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This is a sorry tale of British managerial incompetence. It is similar to the lack of
worlds best practice that allowed Nick Leeson to destroy Barings and the directors of
Barings to escape any responsibility.
The insider trading, the rampant conflict of interest, and cynical use of court
processes to delay settlements and the cosy club atmosphere which allowed a
few to make millions while other supposedly under their care lost millions, is an
inditement of closed markets.
The real concern is the impact of the Llyods disaster on the general insurance
industry. The long tail liabilities remain unresolved and this should be
factored into any understanding of the consolidation and takeover activity currently
taking place in the insurance industry. In the past due diligence procedures have been
ignored, unfavourable reports suppressed, material withheld from auditors and the nature
and extent of risk deliberately ignored in a rush for transactional profits. When such
factors existed for an extended period and which persist through the continued existence
of open years it is difficult to see how current takeover activity can reach
an informed opinion of the status of the takeover target.
The book is a very useful guide to the insurance industry and the reinsurance industry.
Those investing in insurers will find this very useful in understanding how the industry
is structured and give them a better way of assessing the balance sheet reports.
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