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Entries in Friends Provident (4)

Wednesday
Aug262009

Int. Insurance links 26.8 (after holiday bumper edition)

Purchase of Friends Provident (link this in with the general consolidation of the insurance industry)

Friends Provident ready to submit to Cowdery's Resolution

Friends Provident is poised to accept a £1.86bn takeover offer by Clive Cowdery's Resolution, with the aim of announcing a deal alongside its interim results tomorrow.

The insurer, which aggressively opposed earlier offers from Resolution, was forced back to the negotiating table by large shareholders with investments in both firms who were keen to see a deal done. One analyst said the Friends Provident management had "misjudged" the mood among its own investors by refusing to countenance a deal.

Friends Provident accepts £1.86bn takeover by Resolution

Friends Provident has accepted a £1.86bn takeover offer from Clive Cowdery's Resolution, ending its initial opposition to the deal.

The insurer was forced back to the negotiating table by large shareholders with investments in both firms who were keen to see the takeover. One analyst said the Friends Provident management had "misjudged" the mood among its own investors by refusing to countenance a deal.

Cowdery: Resolution is already in talks to follow up Friends deal

Clive Cowdery, the insurance tycoon, said takeover talks were ongoing with a number of other firms after securing a £1.86bn deal to acquire Friends Provident through his bid vehicle Resolution.

The Friends Provident deal, announced as the stockmarket opened, provides Cowdery with the springboard for a planned series of three or four acquisitions in the life assurance sector, with a total value of up to £5bn. The aim is to float the combined business off as a separate company within three or four years.

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Prudential raises dividend as chief executive bows out

Mark Tucker bowed out of Prudential today with a dividend hike that bucked the trend set by rivals for lower interim payouts.

The Pru's chief executive, who leaves next month, is handing over to Tidjane Thiam, the current finance director, who committed himself to steering the same steady course as his predecessor once he takes the helm at the insurer.

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Rising wave of piracy sends shipowners' costs soaring

Businesses will have to pay a rising "piracy tax" to maintain global trading networks, according to the Lloyd's of London insurance market.

A report commissioned by Lloyd's found Somali pirates are beating the credit crunch, with rogue crews seizing more than 60 vessels and earning some $80m (£48m) in ransoms.

Separate figures from the International Maritime Bureau showed a doubling of piracy attacks in the first six months of this year, with virtually all the increase due to Somali pirates.

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Aviva sees profits rise but slashes dividend

Aggressive cost-cutting at Aviva coupled with strong overseas sales boosted the insurer's profits in the first six months of the year, but not enough to convince the company to maintain its dividend payment.

Aviva said today it remained cautious about the outlook despite a profit of £747m after tax in the first half of 2009, up from an £84m loss a year ago.

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China Life eyes stakes in AIA and Ag Bank

BEIJING/HONG KONG, Aug 26 - China Life Insurance, the country’s top life insurer, said it is studying possible investments involving IPO candidates Agricultural Bank of China and AIA, aiming to improve its returns.

One of the potential deals could see China Life invest in AIA, the Asia unit of bailed-out US insurance giant American International Group, as part of its broader interest in branded firms.

see also; UPDATE 2-China Life studies investments in AIA, Ag Bank

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Admiral first-half profit up 5%

Admiral has posted pre-tax profit of £105.3 million for the first six months of the year, up 5% on the same period of 2008.

Profit from UK car insurance business soared 18% to £101.2 million and UK turnover leapt 17% to £540.1 million.

The group, which operates the confused.com website, said customer numbers rose 18% to 1.92 million.

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American Community Introduces Small Group Health Plan in Nebraska

American Community Mutual Insurance Company, headquartered in Livonia, Mich., is now offering Latitude, a small group product that allows employers to customize a health plan, to employers in Nebraska.

Sold through independent insurance agents, the new PPO plan for employer groups with 2-50 employees is available in Nebraska for a coverage effective date beginning Sept. 1, 2009. With the addition of Nebraska, the product is available in eight states.

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Greek insurers see limited impact from wildfires

ATHENS, Greece (Reuters)—Greek insurers said on Tuesday they expected claims of property losses from the wildfires that swept through the Athens suburbs to be small, though it was too early to give an accurate figure.

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Willis Names Vic Krauze President of its North American Business

New York, NY, August 25, 2009 Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today named Vic Krauze President of Willis HRH, its North American retail business.Krauze will retain his current responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer of Willis HRH and will continue to report to Don Bailey, Chairman and CEO of Willis HRH. As President and COO, Krauze will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business and establishing more consistent business-wide processes and systems for managing growth at the regional level. The National Partners who head each of Willis HRH’s seven regions will now report to Krauze.

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MMA Insurance Names New Claims Director

UK-based MMA Insurance has appointed Bob Perry as claims director. He will report to Garry Fearn, chief executive of MMA.

Mr Perry will be responsible for all claims functions within MMA including motor, property and casualty claims, anti financial crime and claims supplier management. He joined MMA in May 2009 as interim claims director.

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Wells Fargo Appoints New Managing Director

Wells Fargo Insurance Services of Pennsylvania, a bank-owned insurance brokerage in the US, has appointed James Voltz as managing director, for its Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Office. In his new role, Mr. Voltz is responsible for operations, carrier relationships, sales, and placement of all commercial and private risk practices.

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Aviva Extends Its Health Insurance Product

Aviva has extended its private health insurance that can now be availed by its individual and small group customers - reported Moneynews.

Earlier, the insurance, which specialises in back and neck problems, was available to Aviva staff and corporate customers only.

Mark Sharpe, clinical development manager at Aviva's UK Health business, has stated that these musculo-skeletal conditions are often the cause of insurance claims and felt Back-Up takes a sensible approach to the issue.

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XL Insurance Names Regional Energy Underwriting Manager

XL Insurance, the global insurance operations of XL Capital, has appointed Peter Bitterlin as regional underwriting manager for Energy.

Mr. Bitterlin in his new role will be heading XL Insurance's onshore energy team for Europe and Asia Pacific, and will be based in London.

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Gulf Bank, Enaya Launch Family Travel Insurance Policy

Enaya Insurance has partnered with Kuwait-based Gulf Bank to launch TravelSmart, a new worldwide family travel insurance policy targeting Gulf bank customers - reported AME Info.

Reportedly, annual premium for worldwide family coverage is KD37 and covers the insured, spouse and their dependant children under the age of 21. The policy insures customers of age up to 75 without any additional premium payments.

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UPDATE 1-Delphi Financial offering priced at $21; shares slump

* Offering priced at 10 pct discount to Monday's close * Says to use proceeds for general corporate purposes 

* Shares down as much as 10 pct

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Delphi Financial Group Inc (DFG.N) said its previously announced offering of 3 million class A common shares were priced at $21 a share, a 10 percent discount to their Monday's closing price, sending its shares down as much as 10 percent.

This is the employee-insurance provider's second offering at a 10 percent discount this year. In April, the company offered 10 million shares at $17.50 a share. [ID:nBNG482832]

 

 

Tuesday
Jul282009

Int. Insurance links 28.7.09

Friends Provident Ends Takeover Talks With Resolution (Update2)

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Friends Provident Plc, the 177-year- old U.K. life insurer, said it ended takeover discussions with Resolution Ltd. after rejecting a higher bid from the buyout company founded by insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery.

Resolution yesterday offered to buy the insurer for 0.82 of its shares for every Friends Provident share, valuing the Dorking, England based company at 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion), Friends Provident said today in a statement. The offer included 500 million pounds in cash, the company said. The insurer rejected an earlier approach offering 0.8 Resolution shares for every Friends Provident share on July 13.

 

Ace Sells Equities, Purchases Corporate Debt, U.S. Treasuries

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Ace Ltd., the Zurich-based insurer and reinsurer with operations in more than 50 countries, said it sold equities in the second quarter as markets rebounded, then purchased corporate debt and U.S. Treasuries.

“With a strong recovery in global equity markets, we also liquidated the majority of our publicly traded equity holdings and invested the proceeds in higher-yielding corporate bonds,” Chief Operating Officer Philip Bancroft said yesterday in a conference call. “The shifts in asset allocation will, with all else being equal, increase book yield and investment income.”

 

Disasters Cost Insurers $11 Billion to End-June, Munich Re Says

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Insurers’ losses from natural catastrophes amounted to $11 billion in the first half of the year as “severe weather” hit areas with more coverage, said Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer.

The losses compare with an average over the last decade of about $10 billion, as natural disasters occurred in regions where insurance is more prevalent, such as the U.S. and Europe, the Munich-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Insured losses from weather-related catastrophes increased last year by about 50 percent to an estimated $45 billion from 2007, Munich Re said in December. In 2009, winter storm Klaus, which hit northeast Spain and southwest France in January, was the most costly natural catastrophe with insured losses of $2.3 billion, Munich Re said. The earthquake in Italy inApril cost insurers $260 million because of “low insurance density” in the affected area, the reinsurer said.

Tuesday
Jul212009

Int. Insurance links 20.7.09

Friends Provident lures Resolution onshore with merger offer

Insurer Friends Provident today set out terms for a merger with Clive Cowdery's buyout vehicle Resolution. The deal would scupper Resolution's plans to pay a select band of executives 10% of annual profits and base the new company in a tax haven.

Friends Provident said it was prepared to enter talks with Resolution, but only if the merged business retained its name, remained listed on the London Stock Exchange and retained the current board structure. Friends, which was founded by Quakers in 1832, would take over Resolution and become the holding company for a merged group.

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Cowdery's Resolution sweetens offer for Friends Provident [RELATED TO STORY ABOVE]

Resolution has sweetened its offer for Friends Provident by including a cash element and making a commitment on the insurer's dividend.

The financial buyout firm, owned by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery, today offered a cash component for the first 2,500 Friends Provident shares and said it would issue Resolution shares in exchange for the remaining stock.

Resolution's previous all-share offer was rejected as too low by Friends, which also expressed concerns about the buyout firm's corporate structure.

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Friends Provident Rejects Resolution’s Takeover Bid (Update2) [RELATED TO STORY ABOVE]

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Friends Provident Plc, the 177-year- old insurer, rebuffed Clive Cowdery’s second takeover approach, saying his offer would benefit Resolution Ltd.’s managers at the expense of shareholders.

“The dilution of the Friends Provident shareholders’ economic interests” is unacceptable, the Dorking, England-based company said today in a statement. Partners at Cowdery’s buyout firm receive an average of 450,000 pounds ($744,000) salary and a share of profits once they sell assets.

Resolution, founded by insurance entrepreneur Cowdery, made its second takeover proposal today, saying it would pay Friends Provident shareholders cash for the first 2,500 shares they own. Friends Provident is 20 percent owned by about 750,000 retail investors, many of whom acquired holdings when the former mutually owned insurer first sold shares to the public in 2001.

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China Insurers’ Profit May Have Doubled on Premiums, Stocks

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese insurance companies’ profit may have doubled in the first half as premium income increased and a rebound in the nation’s stock market boosted investments.

The industry may report a combined profit of 26.1 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) in the six months to June 30, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said today. Separately, the regulator said insurance premium income rose 6.6 percent to 598.6 billion yuan in the first six months from a year earlier, driven by demand for automobile-related coverage.

Thursday
Jul162009

Int. Insurance links 16.7.09

Lloyds Banking to Cut a Further 1,200 British Jobs (Update1)

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Lloyds Banking Group Plc, whose largest shareholder is the British government, said it plans to cut a total of 1,200 jobs in its U.K. information technology and insurance units by the end of March.

The announcement brings the number of jobs eliminated by the bank this year to 8,850. Those leaving will include 370 contract and agency employees, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The cuts will be partially offset by the creation of 180 new posts in group operations.

 

Prudential Said to Resume Talks Over AIG Japan Units (Update1)

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Prudential Financial Inc. resumed talks with American International Group Inc. over the purchase of two Japanese insurance units after discussions stalled earlier this year, said two people briefed on the situation.

A sale of AIG’s Star Life and Edison Life operations may yield more than $3 billion, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. A rival bid for the units from Manulife Financial Corp. is no longer under active discussion, the person said.

 

MGIC to Inject as Much as $1 Billion Into Subsidiary After Loss

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- MGIC Investment Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage insurer, will inject as much as $1 billion into an inactive subsidiary, allowing the company to continue to sell new coverage after eight straight unprofitable quarters.

The subsidiary may take over the sale of policies as of Jan. 1 if it gains approval from state insurance regulators by then, Milwaukee-based MGIC said today in a statement. The insurer also announced its eighth straight unprofitable quarter, posting a $339.8 million loss as the worst housing slump since the Great Depression caused more defaults.

 

The Hartford Names Andrade to Head P/C Operations

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. has appointed Juan Andrade, 43, president and chief operating officer of its Property and Casualty Operations, effective immediately. Andrade will continue to report directly to the company's chairman and chief executive officer, Ramani Ayer, and will serve as a member of the Office of the Chairman.

An industry veteran, Andrade joined The Hartford in 2006, assuming leadership of the P&C claims organization. In that role, he transformed claims into a more focused and disciplined group, emphasizing enhanced customer service, greater employee engagement and increased efficiency. He was soon appointed to executive vice president for sales and distribution in 2008, where he expanded and enhanced the company's relationships with its agents. In February 2009, he assumed the role of Interim P&C Co-leader of The Hartford's Property and Casualty Operations.

 

Insurance fraud soars to £1.9bn

False claims cost the average household £44 a year despite improved detection of fraudsters

The value of insurance fraud has soared to an estimated £1.9bn a year, costing the average household £44 annually in higher premiums, a report showed today. Insurers think around £5.2m of fraudulent claims go undetected every day, a 24% increase compared with two years ago, according to the Association of British Insurers. But firms are also detecting more fraud, with suspect claims worth £730m rejected last year, 30% more than in 2007.

 

Resolution launches £2bn bid for Friends Provident

City entrepreneur Clive Cowdery will confirm tomorrowthat his Resolution investment vehicle is bidding to take over troubled life insurer Friends Provident, as the first step in an audacious strategy to force a spate of mega-mergers in the troubled insurance sector.

Less than three months after being cleared by a Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation into the sale of his last firm, also called Resolution, to Pearl, Cowdery has tabled an all-share offer, valuing Friends Provident at close to £2bn.

 

Cowdery's first offer for Friends Provident rebuffed

City entrepreneur Clive Cowdery faces a fight to take control of Friends Provident after seeing his first offer for the troubled life insurer rebuffed. Friends confirmed this morning that it had rejected an all-share offer from Cowdery's Resolution investment vehicle, which valued the company at close to £2bn.

In a letter to Cowdery, which it also released to the stock market, Friends Provident dismissed the offer as "wholly inadequate".