And also this week...

Profit drop for FBD

Gross written premium for Irish property and casualty insurer FBD Holdings dipped to €181m (£159m) for the first half of this year, from €198m in the same period last year. Operating profit plunged to €13m from €41m last year. “Recently published 2008 figures from the Irish insurance industry confirmed combined ratios of 137% for home and 105% for car insurance,” said chief executive of FBD Andrew Langford. “This clearly demonstrates the need for the rate increases being applied in the year to date. FBD took early action and applied single-digit increases at the start of 2008 and earlier this year, benefiting our underlying combined ratio. As a result, any further FBD rises will be less severe than likely increases elsewhere.”

Ariel opens in Zurich

Ariel Re has opened a branch office in Zurich to write credit and surety reinsurance on a global basis, starting with the 2010 renewal season. It has also appointed an underwriting team from Swiss Re, including Thomas Rothenberger as senior executive and branch manager, reporting directly to president Tom Hulst. Michael Hammer joins as head of underwriting and Alban Fauchere will direct risk and analytics.

Marsh: rate cuts slowing

Insurance premium rate cuts slowed for property and casualty across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the first half of 2009, according to Marsh. Claims notifications are increasing pressure on rates but competition between carriers and plentiful capacity are still the main downward drivers. “As clients look to manage their way through the downturn, they are reducing the sums they insure, potentially leaving them underinsured. This has resulted in premium reduction and increased capacity in the market,” said Bruce Trigg, leader of Marsh’s risk management practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.