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After the human and financial carnage wrought by Hurricane Katrina and her sisters, would you take the same bet major insurance carriers must assume when they underwrite property coverage–that the next big hurricane won’t cost a bundle more than the insurer anticipated? Evidently, equity investors in a new property catastrophe insurance company are willing to gamble against potential loss.

The novel insurance facility–called Marsh Risk Innovations, or MARI for short–is the product of a collaboration of insurance broker Marsh, financial services company Morgan Stanley and Bermuda-based insurer ACE Ltd. It marks the first time in a long time that the capital markets have been willing to fund new insurance capacity. Marsh anticipates that MARI will deliver $400 million in extra property catastrophe insurance, to be parceled out in $25 million packages to capacity-starved clients.

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