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A.M. Best Revises Outlooks to Positive for SSQ Life Insurance Company, Inc.

September 20, 2018

OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 20, 2018--A.M. Best has revised the outlooks to positive from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” of SSQ Life Insurance Company, Inc. (SSQ) (Quebec, Canada)

The ratings reflect SSQ’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

SSQ is primarily involved in group insurance and holds significant market share within the Quebec province. The company’s majority shareholder, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the largest developmental capital network within Quebec, holds a 71% direct ownership stake and provided capital in 2012 to assist with SSQ’s acquisition of AXA Life of Canada. SSQ continues to prioritize expanding outside of Quebec with some success over the long-term.

The positive outlooks reflect SSQ’s improved risk-adjusted capitalization coupled with a trend of decreasing financial leverage due to significant capital growth and pay down of debt. The company’s risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), has improved notably in the previous several years due to the growth in capital. In addition, the company reported a very favorable regulatory solvency ratio during 2018 under AMF’s new capital regime CARLI (capital adequacy requirements for life insurers), which took effect in Quebec on Jan. 1, 2018.

SSQ also continues to produce strong operating performance year-over-year, often with low double-digit returns on equity. Despite some volatility in earnings by line, group insurance continues to generate favorable earnings on growing business volume. The company’s investment and retirement division also has emerged as an earnings producer in the previous two years due to successful implementation of profitability enhancements.

A.M. Best believes that SSQ will continue to maintain or improve its overall balance sheet strength over time, but also will continue to have difficulty expanding outside its home province of Quebec due to intense competition from larger more established entities.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings 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 web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view . For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view .

A.M. Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry. Visit for more information.

Copyright © 2018 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180920005826/en/

CONTACT: A.M. Best

Kevin Varvar, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5487

Financial Analyst

kevin.varvaro@ambest.com

or

Edward Kohlberg, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5664

Associate Director

edward.kohlberg@ambest.com

or

Christopher Sharkey, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5159

Manager, Public Relations

christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

or

Jim Peavy, +1 908-439-2200, ext. 5644

Director, Public Relations

james.peavy@ambest.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES EUROPE NORTH AMERICA CANADA NEW JERSEY

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES INSURANCE

SOURCE: A.M. Best

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 09/20/2018 03:15 PM/DISC: 09/20/2018 03:15 PM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180920005826/en

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