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July 2003/5

  • Marsh has missed key deadlines in its acquisition talks with HLF Group Plc, leading to speculation that the world’s largest insurance broker may withdraw from the proposed £350mn takeover.
  • Marsh, Willis and JLT continue to grow healthy brokerage revenues… Despite growing evidence that non-casualty pricing levels have plateaued, strong half-year results from Marsh, Willis and JLT show brokerage revenues continuing to grow.
  • Giant European reinsurer Swiss Re was today (28 July) downgraded by rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P), lowering its financial strength and long-term counterparty credit ratings from AA+ to AA. The outlook remains stable.
  • Ernst & Young, the big four accountant facing a £2.6bn claim from Equitable Life, has only limited professional indemnity protection from Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies.
  • US giant insurer AIG has announced sturdy second quarter 2003 figures with profits up 26.4 percent to $2.28bn, against $1.80bn for the same period last year. The six monthly showing saw net income totalling $4.23bn, up from $3.78bn last year.
  • Bermudian (re)insurer Everest Re reported a striking increase in net income last Tuesday, the second quarter up 105.1 percent to $109.6mn from $53.4mn last year.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Cathedral Underwriting Ltd has signed an agreement with CATEX, the technology and software company.
  • Shares in US casualty specialist WR Berkley are again close to its 3 July 52 week high of $54.02 after the insurer unveiled consensus beating half yearlies.
  • US insurer St Paul announced last Friday the second quarter earnings impact of a previously disclosed surety exposure. The charge will amount to $86mn pretax and $56mn after tax, equivalent to $0.23 per diluted share.
  • The Financial Services Authority has responded to fears that companies and individuals are insuring themselves against fines for misconduct by proposing to ban the provision of such cover.
  • Canadian broker Hub International Ltd has stepped in to purchase Near North National Group weeks after Near North’s management agreed the sale to private equity firm Frontenac.
  • Reinsurance brokers RK Carvill look set to lose a prime $30mn brokerage account after their clients XL Capital put the contract out to tender to three rival firms.
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