ACE takes 10 per cent share of IHI

Island Heritage Insurance has reassuring news for Cayman Islands’ residents whose confidence in the local insurance industry was shaken by Hurricane Ivan.

ACE Bermuda Insurance Ltd. (ACE Bermuda), one of the ACE Group of Companies, has taken a 10 per cent stake in Cayman-based Island Heritage.

Headed by ACE Limited, a New York Stock Exchange listed company (NYSE:ACE) and a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, the ACE Group enjoys a financial strength rating of A+ from AM Best and Standard & Poor’s and wrote more than US$16 billion in gross written premium in 2004, states a press release.

Negotiations between ACE Bermuda and Island Heritage began over a year ago, said Island Heritage’s marketing manager, Nigel Twohey.

In the aftermath of Ivan, an event unprecedented in the Caribbean, Island Heritage was able to settle over 90 per cent of its Hurricane Ivan residential claims by Christmas, strengthened its capital base by way of a share rights offering and retained its financial strength rating of A- with AM Best, the world’s oldest and most widely recognized insurance rating agency.

The addition of ACE Bermuda as a shareholder and business partner with Island Heritage will add further to the latter’s strength and credibility. Mr. Twohey said he was delighted the two had joined forces.

‘This is something of a coup for Island Heritage. ACE Bermuda’s investment in Island Heritage shows great faith in us and our business model, and their experience and expertise in both the insurance and reinsurance markets will assist us greatly as we continue to grow,’ he said.

ACE Bermuda, he added, will have a seat on the Island Heritage board, alongside other major shareholders including Butterfield Holdings, Wells Fargo, Haverford and the senior management group.

Island Heritage is proud to have been able to efficiently and professionally address the needs of its clients following Hurricane Ivan and maintain its reputation both regionally and locally as a premier property insurer.

The vast majority of residential claims were settled quickly, and pay-outs were at the levels customers expected, Mr. Twohey pointed out. With support and input from ACE Bermuda, he expected Island Heritage’s good standing as a well-managed, soundly capitalized insurance company to continue to flourish.

Who they are

Established in 1996, Island Heritage targets the property insurance market, insuring private homes, condominiums and office buildings from their headquarters in the Cayman Islands, office in Barbados and licensed agents in Anguilla, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts, St Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

ACE Bermuda Insurance Ltd. (ACE Bermuda) is a Bermuda-based subsidiary of ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE). ACE Bermuda offers insurance products and services through Bermuda and non-US based intermediaries. The ACE Group of Companies is a global leader in insurance and reinsurance serving a diverse group of clients. Headed by ACE Limited, a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, the ACE Group conducts its business on a worldwide basis with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Additional information can be found at: