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NEW YORK-CNA Insurance Cos. plans to access capital markets to securitize risk through the purchase of a majority stake in Centre Financial Products Ltd., the New York company run by financial futures guru Richard L. Sandor.
The deal will include the purchase of the 45% stake in Centre Financial owned by Zurich Centre Resource and affiliated Zurich companies, and an undisclosed share of the remaining 55% owned by Mr. Sandor and associates.
The purchase replaces the efforts of Mr. Sandor, Centre Financial Products' chairman and chief executive officer, to raise $200 million last year to run the company as independent entity.
Centre Financial will be renamed Hedge Financial Products Inc., and while it will have its own capital base, most of the risks it assumes will be laid off with financial markets or other reinsurers, said Dennis H. Chookaszian, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based CNA.
The deal has not yet closed, and conditions have not been revealed.
Hedge will start from the base of existing business Centre Financial already writes, including securitization of catastrophe and crop risks, said Mr. Chookaszian.
Hedge will then securitize business written by CNA, which will include a wide variety of risks, he said. "It will give us the ability to provide a much broader solution," Mr. Chookaszian said.
Zurich did not object to the deal, said Scott Levine, president and CEO of Zurich Centre Resource in New York.
Zurich is forming a derivatives unit that will be integrated with the rest of the company and work more closely with its traditional insurance and reinsurance businesses, Mr. Levine said.
Zurich has about $30 million in preferred stock and dividends invested in Centre Financial.
Mr. Sandor established Centre Financial in 1993 to develop capital markets insurance products. He is credited with developing financial futures, including insurance futures, while he was an executive at investment banker Kidder Peabody & Co.