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December 2003/1

  • Bermudian reinsurer Montpelier Re has announced its first ever quarterly dividend payment of 34 cents a share, payable on 15 January to holders of record from December 31.
  • Last-ditch efforts apparently failed last week to resolve a long running dispute between the French authorities and US federal and state prosecutors over the Executive Life debacle.
  • Despite high profile reserve boosts, rating agency Fitch has warned that massive estimated reserve shortages in the US property casualty industry threaten to drag earnings down and overwhelm some weaker players.
  • Ten days after Lloyd’s insurer SVB announced a £50mn convertible bond and a shift away from Letter of Credit (LOC) financing, rival Wellington Underwriting said it had secured a new credit facility of £120mn with a group of banks.
  • Despite a recent EUR4bn fund raising, rating agency Fitch Ratings downgraded its financial strength rating on the world’s largest reinsurer Munich Re to AA from AA+.
  • Germany’s Hannover Re followed up solid half year figures with a “highly gratifying” third quarter result as it reported operating profit for the year to date 41 percent higher than at the same stage last year and upped year end profit forecasts from EUR3
  • Royal Courts of Justice Court 22 was packed today (1 December) with representatives of no less than five legal teams to hear the opening arguments of the Aon 77 trial.
  • Despite the old saw that bad years get worse, latest estimates from Lloyd’s syndicates showed only limited deterioration on the dreadful 2001 underwriting year.
  • Embattled French reinsurer SCOR is set to raise up to EUR750mn to repair its balance sheet and fallen financial strength ratings following the approval of its shareholders today (1 December).
  • Troubled US insurer CNA looks to have taken another step in its capital restructuring with today’s announcement that The Hartford will pay $500mn to take on its life and accident insurance operations, along with some specialty lines.
  • Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc has agreed to pay £9.4mn to acquire much of the aviation business and personnel from fellow London based broker, Heath Lambert.
  • The marine investigations arm of Informa Group plc has formed a new Oxford based company, Gray Page Ltd.