Chicago — Fitch Ratings Inc. contends that balance sheet pressures for global insurance and reinsurance companies are becoming more severe as insurers experience greater unrealized market value losses, and take impairments, on their investment portfolios. As such, New York-based Fitch expects a noteworthy ramp up in such losses to be reported by many insurers in the third quarter.

Accordingly, the rater has revised its rating outlook to negative from stable for 12 insurance and reinsurance sectors globally, reflecting primarily the fall out from significant deterioration in the global financial markets, and its impact on insurers' balance sheets and financial flexibility. Fitch also is confirming its negative outlook on six insurance sectors, including the U.S. life insurance sector, which Fitch revised to negative from stable on September 29.

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