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Money, Money, Money

Dear friend,

Forgive the upbeat but kitsch title of this communiqué, inspired by the long-running hit West End ABBA musical, Mamma Mia, opposite which we hammer out our daily toil here in London.

We’re also right next to a famous London stand-up comedy venue — the Comedy Store.

And at times sitting here, observing the reinsurance world swagger by, we do sometimes feel sandwiched between something slightly in poor taste and something funny.

We usually don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Here at Reinsurance towers we observe that all great tragedies begin first as drama, and slowly descend into comedy and farce.

What’s brought all this on?

Well it seems slightly kitsch and farcical that, when after almost six years of arguing only now is a final settlement being reached for the World Trade Center loss of 9/11 2001.

And that comes with the personal intervention of the Governor of New York.

Only, just like the Charman divorce settlement, it isn’t over, is it? No sooner had the deal been announced than Scor said it was going to put its reinsurance of Allianz into arbitration. Still no rest.

They key argument is whether 9/11 was one event or many events?

But surely it would seem obvious to any right-thinking person that it was more than one?

After all, a different aeroplane crashed into each building separately — how much more independent an event can you get? One tower didn’t knock the other over, or burn the other down, did it?

And the aviation hull losses had to be paid as separate events, didn’t they? No-one in their right mind is going to contradict that.

But good old Money, Money, Money steps in and muddies the waters.

But I put this to you — what if on that fateful day, Mr Silverstein was also the proud new owner of the Pentagon, a couple of hundred miles to the south?

Could you seriously argue that this third plane crash was part of the same event, even though it occurred in another city entirely?

Our industry, so often content to sit around congratulating itself on how wonderful it is in times of crisis, needs to look at this and then look hard at itself in the mirror.

There should never be anything wrong with buying an event limit for the top location on a global property insurance programme.

Mamma Mia!

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