Friday, 31 January 2014

Sunderland Marine Members vote for merger with North of England P&I Club

By Charles E. Boyle
UK-based P&I Club Sunderland Marine (SMMI) announced that its members "voted strongly in favor" of the proposed merger with North of England P&I Club at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on January 28, 2014.

The bulletin noted that North of England’s Members had previously approved the proposed merger "in accordance with the Framework Agreement entered into by both companies" on the 16th of January 2014

"Of the votes cast by the Sunderland Members, in excess of 93 percent voted in favor of the merger proposal.

"Regulatory approval is still required for the transaction to be completed and this is awaited in the coming weeks," the announcement concluded.

Source: Sunderland Marine

JLT acquires Hong Kong-based Lambert Brothers Holdings

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group announced that its Asia business has acquired Hong Kong-based Lambert Brothers Holdings Limited (LBH). The bulletin noted that "LBH has been an independent insurance and employee benefits broker since leaving the Heath Lambert Group in 2007 with over 40 insurance professionals and has enjoyed steady growth over recent years. In particular, LBH adds to JLT Asia’s and JLT Hong Kong’s Marine, Employee Benefits and Corporate business capabilities."

Anthony Langridge Executive Chairman JLT Asia indicated that the acquisition "not only adds depth, but strong synergy to our Hong Kong business." He also welcomed Mike Haynes and the rest of our new colleagues from LBH to JLT.

Duncan Howorth, CEO, JLT Asia, said: "There is a strong cultural and commercial alignment between the two businesses with clear opportunities to exploit our specialty strengths. We aim to grow our Hong Kong operations whilst aligning our specialties to opportunities across the region as well."

Haynes was previously Managing Director of LBH. he will join the Board of JLT’s Hong Kong business as Deputy Chairman. Nick Cousins, Managing Director of JLT Hong Kong will run the combined business with immediate effect and the LBH teams will integrate with JLT’s existing Hong Kong business operations.

Haynes commented: "JLT has a long standing heritage in Asia with a strong ‘client first’ reputation that was very attractive to the team at LBH. We see this as a significant opportunity for our clients to benefit from access to JLT’s unrivalled specialty capabilities and international platform and for our employees to have every opportunity to develop and fulfil their career aspirations within JLT."

Source: Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group

Union Assurance becomes public limited company

From left: Managing Director Union Assurance, Godwin Odah; Chairman, Emeka Emuwa and Company Secretary, Somuyiwa Sonubi, at the event in Lagos.  

·         Posts N4.3bn gross premium
Chuks Udo Okonta
Shareholders of Union Assurance, today Friday, unanimously gave their nods for the company to transform to a Public Limited Company (PLC), Inspen can report.
The approval which was granted during the special business, at the firm’s 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, empowers the firm to delete the word limited from its name and substitute it with PLC.
Shareholders unanimously approved the clause which reads: “Deleting the first paragraph of the Memorandum of Association which states that the name of the company is Union Assurance Company Limited and replacing it with the name of the company is Union Assurance Company PLC.”
They also gave the firm the permission to alter its Articles of Association by deleting the word Limited from the name of the company and substituting therewith the word PLC.
The Chairman of the firm, Emeka Emuwa, told the shareholders that their company generated a gross premium of N4.303 billion in 2012, increase of 12 per cent, as against N3.842 billion in 2011.
He noted that the net premium income rose from N2.874 billion in 2011 to N3.549 billion in 2012, adding that life and retail business portfolio increased by 61.7 per cent from N1.040 billion in 2011 to N1.681 billion in 2012.
He said the company recorded a substantial increase of 21.5 per cent in claims settlement within the period under review, recording N955 million in 2012 from N786 million in 2011, stressing that this was largely due to the occurrence of a number of one off claims. He said the company’s total assets grew by 2.5 per cent from N9.029 billion in 2011 to N9.261 billion in 2012.
A Shareholder, Ijeoma Uzokwu, lauded the performance of the firm, while urging them to do more.
Another Shareholder, Mobolale Atumale, urged the firm to be committed to dividend payout, adding that investors invest to real dividend.
The Shareholders at the event re-elected the Chairman and five directors.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

A new approach to annuities: how to maximise retirement income

Annuity returns have more than halved in two decades, so the need to squeeze the most out of your pension pot is paramount "I'll have 20 Lucky Strike and an enhanced annuity please" – smoking and ill health can lead to a larger income in retirement.


Chris Ison/PA Calls to end the "pensions rip-off" are getting louder, as campaigners ramp up pressure on the industry to reform financial products bought at retirement to provide an income for life.

Each week, thousands of savers swap the pension pots they built up over their working lives for a product that provides an income in retirement, called an annuity. However, MPs and pension experts say these are inflexible and offer poor value, with proposals to refom the market including allowing pensioners to switch annuities during retirement. At present, most retirees buy an annuity and are stuck with the income it provides for the rest of their life, which can result in big losses if they make the wrong choice.

Some savers are left with little chance of living long enough to get back the sum they intially paid for the annuity, according to pensions expert Ros Altmann, adding that many are a "rip off". "For most annuity providers customers are assumed to live to at least age 90, and they often need to live beyond this age before they are being paid any more than their original pension fund," she says. "For the worst providers, the insurer still has some of their original pension fund money when the customer is over 100."

Figures published by the Association of British Insurers show that some firms are offering annuities that provide an income 30% below the best deals on the market. In recent years annuity rates have plummeted, with savings of £100,000 translating into an income of just £6,280 a year for life, compared with £13,681 two decades ago, according to the Annuity Bureau.

The Financial Conduct Authority will publish a review of the annuities market in February, and while pensioners hope for a better deal, there are other ways you can boost your retirement income.

Taking the drawdown risk At retirement you can either convert your pension into income by purchasing an annuity, or keep it invested in the stock market and draw an income from the mixture of bonds, stocks and shares you hold. This is known as income drawdown, and it is more risky than locking into an annuity because your money remains subject to stock market swings – but it is also potentially more rewarding.

Advisers agree that income drawdown works better for people with larger pension pots of around £100,000 or more because the fees are quite high, consisting broadly of ongoing charges, drawdown fees, the cost of the underlying investments and any advice charges. The income you get depends on the size of your pot and how well the investments perform. However, those with a larger pension pot are better placed to survive stock market volatility.

If you opt for income drawdown you can take a 25% tax-free cash lump sum from your total pension pot, as you can when buying an annuity. However, you can also pass on your pot to relatives when you die, unlike with a conventional annuity whereby the insurer keeps anything left over.

There are two types of drawdown: capped and flexible. The first imposes a maximum amount that can be drawn each year of about 120% of the equivalent annuity rate, while flexible drawdown has no limit, but you must have a guaranteed income of at least £20,000 a year before tax from other pension income.

If at some point you decide this option is too risky you are able to use the remaining money to buy an annuity for a guaranteed income for the rest of your life.

Smoking and ill health There are methods of boosting the income from a conventional annuity if you fit the criteria. You could opt for an enhanced or impaired annuity that pays out a greater income if, for example, you have had certain illnesses or are a smoker, as you are statistically likely to live for a shorter period. Even if you don't suffer from ill health or smoke, check this out. In the past, you used to have to be seriously ill, but now you can qualify for one of these annuities on grounds such as blood pressure, high cholesterol or being overweight.

This option could make a huge difference to your income, according to Just Retirement, which specialises in retirement payments if your life expectancy is likely to be shorter than average. "People can increase their pension income typically by 25% when they purchase an enhanced annuity, which can mean thousands of pounds extra in retirement," driector Stephen Lowe says. A 60-year-old man who has suffered a heart attack in the past could see his pension boosted by around 25% compared to the lowest standard rate.

A mix and match approach There are products that bridge the gap between conventional annuities and drawdown, such as fixed-term annuities and investment-linked annuities. The former pay an income for a fixed period of, say, five years rather than for life. "You then receive a proportion of your lump sum back to buy a lifetime annuity at a later date when, say, your health has deteriorated and you qualify for a greater income, or rates have improved," says Dean Mirfin from Key Retirement Solutions.

Alternatively, an investment-linked annuity combines the flexibility of drawdown with the fixed income from an annuity. Advisers often recommend a mix-and-match approach for those with larger pensions.

Delay buying an annuity You could leave your pension fund where it is in the hope it will rise in value. More than 50% of annuity purchases are made with pots of less than £20,000 and around 30% are less than £10,000, says Tom McPhail, head of pensions at Hargreaves Lansdown. "For these people the 'do nothing' option will have significant attractions. They may not need the extra few pounds a week that an annuity from this sum would give them, whereas leaving the money invested would give it more change to earn returns, and allow time in case the person becomes ill and qualifies for an enhanced rate, or in case annuity rates or other circumstances change."

If you pass away before age 75 the whole fund passes on to your family, tax free, but once it is annuitised the fund has gone.

When buying an annuity many people simply take the annuity offered by their pension provider, but it is vital to opt for the "open market option" to search for the best rate. Check out Which? Annuity Advisers, set up by the consumer group, and Pick A retirement specialist, which puts savers in touch with independent financial advisers and annuity brokers.

Source The Guardian



Pension leaders discuss role of hedge funds in portfolios

Two leading pension fund fiduciaries offered an overview of their retirement plans and the role that hedge funds play in their respective portfolios as MFA's Network 2014 drew to a close this afternoon. Kenneth Musick, Absolute Return Investment Officer, Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois and Leo Svoboda, Portfolio Manager, United Parcel Service of America Pension Plan shared their views on the innovative opportunities they see in the alternatives space.

Robert Leonard, Managing Director, Global Head of Capital Services, Credit Suisse moderated the discussion. The session also featured a discussion on what the respective pensions consider when defining a manager's edge as well as what "deal breakers" would cause them not to invest with a manager.

Source Noodls

Standard Alliance Insurance generates N5.38bn gross premium

From left: Vice Chairman Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, O’tega Emerhor; Chairman, Aliyu Yahaya Sa’ad and Secretary Agnes Umukoro at the event in Lagos.

Chuks Udo Okonta

Standard Alliance Insurance Plc generated a gross premium of N5.38 billion in 2012, the Chairman Aliyu Yahaya Sa’ad, has said.
He disclosed this today Thursday, at the firm’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos. He noted that the result represents an increase of 19 per cent from N4.55 billion underwritten in 2012.
He said the firm also experienced growth in its investment income which grew to N208 million from N176 million in 2011.
Sa’ad said the company posted an underwriting profit of N2.6 billion from underwriting income of N4.99 billion as against N4.25 billion in 2011, representing a 17 per cent increase in growth in underwriting income.
He added that the firm however made a loss before tax of N1.9 billion, which arose from a comprehensive impairment review of its trade receivables which rose to N2.8 billion in 2012 compared to N.783 billion in 2011. “This entailed a 100 per cent write down of premium receivables in preparation for the No Premium No Cover policy commencing in 2013,” he added.
He said the company will continuously provide the best possible service to its existing clients and competitively capture the interest of new clients through employing an aggressive marketing strategy that would ride on the opportunities created by the industry’s regulator.
Shareholders lauded the performance of the firm, and also encouraged it to tap into the enormous insurable opportunities in the country.


Kansas insurance chief opposes gov.'s re-election

Ric Romero

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger is opposing fellow Republican Sam Brownback's re-election as governor this year and has helped form a new, anti-Brownback group that includes his Democratic challenger's lieutenant-governor running mate.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports ( ) that Praeger went public Wednesday when the group announced its formation and posted a video online featuring its six sponsors, all women who are or have been prominent in Kansas politics. Three are Democrats and three, including Praeger, are GOP moderates.

The sponsors include Jill Docking, a Wichita businesswoman and former state Board of Regents member who's running for lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis, the Kansas House minority leader. Also among them is Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon, a former state revenue secretary and ex-Topeka mayor.

Davis has attempted to woo unaffiliated voters and GOP moderates unhappy with the conservative Republican governor by making public school funding a key issue. Davis and some moderate Republicans have been critical of massive personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging to stimulate the economy, arguing that the reductions will starve school of funds.

Praeger, who is not seeking re-election, already has broken with most Kansas Republicans over the federal health care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama. She's described the Democratic president's signature domestic policy as a good step toward providing universal health coverage, while Brownback and other GOP leaders are strong critics.

Clay Barker, the Kansas Republican Party's executive director, described the six sponsors of the new group as "big fans of Obamacare."

"And advocates of Obamacare know Paul Davis is their candidate. We're confident a strong majority of Kansans believe differently," Barker said.

The new anti-Brownback group is called Reroute the Roadmap, taking its name from the "Roadmap for Kansas" platform Brownback spelled out in his successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

The third Democrat among the group's sponsors is state Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, the ranking minority party member on the budget-writing Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The other two Republicans are former state Rep. and Kansas GOP Chairwoman Rochelle Chronister, of Neodesha, and former Lt. Gov. Sheila Frahm, of Colby, who served in the U.S. Senate in 1996 as an appointed replacement for Bob Dole, who ran for president that year. Frahm lost the 1996 GOP primary to Brownback, who held the seat until becoming governor.

Source The Associated Press

Should education, job dictate insurance rates?

Should your job or education level dictate how much you pay for car insurance? The Consumer Watchdog group is petitioning to get that practice stopped.

Auto insurance companies offer drivers all sorts of discounts: good driver, multiple vehicle, good student, to cite a few examples.

In a Wednesday news conference, the Consumer Watchdog group said insurance companies such as Allstate are offering another discount that is wrong and illegal under California's Proposition 103.

"Over the last few years, the staff at the state Department of Insurance have been informally approving insurance companies who have been proposing what they kind of sneakily call 'affinity groups,'" said Harvey Rosenfield, CEO of Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog says those affinity groups consist of doctors, lawyers, graduates of prestigious colleges and others; and that those members get a discount, while others not in a group end up paying a surcharge.

"It turns out it's middle-income and low-income people who don't have fancy jobs or didn't get a fancy education who end up subsidizing the rich folks," said Rosenfield.

But the Insurance Information Network of California says Prop. 103 indeed allows discounts to groups, and pointed out an excerpt from the Prop. 103 code.

"It doesn't say anything about having to come before the board," said Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California. "It just says 'Any insurer may issue any insurance coverage on a group plan without restriction as to the purpose of the group, occupation or type of group.'"

Consumer Watchdog would like the insurance commissioner to be on board with this, and filed a petition for him to take action.

In a call made to the commissioner's office, I was told he would consider it.

But in the meantime, a statement from his office's spokesperson said: "After a public hearing in which Consumer Watchdog was given the opportunity to present its arguments to an administrative law judge, the judge upheld the settlement allowing Allstate to have separate rates for affinity groups and found that the settlement was fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable."

Consumer Watchdog says the insurance commissioner will have 30 days in which to respond to their petition. If he rejects or refuses it, then Consumer Watchdog plans to sue under Prop. 103.

Source ABC Local

Insurers group sounds alarm over Iran ship insurance

By Keith Wallis

A group of insurers warned shipowners this week to be careful when signing deals to carry Iranian oil because the United States has not been able to clarify whether insurance claims will be paid after the suspension of sanctions ends in July.

Sanctions on ships carrying Iranian oil were eased on Jan. 20 for six months as part of a deal between Tehran and six world powers including the United States, Russia and Germany. The deal suspended some of the measures put in place since early 2012 in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear programme.

The easing of the insurance sanctions for ships has been expected by analysts to increase Iran's crude oil exports, although data from Tehran's largest customers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - has so far shown steady to lower shipments since the deal was signed in November.

Uncertainty over post-July insurance payments, however, has made the suspension of sanctions on ship cover "of very limited, if any, value to shipowners," the group of shipping insurers said in a note this week.

The International Group of P&I Clubs said it was uncertain if insurance claims that arose while sanctions are eased would be honoured if they remained unpaid after July 20.

The International Group has been in talks with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control but OFAC has not been able to confirm whether payments for claims could be made after July 20 when sanctions could possibly be reimposed, the group said.

"Members should proceed on the basis that beyond 20 July 2014 (or any extension of the initial six-month period), clubs will not be able to respond to any claims presented in respect of liabilities arising during the 20 January-20 July suspension period," the group said in its note.

The International Group represents 13 mutual protection and indemnity (P&I) clubs which cover about 90 per cent of the world's ocean-going ships against claims for pollution, injury and cargo damage.

P&I claims can take one or two years to settle, said a Japan P&I Club official. If claims cannot be settled within six months it would be similar to having no insurance, he said.

He said owners of Japanese ships importing Iranian crude oil are staying with Tokyo's sovereign insurance scheme put in place in mid-2012 to keep the oil shipments flowing, and none have moved to get cover from the Japan P&I Club.

Shipowners "are strongly recommended not to enter into contracts for transportation of crude oil, petroleum oil and petrochemical products" without consulting their individual P&I insurers, the International Group said.

It would continue to talk to the U.S. to clarify the insurance issue, it added. (Additional reporting by Osamu Tsukimorni in TOKYO; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Source Reuters

Insurers to pay out £426m over Christmas and New Year storms

Insurers are to make around £426 million worth of payouts for the destruction caused by severe flooding and storms over Christmasand New Year.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) made the estimate after 174,000 claims for homes, businesses and cars which were damaged by the bad weather were dealt with between late December and mid January.

The latest bill comes after around £160 million worth of payments were made to those people affected by the St Jude storm which battered the country last autumn.

ABI director Aidan Kerr said insurers will work closely with customers to get repairs completed as soon as possible.

Bad weather: snow in Northumberland He said: "This was a traumatic event for those affected, and shows the importance of having adequate property insurance. The insurance industry is fully prepared to deal with the damage caused by bad weather like this."

According to the ABI's figures, the Great Storm of 1987 cost around £2 billion in today's money while the summer floods of 2007 resulted in a hit of more than £3 billion.

The ABI gave the £426 million estimate as it was claimed that there has been two decades of under-investment in flood defence work in the Somerset Levels.

Jean Venables, chief executive of the Association of Drainage Authorities, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We've got a 20-year backlog of inactivity down there and it is actually very, very urgent that those rivers are dredged."

Properly-maintained flood plains would "drain away within a matter of days and then be ready for the next flood", she said.

Furious residents are demanding action after being left facing what they describe as Third World conditions, with "overflowing" septic tanks and water in their homes following the heavy rain.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson promised a new plan to deal with flooding in the region within six weeks after facing anger on a visit yesterday.

His visit was dismissed by local campaigners as a "publicity stunt".

The Environment Agency has insisted that increased dredging of the rivers would not have prevented the recent flooding and was "often not the best long-term or economic solution."

Source London Evening Standard

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

South Africa: 30% of insurance claims estimated to be fraudulent

The South African Insurance Crime Bureau has stated that 30% of insurance claims filed in the country are estimated to be fraudulent, South African daily The Times reported.

Total claims in the country are estimated at 50 billion South African rands ($4.77 billion) for 2013, of which around ZAR 15 billion ($1.43 billion) are estimated to be fraudulent.

While those found guilty could face jail time, the problem affects innocent policyholders in the form of higher monthly premiums and more scrutiny.

Source Business Insurance

Royal Exchange gets new head strategy, business planning


Chuks Udo Okonta

Royal Exchange Plc has announced the immediate appointment of Mukesh Malhotra, an Indian national, as the new Group Head, Strategy and Business Planning.

A statement by the firm’s Group Head Corporate Affairs, Wilson Okoh-Esene, said the Group Managing Director, Chike Mokwunye, said the appointment of Malhotra is in continuation of the company’s resolve to employ seasoned professionals who can impact positively on the fortunes of the Group and resolve to build a market-oriented organisation that would be responsive to the needs of the market and the ever-changing demands of the client, that keep Royal Exchange in business.

Mokwunye said: “This appointment will enable Royal Exchange redefine its strategic vision, develop new products and channels to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumer and also enable the Group to be a dorminant player in the insurance and other financial services sector in Nigeria.”

Malhotra, according to the statement  will be responsible for developing different business strategies for the various business subsidiaries, develop new products, enhance existing products/channels and also implement the revised 3-year Strategic Plan for the organisation encompassing all the functions in the organisation.

Malhotra is a seasoned executive with over 17 years of rich experience in the areas of finance, corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions in companies such as Bharti Airtel, eBay, Coca Cola, Dell and Ricoh.

He has also been involved in financial controls, capex optimization, cost controls, corporate restructuring, growth strategy and market entry strategic initiatives for various start-ups and global multi-billion dollar organisations.

Before joining Royal Exchange, Malhotra was heading the Business Planning & Market Planning for different verticals of Bharti Airtel, India and before that, was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for eBay. Prior to that, he was with Coca-Cola India and was taking care of Strategic Planning. 

Malhotra holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from Punjab Engineering College and a Masters in Business Economics (Finance and Econometrics) from Delhi University.

Royal Exchange Plc started operations in 1921 and continues to be driven by innovation and a determination to offer services that are of exceptional value to its customers.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 just published a new market research report:


• The report provides market analysis, information and insights into the UK's largest non-life insurers
• Profiles on company size, market shares, products and brands
• Comprehensive analysis of market drivers and market outlook
• Analysis of company strategy
• Deals, news, acquisitions and regulatory developments


The 10 largest non-life insurers in the UK recorded gross written premiums totaling GBP26.58 billion in 2012. This accounted for 70.9% of the GBP37.48 billion total segment, a share which rose marginally from 70.1% in 2011.


• The report provides market analysis, information and insights into the UK's largest non-life insurers
• It profiles company size, market shares, products and brands
• Comprehensive analysis of market drivers and market outlook
• Analysis of company strategy
• Deals, news, acquisitions and regulatory developments

Reasons To Buy

• Gain an understanding of UK non-life insurance market size and market shares
• Learn about the performance of market drivers and distribution channels
• Understand and benchmark the competitive landscape in terms of performance, profitability, strategy and product innovation
• Find out more on key deals and recent developments in the non-life insurance industry in the UK

Key Highlights

• The 10 largest non-life insurers in the UK recorded gross written premiums totaling GBP26.58 billion in 2012.
• This accounted for 70.9% of the GBP37.48 billion total segment, a share which rose marginally from 70.1% in 2011.

Table of Contents
1 UK Rankings
2 Aviva Plc
2.1 Key Facts
2.2 Market Analysis
2.3 Statistics Summary
2.4 Strategic Evaluation
2.5 SWOT Analysis
2.6 Outlook
2.7 Deals
2.8 News
3 RSA Insurance Group Plc
3.1 Key Facts
3.2 Market Analysis
3.3 Statistics Summary
3.4 Strategic Evaluation
3.5 SWOT Analysis
3.6 Outlook
3.7 Deals
3.8 News
4 Direct Line Insurance Group Plc
4.1 Key Facts
4.2 Market Analysis
4.3 Statistics Summary
4.4 Strategic Evaluation
4.5 SWOT Analysis
4.6 Outlook
4.7 Deals
4.8 News
5 Axa Insurance UKPlc
5.1 Key Facts
5.2 Market Analysis
5.3 Statistics Summary
5.4 Strategic Evaluation
5.5 SWOT Analysis
5.6 Outlook
5.7 Deals
5.8 News
6 AIG Europe Ltd
6.1 Key Facts
6.2 Market Analysis
6.3 Statistics Summary
6.4 Strategic Evaluation
6.5 SWOT Analysis
6.6 Outlook
6.7 Deals
6.8 News
7 ACE European Group Ltd
7.1 Key Facts
7.2 Market Analysis
7.3 Statistics Summary
7.4 Strategic Evaluation
7.5 SWOT Analysis
7.6 Outlook
7.7 Deals
7.8 News
8 Allianz Insurance Plc
8.1 Key Facts
8.2 Market Analysis
8.3 Statistics Summary
8.4 Strategic Evaluation
8.5 SWOT Analysis
8.6 Outlook
8.7 Deals
8.8 News
9 Zurich Insurance Plc
9.1 Key Facts
9.2 Market Analysis
9.3 Statistics Summary
9.4 Strategic Evaluation
9.5 SWOT Analysis
9.6 Outlook
9.7 Deals
9.8 News
10 QBE European Operations Plc
10.1 Key Facts
10.2 Market Analysis
10.3 Statistics Summary
10.4 Strategic Evaluation
10.5 SWOT Analysis
10.6 Outlook
10.7 Deals
10.8 News
11 National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society
11.1 Key Facts
11.2 Market Analysis
11.3 Statistics Summary
11.4 Strategic Evaluation
11.5 SWOT Analysis
11.6 Outlook
11.7 Deals
11.8 News
12 Appendix
12.1 Definitions
12.2 Methodology
12.3 Contact Timetric
12.4 About Timetric
12.5 Timetric's Services
12.6 Disclaimer

List of Tables

Table 1: Top 10 Non-Life Insurers in the UK, 2012
Table 2: Aviva Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 3: Aviva Plc, Main Products
Table 4: Aviva Plc, Board of Directors
Table 5: Aviva Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 6: Aviva's Disposal Programme
Table 7: Aviva Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 8: RSA Insurance Group Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 9: RSA Insurance Group Plc, Main Products
Table 10: RSA Insurance Group Plc, Board of Directors
Table 11: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 12: RSA Insurance Group Plc's Sales and Acquisitions
Table 13: RSA Insurance Group Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 14: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 15: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc, Main Products
Table 16: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc, Key Employees
Table 17: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 18: RBS Group's Sell-Off of Direct Line Group
Table 19: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 20: Axa Insurance UK Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 21: Axa Insurance UK Plc, Main Products
Table 22: Axa Insurance UK Plc, Key Employees
Table 23: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 24: Axa Insurance UK Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 25: AIG Europe Ltd, Key Facts, 2012
Table 26: AIG Europe Ltd, Main Products
Table 27: AIG Europe Ltd, Key Employees
Table 28: AIG Europe Ltd – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 29: The History of AIG Europe Ltd
Table 30: AIG Europe Ltd – SWOT Analysis
Table 31: ACE European Group Ltd, Key Facts, 2012
Table 32: ACE European Group Ltd, Main Products
Table 33: ACE European Group Ltd, Key Employees
Table 34: ACE European Group Ltd – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 35: ACE European Group Ltd – SWOT Analysis
Table 36: Allianz Insurance Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 37: Allianz Insurance Plc, Main Products
Table 38: Allianz Insurance Plc, Key Employees
Table 39: Allianz Insurance Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 40: Allianz Insurance Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 41: Zurich Insurance Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 42: Zurich Insurance Plc, Main Products
Table 43: Zurich Insurance Plc, Key Employees
Table 44: Zurich Insurance Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 45: Zurich Insurance Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 46: QBE European Operations Plc, Key Facts, 2012
Table 47: QBE European Operations Plc, Main Products
Table 48: QBE European Operations Plc, Key Employees
Table 49: QBE European Operations Plc – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 50: QBE European Operations Plc – Sales and Acquisitions
Table 51: QBE European Operations Plc – SWOT Analysis
Table 52: NFU Mutual Insurance Society, Key Facts, 2012
Table 53: NFU Mutual Insurance Society, Main Products
Table 54: NFU Mutual Insurance Society, Key Employees
Table 55: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 56: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – SWOT Analysis
Table 57: Top 10 Non-Life Insurers – Statistics Summary, 2012
Table 58: Insurance Industry Definitions

List of Figures

Figure 1: Non-Life Insurers – Market Shares, 2012
Figure 2: Aviva Plc's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 3: Aviva Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to the UK FSA 2008–2012
Figure 4: Aviva Plc – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 5: Aviva Plc – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2008–2012
Figure 6: Aviva Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 7: Aviva Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 8: Aviva Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 9: Aviva Plc – Shares of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 10: RSA Insurance Group Plc's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 11: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to UK FSA, 2008–2012
Figure 12: RSA Insurance Group – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 13: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2008–2012
Figure 14: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 15: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 16: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 17: RSA Insurance Group Plc – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 18: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 19: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to UK FSA, 2009–2012
Figure 20: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2009–2012
Figure 21: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2009–2012
Figure 22: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2009–2012
Figure 23: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 24: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2009–2012
Figure 25: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 26: Axa Insurance UK Plc's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 27: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to UK FSA 2008–2012
Figure 28: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 29: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2008–2012
Figure 30: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 31: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 32: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 33: Axa Insurance UK Plc – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 34: AIG Europe Ltd's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 35: AIG Europe Ltd – Gross Written Premiums Reported to the UK FSA, 2009–2012
Figure 36: AIG Europe Ltd – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2009–2012
Figure 37: AIG Europe Ltd – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2009–2012
Figure 38: AIG Europe Ltd – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2009-2012
Figure 39: AIG Europe Ltd – Share of Personal Line Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 40: AIG Europe Ltd – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2009-2012
Figure 41: AIG Europe Ltd – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 42: ACE European Group Ltd's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 43: ACE European Group Ltd – Gross Written Premiums Reported to UK FSA, 2008–2012
Figure 44: ACE European Group Ltd – Personal and Commercial Lines Share of Gross Written Premiums, 2010–2012
Figure 45: ACE European Group Ltd – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2010–2012
Figure 46: ACE European Group Ltd – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2010-2012
Figure 47: ACE European Group Ltd – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 48: ACE European Group Ltd – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2010–2012
Figure 49: ACE European Group Ltd – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 50: Allianz SE's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 51: Allianz Insurance Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to UK FSA 2008–2012
Figure 52: Allianz Insurance Plc – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 53: Allianz Insurance Plc – Net Claims Paid and Claims Incurred, 2008–2012
Figure 54: Allianz Insurance Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 55: Allianz Insurance Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 56: Allianz Insurance Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 57: Allianz Insurance Plc – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 58: Zurich Insurance Plc's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 59: Zurich Insurance Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported in Annual Results
Figure 60: QBE European Operations Plc – Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 61: QBE European Operations Plc – Gross Written Premiums Reported to the UK FSA 2008–2012
Figure 62: QBE European Operations Plc – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 63: QBE European Operations Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 64: QBE European Operations Plc – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 65: QBE European Operations Plc – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 66: QBE European Operations Plc – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 67: NFU Mutual Insurance Society's Worldwide Insurance Locations
Figure 68: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Gross Written Premiums Reported to the UK FSA 2008–2012
Figure 69: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Personal and Commercial Lines Shares of Gross Written Premiums, 2008–2012
Figure 70: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Gross Written Premiums: Personal Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 71: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Share of Personal Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012
Figure 72: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Gross Written Premiums: Commercial Lines, 2008–2012
Figure 73: NFU Mutual Insurance Society – Share of Commercial Lines Gross Written Premiums, 2012

Companies Mentioned

Aviva Plc
RSA Insurance Group Plc
Direct Line Insurance Group Plc
Axa Insurance UK Plc
AIG Europe Ltd
ACE European Group Ltd
Allianz Insurance Plc
Zurich Insurance Plc
QBE European Operations Plc
National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society

Read the full report:
UK – Top 10 Non-Life Insurers – Company Intelligence Report

For more information:
Sarah Smith
Research Advisor at
Tel: +44 208 816 85 48

Source ReportBuyer

Car insurance premiums fell by 8.9%, says ABI

Comprehensive motor insurance premiums fell by £36, or 8.9%, on average in 2013, according to insurers.

The average annual policy, bought during the final three months of the year, cost £370 compared with £406 a year earlier, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

Insurers' predictions of falling claims for whiplash has helped lower prices.

However, the cost rose by £5, or 1.4% in the final quarter of the year compared with the previous three months.

The figures are based on data recording the amount people pay when actually taking out or renewing policies, rather than quoted prices, but only covers comprehensive policies - the most popular type of insurance among drivers.

ABI research also showed that eight in 10 people buying motor insurance spent time comparing prices before buying.

Complex chain

A change in the civil legal system had helped to push down prices, but the ABI said that more could be done to tackle fraudulent claims which would reduce prices further.

In December, the Competition Commission - which had been studying the £11bn private motor insurance industry - said that the cost was "unnecessarily high" for all drivers owing to the complex chain of claims.

The higher premiums came from the cost of courtesy cars and repairs, which is paid by the insurers of motorists who caused the accident.

The Commission discovered that post-accident repairs were often shoddy. It is now considering ways to fix the market, with a final report due to be published by September 2014.

The options include a cap on the cost of replacement vehicles, or making an insurer of the not-at-fault driver responsible for providing the replacement vehicle. Alternatively, the insurer of the at-fault driver could manage the claim.

Source BBC

Pennsylvania insurance commissioner could get power to force UPMC-Highmark talks

Another bill aimed at forcing Highmark and UPMC back to the negotiating table has been introduced in Harrisburg.

This one, unveiled during a Tuesday news conference, is sponsored by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, and would give the state Department of Insurance and its commissioner greater latitude when it comes to forcing negotiations and, if necessary, binding arbitration between two warring health care organizations.

"The ongoing debate between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark has left many confused and afraid of losing access to the doctors and hospitals they've come to trust," Mr. DeLuca said in a statement.

Under an existing 39-year-old law, known as Act 94, the state Insurance Department can suspend the termination of a contract between a hospital and a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer by up to six months.

A similar bill was introduced in the previous legislative session, but it was not passed into law. This bill, HB 1964, allows the insurance commissioner to step into the fray to deal with all contract expirations and terminations between hospitals and insurers, according to a co-sponsorship memo circulated in Harrisburg.

The insurance commissioner would have the authority to extend an expiring contract by up to six months, and then impose a new, mediated contract of up to 18 months, under the proposed law.

Highmark is the region's dominant health insurer, and UPMC the region's largest health and hospital network; the current contract between the two is set to expire at the end of 2014.

If a new contract isn't signed before then, starting in 2015 many Highmark customers won't have access to the majority of UPMC hospitals and specialists at in-network prices unless they switch insurers -- which is what UPMC is hoping for.

UPMC says it doesn't want to sign a new deal with Highmark because the insurance company became a direct competitor to UPMC with its purchase of the ailing West Penn Allegheny Health System and subsequent launch of the Allegheny Health Network. UPMC also offers insurance through its UPMC Health Plan.

Also in the state House, Western Pennsylvania legislators are considering a so-called "any willing insurer" bill that would effectively require hospitals that are part of an "integrated delivery network," such as UPMC, to contract with any willing insurer.

Source Post-Gazette

Council insurance inquiry on back burner

An investigation into the continued use of a valuation company which may have led to Christchurch City Council's assets being woefully underinsured has been put on the back burner.

A report into why the city council continued to use valuers Good Earth Matters despite a damning review by Audit New Zealand in 2008 was ordered in September.

But city council staff told The Star the report had not been completed.

A spokeswoman said: "The new council has other priorities they are focusing on''.

Councillor Yani Johanson, who highlighted the the Audit New Zealand 2008 report, said he was unaware of the development until told by The Star this week.

"It is an important piece of work. Just because there is now a new council it does not mean work from the previous city council is stopped.''

Many of the city's assets have been underinsured, including the Sumner Community Centre, which was only insured for $1.4 million when it was estimated to cost $10.3 million to repair.

The 2008 Audit New Zealand report said Good Earth Matters did a "poor job'' and said they had a numbers of areas of concerns associated with the valuation completed by the company.

It highlighted an example that stormwater and artwork valuations were incomplete and did not include $9.2 million of council's addition since a previous valuation.

The city council's finance committee chairman, Raf Manji, said the city council's investigation into why staff continued to use Good Earth Matters was not urgent.

But he would likely give it more consideration before the city council's insurance policy coming up for annual review July 1.

Source Otago Daily Times

Ghanaian Multi-National Group Of Companies To Share Success With Community

One of the most successful and long-lasting business families has pledged to share its successes with the communities it operates in, employees and other stakeholders.

Groupe Nduom a multi-national company of Ghanaian origin has held its annual strategy meeting recently to confirm goals and objectives for 2014. The meeting held over a three-day period, was also used to reward deserving units and employees for exceptional work done in the year 2013.

A total of 185 management personnel participated from 17 companies. Groupe Nduom companies include recognizable brands such as Coconut Grove Hotels, First National, Spyder Lee Entertainment, Ahomka FM and Gold Coast Fund Management.

The companies include new ones such as FreshPaK and GN Quarry & Concrete Products.

Groupe Nduom is into real estate, hotel management, banking, media, fund management, technology, production of food packaging materials and investment banking. In 2014, the lines of business will be expanded to include quarry and concrete products and will also pursue opportunities in the pension fund management. The companies can be found in Ghana, Liberia and the USA with plans this year to begin operations in Sierra Leone, Togo, Zimbabwe and Cote d”Ivoire.

Senior Vice-President of Groupe Nduom, Mrs. Yvonne Nduom has reminded management of the need to earn and maintain a reputation of high ethics and integrity; make sound business investments; and take a long-term view of success. She confirmed the resolve of the company to share success with employees, community, and shareholders. On behalf of Groupe Nduom directors and management, she led the company to give thanks to God, the Almighty for His protection, forbearance and supreme leadership; health and opportunities granted by His Grace.

Mrs. Nduom announced the creation of an Nduom Foundation that will give priority to providing scholarships to students from the Junior High School level through university or polytechnic level in addition to providing dormitories, classrooms and libraries for selected schools in the country. Groupe Nduom also aims to become a “best employer” through plans such as giving regular training to all employees and starting a programme to build housing units for employees.

While the group of companies recognized the difficult business environment and high cost of operations, management resolved to find innovative solutions to strengthen the ability to compete and serve customers with excellence. It is the hope of the Groupe Nduom to serve a minimum of one million customers in 2014. Groupe Nduom will meet all obligations to regulators of its businesses at home and abroad including tax payment.

EU mergers and takeovers (Jan 28)

The following are mergers under review by the European Commission and a brief guide to the EU merger process:




-- Investment fund Apollo Group and Spanish financial services fund Fondo de Garantia de Depositos de Entidades de Credito to acquire joint control of air parts maker Synergy (notified Jan. 24/deadline Feb. 28/simplified)

-- U.S. food packager Crown Holdings to buy Spanish food-can maker Mivisa Envases from investment funds the Blackstone Group, N+1 Mercapital and management (notified Jan. 24/deadline Feb. 28)

-- Canadian investment fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to acquire joint control of Luxembourg-based property developer Parque Principado from real estate developer Intu Holding S.a.r.l (notified Jan. 24/deadline Feb. 28/simplified)




JAN 29

-- Spanish bank Santander to acquire a 50 percent stake in Spanish consumer finance company El Corte Ingles E.F.C. from Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles (notified Dec. 13/deadline Jan. 29)

JAN 30

-- Private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital, which is owned by British bank Lloyds, and Dutch mail group ptnlPostNL to acquire joint control of holding company TNT NN1 Ltd which is now solely controlled by PostNL (notified Dec. 16/deadline Jan. 30)

-- Mexican frozen food producer Sigma Alimentos to acquire Spanish meat processor Campofrio (notified Dec. 16/deadline Jan. 30/simplified)


-- German vehicle importer Frey Automobil Holding Deutschland GmbH and Mitsubishi Motors Europe B.V. to acquire joint control of Mitsubishi Motors Deutschland GmbH, currently 100 percent owned by Mitsubishi Motors Europe (notified Dec. 19/deadline Feb. 4/simplified)


-- Dutch mining holding company Metinvest to indirectly acquire joint control of Ukrainian iron ore company Southern GOK by replacing one of Southern GOK's existing shareholders. It will jointly control the firm with Cypriot holding firm Lanebrook Ltd, parent of Evraz plc (notified Dec. 20/deadline Feb. 5)


-- Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd and ArcelorMittal Gonvarri Brasil Produtos Siderurgicos S.A., a joint venture between Gonvarri and ArcelorMittal, to acquire joint control of M Steel Industria e Comercio de Produtos Siderurgicos Ltda, which will operate a steel service centre in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (notified Dec. 23/deadline Feb. 6/simplified)

-- Pension funds USS Nero Limited of Britain, OPSEU Pension Plan Trust Fund of Canada and PGGM N.V. of the Netherlands, together with Spain's Global Vía Infraestructuras, to acquire joint control of Globalvía Inversiones, S.A., which is currently jointly controlled by OPTrust, PGGM and Global Vía Infraestructuras (notified Dec. 23/deadline Feb. 6/simplified)

-- Germany's Sales & Solutions GmbH, a unit of EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, and Austria's Verbund AG to acquire joint control of a new joint venture to sell electricity from renewable energy sources to resellers and large customers in Germany (notified Dec. 23/deadline Feb. 6/simplified)


-- Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S to set up a joint venture to carry out global sales, manufacturing, installation, research and development and maintenance of offshore wind turbine generators (notified Jan. 3/deadline Feb. 7/simplified)

-- Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC to become British Land's new partner in London's Broadgate office and retail complex, buying out U.S. private equity group Blackstone for around 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) (notified Jan. 3/deadline Feb.7/simplified)

-- U.S. private equity fund Advent International to take Dutch business software firm UNIT4 private (notified Jan. 3/deadline Feb. 7/simplified)

-- State-controlled Finnish utility Fortum to sell its local power distribution grid to a group of institutional investors led by First State Investments and Borealis Infrastructure for 2.55 billion euros ($3.5 billion) (notified Jan. 3/deadline Feb. 7/simplified)

FEB 12

-- Swiss energy group Axpo to buy a 49 percent stake in a group of French wind farms from EDP Renewables France , a unit of Portuguese group Energias de Portugal (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified).

-- Japan's Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi Electric Corp to acquire joint control of International Elevator& Equipment Inc., a Philippines-registered elevator company (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified).

-- Japan's Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi Electric Corp to acquire joint control of Mitsubishi Elevator (Thailand) Co. Ltd, a Thailand-registered elevator company (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified).

-- Finnish steelmaker Outokumpu to sell Acciai Speciali Terni, a large Italian stainless steel mill, and specialty high-performance alloy unit VDM to ThyssenKrupp , their previous owner (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12)

-- Japanese trading company Marubeni and private equity firm INCJ to acquire joint control of AGS, a Portuguese water company (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified)

-- U.S. private equity firm JLL Partners and Dutch chemicals company DSM to set up a joint venture (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified)

-- Chesapeake Services Limited and Multi Packaging Solutions, Inc., portfolio companies of the Carlyle Group and Madison Dearborn partners respectively, to merge, creating a large print-based specialty packaging firm (notified Jan. 8/deadline Feb. 12/simplified)

FEB 18

-- Cintra Infraestructuras, Abertis Autopistas Espana and Itinere Infraestructuras to set up joint venture to market and distribute electronic equipment to pay on Spanish toll motorways (notified Jan. 14/deadline Feb. 18)

-- U.S. grain trader Archer Daniels Midland <ADM.N and ATR Landhandel to acquire joint control of newly founded RGL. ADM Hamburg is contributing its silo facility in the deep-sea port of Rostock to the joint venture (notified Jan. 14/deadline Feb. 18/simplified)

FEB 20

-- Irish building materials producer CRH Group and Luja Group to combine their concrete business in Russia (notified Jan. 16/deadline Feb. 20/simplified)

FEB 24

-- Qatar Petroleum International, Greek construction company GEK Terna and French gas and power utility GDF Suez to acquire joint control of Greek power plant operator Heron II which is now jointly controlled by GEK Terna and GDF Suez (notified Jan. 20/deadline Feb. 24/simplified)

FEB 26

-- French bank BPCE and Belgian private equity company GIMV to acquire joint control of Veolia Transport Belgium (notified Jan. 22/deadline Feb. 26/simplified)


-- Switzerland-based INEOS and Belgian chemicals company Solvay to form a joint venture (notified Sept. 16/deadline extended for the second time to March 21 from Nov. 5 after the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation)


-- Swiss cement maker Holcim to buy some of Mexican peer Cemex's assets in Europe . (notified Sept. 3/deadline extended for the second time to May 2 from March 31)


-- Hutchison 3G UK to acquire Telefonica Ireland, a unit of Spanish telecoms provider Telefonica (notified Oct. 1/deadline extended to April 24 from March 24)

MAY 14

-- Spanish telecoms provider Telefonica to buy Dutch peer KPN's German unit (notified Oct. 31/Commission opened in-depth probe on Dec. 20, new deadline May 14)



The European Commission has 25 working days after a deal is filed for a first-stage review. It may extend that by 10 working days to 35 working days, to consider either a company's proposed remedies or an EU member state's request to handle the case.

Most mergers win approval but occasionally the Commission opens a detailed second-stage investigation for up to 90 additional working days, which it may extend to 105 working days.


Under the simplified procedure, the Commission announces the clearance of uncontroversial first-stage mergers without giving any reason for its decision. Cases may be reclassified as non-simplified -- that is, ordinary first-stage reviews -- until they are approved.

Source Reuters

The Hartford School Of Insurance Launches Small Commercial School

Program designed to help new agency professionals respond to unique needs of small business owners

The Hartford School of Insurance has introduced a small commercial training program to help new agency professionals gain technical insurance and sales knowledge to address the unique needs of a small business owner.
"Small business is big business - there are about 28 million small businesses in the United States,1"
"Small business is big business - there are about 28 million small businesses in the United States,1" said Rick Newell, vice president and head of Small Commercial sales at The Hartford. "The Hartford School of Insurance is helping to position and differentiate agents in the small business arena by equipping them with the insight and skill set needed to engage with small businesses and serve them effectively."

Through a combination of self-paced and classroom learning, the Small Commercial School will provide agents a thorough review of a business owners policy, auto and workers’ compensation policies, as well as demonstrate how to effectively position the best products and services for their small business clients. Participants will develop an understanding of the unique needs of small business owners throughout the business lifecycle, whether an emerging business, growing company or a company in transition.

"The Hartford School of Insurance has been educating agents through cost-effective training on a wide variety of insurance topics for more than 15 years and agents expressed a need for a curriculum focused on small business," said Marie Alvarado, assistant vice president of agent education and consulting, and head of The Hartford School of Insurance. "Small businesses have been a focus for The Hartford for 30 years and we are excited to offer agents the tools they need to fully understand the mindset of small business owners and to help position them for success in this market."

Agents who participate in this program may be eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credit hours and the Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS) Designation. For more information about the Small Commercial School and other training offered by The Hartford School of Insurance, visit

About The Hartford School of Insurance

The Hartford School of Insurance offers property and casualty and group benefit insurance agents and customer service representatives across the country a wide array of technical insurance and sales training courses - from in-depth programs to shorter courses and webinars focused on a single topic. Programs are available to agents at all levels, whether they are just starting their insurance career or have years of experience. The school has trained more than 6,000 students to date, including producers from the top insurance agencies in the U.S. For more information, visit or call 800-772-0208.

About The Hartford

With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. The company is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at Join us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the "Email Alerts" section at

1 Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, "Frequently Asked Questions about Small Business," September 2012


The Hartford
Media Contacts:
Michelle Symington, 860-547-5385
Debora Raymond, 860-547-4611


Ten million dollar insurance scam exposed at Air Zim

By Tererai Karimakwenda

A financial audit company, hired by new management at Air Zimbabwe, has uncovered an insurance scam that netted about $10 million for senior staff, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.

The report alleges that Air Zim's company secretary, Grace Pfumbidzayi, authorised fraudulent payments to Navistar Insurance Brokers in a four-year aviation insurance scam.

Pfumbidzayi is alleged to have acted in cahoots with Air Zim's acting group chief executive officer Innocent Makore. and together they are accused of having prejudiced the company of millions of dollars. Other senior staff members have also been implicated.

The money was allegedly paid out to Navistar "for services rendered", and invoices were provided, but no services were rendered.

The Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development, Munesu Munodawafa, is also alleged to have acted to protect Pfumbidzayi, who is said to be his niece. But Munodawafa is not named as a beneficiary of the scam.

The audit report, dated December 28th 2013, was compiled by BCA Forensic Audit Services after a new board at Air Zim became suspicious of insurance premium payments made between April 2009 and April 2013.

According to the Herald, Pfumbidzayi switched insurers in that period and ditched Marsh Insurance brokers for Navistar, who then charged nearly 10 times what Marsh had been charging for insurance. In addition, the switch by Pfumbidzayi was done "unprocedurally, illegally and in violation of the tender procedures".

The BCA auditors are reported to have described some of the payments made to Navistar as "outrageous" and recommended that those involved be prosecuted. They also suggested that President Robert Mugabe be informed of the scam, "due to its magnitude".

The former Mayor of Harare and MDC-T shadow Minister for Transport, Elias Mudzuri, told SW Radio Africa that he was shocked at the magnitude of the theft at Air Zim, as it almost equalled the budget of an entire ministry.

"Sometimes you think that civil servants are professionals who are there to serve the nation. But this shows that some of these people at parastatals are there to milk the companies instead of making them run. But these people never get arrested. Instead it's the small criminals that are prosecuted," Mudzuri said.

He explained that in Zimbabwe there exists a culture of not holding public officials accountable for their actions. This is how they are able to get away with stealing millions and not be prosecuted.

Mudzuri added: "There is no order and I always get annoyed when people cry about corruption but they are doing nothing to ensure there is proper accountability and transparency. Look at ZBC and the Medical Society where all MPs get insured."

Mudzuri was referring to recent revelations that Cuthbert Dube, a senior manager at the Premier Medical Aid Society, was receiving a monthly salary of over $200,000. Exorbitant salaries for senior staff were also exposed at the state-broadcaster, ZBC. Both institutions are owned by government.

Mudzuri said: "The chief executives of these companies have to answer for what is happening. It is their duty to make sure the blood of the institution runs. And government should do something to make sure that all these parastatals are accountable."

According to the Herald, Navistar chairman Patrick Chingoka told the auditors that he was not aware of the fraudulent payments made to the company and recommended a criminal investigation into dealings by management at the insurance company.

In 2013, Air Zim dealt with a series of strikes by staff who were demanding better wages and working conditions. The national airline also faced massive debts and had an airplane impounded by creditors in London. The insurance scam deals a further blow to the company at a time when government is trying to lure tourists back to the country.

Source allAfrica

Wake-up call over liability insurance


A Supreme Court ruling issued just before Christmas is a wake-up call for businesses with liability insurance, say lawyers.

The ruling had the final say on a long-running issue involving how much directors and officers, or "D and O", insurance cover was available to meet claims against directors of collapsed companies Bridgecorp and Feltex.

Directors had argued that part of the insurance cover, which had a maximum payout limit, was available to pay for the legal costs of their defences against liability claims.

Any successful claim would therefore be paid out of whatever was left from the insurance pot after funding those costs.

On December 23 the Supreme Court decided otherwise. The legal argument related to the Law Reform Act of 1936, which imposed a statutory charge over insurance money indemnifying the insured for damages or compensation payable to third party claimants.

The Supreme Court said the charge meant all the money from the policy was reserved for paying the third party claim, so defence costs would be met only if there was any money left over.

In the Bridgecorp and Feltex cases the amount being claimed by third parties vastly exceeds the policy limits (Bridgecorp directors were covered by a $20m "D and O" policy but faced claims of more than $340m), so the directors affected can no longer rely on the insurance to cover their defence, although the court left open the question of whether insurers could refuse to pay defence costs where there was a risk a successful claim would breach policy limits.

A spokesman for insurer QBE, which provided the Bridgecorp policy, declined to comment on whether it would fund the defence, citing continuing legal proceedings.

Law firm Chapman Tripp, which was on the losing side in the Supreme Court, having represented insurer AIG in the Feltex case, has advised businesses to review their insurance policies in light of the judgment. In a note published on Monday the firm said businesses should not assume the ruling affected only directors and officers liability insurance.

"It also affects professional indemnity policies (covering professional negligence), prospectus liability, employers' liability, statutory liability and general or public liability, and may extend to prevent advancement of defence costs in any prosecutions which could result in a reparations award for the victim (eg for a workplace accident)."

The ruling should particularly concern firms with low insurance limits and those with tiered insurance arrangements - "if the first layer is relatively low, a serious claim could lock up defence costs, forcing the insured to go cap-in-hand to excess layers, which may or may not respond". The firm advised businesses to consult their brokers or insurance company and check that their insurance would provide the required cover.


Murray Tingey of law firm Bell Gully, who successfully represented Bridgecorp's receivers in the case, said many businesses had already reviewed their policies after the High Court ruled on the case in 2011, but there was a straightforward solution available for those yet to do so.

"A lot of insurers and insureds changed their policies back then," he said. Generally they've entered into two policies or had two sums available. So before you'd have an amount that would cover both, but to avoid this issue, if you have, say, a $20m policy you might have a separate $5m policy covering defence costs, which means if there was a charge against the $20m on the policy, you can still draw on the defence costs because that money can never go to the claimant."

While the issue would not be a concern if a policy limit was large enough to cover both the claim and the defence costs, the key detail businesses should check is whether their policy was a single sum covering both risks, or had separate cover for defence costs.

Insurers did not like the ruling because it placed them in an awkward financial position, said Tingey.

"On the Bridgecorp case the insurers may have to pay the claim, but now they have to face a decision on whether to fund the directors' defence, because the directors can't afford it," he said.

"If you're a defendant to a claim normally you've got to choose whether to spend money defending your case. If you've got a good defence, you'd choose to spend money. If the claim is strong and you think you're going to lose, you may not think it's worth spending money defending and you'll settle it."

The Supreme Court's ruling said: "[A]llowing defence costs to diminish the sum available to third parties is tantamount to requiring third party claimants to fund an unsuccessful defence, which would normally not occur under ordinary court cost rules."

Source Fairfax NZ News