Best Affirms Rating for ING Comercial America

April 5, 2005

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) of ING Comercial America (ING CA) and its wholly owned subsidiary, ING Comercial America Fianzas (both of Mexico City, Mexico). The rating outlook is stable.

The rating reflects ING CA’s excellent capitalization, strong balance sheet and leading position within the Mexican insurance industry. In terms of market share, ING CA is one of the largest property/casualty underwriters in Mexico. The company has recently centralized its business operations in order to reduce operating expenses and has refocused its business strategy to reach even broader market segments. In addition, ING CA remains one of the largest Latin American operations of parent company ING Americas, which is ultimately owned by the ING Group of Netherlands.

Partially offsetting these positive factors are the recent reserve strengthening charge, which resulted in lower than anticipated earnings and ING CA’s exposure to catastrophic events. Furthermore, dependence on reinsurance coverage has resulted in higher costs and elevated expense ratios.

ING CA also faces challenges in controlling client health costs, improving its life product portfolio and expanding into broader market segments, such as personal and auto lines of business, while competing with foreign and domestic insurers in Mexico.

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