RPT-Fitch Launches Unrated Issuer Reports for Insurance Industry

Wed Oct 9, 2013 5:10am EDT

Oct 9 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Fitch Ratings has published reports on 10 insurance organisations as part of a new research offering called the Unrated Issuer Report (UIR), which Fitch launched today. UIRs are a global initiative, and the initial reports cover insurers located in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany and Mexico. A listing of insurers can be found below.

UIRs provide analytical perspective and enhance transparency on key issues that impact an organisation's creditworthiness, but without providing a credit rating or rating-like opinion.

"UIRs represent a new way for Fitch to add value for insurance industry and capital markets professionals who use and trust Fitch's research offerings," said Keith Buckley, Managing Director and head of Global Insurance Ratings at Fitch. "UIRs support the needs of individuals who do their own homework, and come to their own independent decisions on credit, but who are looking to augment their analysis with additional third-party insights."

UIRs highlight what Fitch considers to be a company's main credit issues, and include a summary of key fundamental trends. The reports then take a closer look at one or two key credit issues or trends in more detail. A peer analysis, and a summary of market-based indicators, round out the UIR.

"While ratings-based research remains Fitch's flagship product, UIRs augment our research offerings by allowing us to publicly leverage off our analytical infrastructure in cases when ratings coverage may prove to be constraining," said Ian Linnell, Managing Director and Global Analytical Head at Fitch. "UIRs reflect another in a long line of innovations at Fitch that are focused on meeting the evolving credit research needs of the investment community."

There are important differences between an UIR and a ratings report. UIRs are provided point-in-time, whereas when Fitch provides a public credit rating on a company, it typically provides ongoing surveillance. Fitch makes no representations to the marketplace that it will continue to provide research coverage on an entity for which an UIR was published. In addition, UIRs focus on only one or two credit issues, whereas ratings-based research provides a comprehensive analysis of all relevant credit factors.

The decision to write an UIR on a given company is made by senior analytical management at Fitch.

UIRs are written on companies for whom Fitch believes it can offer unique insights, and for which Fitch believes there is strong investor interest in its views.

A listing of companies with newly published UIRs follows:

--Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (United States)

--Assurant, Inc. (United States)

--Aviva plc (United Kingdom)

--Direct Line Group (United Kingdom)

--Molina Healthcare, Inc. (United States)

--Ohio National Life Insurance Co. (United States)

--Ping An Life Insurance Company of China, Ltd. (China)

--Qualitas Compania de Seguros y Subsidiarias S.A. (Mexico)

--Standard Life plc (United Kingdom)

--Talanx AG (Germany)

The UIRs are available at 'www.fitchratings.com' under the following headers. UIRs are premium content available to Fitch subscribers.

Insurance >> Research >> Report Type >> Issuer Research >> Unrated Issuer Report

Fitch expects to publish additional UIRs across the global insurance sector in the coming months.

UIRs are not solicited by the issuer, and Fitch receives no compensation from the issuer for the provision of an UIR. While an UIR is typically based primarily on public information, Fitch analysts may ask questions of an issuer's management while preparing an UIR. The level of management participation, if any, can vary significantly from case to case.

What Are Unrated Issuer Reports?

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