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Lloyd's Sues Benfield And Aon, Plus Other News
Lloyd's of London is suing brokers Benfield and Aon over their placement of a reinsurance policy that protected the Central Fund – the pool of money that pays claims if individual Lloyd's syndicates are unable to.
• Lloyd's of London is suing brokers Benfield and Aon over their placement of a reinsurance policy that protected the Central Fund – the pool of money that pays claims if individual Lloyd's syndicates are unable to.
This latest action follows last year's settlement of the dispute between Lloyd's and the six insurers that underwrote the policy.
The policy protected the Central Fund for the five years from 1999 to 2003. It covered the fund for up to £350 million ($621 million) a year if cash calls – syndicates' requests for money from the fund – exceeded £100m in any one year. The aggregate maximum payment over the lifetime of the policy was £500 million.
Lloyd's says it made claims of £477 million during the life of the policy. But the insurers disputed a large portion of the claims. In the settlement, the insurers were only ordered to pay Lloyd's £152 million. As a result of the shortfall, the Central Fund's assets were reduced by £325 million.
Following the settlement with the insurers, Lloyd's said it reserved the right to pursue others involved in the placement of the policy.
Lloyd's has decided to take action against Aon and Benfield because, during the dispute with the insurers, the court ruled that one of the insurers were allowed to avoid coverage on the grounds that the risk had been presented to them unfairly.
"We are now actively pursuing this claim through the courts," said Sean McGovern, general counsel for Lloyd's, in a statement. "This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and follows discussions with Aon and Benfield."
• U.S. insurer Allstate Corporation made $1.77 billion profit in 2005, 44.5% less than the $3.18 billion profit it made the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2005 the company made a $1.04 billion profit, compared with a $1.14 billion profit in the same period the year before
The company incurred more than $3 billion losses from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the third quarter of 2005. In addition, hurricane Wilma, which hit one of Allstate's most exposed areas, cost the company more than $500 million.
• Bermudian insurance group XL Capital is planning to form a joint-venture insurance company in Brazil with Banco Itaú Hold Financeira. The venture will combine the Brazilian property, casualty and speciality books of Itaú and XL. The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval.
In addition, XL has opened an office in Beijing, China following approval from the Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission. The new operation will act as a liaison point, conduct research and perform other non-income generating activities.
• Bermudian reinsurer Everest Re reported a net loss of $218.7 million in 2005. This compares with a $494.9 million profit in 2004. The company posted a net loss of $162.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2005 compared with a $93.3 million profit in the same period the year before.
In January, Everest raised its loss estimate for U.S. hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma to $1.2 billion from $1 billion.
• Reinsurance Group of America made $224.2 million profit in 2005. This is slightly higher than the $221.9 million profit it made the previous year.
• Bermudian insurance group Ace made a net profit of $1.03 billion for 2005, 11% less than the $1.15 billion profit it made in 2004. The company's combined ratio was 99.3% for 2005, compared with 96.9% for 2004.
Ace's fourth-quarter net income in 2005 was $237 million, down 15% from the $278 million profit it made in the same period the previous year.
• Rating agency Fitch has raised the financial strength rating of Portuguese insurer Seguro Directo Gere – Companhia de Seguros to BBB+ from BBB-.
• U.S. insurance group Chubb made a $1.8 billion profit in 2005, compared with $1.5 billion the previous year. The company's combined ratio was 92.3% for 2005, the same as 2004. In the fourth quarter of 2005, the company made a profit of $614 million, compared with $468 for the same period in 2004.
• Hanover Insurance Group made a net loss of $329.4 million for 2005, compared with a profit of $125.3 in 2004. In the fourth quarter of 2005, the company made a profit of $114.5 million, compared with a profit of $63.1 million in the same quarter the previous year.
• U.S. insurer The Hartford has formed a new operation called the Technology Practice Group. It will provide tools, support and technical knowledge to help agents protect their technology clients from a wide range of business risks.
• Disability insurer UnumProvident reported a $513.6 million profit for 2005, compared with a $253 million loss in 2004. In the fourth quarter of 2005 the company made a £137.5 million profit, compared with a $134.5 million profit in the same period of 2004.
• AmerUs Group made a $188.8 million profit for 2005. This is slightly down on the previous year's profit of $192.6 million. The company made a $53.1 million profit the fourth quarter of 2005. This is 22% lower than the $67.9 million profit it made in the same period the year before.
• St. Paul Travelers made a $1.62 billion net profit for 2005 compared with a net profit of $955m for 2004. The company reported a profit of $179 million for the fourth quarter of last year compared with a profit of $303 million for the same period in 2004.
• Brit Insurance Holdings estimates that it will make a £60 million ($106.7 million) profit in 2005, compared with a £102.5 million profit the previous year. The company recently strengthened its reserves for U.S. hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma to $385 million from $325 million.
• Bermudian start-up Validus Reinsurance wrote $220 million of gross premium in the Jan. 1, 2005 renewal season. The company said the business sold comprised of property, marine, energy and speciality reinsurance.