* Letter sent to Swiss Re, Lloyds of London, 18 others
* Also asks details of business with Glencore, Trafigura
July 1 (Reuters) - New York's financial regulator has asked
20 non-U.S. reinsurers whether they conducted business with
entities linked to Iran, as part of a review of these companies'
ability to comply with a new U.S. sanctions law that becomes
The New York's Department of Financial Services wrote to the
companies after learning that three insurers had issued coverage
that applied to trades with Iran, according to a copy of the
letter seen by Reuters. The three firms could not be identified.
The letter from Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky's office,
dated June 25, was sent to companies including Swiss Re AG
, Lloyd's of London and Hannover Re
The New York regulator also asked the reinsurers to provide
details regarding any business they have done with
Switzerland-based commodities giants Glencore Xstrata PLC
and Trafigura that will continue after
The letter cites news reports that Glencore and Trafigura
had supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm
that provided aluminium to Iran's nuclear program.
Glencore declined to comment on the letter. A Trafigura
spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters that the company is
compliant with national and international law where applicable.
A Glencore spokesman had said in May the company broke no
regulations and did not violate the sanctions.
A Swiss Re spokesman confirmed the company had received a
letter from the New York regulator requesting information
regarding its international trade controls. "They want to know
what controls are in place to ensure compliance with U.S.
sanctions on Iran," he said.
He added that the company is aware of its legal obligations
and has controls in place to ensure its compliance.
Lloyds of London said in an e-mailed statement, "Lloyd's
will comply with any applicable sanctions, as it always has
The world's third biggest reinsurer, Hannover Re,
declined to comment directly on U.S. developments.
"Hannover Re is strictly compliant with the sanctions
implemented by the European Union and the United Nations," a
company spokeswoman said.
Financial services firms, including insurance and
reinsurance companies, are prohibited from providing services to
companies that do business with Iran under the Iran Freedom and
Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCPA), signed by President
Barack Obama in January.
The act and other sanctions are aimed at making it hard for
Iran to sell oil and limiting funds for its nuclear program,
which some in the West believe is being used to develop weapons.
Iran says the program is purely for civilian purposes.
Any violation of the IFCPA will prohibit a company from
engaging in any business in the United States, and U.S.
financial firms may be prohibited from making loans or issuing
credit to it.
The regulator also asked the companies to explain all their
policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new law
and identify all lines of business which may be subject to
sanctions under the law.