Although there have been a few acquisitions at Lloyd’s since, none were as bold as Catlin’s takeover of Wellington in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The new enlarged syndicate immediately became the largest at Lloyd’s—a position it holds today, writing gross premiums of nearly £1.8 billion last year. Surprising many back then, in addition to acquiring the managing agency, Catlin also bought out Wellington’s 1,200 Lloyd’s names (investors), paying £119 million cash compensation for them to leave the market freeing Catlin to provide 100 percent of the capacity in the merged enterprise.
Aligning underwriting and capital under common ownership was all the rage then, but in just a few short years, attitudes have changed a lot. So much so that even Stephen Catlin, talking to analysts on the recent release of his group’s half-year results, reportedly said that third-party capital could once again feature in their 2014 business plan. Meanwhile, Catlin and many others have for some time nurtured small special purpose syndicates and sidecars, the current frenzy of companies eager to play more seriously with other people’s money, as well as their own, suggests a profound switch in market sentiment.
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