The tables on pages 4,5,6 and 7 of this supplement are taken from S&P's European Life Ratings Digest, the first edition which has just been published. In addition to giving the ratings on seven life companies based in five European countries, it also gives some information on around 150 other companies, by detailing their premium income and their total assets. This data covers the major life insurers in Europe, by selecting the top 50 insurers each by premiums and assets for France, Germany and The Netherlands, the top 40 in the UK and the top 30 in Switzerland.

The figures are for 1996 and have been converted into Ecus as an aid to make comparisons between markets and companies on a European-wide scale. With major insurers operating in other countries which have not been included, these listings are not comprehensive and all-inclusive, but nonetheless they give a good indication of who's who in the marketplace.

It is S&P's intention to increase the market coverage of the ratings digest in subsequent years.

On pages 10 to 16, we are able to provide some of the figures relating to the invested assets of those insurers rated by S&P in the current rating digest and including where possible details of the returns on invested assets. The S&P ratings given to companies are also provided in these tables.