The recent loss of the A- financial strength rating for Spain-headquartered (re)insurer Mapfre has revived an almost forgotten tradition - that of the downgrade before a major industry conference.
Scor and Alea suffered this fate and no one ever forgets Converium's spectacular loss of its Standard & Poor's (S&P) A rating in 2004 just as the Monte Carlo show was getting on the road. That incident made for some awkward meetings.
Such moves always make for an intriguing conference talking point if nothing much else is happening.
A feature of the Scor, Alea and Converium downgrades was that they immediately felt the sting of the ratings agency action in the almost-instant triggering of downgrade clauses and the effective overnight closure of their US positions. This time Mapfre has been unceremoniously slung out of the prestigious GAUM aviation pool.
Contrastingly, the Europe-domiciled trio fared rather better on this side of the Atlantic. Scor and Converium in particular were able to draw on extremely longstanding relationships and underwrite through their period of BBB-rated purgatory.
And while Scor, Alea and Converium's problems were 100 percent of their own making, the highly conservative Mapfre can feel extraordinarily hard done by.
Mapfre's only sin is to be Spain's best-positioned and most successful international insurance group - operationally and prudentially the company has outperformed for decades and its competitive position in high-growth Latin America is the envy of the world.
Its problem lies neither in unexploded legacy bombs nor poor management. Mapfre simply has a vast overhang in Spanish sovereign debt backing the liabilities on its mammoth domestic account.
After Groupama the firm is the highest profile potential casualty of the Eurozone crisis, but again any comparison with its French counterpart would be extremely unfair.
Were it not so sad, it would be amusing to think that this hitherto highly prudent asset, now the toxic cause of Mapfre's woes, is still considered 100 percent clean by the Solvency II regime. In personal lines insurance a BBB rating is generally acceptable and, like its European peers before it, one would expect Mapfre to fare better on the retention of its domestic and wider European reinsurance business. Mapfre's positioning on global programmes and any North American long-tail business would certainly be affected by a prolonged dive into the lower depths of the acceptable security pool.
Likewise, its relationships in Latin America are extremely longstanding. Despite the increasingly desperate levels of competition south of the Isthmus of Panama, one would expect the firm's strong cultural ties and longterm faith in the region to be rewarded with above-average customer loyalty.
However, the longer any unsatisfactory situation lasts - however unjustified - the more likely it is that even the strongest customer relationships will be called into question. As a solvent global group, Mapfre has many possible escape routes if its financial purdah begins to erode its competitive position in a meaningful way.
In extremis it could split itself up, excising its Spanish core to restore an A rating to its global risks and reinsurance platforms - perhaps with a little temporary support from other reinsurance partners?
It's always at times like these that you find out who your real friends are - and anyone willing to lend a helping hand to Mapfre might find they are rewarded handsomely over the medium term.
And there is immediate business to be done. Many of you will remember that Converium stayed on GAUM throughout its troubled period with a little fronting assistance from one of its friends.
So what are you waiting for?