Banking on Brazil
Brazilian banking group BTG Pactual Group has commenced (re)insurance operations that are focusing on the infrastructure sector.The bank has recently been linked with a possible bid for the up-for-sale Lloyd's insurer Atrium.
In a results season defined by dividends, Europe's largest insurer Allianz has explained its philosophy of paying out circa 40 percent of earnings. The group aims to keep 20 percent of earnings for organic growth, 20 percent for inorganic growth opportunities and 20 percent to support a shift to assets which provide a better hedge against inflation.
Trans Re has hired the General Re underwriter Robert Saville to head its new Singapore operation.
Saville has held a number of underwriting posts in Asia and London, having spent the last 16 years in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Lloyd's (re)insurer Amlin is buying the Dutch fixed premium P&I MGA RaetsMarine for up to $65mn.
The consideration will be paid $50mn upfront in cash and paper while a further $15mn is deferred.
Marsh UK shuffle
Marsh has formed a new division that serves mid-size and large firms and multinational clients' operations in the UK and Ireland. The former head of the national corporate practice, Joe Grogan, will lead the division, reporting to UK head Mark Weil.
THB fac hire
THB - the London broker owned by AmWINS - is to hire Stephen Knight, a director at the facultative division of its rival BMS, once he has completed his contractual obligations.
Ambitious start-up ANV has appointed the former Kiln CFO Peter Haynes as managing director of its Syndicate 1861 at Lloyd's. ANV, which acquired Flagstone at Lloyd's and its Syndicate 1861 last year for $48mn, has also parachuted in its group chief underwriting officer Gerard van Loon as chairman of the Lloyd's managing agency. Karl Grieves - the former managing director of the Lloyd's insurer - has left the organisation.
The UK outsourcing firm Xchanging - which runs the back office for much of the London market - restored its 2012 dividend having revived its fortunes following a tough 2011 that began with a profits warning and the exit of founder David Andrews.
London-headquartered wholesale and reinsurance broking group Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford (has promoted Shaun Hooper to president and CEO of its wholesale reinsurance broking and underwriting operations in North America. He replaces Neal Abernathy, who has left the business to pursue other opportunities.
Run-off acquisition company Enstar benefitted from the whole account net quota share of Argo Group's Syndicate 1200, which its Lloyd's business Shelborne completed in the fourth quarter. In Q4, Enstar assumed circa $340mn of new total gross insurance reserves, with the vast majority ($313mn) stemming from a transaction with Syndicate 1200's 2009 and prior years.
No rush to flip
Despite a strong improvement in its fortunes since a £880mn buy-out two years ago, Brit Insurance's private equity owners Apollo and CVC are in no hurry to sell the business on.
This was the central message from CEO Mark Cloutier as he unveiled a 2012 combined ratio of 93.2 percent and net income of £84.7mn - equivalent to a 17 percent return on net tangible assets.
"No, it's not a brochure. It really isn't," Cloutier told The Insurance Insider. "The current shareholders are reasonably happy with the investment and there have been no exit discussions."
London market independent Miller has hired three senior reinsurance executives to bolster its French office, including two from Willis Re, Stéphane Nadjar and Emmanuel Figuereau.
In addition, Allianz Risk Transfer's head of corporate solutions Eric Le Mercier will join the firm as it continues its international reinsurance expansion.
The CEO of Canopius Bermuda, Susan Patschak, is stepping down from the private equity-backed (re)insurer and is expected to assume a new role in the Florida (re)insurance industry.
Her successor will be Stephen Hartwig, senior vice president at the Bermuda platform and the leader of its excess casualty underwriting team since 2008.
Direct Line turns
UK motor insurer Direct Line turned a corner in 2012 with its combined ratio improving by 2.6 percentage points to dip below the important 100 percent threshold at 99.2 percent.
Gross written premiums fell 3.3 percent last year to £3.99bn while hefty reserve releases helped reduce the loss ratio. Direct Line's share price is up around 20 percent since its autumn 2012 IPO.
Scor VIF move
Scor has paid EUR630mn to enter into a value of in-force (VIF) monetisation transaction on a traditional mortality portfolio held by Spanish bancassurer BBVA Seguros. The block transaction is forecast to generate around EUR1bn in future total gross premium volume for Scor with a 2013 component of around EUR120mn, the reinsurer explained.
Bermuda's determination to remain at the epicentre of the insurance-linked securities universe has been demonstrated by the launch of a new joint industry initiative, ILS Bermuda.
The trade body - which is supported by the Bermuda government - has been launched with the support of a number of Bermuda-based companies engaged in global capital markets and (re)insurance. The group is organising an island ILS Rendez-Vous, Convergence 2013, for the 14 November.
The average cat bond spread rose to 8.72 percent by the end of 2012 as insurance-linked securities investors became willing to accept more complex risk, according to analysis of the Swiss Re Global Index.
The average spread was up from 8.25 percent at the end of 2011, according to Swiss Re, as investors were increasingly happy to move away from their comfort zones of parametric or index measured US cat. Indemnity triggers, for example, were involved in 44 percent of transactions, compared to 29 percent at the end of 2011.
Lloyd's 2025 reprise
It is understood Tom Bolt told a gathering of Lloyd's CEOs and active underwriters that he wanted them to give him an excuse to say "yes" to plans for growth in developing world business.
In the last week of February Lloyd's chairman John Nelson, CEO Richard Ward and franchise performance director Bolt addressed managing agents and brokers on successive days to push the developing world strategy at the heart of Vision 2025.
Sources told The Insurance Insider that there was little new content but that the decision to gather all senior market staff to reiterate the strategy underlined the Corporation's commitment to reorienting the geographical mix of the business coming into the market.
The deputy active underwriter of Aspen Syndicate 4711 Simon Mason has left the business, it is understood. His role as deputy active underwriter will be taken by Martin Jackson alongside his current duties as manager of underwriting in Aspen's aviation insurance team. Matt Stubbings has taken over from Mason as head of energy property damage. Mason is not thought to have left for a specific role.
Validus hires from Third Point Re
Validus has hired Bill Fisher from Third Point Re to spearhead its push in US crop reinsurance, The Insurance Insider can reveal. Fisher, a lead underwriter in the US crop market, previously underwrote the line for James River, where he had an $85mn book.
Validus is in the process of acquiring crop reinsurer Longhorn Re, which will bring around $55mn of premium income into the group to augment the approximately $5mn of excess-of-loss crop premium that it wrote last year.