XL Group Plc, the insurer led by Chief Executive Officer Mike McGavick, hired Craig Wenzel to help a push into securities linked to natural disasters.
Wenzel joins from Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest lender, and will report to Charles Cooper, president and chief underwriting officer of XL Re Ltd., the Dublin-based insurer and reinsurer said today in a statement. Wenzel will work in Stamford, Connecticut, and have the new position of senior vice president, capital markets, the company said.
Investors are seeking opportunities in insurance-linked wagers to get higher yields with rates on U.S. Treasuries and corporate bonds near record lows. Catastrophe bonds, one type of issue, pay higher-than-benchmark yields to investors who risk losing their principal in the event of disasters that meet predefined conditions. The Swiss Re Cat Bond Total Return Index has advanced 8.8 percent this year.
“Investors continue to show interest in the insurance-linked securities market and are searching for innovative ways to access attractive non-correlated yields,” Cooper said in the statement.
About $5.95 billion of dollar-denominated catastrophe bonds have been issued this year, compared with $4.4 billion in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
At Deutsche Bank, where he was a director in the capital markets and treasury solutions division in New York, Wenzel helped originate catastrophe bonds, sidecars and other risk transfers. Sidecars are pools of funds that have a limited life span and give investors the chance to bet on reinsurance risks.
Among his projects at the bank was Cyrus Re, a sidecar sponsored by XL that was one of the first to follow Hurricane Katrina, which struck the U.S. in 2005. Before joining Deutsche Bank in 2005, Wenzel worked in debt capital markets at JPMorgan Chase & Co.