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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Symetra Financial Corporation and Its Subsidiaries
[December 13, 2018]

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Symetra Financial Corporation and Its Subsidiaries

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "a+" of Symetra Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary, First Symetra National Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY), together referred to as Symetra Life Group. Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of "bbb+" and the Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IR) of Symetra Financial Corporation (Symetra). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. All companies are headquartered in Bellevue, WA, unless otherwise specified.

The ratings reflect Symetra Life Group's balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. AM Best notes that Symetra recently completed a modified coinsurance transaction in which the company reinsured the majority of its income annuities, including all of its structured settlement business - approximately $5.7 billion in statutory reserves. Based on the terms and conditions reviewed, the impact of the transaction materially enhanced risk-adjusted capital, lowered overall investment risk and further enhanced liquidity of the organization. Additionally, Symetra Life Group's very strong balance sheet assessment reflects its very strong risk-adjusted capitalization, post transaction, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR).

Symetra's parent, Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, continues to support the organization's overall growth initiatives and strategy.

Symetra Life Group's adequate operating performance reflects the various strategic initiatives executed as the companies work to further grow its core lines of business, which include medical stop-loss, group life and accident and ordinary life products. In recent years, the group has focused on the re-pricing of its stop-loss business, which had reported a somewhat elevated loss ratio recently, dampening profitability trends in this busness. Additionally, statutory strain has impacted profitability of certain lines of business as the group works to achieve stable and profitable growth. Despite these challenges, the group has reported adequate revenue growth in its core businesses, as well as a steady stream of net investment income and adequate statutory and GAAP pre-tax gains historically.

The organization's ratings continue to consider its favorable business profile, which reflects positive diversification of products and distribution across all of its core segments. Symetra Life Group is well-recognized in the employee benefits market, has materially grown its distribution relationships across all segments and has further enhanced its brand through national advertising campaigns and philanthropic initiatives. Risk management capabilities are in line with the group's overall risk profile and AM Best notes that risk governance and culture is fully embedded throughout the organization.

The following Long-Term IRs have been affirmed:

Symetra Financial Corporation-
-- "bbb+" on $250 million 4.25% senior unsecured notes, due 2024

The following indicative Long-Term IR shelf ratings have been affirmed:

Symetra Financial Corporation-
-- "bbb+" on senior unsecured debt
-- "bbb" on subordinated debt
-- "bbb-" on junior subordinated debt
-- "bbb-" on preferred securities

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM 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 AM Best's Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best's Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best's Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best's Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM 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.

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