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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.

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