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September 2003/2

  • Like its slightly larger German rival Munich Re, Swiss Re has been recently downgraded by S&P. But at least the reinsurer has reported improved half-year results, returning earnings of SFr691mn up from SFr118mn for the first six months of 2002.
  • Germany’s Hannover Re announced a largely unchanged set of interim results for the first half of 2003.
  • French reinsurer SCOR has booked 18 percent less in gross written premiums in the first half of 2003 compared to the comparable period last year.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Wellington Underwriting restored its dividend to shareholders last week following a sharp rise in interim profits.
  • City stockbrokers Collins Stewart has threatened legal action against the Financial Times after the newspaper printed allegations of unsavoury business practices.
  • There was increased speculation over the weekend that the UK’s second largest domestic non-life insurer, Royal & Sun Alliance (R&SA), will launch a rights issue later this week.
  • Premiums increases for professional indemnity for solicitors and law firms are beginning to level out over the past year, according to Aon Professional Risks (APR).
  • A US Federal Jury has at long last issued an ultimatum to the parties that controversially purchased the assets of Executive Life, the Californian insurer that collapsed in 1991.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Omega Underwriting Agents hopes of expansion have hit a stumbling block after seven weeks of negotiations with members’ agents proved inconclusive.
  • Illium Insurance Group Ltd, the UK liability start-up headed by former Limit underwriter Denis Burniston and Russell Benzies, the former chief executive of Euler Trade Indemnity plc, is set to begin trading via a new Lloyd’s Syndicate 4040 next year.
  • HLF Group is continuing to attract senior new executives and expand overseas despite the recent uncertainties caused by take-over talks with Marsh.
  • Despite last month’s decision by Lloyd’s to approve Chaucer’s syndicate merger plans, it seems the fiery response from elements of the Members' Agents has yet to be doused.