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A.M. Best Revises Issuer Credit Outlook to Positive for Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.

A.M. Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable for the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of "a" of Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. (Generali) (Italy) and its main rated subsidiaries. The outlook of the FSR is stable. Concurrently, A.M. Best has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IRs) of debt instruments issued or guaranteed by Generali. (See below for a detailed list of companies and debt instruments.)

The ratings reflect Generali's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorises as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, very favourable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The positive outlook on the Long-Term ICR reflects the impact of actions implemented as part of Generali's strategic plan, which aims to focus on technical discipline and adapt the group to a persisting low interest rate environment, on balance sheet strength and profitability metrics. A.M. Best expects Generali's strategic plan, if successfully executed, to result in stable and resilient earnings over the market cycle.

Generali's balance sheet strength is assessed as strong, underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), at the strongest level, and solid organic capital generation, which contributed to the increase of the group's regulatory solvency ratio to 215% as at 30 September 2017. An offsetting rating factor remains Generali's significant exposure to Italian bonds, amounting to EUR 64.4 billion as at 30 June 2017 (260% of shareholders' equity). Whilst A.M. Best notes that Generali holds the majority of these sovereign bonds for asset and liability management purposes, this, together with significant investment exposure to financial institutions, makes the group's risk-adjusted capitalisation sensitive to shocks in the financial markets. The balance sheet strength assessment also reflects Generali's financial leverage, which is higher than that of peers.