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Berger steps down as Third Point Re CEO

Stepping down: John Berger will leave his CEO role at Third Point Re next week, but will remain with the firm as chairman

John Berger is stepping down as chief executive officer of Bermudian reinsurer Third Point Re at the end of this month, the company announced.

He will remain with the company as chairman of the board and the Underwriting Committee. He will be replaced from within by Robert Bredahl, the company’s president and chief operating officer as of March 1.

Mr Berger is well known in Bermuda having led Harbor Point and the reinsurance operations of Alterra, before launching Third Point Re five years ago.

The announcement came as the company announced a $46.7 million loss for the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $42.2 million in the prior-year period.

The combined ratio of 105 per cent indicated an underwriting loss, but improved from 106.9 per cent last year.

The company is backed by Dan Loeb, who runs US hedge fund Third Point and who manages the reinsurer’s investments.

“While I will be stepping down as CEO, I look forward to maintaining a very active role in the company as well as supporting Rob in his new position,” Mr Berger said.

“Rob and I have worked closely together over the last five years forming and developing Third Point Re, and I see much opportunity ahead to further grow our business. I am looking forward to continuing my partnership with Rob, capitalising upon the many opportunities that lay ahead.”

Mr Bredahl said: “I am excited about the opportunity to lead Third Point Re and build upon the success that we have achieved thus far.”

Third Point Re’s investment return for the quarter was minus 1.7 per cent, and a 4.2 point gain for the full year.

“During the fourth quarter, we generated gross premiums written of $80.8 million, bringing our full-year gross premiums written to $617.4 million, which represented a decrease of 12.1 per cent compared to the prior full year,” Mr Berger said.

“In this challenging market, we believe that maintaining underwriting discipline is more important than premium growth. Our combined ratio for the quarter was 105 per cent, which was in line with expectations given current market conditions and the lines of business on which we focus.”

Diluted book value decreased by 2.9 per cent during the fourth quarter to close the year on $13.16 per share. Third Point Re shares were at $12.15 at the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange before results were announced.