Understanding the Comdex Score: A Valuable Metric for Rating Insurance Companies

Risk spelled out with wooden blocks COMDEX Score explained article

What is a Comdex Score (Rating)?

In this guide, I will introduce you to the Comdex Score, a rating method that combines financial strength ratings from multiple rating agencies to generate a single score for insurers.

I’ll highlight the advantages and limitations of the rating and provide insights on how to interpret and use the Comdex Score.

The Comdex Score’s numeric rating can be a useful tool when conducting your due diligence in selecting an insurance company. 

Key Takeaways:

  • A Comdex Score is a ranking from 1-100 that is assigned to insurance companies as a composite score of all ratings assigned by rating agencies.
  • The Comdex Score puts the rating agency scores in context by placing an insurance company into a percentile showing how it compares to all other insurers. 
  •  A Comdex Score of 85 means an insurance company is ranked higher than 84% of all insurance companies; or you could say, lower than 15% of all rated companies.

Annuity Companies with the Highest Comdex Scores

The below table lists the Comdex Score ( you may have heard it referred to as Comdex Rating or Comdex Ranking) for top Annuity Companies.

The Comdex Rating Scale

The Comdex is not a rating from an individual rating agency but a composite of all the ratings an insurance company has received from the five main insurance company rating agencies.

There are five main insurance company rating agencies whose Insurance Company Ratings are widely accepted:

  1. A.M. Best
  2. Moody’s
  3. Weiss
  4. Standard & Poor’s
  5. Fitch

The Comdex score was created to take those ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s and place them all on a level playing field. The idea here is to take a sort of ‘average’ number, then find out where the carrier ranks among the others based on that ‘average.’

In order to be assigned a Comdex Score, an insurance company must have a rating assigned by at least two of the five main rating agencies listed above.

A Composite Index Rating Scale

The Comdex Rating then puts each company into a single, 100-point scale. This method creates a percentile in which to place each company.

The higher the percentile, the higher the company’s overall rankings among the other private rating companies.

Many individuals shopping for an insurance product find it much easier to look at a score on a scale of 1-100 than to try to understand four different rating scales and their methodology. 

Below is a sample insurance company financial chart that shows different ratings available from each of the five main rating agencies, and once lesser-known agencies (KBRA).

The Comdex Score takes all of these into account when creating a single Comdex Score from 1 to 100.

Ratings chart showing financial ratings that are combined using the Comdex Score

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The Comdex Score: Rating Insurers on a 100-Point Scale

The 100-point scale puts the credit rating scores in context as it allows you to see how a company compares to its competitors based on what percentile it falls into.

For Example, a Comdex Score of 85 means the insurer is in the top 15th percentile. Or another way of putting it – rated superior to 84 percent of insurance companies.

To be assigned a number, the Comdex Score first takes a complete count of all rated companies.

Next, each individual rating agency’s full list of carriers is counted and divided by how many carriers were in each category.

For example, if A.M. Best rated 100 carriers and only five were able to obtain the top rate, those five would be in the 100th percentile. If another 20 got the second-highest score, they would be in the next percentile, and so on.

How is the Comdex Rating Calculated?

After the four agencies have their lists compiled, sorted, and calculated for carriers’ scores, the scores are then tallied up and averaged for the carriers.

He is a specific example:

Let’s say XYZ insurance company was in the 90th percentile for A.M. Best, the 85th percentile for Fitch and the 80th percentile for Moody’s, the average of the three would be a Comdex score of 85 (90+85+80=255, 255/3=85).

While, once again, this cannot be the only number you can rely on, it does help to find what percentile a company is in with a somewhat fair amount of data.

Rather than trying to compile all the life insurance providers on your radar, comparing their scores across rating companies, then seeing how they stand up against their competitors, you can simply check the percentile in which each company falls.

Understanding Financial Profiles

EbixExchange

The Comdex score is only available in VitalSigns, a product of EbixExchange. If you’d like to review more company-specific information for Ebix, they are listed on the NASDAQ Global Market (ticker symbol – EBIX).

Ebix provides a complete suite of services with seamless data flow to insurance channels around the world. They have a long history of designing innovative solutions that have earmarked an era of excellence in the history of Ebix.

Committed to its endeavor to answer the ever-increasing needs of Insurance organizations all over the world; Ebix is a leading international supplier of on-demand infrastructure exchanges to the insurance, financial, and healthcare industries.

In the Insurance sector, the Company’s main focus is to develop and deploy a wide variety of insurance and reinsurance exchanges on an on-demand basis.

VitalSigns

VitalSigns provides carrier financials and ratings for a little over 500 insurance companies. VitalSigns quickly and reliably qualifies a carrier’s financial strength in a variety of easy-to-understand reports.

  • Reliable Data – VitalSigns uses yearly financials reported to the NAIC and ratings from the 5 leading rating services with a Comdex ranking to help interpret the ratings.
  • Time-Savings Features – VitalSigns aggregates all the ratings and financial data and creates a report showing a carrier’s financial strength. In addition, financial charts and tables provide a more in-depth look into the overall health of each insurance company.

You’ll find total assets & liabilities, invested asset distribution, non-performing assets, 5-year investment returns, and bond quality in addition to financial ratings from each of the major agencies.

Insurance companies are required to report annual statements to the government. This data is used to monitor the financial health of insurers and protect the interests of consumers.

VitalSigns provides this data, for 500 companies. These statements, filed in March, contain data for the previous year. VitalSigns releases new financials each spring.

Using these yearly financials reported to the NAIC and ratings from the five leading rating agencies, VitalSigns establishes a Comdex Score (or ranking) to help you interpret the ratings.

VitalSigns includes explanations for each rating and a chart that compares the ratings by each service.

An AM Best A+ is quite different from a Standard & Poor’s A+.

Comdex – Our exclusive composite index, Comdex, gives you a quick summary of a carrier’s ratings and shows you how they stack up.

Numerical Equivalent – A number in parenthesis next to each rating quickly tells you where that rating fits on the scale for that rating service. A+ (2) tells you this is the second-best rating for AM Best.

Rating Chart – A rating chart compares the ratings for each rating service, so you can quickly compare.

Resources related to Comdex Ratings

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