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First quarter cat bonds reach record of $1.70 billion issued

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First quarter issuance of catastrophe bonds reached a record $1.70 billion this year, according to a report from Aon Benfield, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The report, “Insurance-Linked Securities First Quarter 2015 Update,” also shows that catastrophe bonds on-risk total $22.11 billion, off just slightly from the record $24.28 billion seen at year-end 2014, as $3.90 billion of bonds came off-risk during the first quarter.

The record first quarter issuance included seven property catastrophe bonds and one health transaction, according to the report.

The $1.70 billion of first quarter issuance in 2015 tops the $1.41 billion of bonds issues in first quarter 2014 and the $1.50 billion in first quarter 2012.

One new sponsor, Tampa, Florida-based Safepoint Insurance Co., entered the market in March with the first Florida-only hurricane bond of 2015, while returning sponsors included Aetna Inc., Catlin Group Ltd., Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., which raised $300 million of earthquake indemnity coverage, according to the report.

“Several records were set in the insurance-linked securities market during 2014, and 2015 has continued in the same vein, with a record first-quarter issuance total, and a consistently high level of transactions on-risk. There remains strong interest in the market from sponsors, and from investors who, despite having accepted decreased interest spreads, continue to allocate high volumes of capital to primary issuances,” Paul Schultz, CEO of Aon Benfield Securities, said in the statement.