Category: Risk Management

World Bank Helps Solomon Islands with Disaster Resilience
Natural CatastropheRisk Management

World Bank Helps Solomon Islands with Disaster Resilience

The agreements will officially launch two new projects for Solomon Islands, one to improve electricity supply and reliability in Honiara, and the second to help protect communities against growing risks from climate change and natural disasters.

“This launch will kickstart two very important projects for our country – projects that will help improve electricity supply, a priority for the Government and people of Solomon Islands, and that will enable communities to be better prepared for climate change and natural hazards,” said Rick Houenipwela, Minister of Finance and Treasury for Solomon Islands.

“I am pleased to be launching these projects on behalf of the World Bank as it continues to expand its support for Solomon Islands, by way of projects that support national priorities, such as reducing risks from climate change and natural disasters, and improving power supply for households and businesses,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands.

The Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Solomon Islands Project (CRISP) will invest US$9.1m in climate and disaster risk information and early warning systems, which can save lives in the event of a tsunami or other natural hazard, as well as community projects in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, such as climate proofed buildings, in up to four provinces.

The agreement was also signed for US$13m in new financing for the Sustainable Energy Project (SISEP), which is working to improve the reliability and efficiency of electricity supply for the 65,000 residents of Honiara.

“Efficient, affordable and reliable electricity access is essential for every aspect of development from running hospitals to doing business, while the Climate and Disaster Resilience Project is vitally important in a country where communities face very real, very present threats from natural disasters and climate change, especially in the remote Outer Islands,” said Drees-Gross.

The SISEP project began in 2008 and has supported the financial turn-around of the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA), and improvements in power reliability in Honiara. During the course of SISEP, the annual total length of time that a customer is without power in Honiara has fallen by more than 80 percent, from 864 hours in 2007 to 124 hours in 2012.

This new funding will build on SISEP’s achievements and enable investments to further strengthen power systems, in particular through improvements to the grid in Honiara.

SISEP is being funded through US$13m in grants and low-interest credits from the International Development Association (IDA). CRISP is funded through a US$7.3m grant from the Global Environment Facility for Least Developing Countries, with a further US$1.8m from the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Grant through the European Union Asian, Caribbean and Pacific Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program.

Ximen Due Diligence Agreement with Huldra
Due DiligenceRisk Management

Ximen Due Diligence Agreement with Huldra

The agreement has been reached for the purposes of determining the feasibility and conditions of a proposal for the acquisition of Huldra Silver.

The transaction is subject to approval from the court and the creditors in the CCAA proceeding and the TSX Venture Exchange. Ximen intends to commence legal, financial and commercial due diligence shortly.

Ximen Mining Corp. is a publicly listed company trading on the TSX Venture under the symbol ‘XIM’, and is also listed on the Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin Stock Exchanges in Germany under the symbol ‘1XM’ and a German Securities Number of ‘A1W2EG’.

Insurers Open Up to External Managers
InsuranceRisk Management

Insurers Open Up to External Managers

As returns on sovereign bonds sink to their lowest, opportunities proliferate for managers to do business for the general accounts of insurance companies.

Cerulli’s Associates’ inaugural European Insurance Industry 2014: Allocators in a State of Flux report finds that low interest rates and high guarantees on traditional insurance contracts are pushing European insurance companies to diversify their investment portfolios away from core fixed-income strategies. However, insurers’ investment appetite is limited by the strong regulatory environment under Solvency II.

Diversification is likely to happen within the fixed-income pocket-high yield, credit, infrastructure debt. Insurers will need external managers with the right investment expertise as well as a strong understanding of the insurance world to have access to these strategies.

“Being an expert in European credit is simply not enough,” said David Walker, associate director at Cerulli. “Asset managers need to show insurers they know their business model inside out. Having a team dedicated to the insurance business greatly helps in achieving this kind of credibility in front of the client.”

A total of 75% of managers based in Europe agree that insurers are outsourcing more of their assets. Competition in the space is intense.

Insurer-affiliated managers have an advantage owing to their insurance background for managing their parent group assets. However, it is difficult for them to win business from other insurers because of the perceived conflict of interest.

“Even the strong captive French and Italian markets are slowly opening up to third-party managers. Insurance companies increasingly want to be seen as independent by their board and their clients. They are also realizing that, by sticking with their captive, they might miss out on some investment opportunities. This is where third-party managers can strike,” said Sabrina Lacampagne, an analyst at Cerulli and the main author of the report. 

The research also discusses which markets are the most addressable to third-party asset managers, and how insurers are selecting their managers.

Managers need to target these clients with an investment solution that encompasses local regulatory, tax, and accounting restrictions, and is also adapted to each insurer’s specific balance sheet situation.

Paul Williams New Brightside CEO
InsuranceRisk Management

Paul Williams New Brightside CEO

Specialist insurance broker, Brightside, has announced that Paul Williams has joined the Board as Chief Executive Officer.

As announced on 28 November 2013, Paul joins Brightside from Towergate Partnership Ltd, Europe’s largest independently owned insurance intermediary writing in excess of £2 billion of gross written premiums per annum, where he was a Director on the Retail Executive Committee responsible for all insurer and market relationships across the broking businesses.

Following Paul Williams’ arrival, the company remains focused on delivering compelling customer propositions, significant and sustainable growth and shareholder value. His breadth of leadership experience and market knowledge significantly strengthens the Group’s ability to achieve these objectives.

On joining Brightside, he said: “Brightside has a history of rapid growth with considerable opportunity for further policy and profit growth without the underwriting risk of an insurer. As a new CEO, it is essential to ensure continuity in the implementation of the Company’s growth plan.

“Initially, I will focus on a number of key areas to grow the profitability of the book. These will include; negotiating deals with key insurers, expanding our insurer panel and redefining our insurance capacity through the introduction of Delegated Authority and Managing General Agent agreements to augment the Group’s income streams. As well as continued strengthening of our validation techniques, which reduce our insurer partners’ exposure to fraud, to allow us to offer more competitive rates to our customers.

“In addition, there are several exciting new partnerships planned for 2014, the first of which, with RatedPeople.com, the UK’s largest online trade recommendation service, was announced last week.

“These partnerships are key to developing our distribution and we will continue to concentrate on markets where we have strength and scale, particularly in the motor and SME arenas where we have developed expertise online and through our UK based call centres. Using our Quote Exchange platform we will use our technological advances to introduce additional niche brands to our portfolio.”