On Keeping Customers Close

Dragging French reinsurer SCOR Re back from the brink and restoring the company’s credibility and financial security was an achievement many in the market thought impossible. So when their CEO Denis Kessler, who engineered this much lauded comeback spoke about the emerging economies at the AM Best Conference last week, as reported in Insurance Insider, his comments were not without significance. His rallying cry for … Continue reading On Keeping Customers Close

On the Underwriting Galácticos

A term coined in Spain, Los Galácticos were the soccer superstars expensively acquired by Real Madrid following a policy at the time to construct a world-class team by bringing together the most talented, prestigious and marketable players on the planet. The glamour of signing Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham and the spectacle they produced together on the field was fantastic but the club ultimately failed to build long-term sustainable … Continue reading On the Underwriting Galácticos

On Insurance Wars

Disputes within our industry are hardly unusual despite contract-certainty and a whole heap of regulation. Parties often disagree about how a risk has been presented, policy interpreted or a claim adjudicated. Sometimes things can get a bit ugly, end up in court and on occasions businesses who were previously friends can find themselves at opposite ends of a legal wrangle. Surprising as it might seem, … Continue reading On Insurance Wars

On Other People’s Money

Although there have been a few acquisitions at Lloyd’s since, none were as bold as Catlin’s takeover of Wellington in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The new enlarged syndicate immediately became the largest at Lloyd’s; a position it holds today, writing gross premiums of nearly £1.8 billion last year. Surprising many back then, in addition to acquiring the managing agency, Catlin also bought … Continue reading On Other People’s Money

On the Cost of Doing Business

Already 2013 has the air of being a transformative year for the industry. Over the past 12 months the usage of non-traditional sources of capital has arguably reached a tipping point that shifts the reinsurance business model possibly forever and not just in response to the low interest rate world we presently live in. Equally the quota share sidecar deal struck in March between Aon … Continue reading On the Cost of Doing Business

On an Industry within the Industry

At times the insurance industry seems to defy gravity, growing profitably even in the direst of economic conditions. Yet the recent announcements by Aviva and Direct Line of job losses of 2,000 a piece are a reminder that our workforce is not immune in these recessionary times. As the pricing conditions in UK continue to deteriorate we can expect more companies to pursue cost-cutting strategies … Continue reading On an Industry within the Industry

On Lloyd’s and its Brokers

The early 1980s was a golden era of the Lloyd’s Broker start-up. Men (they were all men in those days) with guile, flair and no shortage of talent, bored by the humdrum of working in old-school-tie broking houses, joined together to create new and exciting businesses. It was no coincidence that the focus for these entrepreneurs was the US reinsurance market where those who were … Continue reading On Lloyd’s and its Brokers

On China Sceptics

The formation in Singapore of Lloyd’s Asia platform in the late 1990s came too late to make an impression in Japan and South Korea. By the time London capacity and capability arrived locally, the industry in those two countries had already developed long-standing relationships with major reinsurers in Europe, USA and Bermuda. Instead underwriters in Singapore set about building a business in the far smaller … Continue reading On China Sceptics

On Underwriting Endangered

The quota-share, that simplest of arrangement where premiums and claims are split by the parties in a pre-agreed fixed proportion, is losing its innocence. Traditionally constructed as a treaty between an insurance company and its reinsurer, a quota-share offers the purest alignment of interest and remains the favoured approach for those providing risk capital to risk takers. You win, we win. You lose, we lose. … Continue reading On Underwriting Endangered