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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 19, 2007 11:50 AM.

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Dear friend,

Looks like what we gained on the swings of a benign North Atlantic hurricane season in 2006 we are already paying for on the roundabout of a stormy and expensive northern hemisphere winter damage season in 2007.

In the US, Californian frost damage trashes a whole orange crop, ice storms bring death and destruction to the Mid-West and the East Coast. And over in Europe Hanno (aka Per) bashed Scandinavia last week and Kyrill another 160kph-gusting storm, lashed the southern UK, Northern France, the lowlands, Germany and Eastern Europe yesterday.

The damage is reported to have stretched as far as Russia and the Ukraine. I expect we will be seeing Kyrill appearing in red ink in (re)insurer first-quarter results statements in April and May this year.

My gut feeling is that it will be the costliest storm for many a year.

I even heard that the Lloyd’s building had to close a couple of entrances as the wind blew down some panes of glass from the new Willis HQ under construction opposite. Of course, the market traded bravely through as ever.

And on a personal note, the perimeter fence on the playground my daughters’ nursery had blown over when I dropped them off this morning — I’ve haven’t seen structural damage like that since the big one in we had way back in 1987.

The other big story we have seen this week is the rush to the IPO market for three more of the class of 2005.

Validus, Greenlight and CastlePoint all made moves to open the capital exit doors with planned floats in New York.

I know these things tend to come in waves and that the timing is almost certainly coincidental, but they do focus the mind. When you add in Flagstone and the London Aim-floated Lancashire, this will make five 2005-ers with a listing.

Top-slicing is the investment strategy where you take your initial stake out of a stock and let the profits ride. And after a blistering first year in the business it distinctly looks like the smart guys of late 2005 are looking to take some money off the table.

Maybe they don’t like the feel of this soft and bouncy market, or they don’t think they’re likely to see a repeat of last year’s meteorological miracle. Or maybe they just think it’s sensible to have a plan B.

Whatever their motives, they have earned our respect and admiration.

Just as kids seem to grow up quicker and quicker these days, so it seems do reinsurance classes!

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