Sep 4, 2009

Swine Flu (H1N1)

Oft found underwriting our SMC significations, we seldom durst abscond from whiffing upwind scents gust-drifted our skankiest of ways from the stolid camps of reinsurers and money marketeers. Not to second guess our incontestably tendentious inclinations is to be a que sera sera kinda' gal. Daily is the struggle not to wax t'wards femme fatale.

Scor SE, France’s largest reinsurer, renegotiated a contract with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to make cash more quickly available if needed for a surge in claims tied to a swine flu pandemic.

JPMorgan will pay as much as $75 million when an index tied to European and U.S. death rates climbs to between 105 percent and 110 percent. The earlier arrangement was for $100 million and 36 million euros to be paid when the index reached 125 percent, the Puteaux-based reinsurer said today in a statement. The protection was renegotiated to guard against an increase in deaths caused by terrorism, pandemics and natural disasters, Scor said.

“We are taking the current threat of the Influenza A, H1N1, virus seriously,” Jean-Luc Besson, a Scor chief risk officer, said in the statement. Pandemics “may have corresponding financial repercussions on both sides of the balance sheet.”

Countries in the northern hemisphere should prepare for a second wave of pandemic spread, the World Health Organization said in a report last week. More than 209,000 swine flu cases and 2,185 deaths were reported to the organization as of Aug. 23. The U.S. has the highest influenza rates for this time of year since the 1968 Hong Kong flu, said Joe Quimby, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scor fell 4 cents to 18 euros earlier today in Paris trading. It has climbed 10 percent this year. JPMorgan advanced $1.25 cents to $42.11 as of 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Insurers and investors bet on life expectancies using indexes such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s QxX index, which includes a sample of U.S. residents older than 65. Life insurers may hedge against a crisis that increases the death rate, while companies with pension obligations seek to protect themselves as medical advances boost life expectancies.