Willis signs up three partners to speciality insurance scheme


LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The global insurance group WillisGroup has signed up three partners to a scheme thatautomatically allocates them a slice of business written inspeciality areas such as energy or aviation.

London-based insurer Hiscox, People's InsuranceCompany of China (PICC) and Warren Buffett's BerkshireHathaway are the first participants in the "Global 360"scheme, Willis said on Wednesday, adding that it was indiscussions with other potential members.

Complex policies are usually signed in London's insurancemarket according to terms set by a lead underwriter who takes onthe largest single proportion of the risk while the remainder isdivided between other insurers willing to come in on the deal.

The new scheme functions by automatically allocating the'bottom 20 percent' of any risk to the insurers who have signedup, adding insurance capacity to areas that can be difficult toinsure.

"By providing a door though which additional capital canaccess portfolios of risk, our clients will benefit fromincreased price competition and faster placements and claimsagreement," said Steve Hearn, Willis's deputy chief executive.

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