The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mortgage insurance a money spinner

From Banking Day today:

Mortgage insurance a nice earner
22 March 2012 6:47am

Mortgage insurers earned a total of A$999 million of premium income in the year to June last year and incurred claims of just $177 million.

The segment is of increasing interest, not just to the banks and other lenders that buy this insurance (in a highly concentrated market) but also to investors, who will soon be asked to buy a stake of up to 40 per cent in Genworth Financial Australia, one of the two largest providers in this category of insurance.

These figures on lenders' mortgage insurance are included in a report on the direct general insurance market released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority yesterday.

No other class of general insurance comes close to the margin that mortgage insurers earn.

Domestic motor vehicle is the biggest class, with $6.6 billion of premiums in 2010/11 and $6 billion of claims incurred.

Home-owners' insurance generated $5.4 billion of premiums and $4.5 billion of claims.

Fire and industrial special risks' insurance generated premium income of $3.3 billion and incurred claims of the same amount.

Compulsory third-party motor vehicle insurance generated premiums of $2.7 billion and incurred claims of $2.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Genworth announced the appointment of Richard Grellman as non-executive chairman of Genworth Australia Taiwan.

Genworth’s US parent announced last year that the Australian business would make a minority-share initial public offering and list on the Australian Securities Exchange this year.

Grellman, who has plenty of experience as a listed company director, will help guide the local board through this process.

He was a director of AMP Ltd between 2000 and 2011, chairman of medical services company Cryosite Ltd between 2002 and 2008, and a director of Centennial Coal between 2008 and 2010.