New York-based Fitch Ratings has published two documents updating the criteria the firm uses to assess insurance companies.

First announced in September, "Insurance Rating Methodology” presents the broad principles that apply for all of Fitch's insurance company ratings as well as insurance-specific criteria. Industry profile and operating environment, company profile and risk management, financial profile, management strategy and corporate governance, as well as ownership, support and group factors are among the rating factors cited in the methodology.

Fitch Ratings also published "Insurance Industry: Global Notching Methodology and Recovery Analysis", which updated its criteria for determining the notching between the Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of insurance operating companies and holding companies. The new criteria also describes the notching between an insurance operating company's IDR and Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating, as well as the notching between a debt-issuing entity's IDR and debt ratings.

Effective Dec. 31, 2009, none of the changes announced are likely to directly result in ratings changes, Fitch says.





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