from the publisher of reinsurance and fac magazines

« September 2009 | Main |November 2009 »

October 2009 Archives

October 1, 2009

Spare a thought for the Philippines

The catastrophe season seemed to be off to a fairly slow start but over the last few days things are no longer quiet on the eastern front.

Official economic losses to the Philippines capital Manila from Typhoon Ketsana which hammered the Philippines last weekend could be around $30m or 1.4bn pesos, with a further $17m from agriculture losses.

However, we in the reinsurance industry should always be careful not to forget the human cost. The death toll has more than doubled to 240 as the country clears up from the natural disaster.

Disease is another issue, with major worries about the spread of typhoid.

(Re)insurers with operations on the islands include AsianLife, Mapfre, QBE, Philippine American Life and General, Philippine Axa Life, Manulife Chinabank, Liberty, PNB, Travelers and until recently AIG.

So spare a thought for the Phillippines

October 5, 2009

The end of the world, apparently...

We at Reinsurance Towers are used to seeing some fairly odd responses to some of our stories from readers but this week we received what may be a first, even for us.

In response to a story on how Munich Re and Lloyd's syndicates could be affected by Iran sanctions we posted online last week one reader responded by quoting Bible verses at us

Here I quote:

Iran should not arouse concern. Georgia is a flashpoint in Russia's tense relations with the West. The Bible says: "At the appointed time [the king of the north = Russia] will return and come into the south, but it will not be as the former [1921] or as the latter [2008]. For shall come against him the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [the West], and he will be humbled, and will return." (Daniel 11:29,30a) What logical conclusions can be drawn from this forecast? Much suggests that the present economic crisis will deepen, making it possible for Russia to regain the influence, which it lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union. In relationship to this, unavoidable will be the split or even a complete break-up of the European Union and NATO. After that, Russia will come somewhere into the south. Many indicate that this might be Georgia. When this happens, the West will come against Russia. Then Iran will be humbled also. "But ships will come from the direction of Kittim, troubling Asshur [Russia] and troubling Eber [inhabiting on the other side the Euphrates]." (Numbers 24:24a, BBE) At that time, peace will be taken from the earth and the "great sword" - nuclear sword - will be used. (Revelation 6:4) However, it will be neither the great tribulation nor "the end of the world" (Armageddon). As Jesus foretold, that will be "the beginning of birth pains". (Mathew 24:7,8)

From what I understand of the above this particular reader therefore believes that the end of the world is coming, but not before the majority of us are wiped out by nuclear weapons.

That could put a bit of a crimp on our business plans...

October 12, 2009


Reinsurance is once again asking you, our readers, for your views on the future shape of your market.

This month we'd love your views on mergers and acquisitions, Latin American markets and the driving forces behind reinsurance technology as well as, of course, the ups and downs of rates in general.

You can take part in this month's survey copy and paste the following link into your internet browser:

All results will be aggregated anonymously and the overall findings featured in the November issue of Reinsurance.

And just to entice you, we'll enter your name in a draw for a bottle of champagne.

Thanks in advance

October 19, 2009

A new week, the same old gossip

Reinsurance Towers had a big team meeting today in order to sort out the nominees for our reader awards (you will be able to vote soon, watch this space) and, as usual, traded (re)insurance gossip whilst we were at it.

Have you ever noticed that the gossip from the last few months has stayed the same? All people seem to be able to talk about at the moment (other than the never ending stream of people moves) is mergers and acquisitions (the latest confirmed move being RGA's purchase of ReliaStarLife in the US . And we can tell you that, despite the rumors, Towers Perrin are not looking to sell their UK arm .

The names may change (although all eyes are still fixed on Bermuda) but the tune is always the same.

Whilst we have not had a major US catastrophe activity this year yet to talk about (we are crossing are fingers that this will remain the case) surely there must be something else for us to talk about?

After all, there is plenty of activity at the moment in the run up to third quarter results: Arig and Hardy have announced a tie up in the Middle East , Willis Re have completely reorganized their management team and the US Senate Finance Committee has finally passed a $829bn health plan that will overhaul the country's healthcare system.

Here's something else for you to talk about (we hope.) If you have been wondering what else we at Reinsurance Towers have been up to in order to be too busy to blog much over the last few weeks then I have the answer for you...we have been putting together the program for our Run-off and Claims half-day seminar to be held in London on the 9th December. The good news is that, so long as you meet our criteria, attendance is free.

For more information on the event or to sign up please contact either myself or Lene Pedersen:
[email protected]
[email protected]
Or go to our events page here

Have a good week,
Katherine Blackler

October 29, 2009


After having spent the last four days in Baden Baden Reinsurance Towers returned to London last night.

Unfortunately for you wanting lists of rumours and intrigue, this year's German extravaganza was actually quite drama free.

To make matters worse, the quality of the champagne was down a little this year (have we been credit crunched, or does Reinsurance Towers have expensive tastes?)

The general consensus at the moment seems to be that rates will remain flat (apart from certain distressed lines) and the mergers and acquisitions rumours will die down until after January renewals as everyone knuckles down to do some work.

But back to the rumour mill - which always happens whenever there's a critical mass - or around five (re)insurance people - in the same vicinity.

If the gossips are to be believed then we'll see a few more new Lloyd's syndicates, funded by Bermudian reinsurers, due to crop up in January and Aon Benfield is to become Aon in 2010. We're off to the bookies to place our bets on the two events, in an effort to become the first people in the reinsurance game ever to be involved in gambling....

The question is, was Baden Baden this year just a giant European hand-shaking exercise for all those involved? Or did it serve some use? Let us know how you found the conference if you were there.

To see what we were up to at the conference make sure you check out our conference review video which should be up on our website next week.....

Katherine Blackler

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