SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative

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1 Research Update: SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative Primary Credit Analyst: Mark D Nicholson, London (44) ; Secondary Contact: Oliver Herbert, London (44) ; Table Of Contents Overview Rating Action Rationale Outlook Related Criteria And Research Ratings List MAY 7,

2 Research Update: SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative Overview The insurance operations of the SNS REAAL group (collectively, SRIO) were placed on CreditWatch positive on Feb. 5, 2013, after the Dutch government nationalized the whole SNS REAAL group. We have resolved the CreditWatch placement and raised the ratings to 'A-' from 'BBB'. The negative outlook reflects our view that SRIO's competitive position may have been damaged, as well as uncertainty over the long-term capital position, the possibility that the European Commission's restructuring plan may place the group under impositions, and strategic execution risk. Rating Action On May 7, 2013, Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised to 'A-' from 'BBB' its insurer financial strength and counterparty credit ratings on the insurance operating companies of the SNS REAAL group--srlev N.V. and REAAL Schadeverzekeringen N.V. (collectively known as SNS REAAL Insurance operations or SRIO). We also raised to 'BBB+' from 'BBB-' our counterparty credit rating on the group's insurance holding company, REAAL Verzekeringen N.V. At the same time, we removed these ratings from CreditWatch with positive implications, where they had been placed on Feb. 5, The outlook is negative. In addition, we maintained the issue credit ratings on the 30-year and perpetual subordinated debt issues issued by SRLEV N.V. on SRLEV's two subdebt issues at 'C' and 'CC', respectively. The latter remains on CreditWatch negative. Rationale The upgrade reflects the inherent strengths of the insurance operations, which have been largely undimmed by the travails of its company and sister bank. We resolved the CreditWatch placement because we consider that the near-term strategic position of SRIO is now settled and we are able to fully recognize the group's strengths. The negative outlook reflects our view that the remaining risk factors are likely to play out over a longer timescale. Thus, the ongoing uncertainty around SRIO is best expressed in the form of an outlook. We do not expect to see any material change to the ownership or makeup of the SNS REAAL group for the next months. Should this change, we may reconsider the ratings and outlook. MAY 7,

3 Research Update: SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative We first placed the ratings on SRIO on CreditWatch developing in July 2012, when the group announced a strategic review that could have seen the insurance operations broken up or sold off. In the immediate aftermath of the nationalization in February 2013, we changed the CreditWatch implications to positive to reflect our view that the separation of SRIO from SNS Bank could strengthen SRIO's creditworthiness. While a range of strategic options remain under consideration, our base-case scenario reflects the expectation that SRIO will remain intact, associated with SNS Bank under the current group structure and owned by the Dutch state for at least the next 18 months and probably beyond. Should alternative scenarios emerge, we may reconsider the ratings. In the longer term, SRIO could be detached from SNS Bank and returned to the private sector, but we do not expect this to happen in the next months. We assess SRIO on a stand-alone basis, having in March 2013 decoupled its ratings from those on SNS Bank, which previously constrained it. We do not impute any support to the ratings based on SRIO's governmental ownership because the relationship is likely to be relatively short. We regard SRIO's competitive position as strong. We consider that there is potential for reputational damage arising from the nationalization. However, we consider that the group's open architecture and multibrand strategy will limit reputational damage. The European Commission may also impose operational and pricing restrictions on SRIO, as a state-owned insurer. Based on precedents within the Dutch market, we expect the impact of the Commission's restrictions to be significant in the near term. Operating performance has held up well through the group's travails in recent years and we regard it as strong. We also continue to regard SRIO's capitalization as strong. Capital adequacy, as measured using Standard & Poor's capital model is extremely strong; however, we do not expect the group to maintain this high level of capitalization in the medium or long term. Conversely, following the deferral of the coupons on SRLEV's subdebt, we regard financial flexibility as marginal. We do not expect the delayed 2012 financial statements to show a material impairment to SRIO's capital base. We have made a cautious estimate of 2013 performance, forecasting lower non-life premium and a post-tax profit of 150 million. We expect, however, that SRIO will return to growth and stronger profitability thereafter. As we stated on March 29, 2013, SRLEV's 30-year and perpetual subordinated issues will be rated 'C' and 'CC', respectively, while they are required by the European Commission to defer their coupon payments. These ratings are unchanged by the rating action on their issuer. MAY 7,

4 Research Update: SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative Outlook The negative outlook reflects our view that despite its inherent strengths, SRIO may find it difficult to maintain its performance over the next months. The insurance group's franchise may be impaired by the nationalization, and the European Commission may impose restrictions on the state-owned insurer's ability to compete on price within the Dutch market. It is possible that the Commission may also impose wider restrictions. The group restructuring plan has yet to be submitted; the outcome will not be known until toward the end of this year at the earliest. Therefore, its implications cannot be predicted. Separating SRIO from SNS Bank carries inherent execution risk, which could be enhanced if continuing problems within the bank demand group management's focus. Should any of these factors materially impair the group's performance, we could take a negative rating action. Capitalization is expected to remain very strong according to our model throughout the forecast period. Should significant capitalization be upstreamed out of SRIO, this too could trigger a negative rating action. We could revise the outlook to stable if we consider that SRIO's competitive position has not been impaired by the above named factors and if we gain comfort over the development and execution of the group's strategy for SRIO. Related Criteria And Research Principles Of Credit Ratings, Feb. 16, 2011 Use Of CreditWatch And Outlooks, Sept. 14, 2009 Group Methodology, April 22, 2009 Ratings List Upgraded; CreditWatch/Outlook Action To From SRLEV N.V. REAAL Schadeverzekeringen N.V. Counterparty Credit Rating A-/Negative/-- BBB/Watch Pos/-- Financial Strength Rating A-/Negative/-- BBB/Watch Pos/-- REAAL Verzekeringen N.V. Counterparty Credit Rating BBB+/Negative/-- BBB-/Watch Pos/-- Ratings Affirmed SRLEV N.V. MAY 7,

5 Research Update: SNS REAAL Insurance Operations Ratings Raised To 'A-'; Outlook Negative Subordinated Junior Subordinated C CC/Watch Neg Additional Contact: Insurance Ratings Europe; Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect at and at spcapitaliq.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at Use the Ratings search box located in the left column. Alternatively, call one of the following Standard & Poor's numbers: Client Support Europe (44) ; London Press Office (44) ; Paris (33) ; Frankfurt (49) ; Stockholm (46) ; or Moscow 7 (495) MAY 7,

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