S&P Revises Outlook on France’s Abeille to Positive

June 26, 2002

Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook on French non-life insurer Abeille Assurances to “positive” from stable.”

The change, said S&P, reflects “the likelihood of an upgrade by the end of this year when the company is expected to change its current name and brand to “AVIVA”, the new global designation of its U.K.-based parent, the composite insurance group CGNU whose core operating entities are rated AA/Stable/.”

CGNU plans on rebranding most of its core operating units as “Aviva” beginning July, (even if the name sounds like a cheer at the World Cup) giving the group an overall unity. Abeille is its main tied-agency general insurance operation in France, distributing personal and small commercial lines business, alongside life company Abeille Vie, which S&P rates as AA/Stable..

S&P also affirmed its single-‘A’ long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Abeille, reflecting “the company’s strong capital base and improved operating performance.” It noted that these were offset by the company’s “relatively small market share, and the impact this has on its business position in the highly competitive French non-life market.”

“The outlook revision reflects Abeille assurances’ increasing importance to the long-term strategy of CGNU PLC in retail insurance in France,” explained Joelle Drut, credit analyst in S&P’s Paris office.

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