|Generali - 11:08:20|
Trieste – The rating agency Standard & Poor’s revised Generali rating by one notch to A+ from AA- keeping it on CreditWatch with negative implications. This is one of various ratings actions taken on European insurers following recent sovereign rating actions.“Because of Generali's diverse businesses in higher-rated eurozone sovereign countries – explains the rating agency – the ratings on Generali may be up to three notches above the Italian local currency sovereign rating.”“Thus, when we lowered the sovereign rating by two notches, we lowered the rating on Generali by one notch.”
Please find below the original press release by S&P.
We lowered the ratings on Allianz SpA, Mapfre Group, and Millenniumbcp-Ageas Group by two notches and CCR and Nacional by one notch. The outlooks are negative.We lowered the ratings on the following insurers (and certain related operating subsidiaries and certain holding companies) by one notch and kept them on CreditWatch negative:
We affirmed the ratings on the following insurers and removed them from CreditWatch. The outlooks are negative:
We have not yet completed our review of the effect of the sovereign actions on Allianz Group, Aviva Group, Axa Group, and CNP Group and have therefore not taken any rating action on these groups today.
The rating actions follow our recent sovereign rating actions: we lowered our ratings on nine of the 17 eurozone member countries and affirmed our ratings on a further seven eurozone countries. We also removed the sovereign ratings from CreditWatch negative (see "Standard & Poor's Takes Various Rating Actions On 16 Eurozone Sovereign Governments," published on Jan. 13, 2012).
The bias of our insurance ratings in the eurozone and Europe as a whole remains negative. Of our ratings, approximately 30% have negative outlooks or are on CreditWatch with negative implications, 64% have stable outlooks, and 6% positive outlooks or are on CreditWatch with positive implications.
Our recent commentary "European Insurance Credit Trends: Third-Quarter 2011 Market Movements Take Their Toll On Insurers' Capital Adequacy," published on Nov. 4, 2011, explained the factors underpinning our views. Our more-recent negative update to Europe's economic growth prospects (see "European Economic Outlook: Back In Recession," Dec. 1, 2011) and the heightened credit risk reflected in our Jan. 13, 2012 sovereign actions only serve to compound the difficulties that insurers face. In our view, these factors are likely to result in predominantly negative rating actions over the medium term.
Our rating actions can be categorized according to the criteria used in taking the action .
GOVERNMENT-RELATED ENTITIES IN FRANCE AND SLOVENIAWe lowered the long-term ratings on France-based CCR by one notch under our government-related entities criteria (see "Rating Government-Related Entities: Methodology And Assumptions," Dec. 9, 2010). The outlook is negative. We affirmed the ratings on Slovenia-based Triglav Group and SAVA with a negative outlook. In our opinion, the likelihood of timely and sufficient extraordinary government support in the event of financial distress is "almost certain" in the case of CCR, "high" in the case of Triglav Group, and "moderately high" in the case of SAVA.
DOMESTIC INSURERS IN PORTUGAL, SPAIN, AND ITALYWe lowered ratings on Portugal-based Millenniumbcp-Ageas Group and Spain-based Mapfre Group by two notches. The outlooks on Mapfre's U.S. subsidiaries are stable; all others are negative. We lowered the ratings on Italy-based Unipol Group and Cattolica and Spain-based Nacional by one notch. The ratings on Unipol remain on CreditWatch, following Unipol's announcement of its intention to initially acquire 51.287% shares in Premafin HP SpA, Fondiaria-SAI SpA's holding company, and ultimately merge it with Fondiaria-SAI SpA, Milano Assicurazioni SpA, and Unipol Assicurazioni SpA (see "Italy-Based Insurance Group Unipol Downgraded And Kept On CreditWatch Neg Following Sovereign Downgrade And Merger Plans," published today). The ratings on Cattolica remain on CreditWatch negative pending a more detailed review of its capital adequacy.These ratings are at the same level as the local sovereign--they are constrained under our insurer country risk criteria (see "Criteria Update: Factoring Country Risk Into Insurer Financial Strength Ratings", Feb. 11, 2003). Our criteria use the local currency sovereign rating as a proxy for country risk. The local currency sovereign rating limits the ratings on these companies, either because their assets include material amounts of domestic sovereign debt, domestic bank debt, or domestic bank deposits, or because they have a largely domestic customer base.The ratings on Italy-based Allianz SpA were lowered by two notches. The ratings are not constrained at the Italian local currency sovereign rating level under our criteria "Nonsovereign Ratings That Exceed EMU Sovereign Ratings: Methodology And Assumptions," published on June 14, 2011. However, under these criteria, we cap our ratings on "core" insurance subsidiaries with 10% exposure or higher to the jurisdiction of domicile at three notches above our rating on the related sovereign.
DOMESTIC INSURERS IN IRELANDThe ratings on Ireland-based Allianz PLC, RSA Ireland, AXA Insurance Ltd., Aviva Insurance (Europe) SE, and IPB were affirmed and remain at the same level as the local sovereign, where they are constrained under our insurer country risk criteria.
INSURERS THAT OPERATE ACROSS THE EUROZONE OR HAVE A HIGH LEVEL OF EXPOSURE TO EUROZONE RISKSThe ratings on Generali were lowered by one notch and remain on CreditWatch negative, except for Generali USA Life Reassurance Co., which has a stable outlook, and Generali's Germany-based bank, Deutsche Bausparkasse Badenia AG, which is remaining on CreditWatch negative with no change to the rating. Because of Generali's diverse businesses in higher-rated eurozone sovereign countries, the ratings on Generali may be up to three notches above the Italian local currency sovereign rating, which would otherwise constrain it under our June 14, 2011 criteria. Thus, when we lowered the sovereign rating by two notches, we lowered the rating on Generali by one notch. The rating remains on CreditWatch because we could lower it by a further notch to reflect the aggregate effects of exposure to eurozone sovereign debt, related bank debt and deposits, the resulting potential impact on capital adequacy (which is already stretched), and the impact of the expected slowdown in economic activity in the eurozone. We expect to complete our review of the impact of these risk factors on Generali's ratings within the next four weeks.
Certain other European insurance groups (Allianz, Axa, Aviva, and CNP) are also exposed to the aggregate effects of these risk factors, like Generali. We are still reviewing the impact of these risk factors on these groups and have therefore not taken any rating action on them today. We took action on Generali because our criteria implied a direct rating action as a result of the sovereign actions, but no such implication applies to Allianz, Axa, Aviva, and CNP. We could, however, lower the ratings on these insurers by one notch.
The rating actions we have taken today, in their turn, affect certain holding companies, "core," and "strategically important" operating subsidiaries, as well as certain short-term ratings and issue ratings on these insurers.
We expect to resolve the remaining CreditWatch actions within four weeks (except for Unipol, which may be up to three months). Upon resolution, individual ratings may be lowered by one notch or may be affirmed, except for Unipol and Cattolica, where there is additional downside risk