Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Brief.(NEWS)(A.M. Best Company Inc.)(American International Group Inc.)(Swiss Reinsurance Co.).

The U.S. property/casualty insurance industry's 2008 asbestos and environmental losses were the lowest since 2000, according to a report by A.M. Best Co. Inc. Net incurred asbestos losses dropped 49.9% to an estimated $1.3 billion in 2008 from a year earlier, while net incurred environmental losses dropped 41.3% to about $400 million. The decline was the fifth in the past six years, but the industry increased its aggregate funding for asbestos and environmental liabilities by nearly $5 billion the past two years, Best says.

Reinsurers place catastrophe bonds

Swiss Reinsurance Co. said it has received protection for up to $150 million in natural catastrophe losses from North Atlantic hurricane, European windstorm and California earthquake risks. A catastrophe bond arranged by Successor X, a special-purpose vehicle established in the Cayman Islands, covers a one-year period ending in late 2010, Zurich-based Swiss Re said in a statement. Meanwhile, Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Ltd. said last week that it has placed a $175 million catastrophe bond to cover risks from U.S. hurricanes and earthquakes. The bond, Montana Re Ltd., provides Flagstone's Swiss-based unit, Flagstone Reassurance Suisse S.A., with three years of reinsurance protection against hurricane exposures in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Atlantic and Florida regions as well as earthquake exposures in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

AIG reduces debt by $25 billion

American International Group Inc. has closed two transactions with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and reduced its debt to the government by $25 billion. The debt-for-equity swap transactions also position the two AIG life insurance units for sale or spinoff, AIG said. As it previously said it would do, AIG has placed the equity of the two New York-based unitsAmerican International Assurance Co. Ltd. and American Life Insurance Co.into separate special-purpose vehicles in exchange for the Federal Reserve Bank acquiring preferred equity interests in the recently formed subsidiaries. The Federal Reserve Bank has a liquidation preference in the AIA vehicle worth $16 billion and in the ALICO vehicle worth $9 billion.

E.C. clears Watson Wyatt, Towers Perrin merger

The European Commission granted clearance for Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby Inc. and Watson Wyatt Worldwide to merge, paving the way for the benefit consulting firms to complete their union by year-end. U.S. antitrust authorities have cleared the transaction, which will create the world's largest employee benefits consulting firm with annual revenues of about $3 billion. The merger will bring together Arlington, Va.-based Watson Wyatt and Stamford, Conn.-based Towers Perrin, which each reported about $1.7 billion in revenues in 2008. The combined company is to be called Towers Watson & Co.

British official backs national supervisors

The European Union needs to monitor the potential for systemic risk in financial services companies, but it should not take oversight of individual companies away from national supervisors such as the Financial Services Authority, Britain's finance minister said in a letter published last week. Writing in the Times of London, Alistair Darling said he supports previously announced plans to establish "a European systemic risk board to monitor risks to financial and economic stability within and outside Europe. He argued for a "single rule book for financial regulation covering banking, insurance and securities; and a mechanism for national supervisors to cooperate in its implementation. However, he called for resistance of any E.U. regulatory regime that could "undermine the effective functioning of our cherished single market. National supervisors, such as the FSA, must remain responsible for supervising individual companies. Making companies accountable to more than one authority is a recipe for confusion, he said.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson buys HSBC Actuaries

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. said it is acquiring HSBC Actuaries & Consultants Ltd. to boost its employee benefits business. The London-based broker, which offers benefits services through JLT Benefits Solutions Ltd., said acquiring the unit of HSBC Group will "significantly add to its expertise in defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans and other employee benefit programs. London-based HSBC Actuaries & Consultants reported [pounds sterling]40 million ($65.9 million) in 2008 revenues and has about 440 employees. Terms of the acquisition were not released.

VeriClaim acquires property loss business

VeriClaim U.K. Ltd. has reached an agreement to acquire the adjusting assets of Teceris Corporate & Complex Adjusting, the property loss business of Capita Group P.L.C. The deal, for which terms were not disclosed, is scheduled to close Jan. 31, 2010. VeriClaim U.K. is headquartered in London and is owned by Naperville, Ill.-based VeriClaim Inc., a global loss adjusting and claims management company. Capita Group is a London-based outsourcing company.

Max Capital establishes Latin America operation

Max Capital Group Ltd. has established a Latin American reinsurance operation led by Carlos Caputo, the unit's chief executive officer. Mr. Caputo is joined by Sonia Galvis, who is Max's Latin American chief underwriting officer. The reinsurance operation plans to expand its platform in the region, particularly in Brazil, Max Capital said in a statement. Mr. Caputo most recently was regional director and operating officer for XL Re Latin America Ltd. Ms. Galvis most recently was regional director and underwriting officer of the northern region for XL Re Latin America Ltd. Both are based in Rio de Janeiro.

Copyright 2009 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Source Citation
"In Brief." Business Insurance 43.44 (2009): 1. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 June 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A213977879 USA,
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