Generali Among Italy Insurers Downgraded by Moody’s

Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G) was among three Italian insurers downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited the nation’s “weakening” creditworthiness.

Generali, the country’s largest insurer, had its senior debt cut to Baa2 from A2, Moody’s said yesterday in a statement on the Trieste-based company.

“Generali’s ability to share further asset losses with policyholders diminishes with increasing investment losses across the portfolio,” and the insurer’s domestic-life business may be hurt by Italy’s weakening economy, Moody’s said.

Moody’s has lowered bank ratings this week, saying the Italian state faces “increased risk” of being unable to support firms in distress. The company cut Italy last week to Baa2 from A3, and said further downgrades are possible as weak growth and elevated unemployment threaten the government’s plan to cut the budget deficit and rein in bond yields. The new grade is two levels above junk.

Allianz SpA, a subsidiary of Munich-based Allianz SE (ALV), was downgraded to A3 from A1, Moody’s said yesterday. Unipol Assicurazioni SpA was cut to Baa2 from A3 and remains on review for possible downgrades amid its proposed acquisition of insurer Fondiaria-SAI, which could weaken its capital strength, Moody’s said.

The outlook on the insurers is negative, in line with the government’s, Moody’s said, and all three companies may be cut further if Italy’s sovereign rating is downgraded again.

Lucia Sciacca, a Generali spokeswoman, Allianz’s Patrizia Guglielmetti and Stefano Genovese of Unipol didn’t respond to e-mails requesting comment outside regular business hours.

The French subsidiaries of Generali had their insurance financial-strength grade lowered to Baa1 from A1. The company’s German subsidiaries’ grade was cut to A3.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Norton in New York at snorton7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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