S&P probing ratings of RSA, Aviva and Allianz's Irish subsidiaries

Rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has placed the counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings of Dublin-based insurers RSA Insurance Ireland, Aviva Insurance Europe and Allianz Worldwide Care under review on Creditwatch with negative implications, meaning that they could be downgraded.

The reviews follow S&P's downgrade of Ireland's soveriegn credit rating to A from AA- yesterday. The rating agency announced earlier today that it had put Allianz plc's A ratings on negative Creditwatch.

S&P currently rates RSA Insurance Ireland A-, Aviva Insurance Europe A+ and Allianz Worldwide Care A for counterparty credit and insurance financial strength. The rating agency warned that it could downgrade the firms if there was a further cut to Ireland's sovereign credit rating.

S&P said the Ireland downgrade represented a weakening of the insurers' capital adequacy and investment portfolio.

RSA Ireland's holdings of Irish government bonds and deposits with Irish banks comprised 20% of total assets and 86% of shareholders' funds, S&P said. Aviva Europe's holdings and deposits comprised 31% of total assets and more than 200% of shareholders' funds. Allianz Worldwide Care had 52% of its investent portfolio in deposits with Irish banks, compriosing more than 100% of shareholders' funds.