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Reinsurance Firms Ratings Drift Lower International Editor

London

The turmoil in the European insurance and reinsurance markets is leading to more rating agency downgrades, blamed principally on reduced capitalization, weak earnings and, in one case, problems of reinsurance recoverables.

One of the more recent casualties was the once indomitable Allianz AG, which announced a 2002 loss of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion at current exchange rates) and a plan to raise 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in the capital markets. As a result, A.M. Best lowered Allianz financial strength rating to “A+” from “A++,” while Standard & Poors Ratings Services lowered its long-term insurer financial strength ratings to “AA-” from “AA.”

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