One of the lower ratings that a ratings agency assigns to a security or insurance carrier. This rating signifies a higher risk of default and greater risk to investors or policyholders. Entities that receive this rating are often experiencing financial instability or hold inadequate cash reserves.


The ratings assigned by the various ratings agencies are based primarily upon the insurer's or issuer's creditworthiness. This rating can therefore be interpreted as a direct measure of the probability of default. However, credit stability and priority of payment are also factored into the rating.

  1. Moody's

    An independent, unaffiliated research company that rates fixed ...
  2. Fitch Ratings

    An international credit rating agency based out of New York City ...
  3. Ratings Service

    A company, such as Moody's or Standard & Poor's, that rates ...
  4. Standard & Poor's - S&P

    The world's leading index provider and the foremost source of ...
  5. Encumbrance

    A claim against a property by a party that is not the owner. ...
  6. Equity Risk Premium

    The excess return that investing in the stock market provides ...
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