CNA Financial Corp. has achieved an “A+” financial strength rating from Standard & Poor’s, an upgrade made in recognition of the Chicago-based insurer’s efforts to improve its operations and culture.

S&P Global Ratings made the upgrade from an initial “A” Rating. As well, it raised CNA’s long-term issuer credit rating to “A-” from “BBB+.” The insurer’s outlook is stable.

“The upgrade recognizes CNA’s operating performance, earnings stability and market presence commensurate with its ‘A+’ peers,” S&P explained in its notice. “The company is among the top 10 commercial primary insurers in the U.S. Since 2016 [it] has deepened its underwriting culture, effectively realigned with distribution partners, actively reduced expense and reconstructed its underwriting portfolio, increasing its focus on specialized products while contracting certain non-performing standard commercial lines.”

Standard & Poor’s noted that the company has made accomplishments in a number of areas, including underwriting controls, actuarial analytics and claims management. As well, S&P credited CNA with stabilizing its operational/technology infrastructure and centralizing its processes.

Additionally, CNA earned kudos for investing in top talent “to further enhance underwriting acumen and precision on risk selections.”

According to S&P, the end result has been a wonderful thing: “10 consecutive quarters of strong underwriting results.”

S&P added that it expects CNA to remain competitive, thanks to its investment in advanced data analytics and reporting tools, as well as its increased culture of accountability.

CNA booked $107 million in net income during the 2019 third quarter. The number would have been higher, save for a $170 million charge involving deficient active life premium reserves on a long-term-care book, “primarily driven by lower discount rate assumptions.”

Source: Standard & Poor’s