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Principal Life Income Fundings Trust 38
Principal Life Income Fundings Trust 39
Principal Life Income Fundings Trust 4
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Principal Life Insurance Company
Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Principal Financial (senior to A3) ratings; outlook negative

18 Mar 2009

New York, March 18, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded to A3 from A2 the senior debt ratings of Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: PFG) and its intermediate holding company, Principal Financial Services, Inc. (PFSI). Moody's also downgraded PFSI's rating for commercial paper to Prime-2 from Prime-1 and the long-term insurance financial strength (IFS) rating of Principal Life Insurance Company (Principal Life), PFG's primary life insurance subsidiary, to Aa3 from Aa2. Other affiliated ratings were also downgraded (see complete ratings list, below). The outlook for the long-term ratings of PFG and its affiliates is negative. The rating action was prompted by greater pressure on PFG's flexibility and liquidity as a result of the continuing capital market illiquidity and the increasingly stressful operating environment, as well as Moody's expectations of higher asset losses and weaker earnings for PFG in the worsening economic environment.

Commenting on the downgrade, Moody's said that unfavorable capital market conditions have constricted PFG's ability to issue new debt or hybrid securities to refinance short-term corporate debt, including a $455 million debt maturity due in August 2009, and close to $500 million of commercial paper outstanding. "While Principal Life's operating liquidity and regulatory capital adequacy remains good, and its core pension business is healthy, despite the stressful economic environment, refinancing uncertainties reduce the group's overall financial flexibility," said President and Senior Credit Officer, Laura Bazer.

According to the rating agency, PFG has the ability to repay its near-term holding company obligations entirely from internal liquidity, if need be, even under situations of extreme stress. However, "generally tighter liquidity, coupled with refinancing uncertainty in this environment, as well as pressure on the operating company's capital adequacy will continue to constrain the holding company's financial flexibility, which better positions the company at the Aa3 level", Bazer explained.

Commenting on the negative outlook, Moody's said that PFG's fee-based pension and asset management earnings remain highly sensitive to the weakening economy and the level of the equity markets. "This, together with higher asset impairments over the next 1-2 years, will continue to depress earnings and capital generation for the company," the analyst explained. However, the rating agency noted that PFG has very minimal exposure to retail variable annuities with guarantees, which makes the company's capital adequacy and profitability much less sensitive to the level of equity markets, unlike many life insurance peers.

According to the rating agency, asset losses will continue to emerge from real estate-related and structured holdings (i.e., CMBS, commercial mortgage loans, etc.), as well as rising corporate defaults, although Moody's reiterated that the ultimate economic losses from PFG's investments are likely to be less than current market values suggest (approximately $4 billion of net unrealized losses). Principal's stable, long-term liability profile and good liquidity mitigate the need to dispose of assets at current distressed prices.

According to Moody's, the following factors could result in a downgrade of Principal's ratings: 1) further tightening of internal liquidity over the next 6 months; 2) NAIC RBC ratio below 325%; 2) pre-tax investment losses in excess of $1 billion in 2009; 3) consolidated financial leverage at PFG of more than 30%, and cashflow coverage of less than 4x; 4) material deterioration of Principal Life's core 401(k) defined contribution business, leading to significant reduction in market position; or 5) a sizable acquisition (in excess of $1 billion) or expansion into new/higher risk/foreign business.

The following factors could change the negative outlook back to stable: 1) external refinancing of corporate debt well in advance of maturities; 2) NAIC RBC ratio consistently above 325%, 2) returns on equity consistently above 8%, 3) consolidated financial leverage maintained in the mid 20s and cashflow coverage above 5x; or 4) pre-tax asset investment losses below $500 million in 2009.

The following ratings were downgraded with a negative outlook:

Principal Life Insurance Company: long-term insurance financial strength to Aa3 from Aa2; surplus notes to A2 from A1;

Principal Income Fundings Trusts: senior secured debt to Aa3 from Aa2;

Principal Global Funding LLC, Principal Global Funding I, Principal Global Funding II, LLC: senior secured debt to Aa3 from Aa2;

Principal Financial Group Australia (Pty) Ltd (guaranteed by Principal Financial Services, Inc.): senior debt to A3 from A2;

Principal Financial Group, Inc.: senior unsecured debt (guaranteed by Principal Financial Services, Inc.) to A3 from A2; provisional senior unsecured debt shelf to (P) Baa1 from (P) A3 (not guaranteed); provisional subordinated debt shelf to (P) Baa2 from (P) Baa1 (not guaranteed); provisional preferred stock shelf to (P) Baa3 from (P) Baa2 (not guaranteed);

Principal Capital I, II and III: provisional trust preferred stock shelf to (P) Baa2 from (P)Baa1.

The following rating was downgraded with a stable rating outlook:

Principal Financial Services, Inc.: short-term rating for commercial paper to Prime-2 from Prime-1.

The following rating was affirmed with a stable outlook and withdrawn for business reasons (please refer to Moody's Withdrawal Policy on moodys.com):

Principal Life Insurance Company: short-term insurance financial strength at Prime-1.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. is a diversified life insurance and financial services group based in Des Moines, Iowa. At December 31, 2008, it reported consolidated GAAP assets of approximately $128 billion and consolidated GAAP shareholders' equity of approximately $3 billion. Principal Life Insurance Company is the lead operating company of Principal Financial Group, Inc. At December 31, 2008, Principal Life Insurance Company had statutory assets of $115 billion, and statutory capital of approximately $4.8 billion.

The last rating action on PFG took place on February 10, 2009, when Moody's affirmed the group's ratings with a negative rating outlook.

The principal methodology used in rating Principal Life is "Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers", which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating Principal Life can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

Moody's insurance financial strength ratings are opinions of the ability of insurance companies to pay punctually senior policyholder claims and obligation. For more information, visit our website at www.moodys.com/insurance.

New York
Robert Riegel
Managing Director
Life and Health Insurance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Laura Bazer
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Life and Health Insurance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's downgrades Principal Financial (senior to A3) ratings; outlook negative
No Related Data.
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MJKK and MSFJ also maintain policies and procedures to address Japanese regulatory requirements.

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