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August 2008 Archives

August 29, 2008

A storm brewing....

Alex Ferguson writes:

If you’re a reinsurer who suddenly becomes a meteorologist in these turbulent times, can I suggest you take a quick peak at the activity of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is headed towards the Gulf of Mexico and could plough through oil fields on the way to the coastline by Monday?

The people of New Orleans are nervous – but probably not as nervous as the people living on the Cayman Islands – which is due to be hit anytime soon.

“Hurricane warnings remain in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” said the US National Hurricane Centre.

And you’ll also notice that Tropical Storm Hanna is right behind Gustav, which could hit the Leeward Islands on the weekend.

And spare a thought for New Orleans, too.

According to the press, New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin has said that he would order a mandatory evacuation of the city if a category 3 storm got within 60 hours – which is something that is predicted.

And if brother and sister hurricane worsen both manage to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico and head towards the US shore, there could be more tears – and rain – on Bourbon Street.

August 21, 2008

He’s back!

Alex Ferguson writes:

After departing Guy Carpenter just a few months ago, David Spiller is back in town, taking up the chairman’s position at Heritage Underwriting, a unit of Bermudian (re)insurer Argo.

I was having lunch today with two senior brokers, and the three of us – while watching the hop, skip and jump of the Olympics – were talking about what happens to senior figures in the market.

One name that came up was former XL chief operating officer Henry Keeling, who left the company earlier this month.

“Keeling’s not going to retire, he’s too young,” said one of the brokers, echoing the same thoughts ringing round Reinsurance Towers earlier that day.

But – as you know, dear reader – the question is: who?

And now the (re)insurance universe has stopped worrying about the whereabouts of Mr Spiller, we can now say: “Where are thou going, Mr Keeling?”

Anyone who can come up with the answer let us know here at Reinsurance Towers.

August 7, 2008

Smart or stupid?

Alex Ferguson writes:

Such is the nature of our industry that if a reinsurance underwriter is seen to be writing half the coast of Florida, he's seen as being "stupid". But if if a hurriance doesn't hit, then he's made everyone a lot of money, helped to keep the combined ratio down, and looks absolutely wonderful.

However, Reinsurance Towers was sent the definitive test of being smart and stupid. Can we encourage you to test your intelligence?

Our score was 17 out of a possible 23. That's apparently nearly 30% ahead of the rest of the people tested. Needless to say, we're off to crack open the champagne and talk about why Einstein's Theory of Relativity was wrong - but our one's much, much closer to the bone...or not.

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