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MONTE CARLO, Monaco-Those reinsurers that came to the Rendez-Vous de Septembre hoping to hear about a decrease in competition in the market were sorely disappointed.
Instead, market capacity is set to significantly increase over the next few months: Plans for two new reinsurers were announced at the Rendez-Vous, another was formed just before the meeting, another previously announced reinsurer is expected to begin underwriting in November, and several existing reinsurers plan to expand their capacity.
Resource Underwriters Ltd. in Bermuda plans to be a multiline reinsurer with $300 million in capital. Executives from the company were at the Rendez-Vous while awaiting approval by Bermuda regulators. The regulators' decision was expected by the end of last week.
David Thirkill will be chairman and chief executive officer of Resource, which is backed by 18 investors. Mr. Thirkill underwrote financial reinsurance for Forum Reinsurance Co. Ltd. in Bermuda before leaving the company in 1990. A Forum unit, Focus Insurance Co., collapsed in December 1990, and Mr. Thirkill and other company officers were named in a $20 million negligence suit, but the action was dismissed in November 1992.
Robin Spencer-Arscott, the former chairman of Aon's Bermuda operations, will be president and chief operating officer of Resource.
The formation of ESG Re Ltd. by reinsurance underwriting managers European Specialty Group also was announced at the Rendez-Vous. The company will be capitalized at 380 million deutsche marks ($214.5 million) and will offer coverage for accident, health, life, credit life and disability, and non-appearance risks in sport and entertainment.
ESG will be backed by U.S. and European institutional investors and Head & Co. L.L.C. in New York, the company formed by John C. Head that specializes in taking over troubled insurers. Mr. Head also helped launch Bermuda-based catastrophe reinsurer Partner Re Ltd. in 1993. The company will have offices in Hamburg, Germany; London; Miami; Moscow; Hong Kong; Dublin, Ireland; and Toronto.
Mr. Head will be non-executive chairman of ESG Re, and the chief executive officer will be Steven Debrovner, the former chief marketing officer for non-life business at CIGNA International.
Just before the Rendez-Vous, backers X.L. Insurance Co. Ltd. and Risk Capital Reinsurance Co. announced the formation of Latin American Reinsurance Co. Ltd. (BI, Sept. 8). The reinsurer will be capitalized at $100 million and will provide mainly short-tail, multiperil property reinsurance in Latin America. Richard Meyer, formerly an executive vp of Johnson & Higgins, will be chairman and chief executive officer.
Liberty Re Ltd., the proposed London subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Group in Boston, is expected to begin operations in November. The company will be capitalized at 250 million pounds ($400.4 million) and will write property, casualty, life and health reinsurance. The company aims to work more closely with clients than traditional reinsurers do and offer extra services, such as claims management and product design.
Liberty Re's chief executive is John Engestrom, the former head of Mercantile & General Reinsurance Co. P.L.C., which was bought by Swiss Reinsurance Co. in 1996.
As reinsurers enter the market, several existing reinsurers are increasing their capacity.
For example, SAFR Group, the Paris-based multiline reinsurer purchased by Partner Re earlier this year, will increase its net per risk capacity to $10 million from $5 million.
Gerling-Konzern Globale Reinsurance Co. in Cologne, Germany, also expects to increase its capacity by the end of the year by forming a new unit that will allow industrial risk clients to access the joint capacity of the reinsurer and its insurance company parent, the Gerling Group, said Norbert Strohschen, chairman of the reinsurer.
The insurer and reinsurer also will work with Deutsche Bank A.G. to provide multiyear, multiline and securitized products for clients, he said.
Deutsche Bank owns 30% of Gerling.