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September 2008 Archives

September 17, 2008

One person's point of view on AIG's bailout...

Alex Ferguson writes:

One of our colleagues here at Reinsurance Towers' sister magazine, the brilliant Insurance Age, made me giggle after directing me to the magazine's forum.

One of the more priceless comments?

"It's the Dragons Den:

"I'll give you your $85 Billion but in return I want 80% of your company"

Quick scrum in the corner - "ok it's a deal"

Much shaking of very sweaty hands "

September 16, 2008

Wow....two hurricanes at once!

Alex Ferguson writes:

Wow. Two hurricanes, one weekend.

The first was the force of God, moving through the Texas and up through the US, causing widespread damage. Parts of Galveston, an island off the coast of Texas and reportedly one of the jewels in the crown on the state, are underwater. Billions of insured damages are expected to be reported by insurers and reinsurers alike.

The second was the force of man, bringing down Wall Street and London in one fell swoop. With one breath investment bank Lehman Brothers became no more, with the Federal Reserve Bank refusing to be a Florida Catastrophe Fund to this self-caused catastrophe. Thousands of jobs were lost all over the world. Merrill Lynch -which could have suffered the same fate- was sold to Bank of America for $50bn.

And speaking of the force of man, AIG- the world's biggest insurer, also seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. In boxing terms, the behemoth had $18bn worth of subprime hits, and seems to just need one more knockout punch (credit agencies or the US Federal Reserve - your choice!!) for a catastrophe.

The price of AIG stock - at around $2 a share at the time of writing - is virtually worthless. The world is waiting to hear AIG's plans - if any - to sell its non-core subsidiaries. We've heard nothing....have you?

September 11, 2008

The weather is still upon us....

Alex Ferguson writes:

Hurricane Ike's thumping of Cuba didn't seem to interrupt the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous in 2008, but it's certainly got people thinking about the State of Texas, which is thought to be right in the path of an ever-strengthening Hurricane Ike.

Fans of University of Texas football were pretty upset that their game against hated rival Arkansas has been called off, but there you go.

Oh, and can we advise people with property or business in Galveston to rediscover religion and start praying about this storm, because according to maps from modelling company First America, a major storm surge will put the town underwater....

The movie of predicted damage won't make viewing any easier, though....

September 2, 2008

How to check out the hurricanes from the comfort of your desk...

Alex Ferguson writes:

Here at Reinsurance Towers, we like to talk about the hurricane season as much as the next person.

For the months of June, July, August and September, we -- like the rest of the reinsurance market, it seems - go from our normal jobs to amateur metereologists. And we wouldn't want it any other way.

"You talking about Gustav? That's soooooo earlier this week," says this writer, snootily namedropping about Hurricane Hanna, Tropical Storm Ike, and a Tropical Depression "Ten" which has just formed off the coast of Africa.

But there are some great ways you can get ahead of the game:

The National Hurricane Center: Does what it says on the tin. The maps on the front page are so easy to use that even a caveman would understand what's going on. They also update everything once an hour, making it addictive reading.

Tropical Storm Risk
Priding itself on being the "leading" forecaster of risks from tropical storms worldwide, TSR - as its known by wannabe metereologists like us who are "in the know", we can actually see where a hurricane's headed via a map. Pretty cool huh? Well, it's great for our office. For the guys in the Bahamas as Hanna approaches, not so much.

My Fox Hurricane Now it's got messageboards, the wonderful people at Fox have managed to turn hurricane-chasing into a specetator sport. With all the smells, bells and weather maps you could want - as well as a messageboard just in case you want to boast about how much you won because the eye of the storm didn't pass over New Orleans - this is for the premier storm lover.

Hope this helps.

September 1, 2008

Now Gustav has landed....what's next?

Alex Ferguson writes:

Now Hurricane Gustav has made landfall - there are pictures on the BBC of water already breaking over the levees - what is next?

Well, dear reader, even when Gustav is over there are still three more potential hurricanes to worry about.

Oh, and we're not even in the middle of September, which is supposed to be the "high season" for wind-related US coastal events....

Editor's blog, photo of Mark Geoghegan

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