Hanover Insurance stock rating by A.M. Best Co: A.M. Best Co. has assigned a debt rating of “bb+” to the 40-year $175 million 6.35% fixed rate junior subordinated debentures recently issued by The Hanover Insurance Group Inc (Hanover, Inc.) (Worcester, MA) [NYSE: THG]. Additionally, A.M. Best has assigned indicative ratings of “BBB” on senior unsecured debt, “bb+” on junior subordinated debt and “bb+” on the preferred stock of the recently filed shelf registration of Hanover, Inc. The outlook assigned to all ratings is stable. All existing ratings of Hanover, Inc. and its subsidiaries are unchanged.
The rating assignments recognize Hanover P&C Group’s (Hanover) favorable risk-adjusted capitalization and generally positive operating results despite significant catastrophic weather-related activity in the United States in recent years. The ratings also recognize Hanover’s proactive and comprehensive risk management, its significant U.S. market presence in commercial and personal lines, as well as solid earnings in its international segment generated by its United Kingdom subsidiary, Chaucer Holdings, PLC.
As of December 31, 2012, Hanover, Inc.’s unadjusted debt-to-capital and debt-to-tangible capital ratios were 24.7% and 26.1%, respectively. The additional borrowings of $175 million will result in a slight increase of the unadjusted debt-to-capital and debt-to-tangible capital ratios to 27.1% and 28.5%, respectively, which remain well within the financial leverage guidelines for its assigned ratings.
While Hanover Inc.’s fixed charge coverage declined in 2012 from historical levels, largely due to a significant increase in catastrophe and weather-related losses (primarily from Hurricane Sandy), historical interest coverage has been supportive of its ratings.
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: “Insurance Holding Company and Debt Ratings”; “Equity Credit for Hybrid Securities”; and “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies.” Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
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