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February 2011/4

  • Broker Arthur J Gallagher International is set to close its acquisition of Heath Lambert next month and will immediately look to introduce an underwriting engine to channel the UK retailer's powerful book of business.
  • A credit insurance industry lobby group has released a market code of conduct to address the breach of trust it says arose between insurers and clients after the financial crisis.
  • The UK Ministry of Justice expects progress within weeks on Lord Young's recommendations for reforming the health and safety requirements that insurers place on small businesses and the voluntary sector.
  • The US insurance industry is facing another prolonged lobbying war after plans outlined in the Obama administration's budget proposed disallowing tax deductions for international reinsurance companies ceding their US business to offshore affiliates.
  • Cat bonds performed strongly in 2010, according to Swiss Re's basket of indices for the asset class, with the reinsurer hailing strong performance indicators as a sign the market has fully recovered from the financial crisis.
  • Cat bond sales have made a strong start to 2011, with industry stalwart Swiss Re completing its largest ever Successor note issue and US insurer The Hartford closing its latest Foundation Re bond oversubscribed.
  • Hyperion Insurance Group is working towards a potential initial public offering (IPO) in 2012 if and when a market valuation of £250mn can be met, according to its CEO.
  • The big three broker stocks have risen strongly over the past year as cost-cutting initiatives and expansion drives paid off in their 2010 financial results.
  • Global insurer Axa reported a 24 percent year-on-year drop in net income to EUR2.7bn for 2010, due to a one-off EUR1.6bn loss on the sale of its UK life business.
  • Flagstone Re suffered a year of heavy underwriting losses in 2010, driven by a high catastrophe toll.
  • Boston-based Liberty Mutual slid into an underwriting loss for full-year 2010 after taking a $1.1bn catastrophe hit, up 54.1 percent from the $717mn suffered in 2009.
  • Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings slumped to a $363mn fourth quarter deficit after posting a $684mn investment loss.