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Fitch downgrades Assurant Insurance

Fitch Ratings has downgraded both Assurant General Insurance and Assurant Life Insurer.

The credit rating agency downgraded the US insurer to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’. It says the outlook on all of these ratings has been revised to negative from stable.

In the UK the firm is represented by Assurant Solutions UK, which Fitch says accounted for almost a quarter of the firm’s business last year.

Fitch says the downgrade primarily reflects the recent and sharp deterioration in the firm’s operating performance during the last quarter of 2008 and so far in 2009. It says the recessionary environment and reduced credit availability present in Assurant’s key geographic markets have lowered demand for the company’s insurance products, subsequently reducing top line premium income.

Fitch anticipates further poor results in the near-term from Assurant, which it says may give rise to further downward pressure on the ratings.

Assurant’s 2008 results revealed losses of £9.7m, compared with a reported profit of £0.6m in 2007.


Voyage of the Beagles

The past eight weeks have seen an incredibly strong rally in global stock markets. For example, since the Standard Life UK equity recovery fund – which I featured in these pages – launched in early March, it has risen by 50 per cent. That is an astonishing move in such a short space of time but should we all now jump on the bandwagon?

F&C reshuffle as Scott returns

Ted Scott is returning to F&C after a period of illness but will no longer manage money for the group. Meanwhile several funds will get new lead managers as F&C reorganises its UK equities desk. When he rejoins in June, Scott will be responsible for providing macroeconomic analysis and developing market strategies for the UK […]

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(Another) downhill stroll — retirement planning

A report published this morning by the CIPD (CIPD Employee Outlook March 2015) provides yet more interesting data to the changing landscape of retirement planning. It should be remembered that we are in a period of genuine flux here given that the default retirement age was scrapped three years ago, and new pension freedoms come online in April. Both of these alterations will have a huge impact on how employees plan for their retirement.


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