May 30 - Prolonged stagnation in the global economy continues to affect North American insurers, according to a report released today by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services titled, "A Global Insurance Industry? Rethinking Diversification In A Challenging Economy." The combination of limited growth, weak market conditions, and sovereign debt concerns are causing companies to rethink strategic priorities. Whereas some of the strongest insurers continue to focus on international strategies--particularly in emerging markets--many others are retrenching to the core business lines that they know best. Many companies seem to be questioning whether diversification has become a benefit or a burden, which leads to the core question: Is the insurance industry globalizing or de-globalizing? "As tough times for the global economy continue, we expect more companies to consider streamlining as a viable alternative to diversifying to conserve capital and enhancing strategic focus," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Rodney Clark. The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.