S&P Ups Eureko Outlook to Positive

March 20, 2006

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has revised its outlook on the holding companies and core operating entities of Netherlands-based insurance group Eureko to positive from stable, “reflecting the greater clarity of the potential synergies available from the merger of Interpolis, Rabobank Nederland’s (AAA/Stable/A-1+) Netherlands-based insurance subsidiary, with the Achmea subgroup, and improving earnings across the group.”

S&P also said it has “affirmed its ‘A+’ long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Eureko’s core operating entities, its ‘A-‘ long-term counterparty credit and senior unsecured debt ratings on Eureko’s holding companies–Eureko B.V. and Achmea Holding N.V.–and its ‘A-2’ short-term counterparty credit rating on Achmea Holding.

“The ratings reflect Eureko’s strong management team, very strong capitalization, and very strong competitive position in the Dutch insurance markets. The ratings are constrained, however, by its underperforming life and pensions businesses, particularly in the Netherlands.”

S&P credit analyst Paul Bradley explained that the “positive outlook reflects our expectations that Eureko will successfully integrate the Interpolis operations without sacrificing the existing market shares or margins in that business.

“The ratings are likely to be raised when, in addition to the above expectations being realized, operating performance at the existing Achmea life and pension operations turns the corner to produce returns in line with those of peers, while the group as a whole maintains ROE in excess of 15 percent and capitalization consistent with the ratings,” he added.

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