Ratings Updates

Entries for November 2009

Not a lot of activity this month - a few companies have been moved to the watch list, generally with negative implications.  Capital models remain in flux with the rating agencies.  There is continued concern for the commercial mortgage market and weakening on the asset side for companies with heavier exposure.
And now - a note from a different perspective:  Everyone likes to produce the Top 10 list - thank you David Letterman - and I saw two this month you might want to keep in mind for your clients:
Forbes article by Marc Kramer (11.20.09 for more details) 
Ten questions you should never stop asking:
1.  What is our purpose for existing?
2.  Who is our target customer?
3.  Why does anyone need what we are selling?
4.  If there is a need, is it enough to support a profitable business?
5.  What are our competitors up to?
6.  Can we reduce expenses - without harming the product?
7.  Do we have the right leadership?
8.  Do we have the right employees?
9.  How will we continue to drive revenue?
10.  How are your employees holding up?
I found these to be very challenging for our business at Petra Life Services.
Then an article in Financial Times by Luke Johnson (11.17.09)
Ten Ways to Murder a Business:
 1.  Take on too much debt.
 2.  Choose the wrong business partner.
 3.  Become overdependent on one customer.
 4.  Get ill.
 5.  Make a mess of a major IT project.
 6.  Get into a price war.
 7.  Sign a burdensome property lease.
 8.  Forget your customers.
 9.  Never evolve.
10. Don't bother investing.
We have not been around long enough for these to have broad implications for Petra Life but they may be important for some of your clients.
Please let me know if you like notes like this from time to time beyond just life insurance matters.
All of us at Petra Life Services wish you a very joyful and stress-free holiday season!

For the month of November 2009 
AM Best
S & P
Berkshire Hathaway
A++ to A++w
AAA to AAAw-
Primerica Life
A+ to A+w
AA to AAw-
'w' refers to the insurance company being on the rating agency's watch list.
If you would like more information about these or any other topics related to life insurance please give us a call at 205.414.9955.  We look forward to being of service.