Hannover ratings cut.

Hannover Re pledged to defend its credit rating, possibly with capital raising, as it announced a ne...

Hannover Re pledged to defend its credit rating, possibly with
capital raising, as it announced a net profit of EUR267m in 2002.

Rating agency AM Best has placed its 'A+' (superior) rating of the group
and its core subsidiaries under review with negative implications.

The agency said it believed Hannover Re would require further funds to
sustain its risk-adjusted capital levels in 2003.

Standard and Poor's downgraded the company, to 'AA-' (very strong) from
'AA', and removed it from CreditWatch.

Prior to last month's results, Moody's, which rates Hannover Re based on
public information, had downgraded its financial strength rating of
Hannover Re from 'A2' (good) to 'Baa1' (adequate) over concerns about
Hannover Re's reinsurance recoverables.

Hannover Re's 2002 operating profit was the highest in its history, at
EUR471m. Its combined ratio was 96.3%, down from 116% in 2001. Net
investment income was stable at EUR928m.

Net earned premiums rose 18% to EUR7688m, with 17% growth to EUR3502m in
net earned property and casualty premiums, 23% growth to EUR2142m in life
and health, 71% growth to EUR833m in programme business and a fall of 5%
to EUR1211m in financial reinsurance premiums.

Executive board chairman Wilhelm Zeller predicted good results for 2003:
"The performance of the business group will again be very good in 2003."
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