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December 2006/1

  • In a year that has seen ratings upgrades outstrip downgrades for the first time since 2000, Standard & Poor's (S&P) has upgraded Bermudian (re)insurer Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd from A- to A in response to growth in its US excess and surplus platfor
  • Bermudian (re)insurer Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd has taken the innovative step of wrapping a credit derivative structure around a portfolio of its reinsurance recoverables, in a $420mn transaction with investment bank Deutsche Bank.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Ascot Underwriting has confirmed plans to increase capacity on its Syndicate 1414 by 13.5 percent to £625mn for the 2007 underwriting year.
  • Lloyd’s welcomed British Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling to the Shanghai office of its Lloyd's Reinsurance Company (China) Ltd venture last week, although it is still waiting for regulatory approval before trading can begin.
  • Shares in the Lloyd’s based (re)insurer Amlin plc have climbed to a new high of 314p on the London Stock Exchange as the company gave another upbeat trading statement last week.
  • The acquisitive Australian insurer IAG has agreed a £570mn deal to buy UK motor underwriter and broker Equity Insurance Group, 18 months after the company was taken private in an £298mn private-equity backed management buy-out.
  • Three US state attorney generals have written to (re)insurers telling them that they must end special commissions to agents and brokers as agreed in an earlier settlement.
  • A team of Heath Lambert management risks brokers – led by Calvin Barnes - have defected to the expanding Oxygen Holdings plc.
  • Willis Group Holdings Limited is to lose a member of its senior management as the broker confirmed that Tom Colraine is to leave the firm after 18 years.
  • The Asia Pacific market has attracted a $565mn capitalised Singapore-based reinsurance start-up, Asia Capital Re, as private equity backers look for strong returns in the fast growing region.
  • UK businesses have been warned that they are exposing themselves to unnecessary environmental liability risks, as they view specialist insurance products as too expensive and complex.
  • The UK’s Competition Commission have ratified their decision to approve the acquisition of CBS Private Capital by rival Hampden Agencies Ltd.