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Unum (UNM) and Units' Ratings & Outlook Upgraded by AM Best

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Unum Group’s (UNM - Free Report) Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of "bbb" (Good) and the Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IR) were reiterated by AM Best. The outlook was upgraded to stable from negative.

Concurrently, Starmount Life Insurance Company’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) has been upgraded to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR to "a" (Excellent) from "a-" (Excellent) with stable outlook. Starmount Life Insurance Company is a part of a unit of the company.

Also, the rating giant reiterated the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of "a" (Excellent) for the existing members of Unum Insurance Group and upgraded the outlook to stable from negative.

A rating action reflects a strong balance sheet, sustained solid operating performance, favorable business mix and prudent enterprise risk management (ERM) of Unum and its core U.S. life/health insurance subsidiaries.

The outlook upgrade came on the back of easing of balance sheet pressure, which was created due to COVID-19, as well as profitability that is expected to sustain through medium term.

Rating affirmations or upgrades from credit rating agencies play an important role in retaining investor confidence as well as maintaining creditworthiness of a stock. Rating downgrades not only hamper business but also increase the cost of future debt issuances.

Unum is ranked as the leading disability income writer and the second-largest writer of voluntary business in the United States. It continues to deliver favorable operating results across majority of its insurance entities driven by a sustained solid operational performance, favorable benefits experience as well as solid top-line growth in the core businesses. It possesses a solid balance sheet with solid level of statutory earnings and capital, cushioning financial flexibility.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) accident and health insurer have rallied 32.2% year to date, outperforming the industry’s increase of 23.2%. Disciplined sales trends, strong persistency, conservative pricing and favorable benefit experience driving operating results across majority of its insurance entities should help it retain the momentum.

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Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Selective Insurance Group (SIGI - Free Report) , Employers Holdings (EIG - Free Report) and W.R. Berkley Corporation (WRB - Free Report) .

Selective Insurance delivered 75.26% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter. It sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Employers Holdings delivered 15.91% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter. It carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

W.R. Berkley Corporation delivered 21.35% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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