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Best assigns negative outlook to Generali ratings


LONDON—A.M. Best Europe Rating Services Ltd. on Wednesday removed from under review and affirmed the financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a” and all debt ratings of Trieste, Italy-based Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. and its main subsidiaries, but assigned all of the ratings a negative outlook.

Best noted that in December 2011, it took rating actions on a selection of European underwriters, including placing these companies under review with negative implications. Best said its actions reflected the continued negative developments regarding the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

On Wednesday, Best said “Generali continues to maintain sizeable exposures to peripheral eurozone debt (Italian exposure mainly related to the market leading position of the group) as well as eurozone financial institutions (including covered bonds).” These negative factors were offset by Generali’s strong insurance fundamentals, according to Best.

In addition, Best said that Generali’s board’s decision to change management should not impact the Italian insurer’s strong fundamentals.

“A.M. Best’s rating actions on Generali and other European (re)insurers reflect the outcome of stress tests A.M. Best has performed,” said Best in its Generali announcement. “The result of these tests suggested that these companies are still within the bounds of their respective ratings; however, the overall negative outlook on the sector, and in particular Italy, reflects the continued volatility of the economic and political situation within the eurozone.”

“Upward rating movement is unlikely at this point,” said Best.

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