Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lloyd’s counts cost of not enough disasters; Blair's new job

One of the strange ambiguities of the insurance business, as reported by the Times (UK). Fewer disasters, crashes, and quakes have led to reduced premiums, and so Lloyds is cutting capacity. Insurance moves in closely watched cycles, and this is a loosening spell. A brisk hurricane season or a welter of property damage from some other source could change all that in the next renewal season. But for now, Lloyd's and others are pulling back, rather than right unprofitable or downright dangerous policies. Faltering stock markets mean than insurance companies can't rely on gains from their investment portfolios to bail out the insurance side of the business. As a result, insurers take a deep breath and solemnly vow to maintain to tighter underwriting discipline.

In other insurance news, Tony Blair has taken a job with Zurich Insurance, advising the company about climate change.

Photo of the staircase at Lloyds of London by Andrew Dunn Photo

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