Fitch Ratings took ratings actions on eight Italian insurance groups and removed their ratings from under criteria observation, where they were placed Jan. 15, subsequent to the rating agency's revision and publication of its global master insurance criteria.
The rating agency removed, if previously applied, the prior top-down sovereign cap, among other changes, in its review of the impact of the new criteria. Under the new criteria, the rating agency downgraded the industry profile and operating environment of Italy to a range of "a" to "bb+" from "aa+" to "a-" and acknowledged in its evaluation of investment and asset risk that several affected companies invest heavily in Italian sovereign debt. Also, the business profile was tied to the industry profile and operating environment score.
Fitch affirmed Generali's issuer default rating of A-. It also upgraded the insurer financial strength ratings to A from A- of Generali and its entities AachenMünchener Lebensversicherung AG, AachenMünchener Versicherung AG, ADVOCARD Rechtsschutzversicherung AG, Central Krankenversicherung AG, Cosmos Versicherung AG, Cosmos Lebensversicherungs-AG, Dialog Lebensversicherungs-AG, Generali Deutschland AG, Generali Deutschland Pensionskasse AG, Generali Versicherung AG, ENVIVAS Krankenversicherung AG, Generali IARD SA, Generali Vie SA, Generali España SA de Seguros y Reaseguros and Generali Versicherung AG.
The insurer financial strength ratings of Società Reale Mutua di Assicurazioni and Reale Seguros Generales SA were upgraded to A- from BBB+.
Intesa Sanpaolo Vita SpA's insurer financial strength rating was upgraded to BBB+ from BBB, while its long-term issuer default rating was affirmed at BBB. The ratings primarily take into consideration its ownership by Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, as well as the rating agency's view that the parent will support insurance operations when necessary.
The rating agency downgraded to BBB- from BBB the insurer financial strength ratings of Gruppo Itas Assicurazioni SpA and Poste Vita SpA. The long-term issuer default rating of Gruppo Itas was downgraded to BB+ from BBB-, while the long-term issuer default rating of Poste Vita was lowered to BB+ from BBB.
Fitch affirmed the long-term issuer default ratings of Unipol Gruppo SpA and UnipolSai Assicurazioni SpA at BBB. The insurer financial strength rating of UnipolSai was upgraded to BBB+ from BBB.
SIAT - Societa Italiana Assicurazioni e Riassicurazioni SpA's insurer financial strength rating was upgraded to BBB+ from BBB, while Vittoria Assicurazioni SpA's insurer financial strength rating was upgraded to A- from BBB. Also, the long-term issuer default rating of Vittoria Assicurazioni was upgraded to BBB+ from BBB.
The upgrades of some of the insurer financial strength ratings consider that the uplift from the sovereign cap's removal materially outweighed the impact of modest declines in the scoring of certain credit factors, including Italy's industry profile and operating environment, and business profile. Downgrades reflected the declines in the scoring of key credit factors such as Italy's investment and asset risk, Fitch said.
The outlooks are negative.