And also...

L&G to lose 560 jobs

Legal & General (L&G) is to make around 560 staff redundant and is currently in talks with unions. A spokesman said: “L&G has entered into consultation with collective representatives over potential redundancies within its UK business. L&G will keep any potential redundancies to a minimum and will try to find suitable alternative employment for staff affected. Potential redundancies are being driven by changing business demand, operational efficiencies, and the continued refocusing of the savings business towards modern, flexible, capital-light products.” Insurance Times understands the latest job cuts will not affect L&G’s employees in its general insurance business.

Record High for canopius

Canopius Group Limited, the privately owned Lloyd’s insurance underwriting business, has announced record results for the year ending 31 December 2008. Gross written premiums were up at £457m from the £455m it reported in 2007. Net earned premiums increased by £30m to £326m and profits before tax jumped 31% to £43m from 2007’s £33m. Canopius also achieved an investment income of £49m, a 7.5% return on average invested funds. “Back in 2007 we reduced our exposure to financial institutions, credit and corporate credit and moved into government bonds,” said Michael Watson, chairman of Canopius. Watson added that 2009 had begun “satisfactorily”. Syndicate 4444 generated gross written premiums of £216m in the first quarter of 2009 compared to £142m it achieved in the first quarter of 2008.

Kitson Blog relaunch

Norwich Union has overhauled the online blog written by its sales and marketing director John Kitson. The blog, which can be viewed at, now allows brokers to give Kitson direct feedback and can host video and additional image content.

Environmental cover

Biba and Gallagher London are launching a new product for brokers looking for insurance against the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive (ELD). The scheme, which will be underwritten by ACE European Group, offers Biba members online quotes for broad environmental cover, including first party clean-up costs and gradual pollution liability. The ELD came into force in March.

DAS Legal expands

DAS Legal Expenses is expanding its London team and relocating to larger offices in Lombard Street in the City. Emma Brooks has been promoted to broker development manager. She will be supported by Neil McDermott, the former agency manager at DAS-owned Amicus Legal, who now becomes senior account underwriter.

Strategy days at RSA

RSA is to continue its 2009 brokers strategy days for the top 25 commercial lines brokers. Most are planned for Goodwood House in Chichester where RSA will explain Broker Promise, a scheme for brokers most committed to growing their business with the insurer.

Catlin warns of rates rise

Reduced capital and uncertain investment returns will harden rates, says Stephen Catlin, Catlin’s chief executive, in the Lloyd’s insurer’s interim statement. He said the company was satisfied with the increased rates for property reinsurance and energy during the first quarter, but believed that reduced capital levels within the industry, combined with investment market uncertainty, would increase them further. Gross written premiums at the insurer grew 2% to $1.17bn (£0.77bn) in the first quarter of this year.