week commencing 21/03/21:

As specialist dredgers are put to work freeing a ship blocking the Suez Canal, no doubt its owners and insurers wish they could ‘do a Merkel’ and reverse course. Sadly, that boat has sailed however and with it any hope that Luther  Towers could resist a great opportunity for a play on words as we digest the week’s top stories.

Under-valued, or strategic independence?

Chubb’s $23bn ($65/share) opening bid for Hartford Financial Services high-flying small commercial book has proved unsuccessful. External-link. [Insurance Day] Are shareholders waiting for the right price, or pursuing an independent strategy? External-link. [Slipcase]

Concirrus’ A-Team

As the insurance market begins to digitise, insurtech Concirrus has put together what it calls a ‘stellar’ advisory panel to help it drive market transformation. External-link. [Insurance Business]

Extreme Australian rainfall precipitates catastrophe declaration

Flood-hit SE Queensland has been included alongside New South Wales in the Insurance Council of Australia’s insurance catastrophe declaration. Claims received total £254.2m and are expected to rise. External-link. [Insurance Business]

The next victims of Greensill’s meltdown

Tokio Marine is facing greater-than-expected exposure to Greensill Capital’s collapse after discovering that BCC, its Australian subsidiary that wrote the business, is not covered in key reinsurer contracts. External-link. [Insurance Insider] This comes as Credit Suisse scrutinises the role played by Marsh & McLennan. External-link. [The Financial Times]

Lloyd’s builds NZ earthquake resilience

Partnering with Bounce Insurance, Lloyd’s has launched an affordable, parametric earthquake insurance policy which pays out within five-days of being triggered, removing complexity and enhancing coverage. External-link. [Insurance Journal]

Blocked Suez generates extensive insurance claims

The grounding of one of the world’s largest container ships in the Suez Canal has caused disruption to global shipments that will lead to high levels of claims. External-link. [Reuters]

A promise of a greener future?

Climate action group, SumOfUs. has branded the insurance of a Bahamian drilling project as “entirely inconsistent” with Lloyd’s 2020 ESG statement, and are seeking clarity around its sustainability commitments. External-link. [Commercial Risk Online]

Lloyd’s Covid losses approach £6bn

John Neal has announced rising losses due to the pandemic as the market prepares to return from lockdown. External-link. [Insurance Day] Global reinsurers meanwhile are looking down the barrel of a $26bn loss. External-link. [Insurance Insider]

Right second time

This week AstraZeneca has been forced to confirm that 29m Covid-19 vaccines found in Italy really are destined for the EU External-link. [Reuters] and to re-state efficacy results for its US vaccine trial in a case study of how communication can support or undermine reputation. External-link. [BBC News]

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