Insurers Go Belly Up

Each year, insurance companies go out of business. In the last ten years 400 insurers became insolvent. Their clients were severely impacted. Claims went unpaid, cash values were lost, and annuity payments were reduced or cut off. Policies had to be replaced in a rush, resulting in lower coverage and higher premiums. Not a fun time.

Several organizations analyze insurance companies for soundness. The best known is the AM Best Company (www.ambest.com). Standard & Poor’s also rates insurers. I rely on Weiss Ratings (www.weissratings.com) as a tough, unbiased source of information. They never accept fees from insurers. They utilize industry and regulator’s filings in their analysis. They’re tough graders; a B- is still considered good in their system.

A recent review of AM Best Ratings revealed that almost 90% of insurance companies receive a rating of “Very Good” or higher. Only 29% of insurers received a Weiss Rating of “Good” or higher. Weiss has a higher standard. When working with my client’s money I want objective, tough, and accurate ratings.