August 04, 2005 09:12 ET

A.M. Best Assigns Rating to Great-West Lifeco's Preferred Shares

OLDWICK, N.J.--(CCNMatthews - Aug 4, 2005) -

A.M. Best Co. has assigned a debt rating of "a-" to Great-West Lifeco, Inc.'s (Great-West) (Winnipeg) CAD300 million 4.85% non-cumulative first preferred shares, Series H. The rating outlook is stable. The existing financial strength, issuer credit and debt ratings of Great-West and its subsidiaries remain unchanged.

The proceeds of the offering may be used to pay down existing term bank debt, repurchase existing preferred shares or for general corporate purposes. Following the issuance of the securities, Great-West's interest coverage will remain strong and leverage ratios will remain within A.M. Best's expectations.

The rating reflects Great-West's solid operating fundamentals, including its excellent risk-adjusted capitalization and superior financial performance, significant scale advantages in core business lines and strong investment management capabilities. The rating also considers Great-West's position as the largest life insurance company in Canada, with superior market positions in both the protection and wealth accumulation segments.

Offsetting factors include the highly competitive nature of the Canadian life insurance marketplace and the increased level of goodwill and leverage associated with the acquisition of Canada Life Financial Corporation (Toronto).

For Best's Debt Ratings, all other Best's Ratings, an overview of the rating process and rating methodologies, please visit http://www.ambest.com/ratings.

For current Best's Ratings, independent data and analysis on more than 1,100 individual life/health companies and A.M. Best groups, please visit http://www.ambest.com/lh.

A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at http://www.ambest.com.

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