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May 2007/4

  • Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service reacted positively to Dutch bancassurer ING Group’s announcement of a proposed EUR5bn share buyback, affirming all the ratings of the group last week.
  • European giant Zurich Financial Services reported a 71 percent rise in its first quarter income, up to $1.39bn from $810mn in the prior-year period.
  • Bermudian (re)insurer White Mountains Re Group Ltd (White Mountains) ploughed its own furrow in the insurance field with an announcement of a $250mn offer of fixed/floating perpetual non-cumulative preference shares.
  • Terrorism is still at the top of the agenda for many global business leaders, who cite conflict and instability as issues which stop them from investing overseas.
  • Lloyd's insurer Kiln plc said that underwriting conditions and rates remained attractive for the first four months of 2007.
  • Catastrophe modelling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has withdrawn its short-term, five-year Florida hurricane model after state officials said it did not meet the necessary standards.
  • For the seventh consecutive month airline rates have seen double-digit falls as a report revealed 2006 to be the “safest year on record” for the industry.
  • Reinsurance broker, Aon Re Global (Aon Re) has predicted a slight oversupply of worldwide property reinsurance capacity ahead of the 1 June and 1 July renewal season.
  • The industry's thirst for alternative reinsurance capacity continues to grow with the issue of $120mn notes under a $500mn shelf programme providing Swiss Re with retrocession cover for Japanese typhoons.
  • Validus Holdings Ltd agreed terms for its acquisition of Talbot Underwriting Holdings last week, a move that could trigger a wave of mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity between Bermudian (re)insurers and their Lloyd's counterparts.
  • Bermudian start-up Ironshore Insurance Ltd has been granted regulatory approval to write business on a surplus lines basis in Florida, Insider Week can reveal.
  • Shares in Aon Corporation were up last week amid rumours the broking giant may be the target for a leveraged buyout as private equity interest in the sector continues to grow.