Fitch Ratings is a global rating agency committed to providing the world's credit markets with independent and prospective credit opinions, research, and data. With 50 offices worldwide, Fitch Ratings' global expertise, built on a foundation of local market experience, spans across capital markets in over 150 countries. Fitch Ratings is widely recognized by investors, issuers, and bankers for its credible, transparent, and timely coverage. Fitch Ratings is headquartered in New York and London and is part of the Fitch Group. In addition to Fitch Ratings, the Fitch Group also includes Fitch Solutions, a distribution channel for Fitch Ratings products and a provider of data, analytics, and related services. The Fitch Group also includes Algorithmics, a world leading provider of enterprise risk management solutions. The Fitch Group is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fimalac, S.A., headquartered in Paris, France.

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Fitch Ratings cut their ratings on Hartford Financial Services Group to two steps above junk status.

Analysts are concerned about Hartford's decision to pause or cancel annuity sales in Japan, Germany and the U.K.

Hartford has also begun implementing major changes to its U.S. based variable annuity business.

Hartford is one of the life and annuity insurers that has been particularly hard hit by the capital market risk and volatility that has been rampant during the financial crisis. 

Source: Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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Credit risk or the possibility of company insolvency are top of mind for many people who are considering an annuity purchase. 

However, as indicated in the Wall Street Journal article referenced below, 90% of policyholders impacted by recent insolvencies have received full benefits--largely through a combination of remaining insurer assets and funds provided by state guaranty associations. 

Due diligence and--to the extent possible--some comparison shopping are encouraged before purchasing any annuity.

Ratings from the following top four rating agencies are also discussed:

  1. A.M. Best
  2. Fitch
  3. Moody's
  4. Standard & Poors

Source: Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Full Story

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Are you asking from the perspective of a current or prospective policyholder?

If so, what type of policy--annuity, life or disability?  They are also very active in asset management arena with Seligman acquisition.  Please clarify which area is the base of your inquiry.

Their ratings, as you indicate, are OK: A+ AM Best, AA- Fitch, Aa3 Moody's, AA- S&P.

Not quite sure where the FDIC comment comes into play.  They do not appear to be a depository institution.  Maybe they have a proprietary money market fund?  State guaranty funds would back life/annuity products to limited extent in the case of insolvency.

Please feel free to refine question if you are comfortable and we'll do our best to shed some light on it.


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