The Week in a Minute, Sept. 17, 2011

  • Allied World and Transatlatntic agreed to end merger talks, with AWAC getting a lovely parting gift of $48M. Validus and Berkshire Hathaway remain interested in Transatlantic. If one of those, or anyone else, merges with Trans within the next year, AWAC will get another $67M.
  • Towers Watson’s CLIPS survey points at a hard market.
  • More than a thousand asbestos victims in Libby, MT, will share a $43M settlement of a lawsuit against the state of Montana. The victims maintained the state knew of dangers from a nearby vermiculite mine and failed to act. The state will pay $28+M, National Indemnity is on the hook for $16+M, and the state guaranty fund kicks in $100K.
  • Bad August for Allstate: $735M in cat claims.
  • I don’t write enough about flood insurance. With the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire Sept. 30, Reuters did a nice job of clearly laying out the issues involved.
  • A federal report laid much of the responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon blowout on BP, but said there was lots of blame to go around. (Download report here.) BP and Transocean stock rose, as investors had thought they would bear more responsibility. BP could be on the hook for about $30B, according to this roundup of costs.
    Aside: At the CAS reserving seminar last week, I met an actuary who said he had modeled tail risk for oil rig failures. His preliminary findings were pooh-poohed by higher-ups, who said most years the losses from oil spills were zero, then scheduled a meeting a week later to basically berate him further. But the meeting got canceled because, in the meantime, the Deepwater Horizon blowout had occurred.

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