Gen Re

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General Reinsurance Corporation
Type Subsidiary
Industry Financial services
Founded 1846
Headquarters 120 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, Connecticut, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people Tad Montross (Chairman and CEO)[1]
Products Reinsurance
Parent Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

General Reinsurance Corporation is a leading property/casualty and life/health reinsurance company and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.


General Reinsurance Corporation’s history began in 1921 when two Norwegian companies, Norwegian Globe and Norwegian Assurance, merged and took the name General Casualty and Surety Reinsurance Corporation. In 1923, American investors acquired the company and changed the name to General Reinsurance Corporation. In 1929, General Reinsurance affirmed that it would be only a direct reinsurer. In 1954, the company created the first professional casualty facultative reinsurance department. Property facultative followed, beginning in 1956. North America branch offices were opened during this time. In the 1950s, General Reinsurance began writing reinsurance internationally, expanding in this area during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1980, General Re Corporation, the parent holding company, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1994, General Reinsurance Corporation formed an alliance with what was then Cologne Re (Kölnische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, which was founded in 1846), now General Reinsurance AG. In 1998, General Re Corporation was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and in 2003 General Reinsurance Corporation and Cologne Re began marketing under the brand name of Gen Re.[2] In 2009, General Reinsurance Corporation completed its purchase of Cologne Re,[3] whose name was changed to General Reinsurance AG in 2010.[4] The company continues to market as Gen Re.

AIG Securities Fraud[edit]

In October 2000, some Wall Street analysts questioned the decline in American International Group (AIG) loss reserves.[5] In an effort to quell these concerns, AIG entered into two sham reinsurance transactions with Cologne Re Dublin, a subsidiary of General Reinsurance, that had no economic substance but were designed to add $500 million in phony loss reserves to AIG’s balance sheet in the fourth quarter of 2000 and first quarter of 2001. [5] [6]

In 2005, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer began an investigation into the two reinsurance transactions. Soon afterwards, AIG came under market pressure, and admitted it had undertaken what could be construed as securities fraud. The staff admitted that the two reinsurance transactions had inflated AIG’s balance sheet and propped up AIG’s stock price. In the resultant stock crash, investors lost $500 million in investments.[6]

Cologne Re Dublin's CEO, John Houldsworth, agreed to turn state's witness for the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, in agreement for a plea bargain. Houldsworth then pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud, resultantly facing a sentence of up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The final sentencing was placed on hold, subject to consequential SEC prosecutions.[6]

The DOJ subsequently undertook successful prosecutions against four former Gen Re executives and one former AIG executive: CEO Ronald Ferguson was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $200,000; CFO Elizabeth Monrad was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $250,000; Senior Vice President Christopher Garand was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and fined $150,000; Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Robert Graham was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and fined $100,000; AIG's Vice President Christian Milton was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $200,000.[6]

In 2009, in front of U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney in Hartford, Houldsworth apologized. He was resultantly fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service during a two year probation period.

On August 1, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the five Gen Re and AIG defendants’ convictions and remanded the defendants for a new trial, holding that the reported drop in share prices could not be attributed to the two reinsurance deals. [7] [8]


Reinsurers "insure insurance companies", i.e., they will pay a portion of an insurance company's claims in exchange for a portion of the premium received by the insurance company for policies that cover those claims.

As a direct reinsurer, Gen Re delivers reinsurance solutions to companies in all segments of the insurance industry on both a Treaty and Facultative basis. Gen Re's Property and Casualty reinsurance in North America is written through General Reinsurance Corporation and internationally through Germany-based General Reinsurance AG and other wholly owned affiliates. Gen Re's Life and Health reinsurance is written in North America through General Re Life Corporation and internationally through General Reinsurance AG.

General Re Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the holding company run by investor Warren Buffett. Other businesses in the General Re Corporation group include: Gen Re Intermediaries, a reinsurance intermediary and risk advisor; General Star, a specialty and surplus lines provider; Genesis, an alternative risk insurance provider; Faraday, a London market reinsurance company; USAU, underwriters of aviation insurance; and GR-NEAM, an SEC-registered investment advisor servicing the insurance industry.

Office locations[edit]

Gen Re's headquarters are in Stamford, Connecticut. Branch and subsidiary offices are located all over the world:[9]

In North America, Gen Re also operates in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Hartford, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, South Portland, St. Paul and Toronto.

Gen Re further operates in Latin America (Mexico City, São Paulo), Europe/Middle East (Beirut, Cologne, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Riga, Vienna, Warsaw), Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg), Asia (Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo) and Australasia (Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney).


  1. ^ "Senior Management Team". Gen Re. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "History of Gen Re". Gen Re. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Ad hoc Announcement". Gen Re. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Press Release". Gen Re. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "SEC Charges AIG with Securities Fraud". SEC Press Release. 9 February 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dave Collins (18 June 2009). "Former General Re Executive Given Probation". Insurance Journal. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Peter Lattman (1 August 2011). "Court Overturns 5 Gen Re and A.I.G. Fraud Convictions". New York Times Deal Book. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Court quashes Gen Re-AIG convictions". Reactions. 1 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Office Directory". Gen Re. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 

External links[edit]