S&P Revises Outlook on Global Reinsurers to Stable; Teleconference Scheduled for Today

April 6, 2006

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has revised its outlook on the global reinsurance industry to stable from negative, “indicating that there will be little near-term movement in ratings or outlooks, according to two reports (‘Strong Industry Fundamentals And Resolution Of Hurricane Fears Signal Stable Outlook For Global Reinsurance’ and ‘Industry Report Card: Global Reinsurance Companies Bounce Back From A Catastrophe-Riddled 2005’),” which it published today, April 6.

“The industry has managed the massive losses of the 2005 hurricane season and is enjoying the profits and healthy balance sheets that have resulted from a continued hard market,” stated S&P credit analyst Simon Marshall.

S&P said: “The sector is benefiting from an improved operating environment, with the chronic cyclicality of the past likely to reduce and improvements in regulation, risk management, and transparency all having a positive impact. Strong pricing was a feature of the January 2006 renewals, and the benefits of having a global, diversified portfolio were also evident. The financial impact of the hurricanes was great. The influx of $7.4 billion in new capital from start-ups in late 2005 was a compensatory factor, but the new companies formed have served to dampen the hard market.

“Another challenge for the industry is the squeeze on retrocession capacity, although this is partly offset by the increased availability of alternative methods of risk transfer such as ‘sidecars’, catastrophe bonds, and other forms of securitization. Although the stable outlook reflects the current, predominantly stable nature of ratings on reinsurance companies, Standard & Poor’s recognizes that the industry is in a dynamic state and the reverberations of the hurricanes will continue to be felt in the April and July renewals.”

S&P credit analyst Laline Carvalho noted: “Improvements in modeling, underwriting, and pricing are bound to follow the catastrophe losses of 2005, but whether these will be sufficient to drive down volatility remains to be seen.”

The rating agency will hold a teleconference today at 2:00 p.m. BST (3:00 p.m. CEST, 9.00 a.m. EDT) to discuss the rationale behind its global reinsurance outlook, and to comment on the challenges and prospects for the reinsurance sector going forward. To participate in the call, please dial: — U.K. live dial-in number: 0845-146-2002 — International live dial-in number: (44) 1452-569-114 — U.S. toll-free live dial-in number: 1866-389-9776 The title of the teleconference is “Standard & Poor’s Discusses Global Reinsurance Outlook”.

S&P noted: “The call will begin promptly at the time indicated. Please call at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the call to complete the precall registration process. Participants will be asked to provide their name, company, telephone number, and e-mail address. The entire call will last approximately 60 minutes, and after brief presentations by the analysts, participants will be able to ask questions directly about this topic.

“Recorded replays of the call are made available about an hour after the call concludes. This recording is available until Wednesday April 12, 2006. Callers will be asked for their name, company, telephone number, and e-mail address. To listen to a replay of the call, please dial: — U.K. replay number: 0845-245-5205 — International replay number: (44) 1452-550-000 — U.S. toll-free replay number: 1866-247-4222 — Replay access number: 7493807, followed by the # key.

“If you have any questions about this teleconference, please contact Fleur Hollis on (44) 20-7176-7212 or e-mail fleur_hollis@standardandpoors.com. S&P also noted the report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s Web-based credit research and analysis system, at www.ratingsdirect.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-9823 or sending an e-mail to: research_request@standardandpoors.com. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor’s public Web site at www.standardandpoors.com.

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