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January 2004/6

  • R&SA has announced the sale of its 37.1 percent shareholding in South Africa’s Mutual & Federal Insurance Company Ltd.
  • Just two months after news of the proposed St Paul Travelers supermerger broke, St Paul admitted last week it would take a $350mn pretax fourth quarter reserve charge to bolster its healthcare business in run-off.
  • In a new report, ratings agency Moody’s has suggested that core reserves (i.e. reserves excluding asbestos and environmental liabilities) for the insurance industry may be short by as much as $30bn.
  • Consultants Watson Wyatt has announced that it will establish an insurance and financial services consulting team based in Munich.
  • The imminent expansion of the European Union – creating the largest trading bloc in the world – will benefit the insurance industry, according to actuaries Tillinghast.
  • Bermudian (re)insurer Endurance announced last Thursday (22 January) that its 2003 net income has rocketed 158 percent to $263.4mn, or $4.00 per diluted share.
  • Ratings agency Fitch has affirmed insurer Brit’s “A” financial strength rating, with a positive outlook, after the firm announced a capital reorganisation.
  • There were further signs of the opening of China’s (re)insurance market last week, as Benfield announced it had placed a $5bn reinsurance programme for the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation and Liberty Mutual became the first foreign property ca
  • New research from analysts at Morgan Stanley suggests that world’s largest insurer AIG may benefit from a combination of stronger equity markets, a weakening dollar and renewed enthusiasm for growth prospects in China in 2004.
  • Bermudian reinsurer Partner Re has said claims relating to its exposure to last week’s explosion at Algeria’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant were expected to be between $27-30mn.
  • Rates for directors & officers cover in the US climbed to an all time high last year as insurers continued to increase rates, according to Tillinghast’s 2003 Director’s and Officers Liability survey.
  • Recently aired views on declining property rates were backed up last week by a survey from the Risk Insurance Management Society (RIMS) in the US, which found that the cost of premiums fell 8.8 percent in the final quarter of 2003.