NU Online News Service, Feb. 15, 2:24 p.m. EST

Moody’s Investors Service says its Moody’s Global Insurance CDS (credit default swap) Index shows that although investors’ view of global insurers for the most part improved during the 2011 fourth quarter, opinions are still more negative than indicated by Moody’s ratings.

In a report on investor sentiment concerning global insurers, Moody’s Investors Service says the ongoing uncertainty stemming from the European sovereign crisis continues to affect Europe-based insurers, which ranked at the bottom of Moody’s insurance universe in terms of negative-ratings gap.

“The median ratings gap of the companies in the index improved slightly, to negative-2.2 notches at the end of the fourth quarter from negative-2.3 notches at the end of the third quarter with the CDS markets continuing to have a more negative view of the insurance sector than our ratings indicate,” says Senior Vice President and co-author of the report Scott Robinson in a statement.  

While the median gap for European insurers deteriorated, the gap for other insurers held steady or narrowed. European insurers insurers had the widest median ratings and casualty insurers had the narrowest gap partly because the hurricane season’s end was uneventful, easing market uncertainty, Moody’s suggests.