Amaechi inspects proposed site for Bonny Deep Seaport …Construction to commence soon

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Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has inspected the proposed site for construction of the Bonny Deep Seaport.

Amaechi made the visit, Friday in company of the Permanent Secretary, Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Acting MD, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Koko and experts from the Ministry of Transportation, the NPA and the contractors, CCECC.

During the inspection, the Minister noted that in choosing the site, considerations must be made towards cost reduction and ease in paying compensations.

He said while the South East part of the Island was also viable, the most feasible may be the area to the West in Finima, as it would require less dredging.

“The experts have said it will take only 500 metres of dredging at this point to get to 17metres draught which is our target for the depth of the seaport. The moment you reclaim 500metres into the ocean, you get to 17metres draught. You don’t need further dredging. While on the other end, you need 1.16kms dredging to get to the water. It will be more expensive to dredge 1.16km than to build rail line to this place. We can do the cost analysis and come to a decision.

Amaechi also said selection of the area, when finally decided upon would ensure that NNPC pipes would not be tampered with or moved for the rail lines extending to the Seaport to be laid.

“It would also be easier to pay compensations here and take the rail through this area instead of running it through the other end where there are pipes. And compensation would be paid on properties, not on land. If the land is not enough, the Federal Government would acquire more for the expansion,” Amaechi said.

Speaking to newsmen, the MD, NPA, Mohammed Koko said, “what we did today was to reconfirm the right location for the port, although final studies will be made and conclusions reached. The other location had pipes, so we believe that this one will be perfect. It has a natural draft of about 17metres.

“The Port which will have a capacity of about 500,000 TEUs on completion is a necessary infrastructure for Nigeria. Nigeria has over 823 kilometres of coastline and we have always been saying that the idea of building deep seaports will bring more economic value to the country, and Nigeria will eventually become a maritime hub in Africa or the West African sub-region,” he said.

Koko also stated that construction will kick off within the year and run concurrently with the construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line which also extends to the Bonny Deep Seaport.

Malaysia approves Boeing 737 MAX’s return to Sky

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has recertified the Boeing 737 MAX over two years after it grounded the jet.

The CAAM made its decision following a review of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing publications on the MAX’s return to service. The agency has also released a new safety directive for Malaysian and foreign MAX operators.

Malaysia ungrounds the 737 MAX
After grounding the Boeing 737 MAX in March 2019, Malaysia’s aviation authority has today approved the MAX’s return to the skies. The CAAM lifted its ban on the jet as it released a new safety directive, Safety Directive 01/2021, for both Malaysian and foreign operators of the MAX.
In the safety directive, the CAAM said,

“CAAM has reviewed and validated all applicable FAA and manufacturer publications on the Boeing 737 MAX in relation to its return to service. Based on these and all other related factors, CAAM has conducted a safety risk assessment (SRA) for thee return to service in Malaysia.”

The move comes around two and a half years after countries worldwide grounded the MAX in March 2019 after two fatal crashes. Despite several canceled orders in the immediate aftermath, flag carrier Malaysia Airlines retained its order for 25 MAX-8s. In May, the airline agreed with Boeing to defer delivery of its new jets until 2024.

Chester Voo, CAAM Chief Executive Officer, said, “The Safety Directive 01/2021 revokes the previous Safety Directive issued on March 13th, 2019, that prohibits the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX-8 in Malaysia.”

A new safety directive for MAX operators
The 737 MAX is cleared for Malaysian airspace, so long as operators comply with all requirements laid out by the CAAM. The requirements are laid out in the CAAM’s Safety Directive 01/2021 issued today, which draws heavily on the work done by the FAA and Boeing to get the MAX recertified.

According to the directive,“ [Operators must] implement all applicable elements contained in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive AD 2020-24-02, FAA Flight Standardization Board Report (FSBR) on pilot training and any applicable updates/directives issued by FAA from time to time.”

Chester Voo also noted that the CAAM has closely followed the approval processes of other national aviation authorities, particularly the U.S FAA.

Voo added, “CAAM recognized the work of the FAA as the State of Design and accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements set by the FAA for the Boeing 737 MAX.”

AM Best affirms b++ to ASR Re, Bermuda

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AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb+” (Good) to ASR Re Limited (ASR Re) (Bermuda).

ASR Re is a wholly owned subsidiary of ASR Holdings Limited (ASR) (Mauritius), the non-operating holding company of the ASR group. The outlook assigned to the Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings of ASR Re reflect ASR’s consolidated balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as the group’s adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. In addition, the ratings reflect the strategic importance of ASR Re to the ASR group.

ASR Re is the group’s Bermuda-based specialty reinsurer and will be the principal contributor of premium income. In addition to writing third-party reinsurance, ASR Re will provide reinsurance protection to its subsidiary Africa Specialty Risks Reinsurer (Mauritius).

ASR is a new entrant in the African corporate specialty reinsurance sector. The group has been capitalised initially with USD 20 million of common shareholders’ equity, drawn from a USD 50 million facility managed by Helios Investment Partners, a private equity investor and manager with a track record of investing in companies with an African focus. AM Best expects the remaining USD 30 million of committed capital to be drawn down over its startup five-year (2021-2025) business plan.

ASR is expected to maintain the strongest level of consolidated risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, over its startup five-year business plan, taking into account AM Best’s additional capital requirements for new company formations. An offsetting factor in the balance sheet strength assessment is the small absolute size of ASR’s capital and surplus, by international standards; however, this is offset partly by the good credit quality of its retrocession panel and its small net line size.

In addition, ASR is exposed to the high levels of economic, political and financial system risks that are associated with its target operating environment in the African specialty reinsurance market. However, this is partially mitigated by robust risk management practices, good geographic diversification and a strategy to primarily reinsure assets of developed market corporates that have an African touchpoint.

The adequate operating performance assessment considers the group’s five-year business plan, taking into account its competitive environment and heightened execution risk during the startup phase. AM Best expects the group’s operating performance to rapidly improve in line with the five-year plan. This is supported by non-technical earnings from its managing general agent operations in London and Mauritius, through which the group’s business will be sourced.

In the initial years of operation, the group is reliant on several third-party capacity providers, some of which have multiyear agreements, to write business. As the group matures, ASR is expected to diversify the panel of capacity providers as well as grow its direct book of business.

AM Best expects ASR to face competition from well-established global reinsurers in the African corporate specialty reinsurance market. However, AM Best expects the group’s competitive position to be enhanced through the agile and bespoke services provided cedants and the establishment of strategic partnerships with local market participants.

Furthermore, the group has a senior management and underwriting team in place that has extensive experience in the targeted classes of business and operating environment. In AM Best’s view, this increases the likelihood of market acceptance and successful execution of the group’s business plan.

Munich Re launches second green bond to support climate strategy

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Reinsurer Munich Re has launched its second green subordinated bond after a successful issuance in 2020, designed to reinforce its capital base with a focus on emerging growth opportunities in reinsurance markets.

Organic growthThe volume of this issue is €1 billion (USD 1.2 billion) and the bond has a coupon of 1 percent and will mature in 2042.

In comparison, the 2020 green bond issuance totalled €1.25 billion (USD 1.46 billion), has a coupon of 1.25 percent and is scheduled to mature in 2041.

The launch of the second green bond in its corporate history supports the company’s climate strategy.

As part of Munich Re’s Ambition 2025, the company has adopted a broad climate protection programme featuring concrete climate protection targets for its investments, insurance business, and operations.

Liberty Mutual Reinsurance

The firm intends to use the raised capital to finance or refinance sustainable projects in accordance with its Green Bond Framework.

According to Munich Re, these projects include investments of equity and debt in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, green buildings, sustainable water and waste water management, the co-efficient and/or circular economy, and the environmentally sustainable management of natural resources and land.

Ultimately, this bond underlines the company’s commitment to using the capital markets to help achieve a climate-friendly transformation of the economy.

Christoph Jurecka, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Munich Re, commented: “Climate protection is an integral part of our Ambition 2025 Group strategy. By issuing a green bond, we have once again leveraged the capital markets to fund green investments. We strengthen our capital base, which gives us the financial flexibility to take advantage of current growth opportunities.”

Swiss Re to launch central cyber underwriting team

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Global reinsurer Swiss Re is set to create a central cyber underwriting team, led by AXA XL’s John Coletti, that will assume responsibility for group’s product development and underwriting activities in the space.

Swiss ReColetti will join Swiss Re as Head of Global Cyber in early October and previously served as the Chief Underwriting Officer for Cyber at AXA XL since 2012.

He will report to Gregory Schiffer, Head of Global Specialty, and will be responsible for Swiss Re’s global cyber business, which includes portfolio ownership, global underwriting activities as well as cyber product development.

Maya Bundt, the current Head of Cyber Solutions, has decided to take on a newly created role at the Swiss Re Institute’s Cyber Centre of Competence.

“With John Coletti, we have been able to attract another experienced leader in the cyber insurance market,” said Schiffer.

Liberty Mutual Reinsurance

“At the same time, I would like to thank Maya Bundt for her leadership, and the innovation and successes that have already been achieved in our cyber business.“

CHI announces 22% rise in total assets to N14.31bn for 2020


L – Mr Eddie Efekoha, Group Managing Director, Mr Obinna Ekezie, Chairman and Mrs Rukevwe Falana, Company Secretary of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance during the 26th Annual General Meeting of the Company in Lagos.


By Favour Nnabugwu


Consolidated Hallmark Insurance, CHI, in the financial year ended December 2020 announced a total assets of N14.31billion from N11.74billion recorded  in the previous representing 22 percent increase.

Chairman, Mr. Obinna Ekezie while unveiling the 2020 business score for CHI told shareholders that the company has once again reported positive result, despite limitations on the economy during the financial year.

Ekezie said the company generated an all time high gross premium written of N9.77bn, 12 percent higher compared with the N8.69bn performance for 2019. Similarly, the net underwriting income grew from N5.46bn to N6.5bn.I

Also in the period under review, claims expenses jumped by 21 percent from previous N3.45bn to N4.17bn which he underlined as “an affirmation of our commitment to continually maintain our sterling reputation of ensuring that customers get value through prompt payment of all valid claims.”

In the combination of positive result is the 8.6 percent growth in profit before tax which moved from N711 million to N772 million, while profit after tax increased to N677.98 million from N600,31 million.

Dividend approved interim though, was N216.8 million and this translates to two kobo per share to shareholders “in appreciation of their faith in the company.”

The group managing director, Mr. Eddie Efekoha in his statement enlightened stakeholders on the impact of the sharp fall of interest rate which caused the investment income to slide from N1.08bn to N940 million because of the preference of security of investment portfolio than pursuit of high-risk, high return options.

Efekoha cleared that the company is not constrained by increasing claims but it calls for “improved underwriting measures to isolate bad risks and reward good ones. We have therefore adopted enhanced underwriting measures to enhance operational efficiency and customer service.”

Despite the Court order on recapitalisation, he said the company has been proactive, first, it achieved 50.7 percent by raising capital to N5.65bn in December 2020 ahead of the earlier deadline of December 31, 2020 for 50 percent as a general business insurer. The shareholders fund as at end of December 2020 was N8.03bn.

Consolidated Hallmark helmsman also recounted the rating and awards secured so far which include the re-certification of ISO Quality Management Systems certification in 2020 and stable Bbb rating by Agusto & Co, setting the company as an investment grade business with strong liquidity and capital adequacy.