First City cuts losses

Lloyd’s broker First City this week credited a sharp fall in operating costs for a tenfold reduction in pre-tax losses. First City recorded a pre-tax loss of £186,000 for the year ended 31 May 2007, compared to a loss of £1.84m for the same period in 2006. Brokerage was down slightly to £21.66m compared to £21.72m in 2006 – a fall of 0.3%. Costs fell by £1.3m to £22.31m. First City’s finance director Ralph Savage said: “We have had to pay significant amounts for the final salary pension scheme and share options scheme over the past two years. We are currently heading in the right direction, but we have significant options still to write off.” Employee trusts hold 60% of the share capital of the group.

Kiln appoints active underwriter

RJ Kiln & Co has appointed Lloyd Tunnicliffe as active underwriter of Kiln Syndicate 807, succeeding Stephen Mathers who is expected to retire at the end of this year.

Dual profits rise 17%

Dual International, the specialist underwriting agency, reported a 17% increase in gross written premiums (GWP) from 2006, reaching €104m (£82m) for the financial year to September 2007. Meanwhile, the company's capital provider, Arch Insurance Company Europe (Arch Europe), reported GWP in 2007 of $4.14bn (£2.08bn), and a sustained rating of ‘A’ (excellent) from AM Best and ‘A’ from Standard & Poor’s.

MBIA downgraded to ‘AA’

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the insurer financial strength ratings on MBIA Insurance Corp and its subsidiaries to 'AA' from 'AAA' and the long-term rating of MBIA Inc, its parent holding company, to 'A' from 'AA'.

LFC buys underwriting agency

LFC Insurance Group, the South East based commercial broker, has acquired the shareholding of RS Hayworth, trading as Shield Policies. Shield, an underwriting agency, has a track record going back to 1923 and operates from Feering, near Colchester, in Essex.