Catlin to launch reinsurance unit

LONDON-LISTED property and casualty insurer Catlin has said it is planning to set up a Swiss reinsurance unit to take advantage of an anticipated upturn in the European reinsurance market.

Bermuda-based Catlin will provide the new business, Catlin Re Switzerland, with capital reserves of at least $1bn (£663bn).

Catlin aims to expand its presence in the European reinsurance market ahead of a cyclical improvement in pricing levels.

The company also hopes to pick up extra business as the European Union's strict new Solvency II capital regime for insurers, which comes into force in 2013, forces some smaller players to retrench.

"Our ambition is to build Catlin Re Switzerland over time to become a leading European specialty reinsurer," Catlin chief executive Stephen Catlin said in a statement.

Catlin said it had applied to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority for permission to set up the new venture, and expects to obtain clearance in the second half of 2010.