £681
Prudential AA+ £163 7.3% £5,672
Scottish Equitable AA+ £185 6.9% £803
Scottish Mutual A- £15 3.3% £503
Scottish Provident NR £10 5.8% £536
Scottish Widows AA £76 6.6% £1,521
Standard Life AA £80 5.0% £3,356
Winterthur Life A £528 2.4% £144
Abbreviations - S & P: Standard & Poor's rating; FAR: free asset ratio; TA: total assets under management in £ billions; FA: free assets (assets over liabilities of the With Profit fund) in £ millions free annuity quote.

The total assets under management relate to policyholders investments. The free assets relate to the assets of the life company and the free asset ratio shows the percentage of the assets of the company over the liabilities.

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