A- rating from Fitch for The Underwriter

A- rating from Fitch for The Underwriter
Fitch has given The Underwriter an A- rating after its first year of trading.

The insurer, which is backed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, specialises in liability and contractors' insurance.

Fitch said the rating reflected The Underwriter's strong capitalisation and distinctive selective underwriting, based on its broker network relationships.

The insurer posted a pre-tax profit of £1.54m for 2000.

Travelling safely
International Passenger Protection (IPP) is launching a comprehensive policy that covers the demise of any charter operator.

The new product follows the success of IPP's Scheduled Airline Failure Policy, which now operates worldwide.

IPP said the failure of any travel component was likely to have a serious effect on most travel agents' and tour operators' balance sheets.

CGNU sells down under
CGNU has sold its Australian mortgage indemnity business to PMI Mortgage Insurance Australia for £39m.

The CGNU company had a branch office in New Zealand and had net total premiums of £9m in 2000.

CGNU has a top five position in the Australian general insurance market and recently acquired Fortis Australia for £500m.

The insurer said that the sale represented a further step in repositioning its general insurance business in Australia.

Up, up and away
Lloyds TSB insuredirect is offering air miles with its home insurance.

Up to 450 air miles are on offer with home insurance and up to 175 with both new buildings policies and contents policies.

Air Miles currently has five-and-a -half million collectors on its loyalty programme and has partnerships with 50 high street names.

York office for SMG
Risk management company Smithson Mason Group (SMG) has added an office in York to its three existing offices in Manchester, Bradford and Leeds.

The York office will house a new division of the company – Smithson Mason Group Financial Services.

The division will provide a range of services to corporate and individual clients, including PMI, permanent health and critical illness cover.

SMG employs 130 people and earlier this year announced an 11% increase in pre-tax profits to £806,000.

Dog's life
AnimaL-crazy Rachel Burkill has joined Healthy Pets Insurance to head up its claims department.

Following the company's pet-friendly policy, Burkill is able to work from home, meaning she has more time to spend with her guinea pigs and her two Jack Russell terriers.

High cost ops
Self-paid operations are more popular than ever, but also more polarised, Standard Life Healthcare has said.

It was endorsing the results of a Health Which? Magazine survey that showed tremendous differences within narrow geographical areas.

Standard Life Healthcare managing director Mike Hall said quotes for a hip replacement in an area such as Surrey could differ as widely as £9,363 and £6,947, despite all being for the same treatment with the same service in equivalent hospitals. Hall said: "It's sometimes difficult to know what the final bill will be. You could find yourself facing some very high costs."

Animal care changes hands
Cornhill's Animal Health Division has taken on the underwriting of Sussex-based Animal Health Care (AHC) from Independent Insurance, which had been the company's underwriter for the past four years.

The Animal Health Division will begin underwriting the business immediately to ensure continuous cover for the book of business.

HNW move
Independent Insurance's high net worth regional underwriting team has started work at Hiscox's Harrogate office.

Andy Rolph, Paul Ware, Paul Duddle and Simon Griffin were recruited as part of Hiscox's northern expansion plans.

Hiscox Harrogate manager Adrian Saunders said he was pleased to have the four on board.

An order to wind-up the Management Company (London) was presented in court this week.

The insurance intermediary was thought to have left thousands of people without travel cover following reports it was issuing policies bearing the Lloyd's name without authority.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry put forward a petition to close the company in May.