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January 2005/5

  • Willis Group Holdings Ltd continued its strategy of selectively acquiring regional specialists by announcing that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Californian employee benefits broker PRIMARY Worldwide Corporation.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Highway released a statement to the London Stock Exchange last week in a bid to clarify its position on alleged over-reserving on Syndicate 37 and Syndicate 2037.
  • Bermudian reinsurer PartnerRe revealed that its bill from Windstorm Erwin, which struck Northern Europe in early January, is expected to be between $50mn-$60mn.
  • The Indian Ocean tsunami will probably cost Lloyd’s insurers less than $500mn, the Corporation’s chairman has claimed.
  • Fourth quarter 2004 figures from The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) reveal a climate of significant softening of rates in the commercial property casualty market.
  • UK insurer Royal and Sun Alliance (R&SA) is being sued by car manufacturer General Motors Corp for failing to pay millions of dollars of asbestos claims, it emerged last week.
  • Paris headquartered insurer Axa has reported a modest increase in its 2004 sales, helped by a recovery in American life and savings revenues and premium gains from its P&C business.
  • The Markel Corporation has brushed aside 2004’s long list of natural catastrophes by reporting record profits for the year.
  • US insurer The Hartford has raised its earnings expectations on the back of an optimistic outlook for the rating environment in 2005.
  • Tort reformists in the US have received a boost with the news that the Senate judiciary committee approved a series of changes to state laws governing civil lawsuits in medical malpractice cases last Thursday (27 January).
  • Lloyd’s has lost out in round one of the Central Fund reinsurance contract dispute after the panel in the first stage of the arbitration tribunal found the lead reinsurer Swiss Re “prima facie entitled to avoid the policy”, based on the way it was present
  • World’s largest broker Marsh has today (31 January 2005) announced an $850mn settlement with Eliot Spitzer to end the New York attorney general’s probe into so-called contingent commissions and bid rigging.
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