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Most European ratings, outlooks positive: S&P

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LONDON--Factors including share buybacks, improved enterprise risk management, several solid underwriting years, healthier balance sheets and robust 2006 results have provided a springboard for a number of positive ratings actions and outlook changes in the European insurance sector, said Standard & Poor's Corp. in a special report.

A total of 79% of the European insurers rated by S&P have been assigned a stable outlook, while 16% have been assigned a positive outlook or placed under review with positive implications. The remaining 5% have been assigned a negative outlook or placed under review with negative implications, according to the report.

The report, "Share Buybacks, Improving ERM, and Solvency II Progress Provide Springboard for Europe's Insurers," includes analyses of 27 leading European insurance groups.

Copies of the nine-page report are available to RatingsDirect subscribers at www.ratingsdirect.com. Nonsubscribers may purchase a copy of the report for $400 by calling 212-438-9823, or sending an e-mail to research_request@standardandpoors.com.