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January 2012/5

  • A New York Court upheld a $420.4mn ruling in favour of Travelers last week over reinsurance payments due to the insurer over complex asbestos related cases dating back decades.
  • AJG accused of racist and sexual discrimination; Former MMA employee sues after defecting to Lockton; Swiss Re accused of racist discrimination
  • Oil giant BP cannot pass on some of the cost of third-party damages resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to drilling partner Transocean, a US judge has ruled.
  • The European Commission has denied reports that it is considering pushing back the implementation of Solvency II once again, and has insisted it remains committed to ensuring legislation is in place to allow the industry to stick to the 2014 deadline.
  • The failure of US states to agree a common plan to implement the Non-admitted Reinsurance Reform Act (NRRA) has highlighted the problems of state-by-state regulation, ahead of a key report expected shortly from the Federal Insurance Office.
  • Shares in the major European insurers fell today (30 January) against the backdrop of a European Union leaders' summit on the Eurozone crisis and further negative rating action by Standard & Poor's (S&P).
  • With Bermudian (re)insurers now preannouncing Thai flood exposures based on an industry loss burden of $15bn or more, pressure is mounting on European giants Munich Re and Swiss Re to update their initial loss estimates for the disaster.
  • Excess capital and solid risk management provide a sufficient cushion for the global reinsurance sector to ride out "near-record" 2011 catastrophe losses, according to Standard & Poor's (S&P).
  • Despite Standard & Poor's (S&P) pronouncing last week that it is retaining its stable outlook on the global reinsurance sector (see below), action from AM Best and Moody's highlighted the ratings pressure on companies disproportionately affected by last year's cat losses.
  • Developments last week, including a sharp increase in Japanese insurer NKSJ's estimated Thai flood loss, are leading to a growing consensus that the industry burden from the catastrophe could stretch to $15bn or more.
  • If any further affirmation was needed of a sea change in market sentiment on US commercial insurance rates it arrived in spades last week as evidence from multiple sources pointed to momentum behind price rises.
  • US insurance giants Chubb and Travelers both noted rising premium rates in their fourth quarter results, but analysts said that slowing reserve releases could still hinder their momentum in 2012.
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