(Bloomberg) -- XL Group Plc Chief Executive Officer MikeMcGavick said that while he shuns casinos unless he’s with hismother-in-law, he’s felt lately like he was sitting at a “highstakes table” as he made insurance deals.

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McGavick announced a plan in December to sell a stake in a homeinsurer to Progressive Corp. then reached an agreement the nextmonth to buy Catlin Group Ltd. for about $4 billion. Transactionsin the reinsurance and specialty-coverage industries areaccelerating to create companies that can withstand pressure fromnew rivals.

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The reinsurance “sector is littered with roadkill, and yet itseems new entrants are getting on the road every day,” McGavicksaid in an annual letter to shareholders, posted on theDublin-based company’s website. “We are delighted to have beenamong those who led the way and took the patient time to identify awinning combination before the rush.”

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Hedge funds and pensions have been entering the industry seekingweather-related risks that aren’t correlated to financial markets.Amid the competition, Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. announcedan agreement to buy Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. In February, BritPlc said it was selling itself to Fairfax Financial HoldingsLtd.

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“Gambling is not high on my list of voluntary activities,”McGavick said. “But, since my mother-in-Law has often been theorganizer of bus trips to casinos, I have been around it from timeto time. And this year, it is fair to say, we at XL voluntarilychose a couple of high-risk maneuvers.”

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