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April 2012/4

  • Global broker Willis has turned its disappointing full-year 2011 fortunes around by posting overall organic commission and fee growth of 2 percent in Q1 2012 and an operating margin of 31.3 percent.
  • Bermudian (re)insurer Axis Capital has reacted to the brutal global catastrophe losses last year by slashing its catastrophe reinsurance underwriting during Q1 by more than 40 percent.
  • New York-listed Tower Group's £38.6mn injection into Lloyd's insurer Canopius to finance its proposed acquisition of Omega takes the US insurer one step closer to having an established presence within the Lloyd's market.
  • Everest Re continued the theme of outperformance during the early Q1 reporting of Bermudian (re)insurers, with quiet cat activity helping the firm beat the street.
  • In a developing theme among early Q1 reporters, Arch Capital posted strong net earnings, boosted by low cat losses and reserves releases.
  • Significant reserve releases and a quiet quarter of cat activity helped short tail specialist reinsurer Montpelier Re highlight the likely reversal in fortunes of cat-focussed underwriters during the first quarter of 2012, as the firm reported analyst beating earnings on a combined ratio of just 59 percent.
  • Global (re)insurer Ace reported analyst-topping results for the first quarter of 2012, with benign weather leading to fewer cat losses and one-off investment gains boosting results.
  • WR Berkley chairman and CEO Bill Berkley has argued that the US insurance industry is not in a hard market, highlighting excessive competition and irresponsible reserve management from certain companies as brakes on earnings recovery in the sector.
  • Shareholder proxy firm ISS is once again wielding its power by advising stockholders in Tower Group to vote against the US insurer's executive compensation plan at its upcoming 3 May annual meeting.
  • London-quoted insurance services provider and run-off investor Tawa completed its acquisition of Hamburger Internationale Rück (HIR) last week after receiving the necessary regulatory approvals.
  • The share price of Randall & Quilter (R&Q) weakened after the firm's full-year results release last week contained a technical loss of £4.7mn, which was due to a previously announced £13.5mn goodwill impairment.
  • The trustee liquidating failed brokerage MF Global has announced plans to pursue a lawsuit over a dispute with the firm's UK division over the rights to $700mn of customer funds.