updated 11/23/2010 11:46:25 AM ET 2010-11-23T16:46:25

STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Holding Company (NYSE:IHC) today announced that A.M. Best Company has upgraded its outlook to "Stable," and affirmed the financial strength rating of "A-" (Excellent) of each IHC carrier: Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company.

Roy Thung, Chief Executive Officer of The IHC Group, commented, "We are very pleased that A.M. Best upgraded our outlook to "Stable," and has affirmed our group rating of 'A-' (Excellent). In doing so, A.M. Best has recognized that 'the revised outlook reflects Independence Holding's improved operating income from a more diverse revenue stream, growing capitalization and improved unrealized gain/loss position in its investment portfolio.' They also noted that our efforts to place business through controlled distribution have enabled our carriers to 'generate less volatile operating results recently and the organization's risk-adjusted capital position to improve.' "

Mr. Thung continued, "Our financial condition remains very strong as our book value per share increased 20 percent to an all-time high of $15.81 on September 30, 2010. We have accomplished this increase despite taking significant impairment charges in 2008 at the height of the economic crisis. Our statutory capital is at its highest level ever; our fixed-maturity portfolio continues to be rated, on average, 'AA,' and stockholders' equity on September 30, 2010 reached $241 million, which is higher than it was on December 31, 2007, before the world economic crisis."  

About Independence Holding Company

IHC is a holding company principally engaged in the life and health insurance business and the acquisition of blocks of policies through its insurance company subsidiaries (Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company) and its managing general underwriters, third-party administrators, and marketing affiliates. Standard Security Life markets medical stop-loss, small group major medical, short-term medical, major medical for individuals and families, limited medical, group long and short-term disability and life, dental, vision and managed health care products. Madison Life sells group life and disability, employer medical stop-loss, small group major medical, major medical for individuals and families, short-term medical, dental, vision, and individual life insurance. Independence American offers medical stop-loss, small group major medical, short-term medical, and major medical for individuals and families. IHC owns certain subsidiaries through its majority ownership of American Independence Corp. (Nasdaq:AMIC), which is a holding company principally engaged in the insurance and reinsurance business.

Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements and information contained in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements," such as statements relating to management's views with respect to future events and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from historical experience or from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, economic conditions in the markets in which we operate, new federal or state governmental regulation, our ability effectively to operate, integrate and leverage any past or future strategic acquisition, and other factors which can be found in our news releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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