TEXT-S&P reports on outlook for U.S. insurers in 2013

Tue Jan 8, 2013 10:11am EST

Jan 8 - U.S. insurance sectors are generally poised for stable credit trends
in 2013, resulting from strong balance sheets, a stable business climate, and
improved enterprise risk management, according to a report released today by
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services titled, "U.S. Insurers' Sound Fundamentals
Should Counteract Sluggish 2013 Economic Performance."

The Congressional deal to avert or at least delay the so-called fiscal cliff 
reduced the near-term likelihood of the U.S. economy falling into recession. 
However, the recovery remains fragile and further political brinksmanship over 
spending and the deficit could overshadow the economy and markets for much of 
2013.

"This sluggish recovery continues to weigh on all insurance sectors, and we 
expect the rating impact to be stable to modestly negative in 2013," said 
Standard & Poor's credit analyst Rodney Clark. However, risk aversion and 
strongly recovered capital bases since the financial crisis will go far in 
mitigating negative factors. Unfortunately, we expect the downside risks to 
continue to outweigh upside risks at least in 2013.

The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit 
Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect 
subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 
or sending an e-mail to research_request@standardandpoors.com. Ratings 
information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using 
the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.
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