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August 2003/4

  • US insurer St Paul is defending fresh asbestos related litigation as plaintiffs argue the company was negligent for failing to warn of the dangers.
  • Houston Casualty Company Insurance Holdings Inc, the US based specialty insurer, unveiled strong earnings for the second quarter with net earnings increasing 29 percent to $34.7mn.
  • US (re)insurance group The Hartford Financial Services announced last Wednesday that profits for the second quarter increased nearly threefold on the same period last year.
  • US insurer C.N.A became the latest carrier to reveal sizable additions to loss developments last week when announcing a $308mn after-tax charge to second quarter earnings.
  • Bermudian reinsurer Partner Re has followed a solid first quarter with a stronger second quarter performance, comfortably beating analysts’ expectations.
  • London’s company market insurers have expanded their underwriting exposures in the wake of the improved rating environment, according to figures released from the representative body, the International Underwriting Association.
  • Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company run by billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett, announced last Friday that profits had more than doubled in the second quarter of 2003.
  • Reinsurance giant Swiss Re is to buy a proportion of the UK life insurance business of its compatriot Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) in a deal worth a total of $460mn. The move follows Zurich Life’s decision to stop taking on new business from 27 August.
  • Hot on the heels of its successful float on the New York Stock Exchange, Bermudian AXIS Holdings has reported continued strong performance for the first six months of the year.
  • South African insurance broker Alexander Forbes has launched a joint venture with PDS Holdings which plans to become Africa’s largest reinsurance broker, the firm announced last week.
  • Bermudian reinsurer PXRE announced quarter to quarter growth of 13 percent last Wednesday, as net income rose from $19.0mn for the second quarter 2002 to $21.5mn this time round.
  • The future of Trenwick Managing Agents Ltd was secured last week, after the Lloyd’s insurer’s management agreed a buy-out from its distressed parent, Trenwick Group Ltd.