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November 2004/5

  • Leading brokers could see up to a quarter of their bottom line earnings eroded as a result of abandoning contingency commissions, according to a survey by investment banking and financial consulting outfit WFG Capital Advisors.
  • Hurricanes, unresolved WTC losses, unreliable catastrophe modelling, PSAs: these are just some of the challenges faced by the global insurance industry for 2005 according to XL chief executive of Insurance Operations Clive Tobin.
  • Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) shrugged off the impact of the most severe hurricane season in memory to post net income of $1.902bn for the first nine months of 2004 – a 35 percent increase over the same period last year.
  • US property casualty giant The Hartford announced last Thursday (18 November) that it has bought a $247.5mn cat bond from Cayman Island reinsurance company Foundation Re “to enhance its ability to manage risk related to large natural catastrophes”.
  • At a time when capital management has become increasingly important to insurance investors, Lloyd’s listed insurer Chaucer announced on Friday (19 November) it would increase dividends by around 10 percent a year from 2005 to 2008, matching its objective
  • Broker Aon has stated the potential impact of a mammoth round of energy litigation currently underway in the Royal Courts of Justice.
  • The mooted takeover of GoshawK, the UK listed owner of Rosemont Re, has been ruled out by Nikko, the Japanese private equity firm which was given a deadline of 23 November to make firm its declaration of interest.
  • Argenta’s new marine Lloyd syndicate will be allocated number 1965 when it begins trading next year, Insider Week can reveal.
  • Run-off specialist Helix UK Ltd has been appointed to administer the London Market portfolio of Legion Insurance Company, the programme manager and insurer which collapsed last year following the demise of its parent Mutual Risk Management.
  • Willis’ hopes that it may be the main beneficiary from any client fall-out at Marsh were boosted last week with the revelation that Fortune brands – a company named in Spitzer’s 14 October lawsuit – appointed Willis to replace the world’s largest broker.
  • PXRE’s Bermudian reinsurance arm PXRE Reinsurance Ltd will have an additional $83mn of capital to support its 2005 underwriting following the group’s successful fund raising.
  • Although the New York attorney general set the wheels in motion, last week provided ample evidence that many other US regulators are proving equally zealous in probing the insurance industry for apparent defects.