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June 2003/6

  • Despite growing concerns that US property & casualty rates are tailing off, Swiss Re senior economist Thomas Holzheu predicted last week that rates will continue to remain firm while profits remain hampered by poor investment returns and reserving issues.
  • Bermuda’s Everest Re Group has paved the way for fundraising by filing with the SEC last Friday to periodically sell up to $975mn of shares.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Hardy Underwriting Group plc has denied it plans making a bid for rival insurer Atrium Underwriting plc.
  • White Mountains announced Friday that it has filed a shelf registration with the SEC in New York allowing it to raise up to $2bn by issuing debt or shares.
  • AIG’s move to buy Japanese life and selected US p/c insurance operations from General Electric Capital (GEC) for $2.1bn has been met with a cautious affirmation from ratings agency Moody’s.
  • French reinsurer SCOR’s “back on track” recovery plan was shunted backwards last week with the early retirement of group deputy chief operating officer Pierre-Denis Champvillard.
  • After two weeks of heightened rumours, Insider Week understands that Marsh representatives had contact with HLF over a potential take-over bid.
  • Corporate financiers at Hoare Govett, the London broking arm of Dutch bank ABN Amro, are rounding up investors to back a £50mn plus flotation of a new UK start up, Illium Insurance.
  • Compulsory terrorism cover will begin later this week (1 July) in Australia, after The Terrorism Insurance Act received Royal Assent on 24 June.
  • D&O insurers for 309 companies facing IPO class actions agreed to a $1bn settlement with plaintiff law firms last week, thereby clearing the decks for the “laddering” dispute between Wall Street firms, their liability insurers and disgruntled investors.
  • Groundbreaking progress but tough negotiations ahead With the clock running down on prospects for pushing through meaningful asbestos reform in this Congress, last week saw a rush for compromise and early indications suggest the tide is turning.
  • Employers Re (ERC), the world’s fourth largest reinsurer, was effectively downgraded from A+ to A (Excellent) last week as AM Best revised ratings following a first time assessment of the firm as a standalone entity, separated from the influence of its ow