And also...

Westdale moves up at Benfield

Maggie Westdale has been appointed global chief financial officer of Aon Benfield, where she is also a member of the global executive committee. As well as her responsibilities at Aon Benfield, she will also work with Aon’s corporation chief financial officer, Christa Davies, on strategic financial initiatives. Prior to Aon Benfield, Westdale worked for CNA as both senior vice-president corporate financial planning and analysis, and internal chief financial officer for property casualty operations.

Generali and PPF start equity firm

Italian insurer Generali has joined up with financial group PPF to create a new private equity firm PPF Partners, which specialises in emerging markets. “The current market dislocation is providing business opportunities as asset values have fallen and a shortage of liquidity is creating difficulty for other acquirers,” said Giovanni Perissinotto, Assicurazioni Generali co-chief executive. PPF Group has a 72.5% stake in PPF Partners while Generali owns 27.5%.

Kiln revises 2007 forecasts upward

Lloyd’s insurer Kiln, part of the Tokio Marine Group, said that it is seeing improved underwriting conditions. In an update release it said its Syndicate 510 improved its forecast for 2007 to span 7.4% to 12.4%. While Syndicate 557 forecast now ranges from 14.3% to 19.3% for 2007 accounts. “These forecasts are in line with our expectations, given the position in the underwriting cycle and the effect of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav,” said Charles Franks, R J Kiln’s chief executive officer.

Market tightens, says Carpenter

Guy Carpenter said it expects a further tightening of the market as Florida property catastrophe reinsurance renewal comes to a close on 1 June. Rates are expected to be slightly higher than the 13%-14% increases experienced at 1 April this year. “Capital constraints have led to increased prices, but they’re not as severe as many anticipated. We think this trend will continue through 1 July,” said Kevin Stokes executive vice-president at Guy Carpenter.