Ratings and Inspections Notice On 29 May 1997, credit rating agency Standard & Poor's lowered the claims-paying ability rating on National Mutual Life and its subsidiary Swann Life to ``AA'' from ``AA''. This followed the lowering by Standard & Poor's of the claims-paying ability ratings on the principal AXA insurance companies to ``AA'' from ``AA''. This rating action followed Standard & Poor's Credit Watch action of 13 November 1996, when the AXA and Unions des Assurances de Paris (UAP) announced their intention to merge and National Mutual Life and Swann Life were placed on Credit Watch. In its news release of 29 May 1997, Standard & Poor's also announced that National Mutual Life and Swann Life remain financially strong and well structured to meet local obligations, and that both companies are removed from Credit Watch. AXA S.A. owns 51 percent of National Mutual Holdings Limited (NMH) and National Mutual Life is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NMH. The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Limited (incorporated in Victoria, Australia), 80 The Terrace, Wellington. Telephone: (04) 474 4642.