A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of AXA Financial, Inc. and Certain Subsidiaries

  A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of AXA Financial, Inc. and Certain Subsidiaries

Business Wire

OLDWICK, N.J. -- July 3, 2013

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” and debt
ratings of AXA Financial, Inc. (AXA Financial) (New York, NY), as well as the
financial strength rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and ICR of “aa-” of its lead
operating subsidiary, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable)
(New York, NY). The outlook for all ratings is negative. (See below for a
detailed listing of AXA Financial’s other subsidiaries and ratings.)

The affirmation of the ratings of AXA Financial's life subsidiaries reflects
its prominent position in the industry as one of the leading variable annuity
writers and global asset managers, and its importance to its ultimate parent,
AXA S.A. (Paris, France), a publicly traded, worldwide leader in financial
protection and wealth management. AXA Financial benefits from a diversified
and productive distribution model, which includes a significant ownership of
AllianceBernstein (AB), one of the largest publicly traded global investment
management firms.

Although risk-adjusted capital ratios have improved, volatility in both
earnings and capital continue as negative rating factors. Moreover, AXA
Financial remains exposed to equity market pressures on both sides of the
balance sheet through its investment in AB and through its variable insurance
products with guaranteed benefits, as well as to volatility in revenues from
asset fees as a result of the changes in market values of its large separate
account book of business and derivative activity. However, A.M. Best notes
that the exposure from variable annuity guarantees is managed effectively
through reinsurance and hedging programs and that the company has, in recent
years, developed and introduced new and innovative products with the objective
of offering a more balanced and diversified product portfolio. Additionally,
general account investments consist of a well-diversified portfolio of public
and private fixed maturities, commercial and agricultural mortgages and other
loans, equity securities and other invested assets.

While A.M. Best has affirmed the ratings of AXA Financial’s life insurance
subsidiaries, the negative outlook reflects a concern with the exposure of the
companies’ ultimate parent, AXA S.A., to the ongoing uncertainty in the
eurozone and the potential impact on its U.S. operations.

The ratings of AXA Financial’s life insurance subsidiaries benefit from its
ownership by AXA S.A.; therefore, any deterioration in the financial strength
of AXA S.A. would negatively impact the ratings of AXA Financial’s U.S. life
insurance subsidiaries. A negative rating action also could occur for any one
of the company’s subsidiaries if the strategic importance of the company to
the parent changes, negative changes materialize in risk-based capital
measures, or a trend of negative operating performance develops. The rating
outlook could be moved back to stable if the general market conditions in the
eurozone were to markedly improve. In addition, a positive rating action could
occur for any subsidiary which is no longer viewed by A.M. Best to be
non-core, specifically MONY Life Insurance of America, if premium growth
establishes enough of a trend while maintaining solid capital, earnings and
liquidity profiles.

The FSR of A+ (Superior) and ICR of “aa-” have been affirmed with a negative
outlook for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, a  subsidiary of AXA
Financial, Inc.

The FSRs of A (Excellent) and ICR of “a+” have been affirmed for:

  *AXA Equitable Life and Annuity Company
  *U.S. Financial Life Insurance Company
  *MONY Life Insurance Company of America

The FSR of B++ (Good) ) and ICR of “bbb” have been affirmed with a stable
outlook for AXA Corporate Solutions Life Reinsurance.

The following debt ratings have been affirmed:

AXA Financial, Inc.—

-- “a-” on $350 million 7% senior unsecured debentures, due 2028

AXA Financial, Inc.—

-- “AMB-1” on its commercial paper program

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company—

-- “a” on $200 million 7.7% surplus notes, due 2015

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. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at
www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance
rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

       Copyright © 2013 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contact:

A.M. Best Company, Inc.
Anthony McSwieney, 908-439-2200, ext. 5715
Senior Financial Analyst
anthony.mcswieney@ambest.com
or
William Pargeans, 908-439-2200, ext. 5359
Assistant Vice President
william.pargeans@ambest.com
or
Rachelle Morrow, 908-439-2200, ext. 5378
Senior Manager, Public Relations
rachelle.morrow@ambest.com
or
Jim Peavy, 908-439-2200, ext. 5644
Assistant Vice President, Public Relations
james.peavy@ambest.com
 
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