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March 2004/5

  • Reinsurance broker Benfield last week announced results that saw a more than threefold leap in pre-tax annual profits to £31.2mn last year from £9.8mn.
  • Despite a forecast-beating quadrupling of profits, shares in the Lloyd’s insurer Hiscox plc remained steady today (22 March 2004).
  • Ratings agency Moody's has released its latest forecasts for Lloyd's, indicating that the market could record profits of around £6bn for the 2002 to 2004 years of account, with cumulative returns on capacity equalling profits recorded by Lloyd's between 1
  • The migration of Lloyd’s Names to limited liability status took a step closer last week when the Chancellor of the Exchequer revealed in the Budget that legislation will be enacted to remove tax obstacles for conversion to English Limited Liability Partne
  • Significant steps were taken last week on the road to creating the second largest US commercial lines insurer as the St Paul Travelers super merger moved closer to reality.
  • In the week that it released its best ever results, UK motor insurer Cox has attempted to downplay speculation over its mooted acquisition of smaller rival Highway.
  • A turnaround from 2002’s record EUR1.2bn loss to a healthy net profit of EUR1.6bn for 2003 failed to convince the markets as German insurer Allianz admitted it still had some way to go in the struggle to reverse the fortunes of its ailing banking arm Dres
  • Giant German reinsurer Munich Re last week revealed its first net loss in 98 years as strong underlying underwriting performance was buried beneath deferred tax charges, goodwill writedowns for HVB, and higher than expected reserving at US subsidiary Amer
  • Italian (re)insurer Generali looks to be well on the road to recovery as it announced EUR1,015mn 2003 net profits last week, compared to a 2002 loss of EUR754mn and ahead of the projected EUR931mn profit under its self-imposed three-year plan.
  • WTC leaseholder Silverstein Properties and insurers led by reinsurance giant Swiss Re are litigating over which contractual wordings the various parties used in placing the building’s insurance cover.
  • Equitas has continued its policy of dealing with its largest (re)insurance exposures to asbestos and environmental claims by reaching a $245mn comprehensive settlement of all outstanding policies with US property casualty insurer Travelers.
  • Although less than some estimates, the impending IPO of insurer Catlin Group Ltd will still value the firm at a premium to many of its peers.