S&P Rates Nipponkoa-Europe ‘A’

March 3, 2006

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has assigned its “A” long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings to U.K.-based NIPPONKOA Insurance Co. (Europe) Ltd. (NKE), the wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s NIPPONKOA Insurance Co. Ltd. (rated “A+”/stable) with a stable outlook.

“The ratings on NKE reflect its strong capitalization and very strong and conservative investment profile, supported by its strategic importance to NIPPONKOA, the primary operating company of the NIPPONKOA group,” stated S&P credit analyst Matthew Day. “Offsetting these strengths is the adequate operating performance of NKE,” he added.

S&P said the stable outlook reflects its “expectation that capitalization will remain at least strong, and that parental support is considered long-term. The achievement of these goals is necessary to maintain the stable outlook on NKE.”

The rating agency noted, however that negative pressure could arise “should NKE’s operating performance deteriorate, particularly if the company fails to contribute to group profitability.

NKE is expected to maintain its focus on Japanese-owned interests, primarily in support of group relationships. Material deviation from this strategy could place the strategically important status of NKE under pressure.”

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