Paolo De Martin, CFO of Converium, speaking at the Cheuvreux Insurance Conference in Paris, stressed the Company’s commitment to “future value drivers” and its approach to “integrated asset & liability management.”
He presented Converium’s “rebalancing” of approximately $6 billion as of year-end 2006 in its investment portfolio and the Company’s move towards “an optimal strategic asset allocation to improve future investment returns.”
The bulletin noted: “Converium freed up around $561 million of assets in the fourth quarter of 2006, previously tied up in Letters of Credit, and increased its equity investments by approximately $240 million and alternative investments by $50 million in the respective period.
“In addition, the Company sold its investment in Swiss direct real estate and reinvested the funds into globally diversified indirect real estate holdings. With these actions Converium expects to improve the investment yield with minimum additional risk-based capital due to diversification benefits.
“At the end of 2006 Converium’s targeted investment mix was as follows: 75 percent fixed income securities, 10 percent cash and short-term investments, 8 percent equities, 4 percent real estate and 3 percent alternative investments.”
De Martin commented: “The new asset allocation is expected to generate an improved return on investment with minimum additional risks. We will continue to focus our risk-based capital on underwriting. The optimization of our strategic asset allocation is based on Converium’s unique approach to an integrated asset & liability management. We consider this approach a catalyst for future value growth.”
De Martin also stressed the Company’s “historically strong earnings record, its robust capital position and the intact client franchise,” from which Converium expects to regain “a share of wallet” following a potential upgrade to “A-” by Standard & Poor’s.
The Company lost its “A” ratings in 2004, but S&P currently rates it “BBB+” with a positive outlook, following the sale of its North American business to National Indemnity (See IJ web site, Dec. 18, 2006).
“Converium saw strong support from existing clients during the important January 1, 2007 renewals,” the bulletin continued. “The Company expects to improve its combined ratio due to a shift of business mix towards non-proportional business and the strong impact of the attractive US Property Cat market. Overall the premium volume is expected to be at least stable for the year 2007.”
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