A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a” of AXA Insurance Company (New York, NY). Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and ICR of “a+” of AXA Art Insurance Corporation (AXA Art) (New York, NY).

Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and ICR of “bbb” of Coliseum Reinsurance Company (Coliseum Re) and AXA Corporate Solutions Life Reinsurance (ACSLRe). A.M. Best also has withdrawn the FSR of B++ (Good) and ICR of “bbb” of Mosaic Insurance Company (Mosaic). These are U.S. subsidiaries of AXA S.A. (AXA) (France) (Other OTC: AXAHY) that are in run off. The outlook for all ratings is stable. All companies are domiciled in Wilmington, DE, unless otherwise specified.

The ratings of AXA Insurance Company reflect its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, which is supported by an extensive reinsurance program, its favorable liquidity and strategic importance to AXA. The company serves as AXA’s primary domestic insurer of reverse flow business, representing the U.S. portion of multinational accounts generated primarily by the clients of AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance and AXA Versicherung AG. AXA Insurance Company also provides 60% quota share reinsurance coverage for AXA Art to better utilize its capital.

Acting essentially in a fronting role, most business is reinsured to AXA Insurance Company’s affiliates through quota share reinsurance agreements. While heavy reliance on affiliated reinsurance leads to high ceded underwriting leverage, the company’s outstanding reinsurance recoverables are predominantly collateralized. AXA Insurance Company also benefits from the financial flexibility of AXA. While the company’s net operating performance has exhibited volatility historically, A.M. Best expects this performance to continue improving over the long term based on AXA Insurance Company’s present and clearer strategy, along with its continued reinsurance protection. In recent years, the company has taken actions to cleanse its balance sheet, including write-offs of old reinsurance recoverables. These actions should continue to lead to better results going forward that are more reflective of AXA Insurance Company’s remaining core book of business, which has been performing favorably.

The ratings of AXA Art reflect its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, historically superior operating results and its recognized insurance expertise within the fine arts industry. In addition, the ratings reflect the implicit and explicit support provided by AXA and its subsidiaries through the utilization of internally available insurance capacity in the form of significant reinsurance transactions. The reinsurance transactions include excess of loss agreements with its intermediate parent, AXA Art Versicherung AG, and the aforementioned 60% quota share with AXA Insurance Company. These positive factors are partially offset by the company’s product line/market concentration, the increasingly competitive market conditions in the fine arts industry and AXA Art’s expense ratio disadvantage relative to industry peers.

Both Coliseum Re and Mosaic remain in run off. In January 2007, Mosaic entered into an aggregate quota share agreement with Coliseum Re, reinsuring 100% of the remaining net technical liabilities including any uncollectible insurance and reinsurance. As such, Mosaic lacks a true risk profile as it has no loss reserves on its balance sheet and it is not generating any written premium. Coliseum Re continues to maintain adequate capitalization and liquidity relative to its run-off activities.

The ratings of ACSLRe are based upon its limited role within the AXA group as a U.S. life reinsurer and administrator of closed blocks of life, health and investment risks and the capital support provided by AXA. ACSLRe primarily reinsures a closed block of variable annuities. During 2010, ASCLRe recorded a significant net loss compared to 2009, devoted primarily from a one-time increase in reserves for its GMxB annuity products and a decrease in investment income.

The principal methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology -- Global Life and Non-Life Insurance Edition , which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and highlights the different rating criteria employed. Additional key criteria utilized include: “Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies”; “Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers”; Understanding BCAR for Life and Health Insurers”, “ Rating Members of Insurance Groups”; “Catastrophe Risk Management Within the Rating Analysis”; and “Rating Health Insurance Companies.” Methodologies can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2011 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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