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August 2006/4

  • Wellington Underwriting Inc, the US platform of Lloyd’s insurer Wellington Underwriting plc, announced today (29 August) that it is expanding with the launch of a marine reinsurance arm.
  • Concord Re, the latest sidecar to roll off the industry’s production line, means almost $4bn of capital has been raised for these non-life reinsurance vehicles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • The blanket ban on contingent commissions or Placement Service Agreements (PSAs) imposed by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer following his 2004-2005 investigations into the major US brokers have been moderated.
  • Australian-headquartered (re)insurer QBE Insurance Group announced on 16 August that its after-tax operating profits were up 20 percent to Aus$591mn for the first half of 2006.
  • Zurich American Insurance has settled a business interruption claim, stemming from the 2001 World Trade Centre loss, for $80mn with ABM Industries.
  • Insurance giant Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) last Thursday (17 August) reported half-year net profits of $1.96bn, up 9 percent on the first six months of 2005, and ahead of analysts’ consensus of $1.8bn.
  • Following the resignation of its deputy chairman Michael Murphy last month, Quanta Capital Holdings has suffered further setbacks. The insurance company has suffered a 3.3 percent drop in its shares today (21 August) on top of a 9 percent drop last Friday
  • Another subsidiary of Canadian combine Fairfax Financial Holdings announced last week that it would be delaying the filing of its second quarter results because it needed extra time to adjust accounting errors.
  • US insurer Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co won the first of the many “wind versus water” lawsuits spawned by Hurricane Katrina last week, although experts warned that it is unlikely to set a precedent as the cases vary widely.
  • Alexander Forbes International Risk Services’ (AFIRS) tie-up with US broker Lockton Companies Inc provides not only a new lease of life for the London-based firm, but a new global presence in the broker market, according to the parties involved.
  • South African-headquartered broker Alexander Forbes Ltd has reached an £86mn deal with US broker Lockton Companies Inc and private equity firm Stone Point Capital LLC to sell its London-based international arm, Alexander Forbes International Risk Services
  • The Legal Services Bill currently passing through the UK Parliament will cause major changes in the structure and ownership of many major law firms and increase their risk exposure, according to broker Marsh.
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