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July 2004/2

  • Lloyd’s insurer Kiln is close to topping out its £260mn Syndicate 510 property capacity for 2004, surprising the marketplace and leaving some brokers high-and-dry when it comes to placing renewal business.
  • Despite fears of declining rates, the first quarter of 2004 was a stunning year for US P&C insurers, according to data from the research firm ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
  • SCOR’s EUR180mn 4.125 percent senior unsecured “OCEANE” bond has been assigned a “BB” rating by Fitch, matching the French reinsurer’s long-term rating.
  • Lloyd’s defeats Florida Marlins in controversial claims Lloyd’s insurers have successfully disputed a $7.7mn PA claim from the US baseball champions Florida Marlins following a protracted legal battle.
  • Ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s (S&P) have taken opposing stances on Finnish financial services company Sampo’s increase in its stake in pan-Nordic insurer If to 90 percent from 38 percent in February 2004.
  • Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has assigned an “AA” senior unsecured debt rating to approximately EURO640mn of three-year mandatory convertible securities issued by reinsurer Swiss Re.
  • Germany’s Hannover Re received a boost last week with the news that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has upped its outlook on the reinsurer from negative to stable to reflect its improved reinsurance recoverables position.
  • Highway Insurance Holdings has bought personal lines insurance broker A Quote Insurance Services Limited for £4.6mn.
  • Giant reinsurer Swiss Re kicked off the third quarter of 2004 by revealing it is further expanding its Admin Re business in the UK by sealing a £333mn cash deal for Life Assurance Company Limited, including its life insurance subsidiary Windsor Life.
  • Fast growing White Mountains announced last Wednesday (30 June) that Warren Buffett’s investment giant Berkshire Hathaway had completed its previously announced exercise of warrants to buy common shares in the (re)insurance group.
  • US engineering group Halliburton revealed that its earnings will be impacted by a $615mn charge because of lower than expected recoveries from its insurers following its $4.2bn settlement with 400,000 asbestos claimants.
  • Despite their “extraordinarily strong results”, the post 9/11 insurance start-ups which flocked to Bermuda have still to prove they can maintain their performances in the long-term.
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