S&P Launches “Inside View”, New Guide to Insurer Ratings

May 16, 2003

Standard & Poor’s London office announced the first issue of a new publication, “Inside View,” a series of guides providing insight into the insurance ratings business.

“With global insurance markets still depressed and widespread pressure on market participants, the relative financial strength characteristics of insurers have come to the fore,” said Peter Hughes, a director at Standard & Poor’s in a written statement. “Inside View aims to bring clarity to financial strength ratings, and therefore confidence to the insured party regarding its chosen insurance carrier.”

S&P explained that the guide is “free to subscribers and is published fortnightly [every two weeks] by E-mail. Each issue looks at a new subject, steering policyholders and other rating users through the processes and methodology that lie behind insurer financial strength ratings, ensuring that insurance buyers have a clear understanding of insurers’ financial characteristics.”

The guide covers a range of subjects, including “the influence that different markets and sectors have on ratings, how the peculiarities of the market are approached, Standard & Poor’s default statistics, the terminology of ratings.” The aim is to “guide subscribers through some of the complexities associated with rating insurance companies across Europe and dispel confusion about what a rating is,” said S&P.

Hughes added the guides “are bite-sized chunks of the insurance ratings business in an easy and accessible form. They are available as a reference source for the market and are intended to help answer any questions the market has about ratings.”

S&P said that the first issue, “Understanding Insurance Ratings”, published today, “introduces the concept of ratings, the rating process, details of the rating scale, and the implications of outlook notations and CreditWatch listings.” It added that a free subscription could be obtained by e-mail at: open_door@standardandpoors.com.

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