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U.S. Insurers Not Likely to Fall in Sovereign Debt Crisis: Fitch

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Concerns over Western Europe’s sovereign debt limits, along with U.S. financial figures that did not bode well, have stirred fears of a potential sovereign debt crisis. That, in turn, has raised the specter of a domino effect on U.S. insurers, who have increased their overall debt holdings outside of the U.S.

But according to NU Online News Service, a survey by Fitch Ratings released Wednesday, September 1, said that there was no cause for alarm; its analysis showed that U.S. insurers’ direct exposure to foreign sovereign debt was “fairly restrained.”

While insurers have increased their stake in such holdings by 36% between 2007 and 2009, its presence in their total net invested assets amounts to a mere 1.39%. Fitch adds that such investments were never prominent in the industry.

Fitch does not expect a major change in the credit quality of those investments, and that view is reinforced by a report issued by the IMF on September 1 titled “Default in Today’s Advanced Economies: Unnecessary, Undesirable, and Unlikely.”