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February 2005/4

  • World’s largest reinsurer Munich Re turned 2003’s €434mn loss – its first loss since WWII – into an impressive €1.8bn profit for 2004 on the back of a strong recovery in its ERGO primary insurance unit.
  • The final round of a legal marathon got underway last week, with the appearance in a Los Angeles court of French holding company Artemis in relation to its 1991 acquisition of the Executive Life insurance company.
  • The first breakthrough in passing meaningful tort reform in the US came on Friday (18 February) as President George Bush signed the Class Action Fairness Act into law in the first bill signing ceremony of 2005.
  • A UK court has ruled that insurers will have to pay compensation to thousands of people with pleural plaques, the scarring on the lung lining that indicates exposure to asbestos.
  • The sudden departure of Marie-Louise Rossi from the International Association of Underwriting (IUA) has led to suggestions her parting was less than amicable – a view the IUA refused to contradict.
  • A further three employees have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with bid-rigging investigations by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer.
  • The biggest fire in Madrid’s history caused estimated damage of $108mn, according to reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter. The fire gutted a 32-floor skyscraper in the Spanish capital’s finance district on 12 February. Madrid’s fourth tallest building, the Wi
  • A strong 2004 for Texas-based HCC Insurance Holdings saw its profits from ongoing operations grow by 45 percent from $106.9mn, or $1.66 a share, to $159.0mn, or $2.41 a share, with overall net earnings increasing from $143.6mn, or $2.23 a share, to $163.0
  • A strong final quarter from “Class of 2001” alumni Montpelier Re failed to prevent its full year profits from slumping from $407.1mn in 2003 to $240.3mn in 2004.
  • Refocused Bermudian property catastrophe (re)insurer PXRe reported full year 2004 profits more than 75 percent down on 2003 as strong fourth quarter performance failed to reverse the devastation of a third quarter struck by hurricane and typhoon losses.
  • Post-9/11 start-up Arch Capital last Monday (14 February) reported 2004 net profits of $107.1mn, or $1.45 a share for the fourth quarter and $316.9mn or $4.37 a share for the full year, compared to $83.7mn or $1.22 a share and $280.6mn or $4.14 a share re
  • Max Re announced on 4 February that 2004 full year net income was up from $120.6mn to $133.7mn, or $2.75 a share, as fourth quarter profits rose from $36.4mn for the three months ended 31 December 2003, to $87.1mn for the last quarter of 2004.
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