Three former executives at a Bermuda-based reinsurer are facing fraudulent accounting charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last year, RenaissanceRe Holdings restated its earnings for 2001 and 2004 and warned investors about possible future charges in connection with a federal probe into the entire reinsurance industry, which is built on one insurer offering coverage for another. Officials have questioned whether some reinsurance policies act as loans that don't truly transfer risk. Former chief executive James Stanard, former controller Martin Merritt and the former senior vice president for specialty reinsurance Michael Cash are all accused of abusing reinsurance accounting to defer more than $26 million of earnings from 2001 to later years. Lawyers for Stanard, 57, and Cash, 38, have said their clients will fight the civil fraud charges, while Merritt, 43, has agreed to cooperate with the SEC. The agency said that Merritt, who worked at subsidiary Renaissance Reinsurance Ltd., has consented to be barred from working as an accountant or serving as an officer or director of a public company, and a decision on fines has been deferred. RenaissanceRe announced in July that it had offered $15 million to settle the SEC’s case, though that settlement has yet to be accepted.
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