General Re buys into Lloyd's future.

US giant General Re has entered the Lloyd's market for the first time with the acquisition of D.P. M...

US giant General Re has entered the Lloyd's market for the first time
with the acquisition of D.P. Mann, one of the largest independent managing
agents at Lloyd's.


Deborah Nelson, General Re's spokesperson, said the deal was "a
recognition that Lloyd's is an institution that will continue to be
important in the world insurance market".


D.P. Mann runs syndicate 435, the fifth largest syndicate at Lloyd's with
capacity of £234m ($390m) for the 1998 underwriting year. The cost of the
deal was not disclosed.


In a letter to clients, David Mann, active underwriter of syndicate 435,
said he doubted observers would be surprised by the move, and said: "Our
underwriting decisions and aspirations will now be reinforced by one of
the strongest sources of capital in our industry."


General Re is itself being bought by billionaire US investor Warren
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway insurance group (Re, August 1998, p2).


The managing agency will retain the D.P. Mann name and the senior
management will remain unchanged. Mr Mann commented: "General Re
understand that independence of view is one of the fundamental
characteristics which has underpinned the syndicate's achievements."


Ms Nelson said General Re has no further plans for acquisitions at Lloyd's
but confirmed that the company might buy more of the capacity on syndicate
435.


Greg Carter, managing director of rating agency A.M. Best Europe, said the
deal followed the current trend of major (re)insurance groups acquiring
Lloyd's managing agencies: "There is still a lot of confidence in the
future of Lloyd's and the value of managing agents."


Mr Carter added that most of the better managing agents had now been
acquired: "Anybody thinking of coming to the Lloyd's market now is running
out of options."
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