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December 2009 Archives

December 4, 2009

The Reinsurance Reader Awards 2009

The results are in for our reader awards. Hundreds of you voted for your favorites with some interesting results.

Thank you to all of you who voted.

The winners are listed below:

Innovator of the year
Winner - The Lloyd's Exchange
Runner Up - Barrack Obama

Broker of the year
Winner - Guy Carpenter
Runner Up - Aon Benfield

Bermudian reinsurer of the year
Winner - Partner Re
Runner Up - Validus

US reinsurer of the year
Winner - Berkshire Hathaway
Runner Up - Transatlantic Re

European reinsurer of the year
Winner - Scor
Runner Up - a tie between Munich Re and Swiss Re

Emerging markets player of the year
Winner - Korean Re
Runner up - Gulf Re

Insurer of the year
Winner - Allianz
Runner Up - Zurich

London market reinsurer of the year
Winner - Catlin
Runner Up - Hiscox

Legal firm of the year
Winner - Clyde & Co
Runner Up - Lovell's

Newcomer of the year
Winner - Barbican
Runner Up - Novae Re

Reinsurance personality of the year
Winner - Jim Bryce (IPC)
Runner Up - Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)

Person of achievement award
Winner - Rolf Tolle (Lloyd's)
Runner Up - Dennis Kessler (Scor)

For more details and comments from the winners make sure you read your December copy of Reinsurance

Have a good weekend.


December 7, 2009

2009: Some Good Years and Some Bad Years

On 4th December Alex Ferguson wrote:

This year's been an interesting one. We've managed to avoid a bloodbath in the stock markets - although we've heard enough about "God's Work" and investment bankers' bonuses to last us a lifetime. The reinsurance sector managed to avoid a windy season, although rates might not be wonderful at the start of the year (the latest we heard were flat to 5% down), the losses haven't incinerated balance sheets - something that we're thankful for.

As for Reinsurance Towers, we've tried to educate you in the joys of Queens Park Rangers, Penn State, and all things college football, as well as trying to put a brake on the optimism and laugh at the words "green" and "shoots" and "recovery", but we've pity of banging the drum and clanging the cymbal.

This week we're sticking strictly to our awards. We ask that you don't take them too seriously.

Good year for: AIG. If we're honest, 2008 couldn't get any worse. In 2009, the share price came back (a bit), the CEO's position looks good (at the moment), and there's peace with former CEO Hank Greenberg. Oh, and the split-up of its two major businesses is going pretty well too.

Bad year for: AIG staff. No bonuses for you this Christmas. And the revolving doors of the insurance world seem to be pretty solidly shut, too.

Good year for: Cat bonds. Cat bonds are back, baby! We've seen a glut of them recently.

Bad year for: Retro reinsurance: Apparently it's too expensive - especially with all that capital floating around.

Good year for: The Lloyd's Exchange: It got the Reinsurance Reader Award for Innovator of the Year, didn't it? Oh, and it might be changing the way people broke and underwrite stuff too. Robots next!

Bad year for: Cat bond exchanges. The highly-trumpeted ICAP-JLT cat bond exchange joint venture fell on its knees after only putting through about 50 trades. Ouch.

Good year for: Lloyd's insurers: No US hurricane season and better investments meant that things have gone from "challenging" to "hopeful".

Bad year for: Lloyd's brokers. The free-flowing capital has meant that brokers have had to cut fees and brokerage in an effort to snatch business from each other. Will there ever be a bottom to this?

Good year for: Property. Rates might not be wonderful at the moment, but it hasn't been a bloodbath where losses are concerned. Which is a good thing.

Bad year for: Casualty. When are we going to see rates actually go up?

Good year for: AM Best. They didn't get pilloried like the other three ratings agencies over the sub-prime disaster.

Bad year for: S&P, Moody's and Fitch With Warren Buffett dumping stock in Moody's, public opinion of the 'Big Three' being at an all-time low, and regulators wanting to remove any power that they have, it's not been a wonderful 2009 for ratings agencies.

Good year for: Hurricanes. They all seemed to miss the USA

Bad year for: Typhoons. Sadly, they didn't miss Asia.

Good year for: Reinsurance. We gave out a ton of awards, broke a ton of stories, and tried to make you laugh during the Weekly. We'd like to think that we gave you an education on American sports, Queens Park Rangers (who play Middlesborough at home on Saturday, by the way), and our feelings on a New World Order.

Bad year for: Armageddon. Didn't happen this year. Next year maybe?

December 15, 2009

Here come the girls

Those of you who know me have probably realized by now that I dip my toe into the murky waters of gender politics from time to time and I'm afraid today is one of those days.

At an industry roundtable today in London it was noticeable that there were a large number of female faces at the table - surprising perhaps in the still male dominated (re)insurance industry.

I was not the only one to notice and a lively discussion soon struck up on the subject.

It would appear (re)insurance may be beginning to follow the trend that has been seen in other financial services in the UK with more women beginning to appear at a senior management level.

So why now?

One (male) attendee noted that in the UK there is a perception amongst some of the less well informed that the big scary male bank executives caused the recession and are perhaps more willing to trust a female face - but would this really transfer to non-consumer facing markets such as reinsurance?

Others said that the emergence of a small but brave band of female executives in the reinsurance industry is a reflection as to the make up of primary insurers.

Personally I believe that it is the example set by the strong female executives that have emerged, especially in the Lloyd's/London market, over the last few years which in turn encourages more ambitious women to take a look at the reinsurance markets as a serious career option.

That's the end of my rant.

I am off on holiday at the end of this week so this may well be the last post on blog-re before the new year. I hope you all have a great Christmas/New Year and all of you with January renewals to deal with don't miss too much of the festivities.


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