Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its ‘A’ long-term insurer financial strength rating on the U.K.-based Lloyd’s insurance market and removed the ratings from CreditWatch, where they had been placed with negative implications on Sept. 9, 2005. The outlook for Lloyd’s is now stable, S & P has affirmed. At the same time, S& P affirmed its ‘A’ long-term counterparty credit rating and ‘BBB+’ long-term junior subordinated debt rating on The Society of Lloyd’s. “Resolution of the CreditWatch placement follows a meeting with Lloyd’s management, as a result of which we are satisfied that the Market’s losses stemming from the 2005 hurricane season will be manageable,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Marcus Rivaldi. S& P announced “the rating on Lloyd’s reflects the ongoing commitment of capital providers to the Market, as well as the maintenance of Lloyd’s strong competitive position, capitalization, and operating performance. These positive factors are partly offset, however, by the Market’s contingent exposure to Equitas Ltd., operational weaknesses requiring strengthening, the London market’s legacy administrative processes, and uncertainty relating to substantial reinsurer recoverables.” According to S & P, “the stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s expectation that (1) Lloyd’s main capital providers will remain committed to the Market, despite the increasing challenge posed to Lloyd’s competitive position by other international markets (Bermuda in particular); (2) the operational weaknesses exposed by Lloyd’s performance during the 2005 hurricane season will be successfully addressed; (3) no material deterioration will occur in the solvency of Equitas as a result of it continuing a successful commutation strategy; and (4) central capital will remain at about 1.75 billion.” S & P says the outlook could be revised to negative “if the Central Fund is materially affected by the catastrophe loss activity seen during 2005, or were there to be a material deterioration in Equitas’ solvency that indicated a high probability of proportionate cover being invoked. “The outlook could be revised to positive [if] Lloyd’s exposure to Equitas [were to be] demonstrably reduced.” Policyholders with a pre-1993 Lloyd’s policy claim deal almost exclusively with Equitas. Equitas decides whether to accept or deny a claim, how much to pay, and when to pay. Equitas also handles settlements of disputed coverage claims.