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Moody's places South African insurers' ratings on review for downgrade

Moody's on April 4 placed the ratings of certain South African insurers and related entities on review for downgrade, after it placed the country's Baa2 debt rating on review for downgrade.

The rating agency said it placed the Baa1 insurance financial strength rating of Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. (South Africa) Ltd. on review for downgrade, along with the Baa3 long-term issuer rating of parent Old Mutual Plc.

It placed the Baa1 insurance financial strength rating of MMI Group Litd., a unit of MMI Holdings Ltd., on review, while the Baa2 insurance financial strength ratings on Guardrisk Group — comprising Guardrisk Insurance Co. Ltd., Guardrisk Life Ltd. and Guardrisk International Ltd. PCC — were also placed on review for downgrade.

Moody's said the asset quality, capitalization, profitability and financial flexibility of these insurance groups are partly correlated with the economic and market conditions in South Africa. President Jacob Zuma recently changes Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in a move that was viewed negatively by markets.