from the publisher of reinsurance and fac magazines

« February 2009 | Main |September 2009 »

March 2009 Archives

March 2, 2009

THIS is why I hate Mondays

"Tell me why I don't like Mondays
Tell me why I don't like Mondays
I could shoot the whole day down"

Never has Sir Bob Geldof ever been so right.

Monday, March 2nd was the sort of day that, when we go home, we'll tell our spouses that this was one hell of day.


1) Days after Warren Buffett said the market was going to be horrible until 2010, HSBC then tell the world that they're going to ask for £12.5bn to shore up capital after a particularly sucky 2008 year - mainly thanks to their US sub-prime mortgage time.

At the same time, Amlin says that everything's going well. Thank God they didn't 'do' a rights issue like their Lloyd's rivals.

2) Across the Atlantic, Bermudian rivals IPC and Max Capital said that they were merging.


3) AIG comes up with the godfather of losses - $61.7bn in the fourth quarter of the year. We were midly disappointed they didn't break the $100bn loss barrier for 2008, but then again, there's still 2009.

And while this was happening, the FTSE and Dow Jones were absolutely tanking.

Could it get any worse this week? it's only Monday, for crying out loud!!

March 3, 2009

Koala central!!

It's always a highlight when Admiral, the motor insurer, release their results. Not that Reinsurance Towers particularly cares about motor insurance (as we don't drive), but the half-year and full-year results statement, written by Admiral's off-the-cuff CEO Henry Engelhardt, is wonderfully funny.

It starts out: "At the end of 2008 the market capitalisation of Admiral Group was almost twice that of General Motors. Funny year 2008."

You're right, Henry. 2008 wasa funny year - unless you're AIG, Swiss Re, Bernard Madoff or the billions of people around the world currently 'adversely affected' by the world economic armageddon.

Engelhardt's best bit is when he talks about the animal world:

"All in all, I think it means a bit of a sleepy year on rates,,,.for those of you needing animal imagery I'd suggest the koala bear. Here are three, I leave it to you to pick and choose which ones best represent the UK car insurance market: koalas sleep some 16 hours a day, they can be nasty if provoked, and they are known to smell quite bad".

Hmm....sounds like our investment portfolio.....

March 9, 2009

Slumdog The Sequel

Dear Subscriber,

Reinsurance Towers just took Mrs Reinsurance Towers to go and see the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire at the local cinema, and we have to say that it's well worth an Oscar or two.

Unbenown to the good lady, the film's director Danny Boyle, and Hollywood at large, Reinsurance Towers has already managed to phone up our all-important market sources and got a copy of the script to the sequel - yet unnamed.

We can tell you, it's quite a ride.

We've managed to get a hold of all four (that's right - the studios are planning to choose one of FOUR) endings to the new film.

Being the kind people we are at this magazine, we thought we'd ruin the sequel for you with the scenarios given to us by market sources.

SLUMDOG GADZILLIONAIRE: Slumdog's star Jamal is visited by a nifty hedge fund manager, who tells him to short the US and UK stock markets as a whole, and take out some short positions on UK and US banks, and a small little American company called AIG. A few million rupees becomes a few billion rupees, and our hero's not trying to sell fake tours outside the Taj Mahal, he's using the place as a hotel.

SLUMDOG BILLIONAIRE: Jamal keeps some of his money in cash, but he still shorts AIG, Citigroup, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, and the UK banks - apart from HSBC and Standard Chartered, who's he's heard might be OK. It's not enough to buy the Taj Mahal, but I'm sure he can live with the big house in Mumbai and two recently-vacated ones in West Palm Beach.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE II: Realizing world banking Armageddon is on its way, our hero refuses to 'speculate to acccumulate', and decides to simply keep the cash and compound some of his savings in a pension for Lakita, his heroine, and the kids. He's a bit less wealthy because he's bought a house in Mulabar Hills, South Delhi.

SLUMDOG BACK TO SLUMMING: In a retrospective story, our hero tells us how he actually got to be in the slums in the first place. It wasn't the fact that he was a poor kid. It was the fact that he'd made millions from "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", and then decided to buy stocks of AIG, Citigroup, and those UK banks we were telling you about. He decides to invest the rest with a couple of guys who run these things called 'Ponzi Schemes' - apparently they're the talk of the news right now.

Bet you can't wait to see which film comes out in 2010! See you at the Oscars next year!

And lastly, we'd like to thank God, The Academy, our family and our friends for giving us some good news.

March 13, 2009

Getting ready for the Madness?

Dear Subscriber,

Michael. Larry. LeBron. Kobe. Magic. Shaq.

If you haven't heard of these names they aren't the latest in a string of people the SEC have nabbed for crooked investment schemes. They are giants in their game.....of basketball.

Unfortunately, we at Reinsurance Towers aren't giving you the chance to meet Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Kobe Bryand, Magic Johnson or Shaquille O'Neal if you take a subscription to the brilliant and incisive Reinsurance Magazine, but we can assure you that all six guys will be thinking about exactly the same thing on Sunday....the NCAA Tournament.

You see Sunday - known as 'Selection Sunday' - is when the NCAA's rulers decide on who should be in this year's three-week tournament, and who's out.

For those of who can't understand what we're on about, let me explain. Basically, it's an excuse to watch 64 teams of college kids run around throwing a ball into a basket, and after a streak of wins, the last team standing wins the title. It's called 'March Madness'. If you're a CEO and you advertise for a job right now, the hurricane of CVs flying into your inbox seems crazy. March Madness - as it is known - is that times about a million.

Why? Because in the same way that the underwriters took a bet (albeit a somewhat more educated one!) that a hurricane wouldn't hit Miami in 2008, everyone in the USA's taking a bet on who's going to win when the fifth seed plays the 12th seed (hint: generally always one fifth seed loses to 'a twelve' at March Madness time) via the brackets and pools - played everywhere in the Land of The Free from Silicon Valley to Skid Row.

And if you're involved in some sort of betting pool or another, then either your office doesn't care about sports, or it's been banned because there are only three of you left in the office. And if you're an ex-pat reading this and don't know what the fuss is about, gently enquire to your American boss why everybody's going to be off from Thursday for the next three weeks for no good reason.

Speaking of pools, Reinsurance Magazine is in the mood to win its own one. After last year's runaway victory in its pool with his friends, we firmly believe we can beat the pants off anyone. If we were betting money, we'd put money on it (but this being a recession, we won't!).

If you want to get involved, email us at [email protected]com for league and password details for our group (hosted on - you'll need a password (it takes two seconds)), and we'll have everything set up on Monday morning.....we promise.

See you on the (proverbial court), with the rattle of good news - if any of you are reading this on Friday week!

March 16, 2009

Reinsurance March Madness Group

March Madness is a lot of fun.

For three weekends during the year, it's almost as fun as reinsurance.

Anyway, we've put together a group......and yours truly plans to be top of the foodchain.

Here are the details of the group - which is hosted by

NAME: Reinsurance March Madness
PASSWORD: Reinsurance

Not exactly imaginatively named, but there we go.

This closes on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, so get your entries in quickly!

So that's why AIG had to be rescued.....

There is rage on Main Street after it emerged that AIG had spent of millions of the government's money on keeping staff.

There was even more rage on Main Street when it was found out that AIG had spent bilions of taxpayers' money on repaying counterparty credit requirements.

But imagine what could have happened if AIG didn't pay back the banks.

Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers would have been afterthoughts. We could have seen some of Wall Street's biggest names go. Employment at 3%? If the US Treasury didn't come in, we would have seen employment at 8%.

Good decision, Ben Bernanke......even if it did make you angry.

March 17, 2009

Stewart vs Cramer: Uncensored

Having just watched CNBC's Jim Cramer getting ripped a new one by Comedy Central presenter Jon Stewart - I'll enclose the clips at the end of the article, I realised that Stewart missed something - he should have gone into journalism. We need someone like him writing a column!

For those of you who don't know Jim Cramer, he's the former hedge fund manager host of 'Mad Money', which talks about the stock market five days a week, with all the bells and whistles that go with it (quite literally!).

And if you don't know Jon Stewart, you will after watching this!!

This is very, very worth watching. It might make you incandescent with rage, but it should sit and watch all three parts.

Continue reading "Stewart vs Cramer: Uncensored" »

March 30, 2009

Er......a bit late aren't we?

It's nice of CNBC to think that they are the world leaders of news, and perhaps they are.

But they are a bit late with this section of their website, aren't they?


Next, CNBC will inform us that there could be major insured losses from the 9/11 attacks or perhaps that Lloyd's of London has had an asbestos problem in the past....

Editor's blog, photo of Mark Geoghegan

"Welcome to the reinsurance industry’s first dedicated blog!
This is your chance to tell me exactly
what you think of my opinions and voice your thoughts on the issues driving our industry. Make sure you bookmark my blog today!"
Katherine Blackler