S&P’s Cuts Ratings on Euler Hermes Group to ‘A+’; Outlook Stable

March 20, 2003

Standard & Poor’s has lowered to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-‘ its long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on the core operating entities of the French credit insurance group Euler Hermes. At the same time, the short-term counterparty credit rating on Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG was lowered to ‘A-1’ from ‘A-1+’. The outlook is stable.

The ratings actions follow the downgrade of Euler Hermes’ ultimate parent company, the German group Allianz AG to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA’. (See “Allianz AG and Core Subsidiaries Ratings Lowered to ‘AA-‘; Outlook Negative”, published today on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s Web-based credit analysis system, at www.ratingsdirect.com.)

In addition, the financial strength rating on EULER International was
withdrawn at the company’s request. EULER International is now in run-off and its previous book of business has been re-underwritten by local Euler Hermes companies.

The ratings on the Euler Hermes group are based on its very strong
business position, solid operating performance, and strong–albeit
decreasing – capitalization and financial flexibility. “Standard & Poor’s
expects that the level of insolvencies will remain high, or even deteriorate, in 2003, but that management will continue to implement strict underwriting rules, monitor risk, and achieve a combined ratio below 90 percent,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Laura Santori. “The group’s combined capitalization is expected to recover only slowly over the medium term, through the rebuilding of equalization reserves and retained earnings, and should be maintained in the ‘A’ range.”

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