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Rating Action:

MOODYS LOWERS ING GROEP'S AND ING VERZEKERINGEN'S DEBT RATINGS (SENIOR TO Aa3); US LIFE INSURANCE SUBSIDIARIES' FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS ALSO DOWNGRADED TO Aa3

08 Apr 2003
MOODYS LOWERS ING GROEP'S AND ING VERZEKERINGEN'S DEBT RATINGS (SENIOR TO Aa3); US LIFE INSURANCE SUBSIDIARIES' FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS ALSO DOWNGRADED TO Aa3

ING Bank Aa2 Senior Debt Ratings Unaffected

Paris, April 08, 2003 -- Moody's Investors Service lowered today the debt ratings of ING Groep N.V. (ING Group) and ING Verzekeringen (ING Insurance) to Aa3 from Aa2 for senior debt and to A1 from Aa3 for subordinated debt. The debt ratings of ING America Insurance Holdings, Inc (ING AIH) and related subsidiaries were also lowered (senior debt to Aa3 from Aa2). In addition, the insurance financial strength ratings of ING Insurance's U.S. operating companies were lowered to Aa3 from Aa2 (see below for detailed list of ratings affected). The Prime-1 ratings for the short-term debt of ING Verzekeringen N.V. and of ING AIH were not on review and were affirmed. All ratings now have a stable outlook. This concludes the review for possible downgrade that was initiated on December 5, 2002. The Aa2/Prime-1/B+ ratings of ING Bank N.V. were not affected by this rating action

Moody's said that the lowering of ING Group and ING Insurance's ratings primarily reflected their declining solvency due to the fall in global equity markets, as well as to the drain on capital associated with the group's rapid expansion in recent years, both organically and through acquisitions. As a result, their financial leverage has been gradually increasing and the financial structure of both companies now appears less strong. Moody's noted, however, that strong earnings generation at both the insurance and group level had allowed both companies to maintain very sound debt service coverage in spite of significantly higher levels of debt.

Furthermore, Moody's said that the strong operating cash flows and dividend capacity coming from ING Bank N.V. were somewhat mitigating ING Group's relatively high debt double leverage, and that the bank's Aa2 debt rating and B+ financial strength rating remained a key factor in sustaining the ultimate holding company's ratings. Moody's also added that the lowering of the insurance financial strength rating of ING's core U.S. operations reflected the significant dependence of their rating on the ownership, strength, and credit support from their parent in spite of the progress made in the integration and realignment of ING's recent U.S. acquisitions.

The rating agency also commented that its stable rating outlook was predicated on its expectation that the group would gradually restore its financial flexibility by the implementation of a series of measures to enhance capital growth and retention, including ING Group's decision to move to a full scrip dividend beginning in 2003. ING Group has also improved its solvency position by selling equities and hedging part of its investment portfolio. At their current level, ING's ratings continue to reflect the strength and diversity of the group's various business lines, and the superior diversification of its earnings sources. Moody's added that ING's conservative management style, low risk profile, and its position as one of Europe's leading financial services groups, remained key factors underpinning its ratings.

The following ratings were lowered:

ING Groep N.V. -- senior debt to Aa3 from Aa2, subordinated and junior subordinated debt to A1 from Aa3;

ING Verzekeringen N.V. -- senior debt to Aa3 from Aa2, subordinated and junior subordinated debt to A1 from Aa3;

ING America Insurance Holdings, Inc.-- senior debt guaranteed by ING Verzekeringen N.V. to Aa3 from Aa2;

Lion Connecticut Holding, Inc. -- senior debt to Aa3 from Aa2, ;

Equitable of Iowa Companies -- senior debt to A1 from Aa3;

ReliaStar Financial Corp. -- senior debt to A1 from Aa3;

Equitable of Iowa Companies Capital Trust II -- preferred stock to A2 from A1;

Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

ING Insurance Company of America -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

ING Life Insurance & Annuity Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

ReliaStar Life Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

Security Life of Denver Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

Security Connecticut Life Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

Southland Life Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

USG Annuity & Life Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2;

Premium Asset Trust Certificates, Series 2001-11 -- backed senior notes to Aa3 from Aa2;

Premium Asset Trust Certificates, Series 2001-12 -- backed senior notes to Aa3 from Aa2.

The following ratings were affirmed:

ING Verzekeringen N.V. -- short--term debt at Prime--1;

ING America Insurance Holdings, Inc. -- short-term debt at Prime--1;

Life Insurance Company of Georgia -- insurance financial strength at A2.

ING Groep N.V. is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and had assets of €716 billion at year--end 2002.

London
Mark Hewlett
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Jean-Luc Lepreux
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
33 1 53 30 10 20

No Related Data.
© 2019 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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