(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
May 30 - The North American life insurance sector has experienced incremental credit deterioration for a protracted period, according to a Standard & Poor's Ratings Services report published May 25, 2012, titled, "More Than Meets The Eye: What Is Behind The Long-Term Credit Erosion In The North American Life-Insurance Sector?"
We believe that the North American life insurance sector remains financially strong and continues to exhibit significant flexibility in facing an ever increasing number of pressures, whether rooted in greater competition and increased product risk, changing demographics, investment market volatility, or sovereign credit deterioration. We believe that the sector will likely face some further credit erosion, but expect the average credit quality for rated North American life insurers to remain in the 'A' (strong) rating category during this decade. The sector still has significant opportunities in both the traditional life insurance product space and retirement solutions, and is backed by strong capital.
"A more in-depth look at the sector's trends reveals that there is much more to the ongoing credit deterioration than what first meets the eye," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Michael Gross. (Caryn Trokie, New York Ratings Unit)