Ratings Roundup: Luen Fung Hang; Allianz UK; Groupama

August 3, 2007

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of Macau-based Luen Fung Hang Insurance Company Limited (LFH) with a stable outlook. “The rating affirmations reflect LFH’s solid risk-based capitalization, secure distribution network and sound operating performance. The ratings also factor the company’s liquid and conservative investment portfolio,” said Best.

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of “A+” (Superior) and the issuer credit rating of “aa-” of UK-based Allianz Insurance plc (AZI) with a stable outlook. “The ratings reflect AZI’s excellent stand-alone risk-adjusted capitalization, continued strong operating performance and its leading U.K. business profile, as well as support from AZI’s ultimate parent, Allianz SE (Germany),” said Best. The report also noted the “significant financial flexibility” AZI derives from “Allianz SE’s access to the financial markets and from reinsurance provided by Allianz group subsidiaries.”

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has stated that the ratings on French insurer Groupama S.A. and its core subsidiaries (insurer financial strength rating A/Positive) are unaffected by its proposed €1.25 billion ($1.72 billion) acquisition of 100 percent of Italian insurer Nuova Tirrena SpA (not rated) from Italy-based Generali group (core operating entities AA/Stable) – See above article. S&P also indicated that it had rated Nuova Tirrena ‘BBB’ prior to withdraw of the rating at the company’s request Feb. 13, 2007. “We consider the proposed acquisition to be wholly in line with Groupama’s established international growth strategy,” said the report. “In addition, the acquisition, if successful, would substantially reinforce Groupama’s existing franchise in the Italian non-life market by elevating it to Italy’s ninth-largest non-life insurer with a market share of about 3 percent. Furthermore, we do not see that this acquisition would hurt the group’s strong capitalization and financial flexibility.”

Source: A.M. Best, S&P

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