The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Press release from Business Wire

A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to WellPoint Inc.'s New Senior Unsecured Notes

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to WellPoint Inc.'s New Senior Unsecured Notes10:56 EDT Tuesday, August 16, 2011 OLDWICK, N.J. (Business Wire) -- A.M. Best Co. has assigned a debt rating of “bbb+” to $400 million 2.375% senior unsecured notes, due 2017, and a debt rating of “bbb+” to $700 million 3.70% senior unsecured notes, due 2021, recently issued by WellPoint Inc. (WellPoint) (Indianapolis, IN) (NYSE: WLP). The assigned outlook is stable. All other existing ratings of WellPoint and its subsidiaries are unchanged. A.M. Best expects that the proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, which may include repayment of short- and long-term debt as well as funding of the CareMore Health Group acquisition. WellPoint's debt to capital at June 30, 2010, was approximately 27% and is expected to increase to around 30% with this issuance. WellPoint's EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) interest coverage was 11 times at year-end 2010 and is expected to remain at or above 9 times for 2011. Both the debt-to-capital ratio and the EBIT interest coverage are well within the guidelines for the ratings. WellPoint is well diversified geographically across business segments. Earnings and operation cash flows have been strong. WellPoint carries a significant amount of goodwill and other intangible assets on its balance sheet, which may grow upon completion of the CareMore Health Group acquisition. However, A.M. Best does recognize that the company's ratio of intangibles plus goodwill to equity is in line with some of its peers. The principal methodology used in determining these ratings is Best's Credit Rating Methodology -- Global Life and Non-Life Insurance Edition, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best's rating process and highlights the different rating criteria employed. Additional key criteria utilized include: “A.M. Best's Ratings & the Treatment of Debt.” Methodologies can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology. Founded in 1899, 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 © 2011 by A.M. Best Company, Inc.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. A.M. Best Co.Wayne Kaminski, 908-439-2200, ext. 5061Financial Analystwayne.kaminski@ambest.comorSally Rosen, 908-439-2200, ext. 5280Managing Senior Financial Analystsally.rosen@ambest.comorChris Sharkey, 908-439-2200, ext. 5159Business Analystchristopher.sharkey@ambest.comorJim Peavy, 908-439-2200, ext. 5644Assistant Vice President, Public Relationsjames.peavy@ambest.com