The week's winners
Domestic & General up 6.8%
Marsh & McLennan up 6.5%

The week's losers
Goshawk down 15.1%
Windsor down 10.7%

Rumours continue to fly around concerning Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) - with a particular fear that Standard & Poor's could be about to downgrade the company's main insurer financial strength rating to BBB+ or even lower.

The rumours alone are enough to harm the company and a downgrade could be devastating, as many brokers, already jittery over its security, would take their business elsewhere.

Standard & Poor's kept its A- rating on the group after publication of its financial results earlier this month, although it warned that failure to execute its business plan would put R&SA's rating under pressure.

But the ratings agency denied there was a nasty surprise in its pipeline.

Over in Germany, Allianz is trying to give investors something to feel good about with a high-level bout of bloodletting at its troubled subsidiary Dresdner Bank.

The head on the block is thought to be that of chairman Bernd Fahrholz, who is expected to stand down shortly.

Shareholders will be wary that if Fahrholz goes, it could prompt a wave of action to bolster the group's security and could see it in the front line of capital raising plans.

Allianz is due to report on Thursday, when there is unlikely to be enough good news to push the stock's decline into an about-turn.

On the markets, Monday night's end to the uncertainty over conflict in Iraq brought widespread relief.

Insurers gained the ground they had lost over recent weeks as the FTSE100 rose through Tuesday morning to 3,787 by the afternoon.

Notable early gains in the insurance and related sectors included Zurich, up 10.6%, R&SA at 5.9% and IT players Misys at 6.5% and Sherwood International at 5.6%.