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Markel reveals probe by authorities into Bermuda unit’s reserves

Markel reveals probe by authorities into Bermuda unit’s reserves

Markel Corp. announced late Thursday that it is “fully cooperating” with inquiries by authorities in the United States and Bermuda concerning loss reserves at its Bermuda-based retrocessional reinsurance unit Markel CATCo Investment Management Ltd.

The Richmond, Virginia-based insurer said in a statement the inquiries relate to “loss reserves recorded in late 2017 and early 2018” at Markel CATCo and its subsidiaries. Markel bought the unit, which provides collateralized coverage to reinsurers, in 2015.

The inquiries “do not involve other Markel Corporation companies,” the statement said. Markel has retained outside counsel to conduct an internal review, the insurer said, adding “the company has no further statement at this time.”

In a statement Thursday, rating agency A.M. Best Co. Inc. said it is not changing its ratings of Markel in light of the investigations but "will continue to monitor the situation."

In a London stock market filing on Friday, CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities Fund Ltd., which allows outside investors to participate in providing catastrophe coverage to reinsurers, said it would be increasing loss reserves realated to 2017 natural catastrophe losses.

According to the statement, "industry loss estimates have continued to deteriorate beyond reasonable expectations since the time of the last reserve provision made in April 2018. Since this time, the industry loss estimates on major 2017 loss events have increased by more than 12% as of December 2018."

The fund said it would also review reserves in light of 2018 California wildfire losses.