Assurant closes $150m hurricane bond

Specialty
insurer Assurant Inc. has closed a US$150 million catastrophe bond to cover
some of its US hurricane exposure.

The
bond, Cayman Islands-based Ibis Re II, is split
into two tranches to protect against losses resulting from single hurricanes
along the Gulf and Eastern Coasts of the US as well as Hawaii, Assurant said.

Ibis
Re II is Assurant’s second $150 million catastrophe bond after it launched Ibis
Re I in June 2009.

“Reinsurance protection
financed through the capital markets is strategically important for Assurant as
it provides us fully collateralised, multi-year coverage that complements our
traditional reinsurance programme,” said Robert B. Pollock, Assurant president
and chief executive officer.

“We expect to have completed
the placement of our 2010 property catastrophe reinsurance programme with
reinsurers in June.”

Ibis
Re II is the fourth catastrophe bond that has been issued in 2010.

A
recent report on the cat bond market by New York-based Guy Carpenter & Co.
L.L.C. and GC Securities Ltd predicted another five to 10 second-quarter
transactions and more activity later in the year

Although
the second quarter is generally more active as the market prepares for the
start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic beginning on 1 June, the report
forecasts   total issuance for 2010 of between $3 billion
to $5 billion.

Most importantly, the report
concluded, the losses that the reinsurance sector experienced from the
earthquake in Chile and the European windstorm Xynthia earlier this year have
not put ccatastrophe bond layers in jeopardy.

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