Old Mutual, CNA Biggest Insurer Investors in Dubai

By Jamie McGee
Bloomberg News
December 7, 2009

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- CNA Financial Inc., Lincoln National Corp. and Old Mutual Plc's U.S. life unit are the American insurers with the most bonds sold by Dubai World, the holding company that's in talks to renegotiate $26 billion of debt.

Old Mutual's U.S. life unit has $83.6 million in Dubai World-related bonds, Lincoln National has $57.3 million and CNA has $58.4 million, Moody's said today in a report. The risk to insurers totals $590 million in book value and is "very limited," the ratings firm said.

Dubai World, the state-owned company with $59 billion in liabilities, said last week that it would seek to restructure some of its obligations. Dubai World and its entities accumulated debt during a five-year real-estate boom in which the sheikhdom borrowed $10 billion and its state-controlled companies $70 billion to help diversify the economy.

"We do not believe any of the companies we rate have meaningful exposure," the ratings company said. "We do not anticipate taking any rating action on U.S. life or P&C insurance companies as a result of the debt restructuring at Dubai World."

Zurich Financial Services AG, Switzerland's largest insurer, had $46.2 million in bonds tied to Dubai World in its U.S. life and property units at yearend 2008, Moody's said. The American life unit of Allianz SE, Europe's largest insurer, invested $50 million and New York-based MetLife Inc. had $44.9 million, Moody's said.

Allianz SE has "negligible exposure to Dubai World Group and our obligor is not part of the current financial restructuring," spokesman Michael Matern said by telephone last month. Zurich has no "material" exposure, spokesman Angel Serna said Nov. 27.

CNA spokeswoman Katrina Parker and Old Mutual's spokesman Elon Green had no immediate comment. Lincoln spokeswoman Laurel O'Brien didn't immediately return calls for comment.

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