NU On-Line News Service, Oct. 10, 9:16 a.m. – Standard & Poor’s, New York, today lowered its ratings on CNA Financial Corp., the members of the Continental Casualty Intercompany Pool, Continental Assurance Co., Valley Forge Life Insurance Co., CNA Insurance Co. (Europe) Ltd., and Maritime Ins. Co. Ltd.

The ratings on Continental Corp. and the members of Continental Insurance Intercompany Pool (CIC) are unaffected by today’s action because of CIC’s above-average capitalization and the implicit support from its ultimate parent, CNA, Standard & Poor’s says. However, these ratings will remain on CreditWatch with negative implications until Standard & Poor’s is able to review the company’s potential exposure to losses related to the World Trade Center disaster and its impact to the company’s capital adequacy.

Standard & Poor’s lowered select CNA ratings because of CNA’s ongoing restructuring efforts to improve the financial and competitive position of the franchise, which will continue to be challenged by internal and external issues, Standard & Poor’s says. As a result, it might take some time before the organization is able to realize its true profit potential.