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January 2007/1

  • Analysts have broadly welcomed reports that Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) has agreed to sell subsidiary Putnam Investments to Power Corp of Canada for $3.9bn.
  • A buyers’ market has seen plummeting airline rates with German airline Lufthansa leading the way, Insider Week can reveal.
  • The independent London market broker Tyser & Co has reshuffled its management team and is in the throes of restructuring its shareholdings as a number of senior executives prepare to retire.
  • Lloyd’s first sidecar syndicate, Managing Agency Partners Ltd’s (MAP) Syndicate 6103, began underwriting last month after successfully raising £43mn in capital from Lloyd’s Names.
  • Mitchell Blaser, the former chief financial officer of Swiss Re’s Americas division, has formed a triumvirate of senior industry executives behind the $1bn start-up insurer, Ironshore Ltd.
  • Catastrophe exposed US reinsurance property rates rose around 40 percent at the 1/1 renewals as reinsurers sought to bring in-line with the mid-year 2006 pricing levels, according to the broker Willis Re.
  • After last year’s record catastrophe insured losses of more than $100bn, the benign conditions of 2005 look like costing the (re)insurance industry just $15bn in losses from natural and man-made catastrophes, according to preliminary figures from Swiss Re
  • Munich Re regained its targeted AA- rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) last month with the rating agency upgrading the German giant from A+ and assigning a stable outlook on 22 December.
  • Swiss giant Zurich Financial Services Group (ZFS) and lead underwriters UBS AG and Merrill Lynch International have been cleared by a US federal judge of securities-fraud claims following the spin-off of reinsurance subsidiary Converium Holding AG in 2001
  • US insurer Chubb Corp became the latest company to settle with US regulators, on 28 December, and pledged to end the paying of contingent commissions to brokers at the end of 2006.
  • US insurance broker AJ Gallagher said last week that it will take a $5mn-$10mn fourth quarter charge following a $36.9mn deal to settle a class-action lawsuit over contingent commissions.
  • In a record year for securitisation in the sector, French reinsurer SCOR became the latest (re)insurer to issue a catastrophe bond, with its EUR120mn Atlas III transaction to cover against European windstorm and Japanese earthquake losses in late December
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