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August 2008/3

  • Costs in sterling and revenues in dollars has been the awkward position for many London-based brokers so the deteriorating pound is providing a welcome fillip.
  • Lloyd's insurer Hiscox Ltd has posted a rise in pre-tax profits with reserve releases, a solid investment performance and strong underwriting returns defying the gloom of the soft market and credit crunch.
  • Tropical Storm Fay is expected to reach hurricane strength after crossing western Cuba and is on track to hit Florida later today (18 August), according to forecasters at Tropical Storm Risk.
  • Bermudian headquartered Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Ltd is to centralise its operating platform in Switzerland in a bid to maximise capital efficiency and take advantage of forthcoming passport rights.
  • Benfield Group Ltd received a boost last week after Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to "Buy" following its solid first-half year results.
  • When Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) put its insurance division up for sale in April, few could have predicted that four months on there would be only one genuine suitor with a circa £5bn offer on the table.
  • Ratings agency Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for the US commercial lines and property & casualty (P&C) sector to negative last week on the back of continued price softening and declining investment returns.
  • Sagicor Group of Companies has announced that group net profits increased by around $9mn compared with the prior-year period after profiting from the Lloyd's platform it acquired in September 2007.
  • German reinsurer Cologne Re, part of Warren Buffett's General Re group, posted first-half profits of EUR166.6mn, up from EUR129.2mn in the prior-year period, despite being hit by catastrophes in Europe and Australia.
  • Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance reported a 2 percent drop in its half-year profits with a rise in premium offset by a decline in its investment income as the company warned of possible further credit crunch-related losses.
  • BluePoint Re Ltd, the Bermuda-based financial guaranty reinsurer owned by US bank Wachovia Corp, has filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in New York, citing defaults on mortgage-related products.
  • US insurer Navigators Group has become the latest company to gain regulatory approval to operate in Brazil.
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