Island's surplus doubles in the second quarter of 2006

Bermuda's current accounts surplus for the quarter ending in June of this year was $346 million compared to $174 million in the in the second quarter of last year, the Department of Statistics announced in a statement.

Total payments to non-residents, or outflows, in the second quarter of 2006 stood at $662 million, compared to the $552 million registered in the second quarter of 2005.

Total receipts from non residents (inflows) in the second quarter of 2006 surged to $1 billion compared to the $726 million posted in the second quarter of 2005, according to the Department of Statistics.

Government, business services (legal, accounting, management and financial) as well as tourism also contributed to the $282 million increase, the department's statement said.

The island experienced a trade deficit in goods, which increased to $291 million from the $243 million deficit recorded in the second quarter of 2005. The value of goods imported to Bermuda was $305 million in the second quarter of this year compared to the $265 million in the corresponding quarter of 2005.

For services, the balance stood at $303 million. This was an increase of $76 million over the first quarter of 2006 and an increase of $120 million over the second quarter of 2005, the statement said.

FedEx expands freight service to 13 Caribbean, S. American countries

FedEx Express, is broadening coverage for its FedEx International Priority Freight service in Latin America and the Caribbean to include 13 new countries, the company said in a statement.

Already available in 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, FedEx International Priority Freight service will now also be offered to businesses in the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru and Uruguay.

FedEx International Priority Freight service currently provides businesses in more than 80 countries with pickups and deliveries, customs-clearance services and freight tracking for shipments including individual pieces up to 1,000kg (2,200lbs) in weight, with prior approval.

Businesses relying on the FedEx priority freight service can count on a faster time-to-market, broader reach, reduced inventory costs, minimized delays and improved production cycles as their control over product deliveries increases, the statement said.

The service also provides customers with flexible pickup and delivery options, including door-to-door, door-to-airport, airport-to-door and airport-to-airport deliveries in one to three business days, along with optional customs-clearing services, at no additional cost, the firm said.

S&P and PwC to host international insurance conference

Standard & Poor's and PricewaterhouseCoopers will be hosting Bermuda Insurance 2006, a conference focusing on issues in the property/casualty and reinsurance markets, the companies announced in a statement. The conference, entitled, "Ratings: Issues and Answers," will be held November 15 and 16 at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda, the statement said.

Topics on the agenda include: A panel discussion of insurance company executives on the role of rating agencies; Insurance start-ups, with a comparison of the "Class of 2005" with their predecessors and how start-ups are rated; Insurance underwriting centres, with a comparison of the major insurance markets with a focus on Bermuda and London; The 2006 hurricane season; and a discussion of some of the challenges in changing your base of business.

The panel speakers include: James Bryce, president and CEO of IPC Holdings; Michael Butt, chairman of Axis Capital; Rob Childs, CEO, Hiscox Bermuda; Richard Clinton, president of EQECAT; Julian Cusack, CFO of Aspen Insurance; Justin Faust, vice president of MMC Securities; Henry Keeling, COO of XL Capital; Don Kramer, CEO of Ariel Re; Kenneth LeStrange, president and CEO of Endurance Specialty Insurance; Paul Markey, Chairman of Aon Bermuda; and Pete Thomas, executive vice president of Willis Re.

Partner Re Ltd's earnings up after 2005 losses

Partner Re Ltd made a net income gain of $235.8 million, or $3.93 per share for the third quarter of 2006, compared to $288.7 million, or $5.48 per share loss in the third quarter of 2005, the company said in a statement.

Operating earnings for the third quarter of 2006 were $205.1 million, or $3.55 per share, compared to an operating loss of $345.2 million, or $6.36 per share, for the same period the previous year, the firm said.