Amlin Deal Sees Reinsurers in Monaco Questioning Expensive M&A

  • `Good businesses have already been sold': Hannover Re chief
  • Takeovers of Lloyd's insurers will continue: Willis Re

Global reinsurance executives who met in Monaco questioned whether a frenzy of mergers in Europe means buyers of Lloyd’s of London insurance companies are paying too much.

Deal-making will continue after Tokyo-based MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. agreed last week to pay a record 2.4 times net tangible book value for Lloyd’s insurer Amlin Plc, executives at Willis Re said in a presentation at an annual conference in the Mediterranean principality, where property and casualty pricing is negotiated.

“The multiples being paid are quite expensive,” Hannover Re Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Wallin said at a briefing Monday. “We have looked at Lloyd’s in the past, and it didn’t go quite well. One might say that the good businesses have already been sold.”

Amlin’s sale adds to a string of deals globally, spurred by record levels of surplus capital and continued pressure on property and casualty reinsurance pricing. Fitch Ratings warned that reinsurance M&A veils the "harsh reality" of market conditions, which it expects will continue in 2016 amid what Willis Re estimates is $425 billion of surplus capital available to underwrite risk.

Beazley Plc, Hiscox Ltd., Lancashire Holdings Ltd. and Novae Group Plc, the four remaining publicly-traded Lloyd’s insurers, have all been cited as potential targets following the Amlin deal.

“We are in a set of conditions which are highly conducive to M&A not just in Lloyd’s but elsewhere,” John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s, the world’s oldest insurance market, said in an interview. “It will go on for a while yet.”

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