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Prudential acquires Ghana insurer Express Life
Prudential has purchased a majority stake in Express Life, an insurer in Ghana, from LeapFrog Investments for an undisclosed amount, a move which will mark the British insurer foray into African insurance market.
Willis to roll out security toolkit to manage cyber risk
Global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker Willis Group is planning to debut its new complete security platform, Cyber ATLAS, to assist UK firms to combat the threat of cyber crime.
Reliance Life to launch 25 new insurance products
The Reliance Life Insurance Company is set to roll out 25 new insurance plans beginning January 2014, which are designed as per Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)'s new product guidelines.
Old Mutual obtains regulatory approval to acquire majority stake in Faulu Kenya
The Financial Services Board (FSB) of South Africa and the Central Bank of Kenya have granted permission to Old Mutual, for its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Faulu Kenya.
ASG launches new mobile app for life insurance advisors
Life insurance brokerage agency Agent Support Group (ASG) has rolled out new mobile app, ASG One Click, a new mobile marketing technology for life insurance advisors.
Empire Life rolls out online life insurance application tool
The Empire Life Insurance Company has launched a new online life insurance application with full underwriting to enhance process of applying for affordable insurance coverage.
LifeAgain’s BlueMetric Select term life coverage now available through Life Quotes
LifeAgain Insurance Solutions, a unit of Cardium Therapeutics, is making its BlueMetric Select term life insurance program available through Life Quotes, a direct marketing company.
Maybank’s Etiqa may bid for Indonesian insurer Mega Life
Malaysia’s Malayan Banking (Maybank)’s insurance unit, Etiqa, is planning to submit a proposal to buy stake in Indonesia’s PT Mega Life Asuransi Jiwa.
AXA inks deal to divest Romanian operations
French insurance firm AXA has signed a deal with Astra Asigurari to divest its Life & Savings insurance operations in Romania.
Sumitomo Life agrees to buy 40% stake in BNI Insurance Unit for $354m
Japan-based private insurer Sumitomo Life has entered into an agreement to buy 40% stake in PT Bank Negara Indonesia's (BBNI) life insurance business, for approximately JPY36.2bn ($354m).
Metlife, AIA in race for Citigroup distribution deal
Five insurance companies including life insurance giants Metlife and AIA have submitted final proposals for the deal to distribute their products through Citigroup in Asia.
FBN Life to buy Oasis Insurance, following SEC's approval
FBN Life Assurance, a life insurance joint venture (JV) between FBN Holdings of Nigeria and South Africa-based Sanlam Group, is set to buy Oasis Insurance, a general business specialist company, for an undisclosed sum.
Edelweiss Tokio Life names new COO
Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Company has appointed Nilesh Parmar as the new chief operating officer (COO) for operations and technology.
Reliance Life partners with five IRDA-approved insurance repositories
Reliance Life Insurance has teamed up with five insurance repositories in India to enable policyowners to hold life insurance policies in dematerialized (demat) form.
Japan’s Sumitomo to reportedly acquire stake in PT BNI Life Insurance
Japanese life insurer Sumitomo Life Insurance is reportedly buying a share in PT BNI Life Insurance, an arm of PT Bank Negara Indonesia, in a deal worth nearly $375m.
India’s insurance regulator advised to extend cover for HIV/AIDS affected
India’s Health and Family Welfare Ministry has advised Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (Irda) to make both life and health insurance cover available for people affected by HIV/AIDS.
NTA Life to implement EXL LifePRO policy administration platform
National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company (NTA Life) has signed a deal to implement EXL's policy administration platform, EXL LifePRO.
New India unveils new combination insurance product for lower income groups
New India Assurance has unveiled a new combination product that includes life, accident as well as medical covers, for lower income groups.
LIC to withdraw 14 policies to comply with Irda’s new product guidelines
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has decided to stop selling as many as 14 policies in order to comply with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda)’s mandate to implement new product regulations.
IndiaFirst Life Insurance to enter micro-insurance segment
IndiaFirst Life Insurance is planning to launch a new micro-insurance product, a move which will mark the company’s entry to the segment.
Aviva India rolls out new online term plan
Aviva India, a joint venture between Dabur Group and Aviva Group, has introduced i- Life Secure, a new online term policy that comes with a 15-year built-in income protection.
Resolution plans to divest Lombard insurance business
British life group Resolution, is negotiating with unidentified buyers to sell its Luxembourg-based Lombard business, which offers tax-efficient insurance products to ultra-rich individuals.
American General selected as preferred life insurance partner by Edward Jones
American General Life Companies has been selected as preferred life insurance partner by financial services firm Edward Jones.
Zurich Insurance to sell 9.4% stake in New China Life Insurance
Zurich Insurance Group, a Swiss multi-line insurance provider, has agreed to divest its remaining 9.4% shareholding in New China Life Insurance, in a transaction worth $943m (£584.7m).
Missouri Department of Insurance reaches settlement with New York Life
The Missouri Department of Insurance in the US has reached a settlement with New York Life following an examination into the company’s handling of life insurance and annuity benefits.
Aegon Religare Life Insurance launches new guaranteed return plan
Aegon Religare Life Insurance has introduced a new guaranteed return plan, aimed at clients looking for steady returns over the medium term.
Principal Financial launches new indexed universal life flex product
The Principal Financial Group has launched a new product, to deliver affordable protection, flexibility and other consumer-friendly features.
Allianz Life Insurance rolls out Allianz Signature 7 Annuity
Allianz Life Insurance Company has launched the Allianz Signature 7 Annuity, exclusively available for financial professionals associated with the Allianz Preferred platform.
SBI Life Insurance plans relaunch of ten policies
SBI Life Insurance is set to relaunch nearly ten policies by 1 January 2014 as the company aims to make its plans more customer friendly, in line with the regulatory requirements.
MTN Uganda partners with AON, Jubilee to launch new life cover
MTN Uganda has teamed up with AON and Jubilee Insurance to launch the new life insurance policy, MTN LifeCare, an addition to MTN’s Mobile Money services.
Aviva plans to dispose of 39% stake in Italian insurer Eurovita
UK-based life and general insurer Aviva has inked a conditional agreement to dispose of its entire 39% stake in Eurovita Assicurazioni, to JC Flowers, in a cash transaction worth nearly €33m.
Sony Life to launch non-participating educational endowment insurance
Sony Life Insurance Co is set to launch new educational endowment insurance (non-participating) on 2 January 2014 to cater to the needs of a broader customer base.
Generali acquires minority stake in Asian operations
Generali has completed the acquisition of the minority stake in Generali Asia, a move to simplify the company’s business structure in the region.
Manulife Philippines launches new Manulife FlexiSure
Manulife Philippines has launched Manulife FlexiSure, a new whole life protection product with a built-in investment solution.
Crown Alliance Capital completes purchase of new senior life policy
Senior life settlement Company Crown Alliance Capital has announced the completion of the purchase of another $1m senior life policy.
Vienna Insurance to acquire Polish life insurance firm Skandia
Vienna Insurance Group has struck a deal with Skandia Retail Europe Holding, member of Old Mutual Group, to purchase complete stake in Poland’s life insurance company Skandia Zycie TU (Skandia Poland).
MetLife offers grief counseling service on group life insurance plans
MetLife has introduced new grief counseling services for its basic group life insurance programs to help employees cope with challenges associated with a loss.
Allianz Q3 profit up 6.3%
Allianz Group has posted a rise in its Q3 2013 net income by 6.3% to €1.44bn, compared to €1.36bn in the same quarter a year ago.
Manulife Financial reports profit in Q3 2013
Manulife Financial (MFC) has reported a net income of C$1.03m ($991.6m) in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to a net loss of C$211m ($202.3m) in the same quarter last year.
Prudential Financial swings to profit in Q3 2013
Prudential Financial has reported a net income of $981m in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to a net loss of $627m in the corresponding quarter last year.
Sun Life Financial Q3 net income plummets
Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial has reported a net income of $324m or $0.53 per share in the third quarter of 2013, compared to $441m or $0.74 in the same period last year.
Reliance Life rolls out new plan to restore lapsed policies
India-based private insurer Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) has rolled out a new plan to restore lapsed policies for its policyholders.
ING to include Japan life division in ING Insurance IPO
ING has plans to expand the scope of the base case Initial Public Offering (IPO) of ING Insurance to include its Japanese life division.
Lincoln Financial, ComPsych partner to enhance EAP and Group Life/AD&D policies
Lincoln Financial has teamed up with ComPsych to deliver new value-added services to its Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Group Life/Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policies.
Delaware Life launches multi-year guaranteed fixed annuity Pinnacle MYGA
Delaware Life has launched Pinnacle MYGA, a new multi-year guaranteed fixed annuity, marking the first new product to be released by the company.
Fidelity & Guaranty Life moving headquarter to Iowa
Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company is relocating its headquarter from Maryland to Iowa effective 1 November 2013, to get the benefit of lower cost of living, business-friendly regulatory climate and ready supply of insurance professionals.
Security Life introduces insurance products in new US states
Security Life Insurance Company of America has received approval to launch its range of group ancillary benefits in Connecticut, Hawaii and Montana.
Ebix to launch new products in life & annuity
Ebix is planning to launch a wider range of products in the life & annuity, on the occasion of of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) 32 Annual Meeting, in North America.
Max Life Insurance taps Cognizant's TruMobi suite
Max Life Insurance has selected Cognizant's TruMobi suite as its enterprise mobility platform to help its agent advisors.
Norma Lee Valle launches LifeSettlementsUSA.com across Texas
Life settlements broker Norma Lee Valle has launched LifeSettlementsUSA.com, a service focused on life insurance settlements.
Swiss Life selects Aetna to deliver health care benefits in Singapore
Life and pension insurer Swiss Life, has partnered with health care services company, Aetna, to offer expat health care benefits and services to its customers in Singapore.
MetLife swings to profit in Q3
MetLife has reported a net income of $942m in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to a net loss of $984m in the same quarter a year ago.
American General launches new Power Index Plus
American General Life Insurance Company (AGL), a part of AIG Life and Retirement, has launched its new index annuity, Power Index Plus, which offers a combination of principal protection, growth potential and lifetime income for retirement.
Securian, Upromise by Sallie Mae unveil new life insurance product
US-based financial services holding company, Securian Financial Group, has launched a simplified issue whole life insurance product, collaborating with Upromise by Sallie Mae.
Industrial Alliance launches new guaranteed lifetime retirement income option
Industrial Alliance has introduced new SecurOption - Lifetime Retirement Income, a new option to the company’s group retirement savings plans.
Hanwha Life enters into Indonesian insurance business
Hanwha Life, a South Korean insurance firm, has formally launched its insurance operations in Indonesia, as part of its plan to capture approximately 1.5% share of the country's insurance market.
Goldman Sachs sells majority stake in Rothesay Life
Goldman Sachs Group, a US diversified financial conglomerate, has sold a majority stake in its UK pensions insurance business Rothesay Life to a group of companies.
TAL buys online life insurance comparator Lifebroker
TAL, an Australian life insurance provider, has completed the acquisition of remaining 90% stake in Lifebroker, an online life insurance comparator, for an undisclosed amount.
Sallie Mae unveils new Upromise Life Insurance Plan in US
Sallie Mae, a US-based financial services provider, has unveiled a new Upromise Life Insurance Plan underwritten by Minnesota Life Insurance.
ING plans to sell 11.5% stake in US subsidiary
ING, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services provider, plans to sell 11.5% stake in its US subsidiary, reducing its share to approximately 60%.
Pinnacle Life launches new ‘add on’ to life insurance policies
New Zealand based life insurer Pinnacle Life has launched a new 'add on' feature to its life insurance policies, which allows policy holders to increase their accidental death coverage by 50% with a 20% increase in their current premiums.
TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia to buy NFS Group
TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia, a subsidiary of Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, has agreed to buy 100% stake of National Financial Solutions (NFS) Group, for an undisclosed sum.
MetLife to establish representative office in Myanmar
MetLife has received the regulatory approval from Myanmar's Directorate of Investment and Company Administration to establish a representative office in the country.
HDFC implements Seclore’s FileSecure IRM technology
HDFC Life has implemented Seclore’s flagship Information Rights Management (IRM) technology, Seclore FileSecure, to prevent unauthorized use of customer data.
Swiss Re to sell US life insurance operations
Swiss Re is planning to divest life insurance operations Aurora National Life Assurance Co, as it seeks to withdraw from the US life and health insurance market.
Birla Sun Life Insurance unveils new participating traditional plan
India-based private insurer Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) has unveiled a new participating traditional plan, designed to offer guaranteed additions for the first five years of the policy term.
Allianz Life launches new indexed annuity with built-in income rider
Allianz Life Insurance Co., of North America plans to roll out a new indexed annuity to offer customers protection, while enabling them to maintain accumulation potential, death benefits for beneficiaries and choices for guaranteed lifetime income withdrawals.
DirectAsia.com Singapore presents Online Term Life Insurance
DirectAsia.com, an online insurance provider, has presented an innovative online Term Life product to fill the protection gap in Singapore with a low-cost and convenient cover.
Falcon Insurance, Bank Muscat to provide life insurance cover
Falcon Insurance Company has entered into an agreement with Bank Muscat to offer life insurance cover for the lender's customers, who are availing consumer loans.
SEM to buy 49% stake in Nico's general insurance business
South Africa-based Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) is finalizing the deal with NICO Holdings, to purchased 49% stake in the general insurance operations in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
J&K Bank likely to divest minority stake in insurance JV
India-based Jammu & Kashmir Bank is reportedly planning to dispose of its entire or some part of 5% stake in life insurance joint venture (JV) MetLife India.
Future Generali India launches new life insurance plan
Future Generali India Life Insurance Company has launched Future Generali Pearls Guarantee, a non-linked, non-participating life insurance plan with limited premium payment term and guaranteed cash back.
Chesnara to buy UK life insurance arm from Direct Line Group
Chesnara has entered into an agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Direct Line Life Insurance Company from Direct Line Insurance Group for £39.3m.
Citizens agrees to acquire Magnolia Guaranty Life
Security Plan Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Magnolia Guaranty Life Insurance Company of Ridgeland, Mississippi, for $5.23m.
SBI Life launches new insurance plan for investors
SBI Life Insurance has launched SBI Life Smart Power Insurance, a new insurance plan designed to meet the insurance and investment needs of investors.
BEA Life launches new critical illness insurance plan
The Bank of East Asia (BEA) has launched Wellcare Critical Illness Insurance plan by its wholly-owned life insurance arm, BEA Life.
Athene Holding completes acquisition of Aviva USA
Athene Holding has completed the acquisition of Aviva USA along with its subsidiaries, for $1.55bn.
Delta Lloyd intends to divest Belgian banking activities
Netherlands-based Delta Lloyd Group is intending to divest its Belgium-based banking business to focus on insurance and unlock capital for investment in its strategic activities.
Protective Insurance completes acquisition of MONY Life
Protective Life Insurance Company has completed the acquisition of MONY Life Insurance Company (MLOA), in a transaction valued at approximately $1.06bn, including statutory capital and surplus of almost $303m.
Colonial Life enhances whole life insurance plan
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company has enhanced its whole life insurance plan that allows employees to purchase a greater amount of coverage and makes it easier for them to qualify for the coverage.
Fairfield County, Waldemar Nelson appoint Prudential to manage retirement plans
Prudential Retirement, a business unit of Prudential Financial, has been appointed by Fairfield County Bank and Waldemar Nelson and Co, to offer full servicing for their retirement plans.
Taiwan's China Life invests in SS&C PORTIA
China Life Insurance (Taiwan) has invested and upgraded its operations to the newest version of a middle-to-back office investment operations platform, known as SS&C PORTIA.
LV= enhances whole of life policy
Liverpool Victoria (LV=) Broker, a part of the LV= group of companies, has enhanced its whole of life policy, LifeTime+.
Sun Life to strengthen Malaysian insurance business
Sun Life Malaysia Assurance has drawn a growth plan to strengthen its business footprint in the local insurance and takaful market in the country.
MetLife partners with BIDV to form life insurance JV in Vietnam
American insurer MetLife, Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam (BIDV), and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam Insurance Corporation (BIC), have signed an agreement to establish a life insurance joint venture (JV) in Vietnam.
Global Atlantic agrees to buy Forethought Financial
Bermuda-based multiline insurance and reinsurance company Global Atlantic Financial Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Houston-based Forethought Financial Group.
Sinar Mas, CT Corp to off-load stake in Mega Life
Indonesian Sinar Mas Group and CT Corp are planning to divest their stake in joint venture (JV) insurance company Mega Life to a foreign partner.
Aviva names new CEO of UK & Ireland General Insurance
British multinational insurer Aviva has appointed Maurice Tulloch as the new CEO of UK & Ireland General Insurance, pending regulatory approval.
Sun Life Financial launches new rider for employers
The US business group of Sun Life Financial has launched new Stop-Loss Cancer rider for employers to protect themselves and their employees against the costs of cancer.
Liberty Mutual debuts online capability for life claims processing
Liberty Mutual Insurance's group benefits unit has released a new online capability for group life insurance beneficiaries, to provide them with speedy and easy access to important claim documents and information.
American General launches new life insurance product
American General Life Companies, a part of AIG, has launched a new highly flexible guaranteed universal life insurance, designed to provide clients more control over how the product addresses their unique and evolving needs.
Delta Lloyd agrees to acquire ZA Verzekeringen
Delta Lloyd Group has entered into an agreement with Amodo Group on the planned acquisition of the Belgium-based insurer ZA Verzekeringen NV.
FCA finds evidences against life insurance firms breaching RDR's guidelines
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a review into the life insurance distribution system, to check whether firms continue to be influenced by inducements from product providers.
Colonial Life launches new voluntary group short-term disability insurance plan
US-based Colonial Life has introduced a new voluntary group short-term disability insurance plan that allows employers to offer valuable income protection to employees who become disabled from sickness or an accident.
Symbility Health, Western Life Assurance partner to launch new insurance solution
Symbility Health has partnered with Western Life Assurance to launch Small Group Pooled Insurance Solution, which is developed as an alternative small-scale component to add to small to mid-size employee groups' benefits packages.
Allianz Life launches new indexed variable annuity
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has launched a new Indexed Variable Annuity (IVA) that leverages the firm’s market leadership in fixed index annuities with traditional variable options.
Protective Life receives approval to buy Mony Life Insurance
Protective Life Insurance Company has received regulatory approvals to buy Mony Life Insurance Company (MONY) from parent AXA SA for $1.06bn.
SBLI launches new whole life products and riders
SBLI of Massachusetts has launched six new whole life products and eight new riders to meet diverse insurance needs as well as dividend integrity.
Acorn signs insurance business cooperation agreement with Taiping Life
Shanghai Acorn Network Technology Development, an affiliate of Acorn International, has entered into an insurance business cooperation agreement with Taiping Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of China Taiping Insurance Group Company.
MetLife launches new enhanced product on whole life policies
MetLife, US-based insurer, has launched Enhanced Care Benefit rider on its entire whole life portfolio.
Clal Insurance deploys Sapiens Life & Pensions software
Israel-based financial services group Clal Insurance has selected Sapiens Life & Pensions software to manage its entire pensions portfolio.
Sun Life Financial launches voluntary accident insurance plans
The Employee Benefits Group of the US business group of Sun Life Financial has released two group voluntary accident insurance plans.
Prudential Financial invests $10m in LeapFrog
Prudential, through its Social Investments Program, has invested $10m for LeapFrog Investments to help fund companies that provide insurance, savings, pensions, investment products and other financial services to growing insurance consumers in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Tata AIA introduces range of new life insurance applications for mobiles
Tata AIA Life Insurance Company (Tata AIA Life), a Mumbai-based joint venture between Tata Sons and AIA Group, has introduced a range of life insurance applications for users of mobile devices.
Sanlam net operating profit rises in H1 2013
Sanlam Group, a South Africa-based financial services and life insurance company, has reported 23% rise in net operating profit per share during the first six months ended 30 June 2013, compared to net operating profit value during the same period in 2012.
IRDA allows CSC to sell insurance products
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has allowed CSC e-Governance Services India to sell insurance products.
Guardian Life Insurance expands senior management team
Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has expanded its senior management team with the appointment of Dean Del Vecchio as its senior vice president and chief information officer, and Caitlin Pincus as senior vice president of its Strategy & Guardian Labs.
KANETIX, TIC team up to offer direct travel insurance rates
KANETIX and TIC Travel Insurance (TIC) have teamed up to launch a new interface that will offer consumers direct travel insurance rates on Kanetix.ca from TIC server.
RGEB purchases insurance broker ArcherWeiss in California
RGEB, a California-based insurance agency and employee benefit consulting firm, has purchased ArcherWeiss Insurance & Financial Services of Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, for an undisclosed amount.
Lincoln Financial unveils new deferred income annuity
Life insurance provider Lincoln Financial (LNC) has unveiled its first deferred income annuity (DIA), Lincoln Deferred Income Solutions, which allows advisers to provide clients with an alternative to address specific needs based on typical retirement risks.
MetLife Chile commences cash tender offer to acquire AFP Provida
MetLife Chile Acquisition, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MetLife, has commenced a tender offer to purchase all the issued and outstanding common shares held by US holders, and all the outstanding American Depositary Shares (ADS) of AFP Provida.
Allianz Life names director of relationship management in IT division
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has named Patrick Murphy as director of relationship management within the IT division.
GLICO Life re-launches micro-insurance products
GLICO Life Insurance Company has re-launched its micro insurance products, Edwa Nkosuo and Anidaso, across selected trading markets in Accra.
Vantis Life licenses FAST for commissions processing
Vantis Life Insurance Company has licensed FAST Insurance Components, the business process driven software suite of FAST, to support commissions processing for its life and annuity business.
American General launches new life insurance product
American General Life Companies has launched AG Secure Survivor GUL II, an individual joint and last survivor guaranteed universal life insurance product.
Risk Management Services launches insurance plan for life and health agents
Risk Management Services (RMS) has launched Group Errors & Omissions insurance plan for life and health insurance agents in collaboration with Gotham Insurance Company.
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance partners with Aon Hewitt
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company has partnered with Aon Hewitt, the retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc, to provide the senior African American community with free support and access to a national network of quality Medicare insurance products through Aon Hewitt Navigators.
Zurich appoints regional sales manager of corporate life and pensions
Zurich Global Life North America has appointed Salomea Klunzinger as regional sales manager of corporate life and pensions, effective immediately.
LifeAgain Insurance enters into commercialization deal with AgencyONE
LifeAgain Insurance Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Cardium Therapeutics' investment portfolio, has entered into a commercialization agreement with AgencyONE to support the pioneering development and commercialization of survivable risk life insurance products based on Cardium's medical data analytics platform technology (ADAPT).
Equitable Life launches new whole life insurance product
Equitable Life of Canada has unveiled Final Protection, a new simple issue whole life insurance product.
ING to sell South Korean life insurance business to MBK Partners
Dutch financial conglomerate ING Groep NV has entered into an agreement with Seoul-based MBK Partners to sell ING Life Korea, its wholly owned life insurance business in South Korea, for approximately KRW1.84 trillion ($1.65 billion).
Reliance Life to divest up to 5% stake to bancassurance partner
Reliance Life Insurance Company Limited, part of Reliance Capital Limited, is planning to enter into a bancassurance agreement with several banks for selling of its minority stake up to 5% in the company as well as expanding the product distribution network in the country.
Sun Life Financial enters into Malaysian insurance market
Canada-based Sun Life Financial has entered into the Malaysian insurance market with the launch of a new joint venture between Khazanah Nasional and CIMB Group Holdings to offer services in the country.
Health Insurance Innovations strengthens product portfolio
US-based Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. in collaboration with Companion Life Insurance Co. has strengthened its product portfolio with the launch of Principle Advantage Limited Benefit Health Insurance.
Munich Re appoints new CFO for North American life business
Munich Re Group, a Germany-based reinsurance company, has appointed Simon Curtis as new CFO for its North American life business, effective 3 September 2013.
Allianz Life launches two enhanced index allocations
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) has launched two enhanced index allocations, namely Barclays US Dynamic Balance Index, and Russell 2000 Index.
IID approves Athene’s acquisition of Aviva USA
Regulatory authority Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has approved Athene Holding’s acquisition of Aviva USA and its subsidiaries, including Iowa-domiciled Aviva Life and Annuity.
MetLife Q2 net income down 79%
MetLife Inc., a US-based life insurer, has reported a net income of $471 million, or $0.43 per share, for the second quarter of 2013, a 79% decrease compared to a net income of $2.26 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the same quarter of 2012.
NYDFS approves Delaware Life purchase of Sun Life Insurance and Annuity
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved the acquisition of Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York, a unit of Sun Life Financial Inc., by Delaware Life Holdings LLC.
Great-West Lifeco Q2 net earnings rise 7%
Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Lifeco) has reported net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $521 million, or $0.547 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 7% compared to $488 million, or $0.544 per diluted share, for the same quarter of 2012.
Manulife sells life insurance operations to CTBC Life in Taiwan
Manulife (International) Limited, a Hong Kong-based provider of insurance products, has signed an agreement to sell its life insurance business in Taiwan to CTBC Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (CTBC Life), a subsidiary of CTBC Financial Holding Co., Ltd.
Meiji Yasuda Life to acquire 15% stake in Thai Life
Japan-based Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company has signed a strategic agreement to acquire 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance Public Company Limited.
Great-West Lifeco acquires Irish Life Group for $1.7bn
Canada-based Great-West Lifeco Inc., through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Canada Life Limited, has completed the acquisition of Irish Life Group Limited for a total consideration of €1.3bn ($1.7bn).
Allstate to sell life insurance subsidiary to Resolution Life
The Allstate Corporation, a US-based personal lines insurer, has agreed to sell its Lincoln Benefit Life Company (LBL) to Resolution Life Holdings, Inc. for $600m.
Colonial Life launches new health care reform tool for employers
Employers have a new tool to help them dig through the complex pile of health care reform legislation to better understand how the new laws will affect them and what they need to do now and going forward.
Pacific Life Insurance deploys Munich Re’s automated underwriting platform
US-based Pacific Life Insurance Company has deployed Munich Re's automated underwriting platform to support its strategic initiatives of transforming the way life insurance is sold and new market expansion.
Zurich Insurance divests stake in New China Life
Zurich Insurance Company Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich), has agreed to sell 97.5 million H shares in New China Life Insurance Company Ltd. (NCI), representing 3.1% of the total issued share capital of NCI.
Generali plans to take full control of Generali Deutschland
Italian insurer Generali Group is planning to take full control of its management holding company, Generali Deutschland Holding, by purchasing the 7% minority stake.
ING Life Insurance launches new life insurance product
ING Life Insurance has launched ING Nirmal Jeevan Insurance Plan, a new life insurance product to provide a combination of protection as well as savings with guaranteed returns to its customers.
Pacific Life Insurance selects Hooper Holmes as service provider
Pacific Life Insurance Company has selected Hooper Holmes as key service provider for its new Pacific PRIME Term product now being launched in the US.
ING to sell 50% stake in Chinese insurance JV to BNP Paribas Cardif
Dutch financial conglomerate ING Groep NV has agreed to sell of 50% stake in its Chinese insurance joint venture ING-BOB Life Insurance Company to BNP Paribas Cardif, the insurance arm of France-based BNP Paribas.
Aviva enhances critical illness cover
Aviva plc, a UK-based life insurer, has enhanced its critical illness (CI) cover for new customers with a series of radical enhancements, extending the number of conditions covered to 53.
Great-West Lifeco satisfies conditions to acquire Irish Life Group
Canada-based Great-West Lifeco Inc. has satisfied for all the conditions to its acquisition of Irish Life Group Limited, other than the payment of the EUR1.3 billion ($1.66 billion) consideration.
LV= launches relevant life cover product
Liverpool Victoria (LV=) Broker, a part of the LV= group of companies, has launched a relevant life cover product that allows employers to set up life cover either for their employees or company directors in a tax-efficient manner.
Aviva launches new private medical insurance product
UK-based insurer Aviva has launched a new private medical insurance product, called GuideWell, for large employers.
Health Insurance Innovations partners with HCC Life Insurance to launch HealtheMed STM
Health Insurance Innovations Incorporated, a US-based company engaged in the sale of Short-Term Medical (STM) plans, has collaborated with HCC Life Insurance Company (HCC), a US-based insurance products provider, for the launch of a new STM called HealtheMed STM.
Annuity Investors Life adds new single premium fixed annuities to its portfolio
Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company, a member of Great American Insurance Group, has launched two new fixed annuities, GreatStep Five and GreatStep Seven, with a guaranteed increasing interest rate during the five- or seven-year term.
Sun Life launches voluntary critical illness and cancer employee benefits
Canada-based Sun Life Financial Inc. said that its US business group has launched a series of voluntary critical illness employee benefits to protect workers against the out-of-pocket costs of a qualifying critical illness, such as a stroke, heart attack and cancer.
Trans World Assurance launches new life insurance policy
US-based Trans World Assurance Company has released a new twenty pay graded-benefit whole life insurance policy.
Hartford to sell UK variable annuity business to Columbia Insurance
US-based The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has agreed to sell its subsidiary, Hartford Life International Limited (HLIL), to Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway company, for approximately $285m.
American General launches new income rider
American General Life Companies has launched Lifestyle Income Rider, which can be issued with AG Secure Lifetime GUL (Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance) policies creating the Lifestyle Income Solution, a true breakthrough in life insurance solutions.
Crump Life launches new multi-carrier application
US-based Crump Life Insurance Services has launched InsureNOW, a new multi-carrier application that streamlines the life insurance business by processing cases on average 15 days faster than traditional application processes do.
ING sells 49% stake in KB Life Insurance
Dutch financial conglomerate ING Groep NV has completed the sale of its 49% stake in Korean insurance venture KB Life Insurance Company Ltd. (KB Life) to joint venture partner KB Financial Group.
National Western Life selects StoneRiver’s electronic application
US-based National Western Life Insurance Company has selected StoneRiver, Inc.’s LifeApply electronic application as its sole solution across all distribution channels to replace existing electronic application solution.
Generali to sell 49% minority stakes in Mexico to Banorte for $858m
The Generali Group has signed an agreement with Grupo Financiero Banorte to sell its 49% minority stakes in the Mexican companies Seguros Banorte Generali and Pensiones Banorte Generali for EUR649m ($857.5m).
HDFC Life launches protection plan compliant with new regulations
India-based HDFC Life Insurance has launched HDFC Life ClassicAssure Plus, a protection-investment plan with limited premium payment term.
Dai-ichi Life to acquire 40% stake in Panin Life for $337m
The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company has signed an agreement to acquire 40% stake in Panin Life of Indonesia for IDR3.3 trillion ($336.6m).
SCOR to acquire Generali’s US life reinsurance operations
SCOR Global Life Americas Holding Inc., a subsidiary of SCOR Global Life SE, has agreed to acquire 100% of Generali US Holdings, Inc., the holding company of Assicurazioni Generali SpA’s US life reinsurance operations, for EUR579m ($750m) plus a 2013 earnings adjustment through the closing date.
Genworth launches new Index Universal Life insurance product
Genworth Financial, Inc., a US-based insurance holding company, has launched a new Index Universal Life (IUL) insurance product, which is available on a front-to-back electronic platform that features electronic ticket drop, fulfillment and policy delivery.
AIG, PICC Life to establish agency distribution firm in China
American International Group, Inc. (AIG), People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China (PICC) and PICC Life Insurance Company Limited (PICC Life) have signed a joint venture agreement to form an agency distribution company in China.
Industrial Alliance launches new life insurance product
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. has launched Trend, its new life insurance product that will allow clients to take advantage of premium reductions should long-term interest rates go up.
HDFC Life launches Swabhimaan Careers for deceased policyholder’s family
India-based HDFC Life Insurance has launched Swabhimaan Careers, an initiative to build long-term relationship with customers by offering employment opportunity to the deceased policyholder’s family.
Dah Sing Life Assurance selects eBaoTech solution for life insurance operations
Hong Kong-based Dah Sing Life Assurance (DSLA) has deployed eBaoTech Corporation’s life insurance policy administration system, known as eBaoTech LifeSystem Suite, for its traditional and unit-linked life insurance operations.
Xpress Money, Union Insurance to offer free life insurance cover to GCC remitters
Xpress Money Services Ltd. has launched the first free life insurance cover scheme for its GCC remitters in partnership with Union Insurance Company PSC, a UAE-based insurance firm.
American General launches new accidental injury insurance product
American General Life Companies has launched AG Accident Choice Plus, an accidental injury insurance product that provides benefits, regardless of other health coverage, for emergency medical costs, from emergency room visits to physical therapy to diagnostic exams, even surgery, related to accidental injuries.
Crump Life Insurance enters into brokerage relationship with MetLife
Crump Life Insurance Services has entered into a new brokerage relationship with MetLife, where Crump Life will provide sales support, underwriting, technology and brokerage services to MetLife’s financial professionals.
Protective Life selects iPipeline to streamline agent sales process
US-based Protective Life Insurance Company has deployed iPipeline’s iGO Drop Ticket solution to streamline agent sales process.
National Life Group names chief information officer
National Life Group, a US-based life insurer, has appointed Sanjay Pandey as its senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO), effective 13 May 2013.
TOWER Limited sells life insurance business to Fidelity Life
New Zealand-based TOWER Limited has sold most of its life insurance business to Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited.
Protective Life net income decreases in Q1
Protective Life Corporation, a US-based provider of financial security, has reported net income available to common shareowners of $78.3m, or $0.97 per average diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $99m, or $1.18 per average diluted share, in the first quarter of 2012.
Hanwha Life selects eBaoTech LifeSystem for Indonesia business
South Korea-based Hanwha Life Insurance Co., Ltd. has implemented eBaoTech Corporation’s life insurance policy administration system, known as eBaoTech LifeSystem Suite, for its new business in Indonesia.
Prudential completes acquisition of Thanachart Life Assurance Company
Prudential plc, through its subsidiary Prudential Life Assurance (Thailand) Public Company Limited has completed the purchase of Thanachart Life Assurance Company from Thanachart Bank Public Company Limited on 3 May 2013.
Aegon to exit CAM partnership
Dutch insurer AEGON N.V. has reached an agreement with Banco Sabadell S.A. to sell its 50% stake in its life insurance partnership originally established with Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM) for a consideration of EUR449.5m ($590.01m).
HSBC to sell interest in Hana HSBC Life Insurance
HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific) Holdings Limited, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC), has agreed to divest its 50% less one share in Hana HSBC Life Insurance Company Limited to Hana Financial Group Inc.
Foresters launches new whole life insurance product
Canada-based The Independent Order of Foresters has launched Familylife, a new whole life insurance product designed to provide families with permanent insurance options tailored to their budget and protection needs.
Prudential appoints new CEO for UK, Europe
Prudential plc, a UK-based life insurer, has appointed Jackie Hunt as CEO for its Prudential UK and Europe.
Aviva completes settlement with Bankia
Aviva plc, a UK-based life insurer, has received EUR 608m in cash from Bankia SA following settlement and transfer of its entire holding in Spanish joint venture Aseval Consultora De Pensiones Y Seguros, SL to Bankia.
Prudential Individual Life names EVP’s for marketing, distribution
Prudential Individual Life Insurance, a business of Prudential Financial, Inc., has named Mark Hug as executive vice president of product and marketing.
SURA Asset Management to acquire life insurance business of Grupo Valores Monterrey
SURA Asset Management, a subsidiary of Grupo SURA, has signed a contract of sale with Grupo Valores Monterrey to acquire its life insurance subsidiary Primero Seguros Vida SA, in México.
Settlers Life appoints new advertising coordinator
US-based Settlers Life Insurance Company has appointed Jennifer Gryder as its new advertising coordinator to their marketing team.
Manulife announces agency promotions
Manulife (International) Limited has announced the promotion of the following senior agency executives: Johnny Chan has been promoted to Senior Regional Director. Chan joined Manulife in 2009 and has achieved remarkable results both in sales and recruitment.
Manulife Taiwan Launches Jin-xin-fu Return-of-Premium Dread Disease Term Product
Manulife Taiwan has launched the “Manulife Jin-Xin-Fu return-of-premium dread disease term insurance (NDB)”, a three-in-one policy featuring life insurance, maturity benefit, and protection against 25 specified dread diseases.1
New report finds that many asset rich households in Asia are retiring income poor
Manulife Asset Management today issued a report that analyses the retirement income security of elderly households in five Asian economies.
New York Life names senior vice president of corporate services
New York Life Insurance Company has named Dorothea Rodd as senior vice president and head of its corporate services.
National Life strengthens solutions for business owners, consumers
National Life Group, the marketing name for National Life Insurance Company and its affiliated companies, has launched new Section 79 product enhancements that help business owners provide life insurance protection for themselves and their employees.
National Life Group Reports 2012 Financial Results
National Life Group today released its consolidated financial results for 2012, reporting new record highs in net income, total assets under management, life insurance sales, insurance in force, and statutory surplus.
TAL Services director steps down
TAL Services Limited, an Australia-based life insurer, has said that Elana Rubin will step down as its director, effective immediately.
American General Life launches new index annuity
American General Life Insurance Company has launched its new AG Choice Index 10 annuity.
Great American enhances annuity portfolio with new death benefit rider
Great American Life Insurance Company has enhanced its annuity portfolio with the addition of Inheritance Enhancer, a guaranteed death benefit rider which offers enhanced death benefit.
Security Life Insurance names regional vice president of sales
Security Life Insurance Company of America has named Diego Coig as regional vice president of sales.
Sun Life, Khazanah complete acquisition of CIMB Aviva
Sun Life Financial Inc. and Khazanah Nasional Berhad have completed the acquisition of CIMB Aviva Assurance Berhad, a Malaysian life insurance company, and CIMB Aviva Takaful Berhad, a Malaysian takaful company (together, the company) MYR1.80bn ($597.4m), following regulatory approvals in Malaysia and Canada.
Merger Agreement to Sell Acacia Federal Savings Bank Canceled
Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. (Ameritas Life) and its affiliate Acacia Life Insurance Company jointly announced today the agreement to sell Acacia Federal Savings Bank of Falls Church, Va. (Bank) to Customers Bancorp of Wyomissing, Pa. (Customers) was mutually terminated between the parties due to continued uncertainty in timing of receipt of final regulatory approval.
Aviva unveils new integrated online system for Advisers
In a unique move, Aviva has opened up its platform proposition to all advisers registered on the Aviva for Advisers (A4A) website, providing more advisers with access to the complete Aviva product range, including platform investment choices and packaged products through one single portal.
Bupa completes acquisition of Polands largest private healthcare provider LUX MED
Further to the statement of 21 December 2012, Bupa, the international healthcare group, is pleased to announce the completion of its acquisition of LUX MED Group (‘LUX MED’), the largest private healthcare provider in Poland from private equity firm Mid Europa Partners. The purchase price was €400m (£325.5m).
Bupa appoints Gerry Kelly as Chief Risk Officer
Bupa has appointed Gerry Kelly to the position of Chief Risk Officer. Gerry joins from Lloyds Banking Group where has was Regulatory and Conduct Risk Director for Insurance, responsible for overseeing business performance and compliance in the areas of regulatory, conduct risk and financial crime prevention.
Standard Life Canada names independent director
The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada has appointed Gerry Rocchi as its independent director and of two affiliated companies, effective 1 January 2013.
Homesteaders Life appoints new CFO
US-based Homesteaders Life Company, Inc. has appointed Steve Pick as its new executive vice president, CFO and Treasurer, succeeding Glen Hare.
UK: Aviva unveils new integrated online system for Advisers
In a unique move, Aviva has opened up its platform proposition to all advisers registered on the Aviva for Advisers (A4A) website, providing more advisers with access to the complete Aviva product range, including platform investment choices and packaged products through one single portal.
Protective Life Insurance to acquire AXA life insurance unit for $1.06bn
Protective Life Insurance Company, the principal subsidiary of Protective Life Corporation, has agreed to buy Mony Life Insurance Company from parent AXA SA for $1.06bn to access its portfolio of life insurance policies.
Standard Life launches term life product with four convenient riders
US-based Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company (Standard Life) has launched AdvantageShield Term Life Insurance, a new term life product with competitive rates and four riders.
American Equity selects iPipeline’s Content Partner solution
American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company has selected iPipeline’s Content Partner solution to aggregate and distribute annuity product information and up-to-date forms to 1,200 distributors through the iPipeline distributor network.
Pan-American Life launches a new healthcare network in Latin America
Pan-American Life Insurance Group has launched PALIGMED, an expansive medical and provider healthcare network in Latin America.
Manulife announces intent to cap sales of 11 corporate class funds and pools
Manulife Mutual Funds announced that effective as of the close of business today, it will no longer accept new or additional investments into 11 of its corporate class funds and pools.
Start Your Financial Plan for Retirement with Securian’s Retirement GPS
This is an important week for baby boomers who are unsure about how to calculate their retirement income.
Bankers Life and Casualty Company Ranks Among Top 125 Companies for Training
Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer, was named a finalist to Training magazine's Training Top 125 for excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs, for the second consecutive year.
Jubilee Life, ORIX Leasing partner to launch customer loyalty program
Pakistan-based Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited has entered into agreement with ORIX Leasing Pakistan Limited to launch a loyalty program for its customers to provide POS Network to support its Loyalty Card program.
Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company's Possibility Potion Facebook App Wins 2013 Internet Advertising Competition Award
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Possibility Potion app on Facebook was presented the Best Financial Services Social Media Campaign award, one of The Web Marketing Association’s 2013 Internet Advertising Competition Awards.
Eileen McDonnell, President CEO of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Receives Outstanding Service to Adelphi Award
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a more than 166-year-old company, is pleased to announce Eileen McDonnell, President and Chief Executive Officer, received the 2013 Outstanding Service to Adelphi Award, presented by Adelphi University during its annual President’s Gala on April 6 in Garden City, NY.
Reliance Life's Easy Care Fixed Benefit
This is a regular/single premium, non-participating, non-linked, fixed benefit hospitalisation plan that provides a fixed amount for daily hospitalisation expenses, towards cost of multiple surgeries, major surgeries and 10 critical illnesses.
HSBC to sell life, medical insurance businesses in Singapore
HSBC Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Limited has entered into an agreement with AXA Life Insurance Singapore Private Limited to sell its group term life insurance and group medical insurance portfolios in Singapore.
Sun Life Financial appoints chief actuary
Canada-based Sun Life Financial Inc. has appointed Larry Madge as its senior vice president and chief actuary.
New York Life Announces 2012 Financial Results
New York Life Insurance Company, America’s largest mutual life insurance company1, announced an 18.4 percent increase in 2012 operating earnings to a record $1.6 billion, driven by strong performances in both its Insurance and Investments businesses.
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Names Michael D. Sarver Managing Partner of its Career Agency in Akron, Ohio
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a more than 166-year-old company, is pleased to announce that Michael D. Sarver has been named sole managing partner of 21st Century Financial, Penn Mutual’s career agency based in Akron, Ohio, with district offices in Pittsburgh, Pa., Columbus, Ohio, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Phoenix Companies launches new single premium fixed indexed annuity
The Phoenix Companies, Inc., a US-based boutique life insurance and annuity company, has launched Phoenix Next Generation Annuity, a single premium fixed indexed annuity, offered in both bonus and non-bonus versions.
Allianz Life names senior director for government relations
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has named Vanessa Ramirez as new senior director of government relations in the legal department.
Empire Life launches permanent hybrid life insurance product
Canada-based Empire Life Insurance Company has launched Hybrid Solution 100, a permanent life insurance product, for its customers.
BEA Life launches WiseSaver RMB Insurance
BEA Life Limited, a wholly-owned life insurance arm of The Bank of East Asia (BEA), has launched WiseSaver RMB Insurance plan.
American Family Life to transfer variable products to Kansas City Life
American Family Life Insurance Company (AFLIC) has signed an agreement to transfer its remaining variable universal life insurance policies and variable annuities to Kansas City Life Insurance Company.
Firm Continues to Grow New Life Health Insurance Division is Added
James A. Connors Associates is pleased to announce the expansion of its business with the addition of a life and health insurance division.
Woodmen of the World Releases 2012 Annual Report
Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society’s 2012 financial performance included gross revenue of $1.2 billion and a net gain before member refunds of $91 million, according to an annual report released March 27 by the fraternal benefit organization.
Investor Sentiment Index Reaches a Record High in First Quarter of 2013
Investor sentiment reached its highest level of the past three years during the first quarter of 2013, according to the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index.
Central United Life acquires Western United Life
Central United Life Insurance Company, a US-based member of The Manhattan Insurance Group of companies, has acquired Western United Life Assurance Company (WULA).
Security Life Insurance appoints new TPA relationship manager
Security Life Insurance Company of America has appointed Michelle Petersen as its new TPA relationship manager.
Sentinel Security Life releases new fixed indexed annuity product
US-based Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company has launched Summit Bonus Index, a new fixed indexed annuity product.
Nippon Life Insurance to acquire minority stake in Post Advisory
Principal Global Investors, LLC, a subsidiary of The Principal Financial Group, has agreed to sell a minority stake in Post Advisory Group, LLC to Nippon Life Insurance Company.
Pacific Life makes officer promotions
US-based Pacific Life Insurance Company has made 12 officer promotions, effective 1 April 2013.
Helen P. Pudlin Elected to The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Board of Trustees
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a more than 166-year-old company, is pleased to announce that Helen P. Pudlin has been elected to the company’s Board of Trustees.
Royal London announces strong performance for 2012
Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual life and pensions company, announces its audited financial results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012.
Announcement on the Approval Of The Acquisition Of 50% Equity Interest In Cigna And CMC Life Insurance Company Limited
This announcement is made by China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd. (the “Company”) pursuant to the requirements of Rule 13.10B of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.
SWBC Life Insurance appoints new CEO
US-based SWBC Life Insurance Company has appointed Joan Cleveland as its new CEO.
Allianz to buy Turkey’s Yapi Kredi Sigorta for EUR684m
Allianz SE has agreed to buy Yapi Kredi Sigorta AS, the property and casualty insurance division of Turkish bank Yapi & Kredi Bankasi AS, for EUR684m.
Security Life Insurance appoints regional vice president of sales
Security Life Insurance Company of America has named Greg Olund as regional vice president of its sales.
WS Financial Group Distributors Launches Interactive Retirement Planning Tool
W&S Financial Group Distributors, Inc. (W&S Financial Distributors), the wholesale distributor of annuities and life insurance from Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern) member companies, today announced the launch of Retirement Picture, an interactive online tool designed to provide a snapshot that supports better understanding of retirement goals and risks.
Aplifi, Pacific Life to rollout annuity contract delivery through PolicyBox
Aplifi, Inc. a US-based provider of life and annuity order management, client management, and electronic document delivery solutions for the financial services and insurance market segments, has contracted with Pacific Life Insurance Company to deliver its annuity contracts electronically through PolicyBox.
New York Life names senior managing director
New York Life Insurance Company has named Matthew Grove as its senior managing director.
Legal & General acquires cofunds platform
Legal & General Group Plc ("Legal & General") has agreed to acquire the 75% share capital of Cofunds Holdings Ltd ("Cofunds"), which it does not already own, for a cash consideration of £131m.
Guardian mobile app simplifies benefits experience with easy access to member ID cards
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has enhanced its Guardian Anytime Mobile App to provide customer focused solutions.
American General launches new fixed index universal life insurance product
American General Life Companies has launched Elite Global Plus II, a fixed index universal life insurance (IUL) product that provides death benefit protection and the accumulation potential of the carrier’s current UL products.
Columbus Life Supports Producers with New Technology
To provide financial professionals the technology to make business processes more efficient, Columbus Life Insurance Company (Columbus Life), a member of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern), has introduced its first mobile application – the 2013 Tax Reference App.
ITOCHU, Asahi Mutual form individual life insurance marketing firm
Japan-based ITOCHU Corporation has entered into agreement with Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Company to jointly establish a marketing firm that will engage in market development, development of sales channels, and sales promotion.
ING completes sale of interest in ING Vysya Life Insurance
Dutch financial conglomerate ING Groep NV has completed the sale of its 26% interest in ING Vysya Life Insurance Company Ltd. to its joint venture partner Exide Industries Ltd.
Gary Jenkins Named AmeriLife President
Gary E. Jenkins, AmeriLife’s Chief Financial Officer since 2008, has been named President of the nation’s premier annuity, life and insurance marketing group.
Reliance life launches new healthcare plan
Reliance Life Insurance Company, a part of Reliance Capital Ltd, has launched its new healthcare offering ‘Reliance Life Care for You Advantage Plan’.
Manulife Strategic Income Opportunities Fund announces tax-advantaged distributions to cease after June distribution
On March 21, 2013, the Government of Canada announced proposed measures which would affect certain tax benefits gained by taxable unitholders of investment funds, such as Manulife Strategic Income Opportunities Fund (the “Fund”), that utilize forward purchase and sale agreements to obtain exposure to an underlying reference portfolio.
New York Life Agents Produce Record Sales in 2012
New York Life, America’s largest mutual life insurance company, enjoyed another year of record sales through its primary distribution channel of 12,250 agents across the United States in 2012.
Protective Life introduces Protective Indexed Annuity
Protective Life Insurance Company has introduced Protective Indexed Annuity, which includes withdrawal charge schedules and three interest crediting strategies to help customers grow contract value over time.
Americans Proactively Managing Risk in Long-Term Financial Security Planning
Americans continue to proactively plan to mitigate the impact of risks on their long-term financial security, as evidenced by the demand for Northwestern Mutual's life, disability and long-term care risk solutions.
Lockton Retirement Services Dallas Clients Receive Eddy Awards from Pensions & Investments
Two clients of the Lockton Retirement Services, in collaboration with their recordkeeping partners, recently received prestigious Eddy Awards by Pensions & Investments Magazine.
China Life launches China Life Xinyu pension insurance package
China Life officially launchedthe"China Life Xinyu pension insurance package" in Nanjing.
Royal London to buy Co-operative’s life insurance, asset management businesses
Royal London, a UK-based mutual life and pensions company, has entered into a binding agreement to buy The Co-operative Banking Group’s life insurance business, Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS), and asset management business, The Co-operative Asset Management (TCAM), for GBP219m.
Great-West Financial's life insurance sales through banks break industry record by 9%
Great-West Financial achieved nearly $465 million in life insurance sales through banks in 2012 – breaking the previous industry record of $426 million set in 2011.
GWG Life receives viatical settlement provider license in Florida
GWG Life Settlements, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of GWG Holdings, Inc. has received a viatical settlement provider license from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) to allow the purchase of life insurance policies in the secondary market directly from owners residing in the state.
Jubilee Life WinsPutting The Consumers First Award for CSRV
Jubilee Life won the “Putting the Consumers First” award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the 7th National Awards ceremony organized by HelpLine Trust at a local hotel in Karachi.
Swiss Life posts 26% increase in profit from operations to CHF 993 million with net profit after one-off effects of CHF 93 million.
In the 2012 financial year, Swiss Life increased its profit from operations adjusted for one-off effects by 26% from CHF 788 million to CHF 993 million, thanks to further operational improvements and an excellent investment result. One-off effects, in particular as a result of the impairment in the value of AWD’s intangible assets of CHF 578 million, led to reported net profit of CHF 93 million (2011: CHF 606 million).
New York Life names CFO
New York Life Insurance Company has named John Fleurant as its executive vice president and CFO, effective 1 July 2013, succeeding Michael Sproule.
Aviva launches RED ARC benefit for critical illness customers
Aviva plc, a UK-based life insurer, has launched a new benefit for new critical illness customers, providing them with access to RED ARC independent care advisory service at the point of claim.
Desjardins Insurance group retirement mobile site provides quick, easy plan access
In keeping with public demand for more smartphone access (i.e. Blackberry, iPhone, or android) to their finances, Desjardins Insurance has launched a new mobile site called yourwaymobile.ca.
Capitol City Bank, North Carolina Mutual Life form strategic alliance
US-based Capitol City Bank & Trust Company (CCB) has entered into a strategic alliance with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (NCM) to grow their businesses and provide financial opportunities for their customers.
New York Life Announces Recipients of the Ninth Annual Cirilo A. McSween - New York Life - Rainbow Push Excel Scholarship
For the ninth year in a row, New York Life has awarded scholarships to five full-time undergraduate students of African-American descent who are majoring in business, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and play an active role in their communities.
Allianz Life appoints new assistant vice president of Human Resources
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) has appointed Michele Roepke as assistant vice president of Human Resources.
Manulife Philippines Launches Innovative New Product
Manulife Philippines is launching a new product that offers investors the opportunity to grow their wealth through gains in equity markets while limiting their exposure to market volatility. MANULIFE Wealth Premier allows investors to benefit during boom times, while protecting their savings during market downturns.
Northwestern Mutual Wins Training and Development Award
Northwestern Mutual today announced that the company's training program has been named one of the best in the country, according to Training Magazine's "Training Top 125" list.
Aetna forms strategic alliance with Starr International in Hong Kong
American health insurer Aetna Inc. has formed a strategic alliance with Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd. to offer medical insurance and health care solutions in Hong Kong.
American United Life deploys Q4’s empowHR platform
American United Life Insurance Company, Inc., a OneAmerica company, has deployed Quadrant 4 Health's (Q4) empowHR platform as the technology to deliver online benefits enrollment and management for its employee benefits customers.
National Life selects iPipeline to automate sales of life, annuity products
National Life Group has selected iPipeline’s iGO e-App to automate the marketing, selling and processing of its life and annuity products.
LifeMap Assurance implements Wynsure software as new administrative, claims platform
US-based LifeMap Assurance Company has implemented MphasiS-Wyde’s Wynsure software as its full policy administration and claims platform for group life, disability, dental insurance and individual products.
Phoenix Companies launches new life insurance product
The Phoenix Companies, Inc., a US-based boutique life insurance and annuity company, has launched Phoenix Remembrance Life, a whole life insurance product.
Future Group divests 22.5% stake in Future Generali Life Insurance
Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited has entered into share purchase agreement (SPA) with Industrial Investment Trust Limited (IITL) to sell its part holding in Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited (FGILICL) representing 22.5% of the equity share capital of FGILICL in accordance with the terms and conditions of the SPA.
RBS completes partial sale of Direct Line Group ordinary shares
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) has completed the sale of 252.3m ordinary shares in Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) at a price of GBP2.01 pence per share, raising gross proceeds of GBP507m, assuming the over-allotment is exercised in full.
Prudential appoints new non-executive director
Prudential plc, a UK-based life insurer, has appointed Anthony John Liddell Nightingale as its new independent non-executive director and member of the remuneration committee, effective 1 June 2013.
MassMutual makes management changes
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has announced two promotions, including one in its IT department.
The Standard launches new IDI insurance product for middle-income earners
Standard Insurance Company (The Standard), a US-based life insurer, has launched its newest Individual Disability Income (IDI) insurance product, Protector Essential, which is designed to meet the income protection needs of middle-income earners.
Aviva Life Insurance launches new endowment plan
India-based Aviva Life Insurance has launched a new traditional endowment plan, Aviva Wealth Builder, which guarantees double the premiums paid on maturity.
New York Life to Hire More than 3,700 Financial Representatives in 2013 with Special Focus on Women and Cultural Markets
New York Life announced that the company hired 3,597 full-time agents last year, continuing its strong trend of hiring over the past several years.
Desjardins Financial Security maintained overall business growth across Canada and recorded net income of $217.0M as at December 31, 2012
For the year ended December 31, 2012, Desjardins Financial Security (DFS), a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, specializing in life and health insurance and retirement savings, posted a 5.0% increase in insurance premiums, which totalled $3.2B.
Settlers Life Insurance appoints new marketing services director
US-based Settlers Life Insurance Company has named Josh Dixon as its new marketing services director.
Generali appoints new CEO of GPH
Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. has appointed Luciano Cirinà as new CEO of GPH, the holding company operating in Central-Eastern Europe.
Aviva USA launches new fixed indexed annuity series product
Aviva USA Corporation, a subsidiary of Aviva plc, has launched TargetBenefit Annuities, a new fixed indexed annuity series, to help consumers demystify retirement planning.
Aetna Collaborates with ProHealth Physicians to Achieve Triple Aims for Patient Care
Aetna (NYSE: AET) and ProHealth Physicians, Inc. (ProHealth) today announced details of a new accountable care collaboration in Connecticut that will support Medicare and privately insured patients.
National Western Life net earnings soars in Q4
National Western Life Insurance Company has reported fourth quarter 2012 net earnings of $25.2m, or $7.14 per diluted class A common share, compared with net earnings of $4.4m, or $1.23 per diluted class A common share, for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Mark S. Bartlett Elected to Baltimore Life Board
Mark S. Bartlett has been elected to The Baltimore Life Companies’ Board of Directors.
National Life Group Reports 2012 Financial Results
National Life Group today released its consolidated financial results for 2012, reporting new record highs in net income, total assets under management, life insurance sales, insurance in force, and statutory surplus.
Industrial Alliance Insurance launches new iPhone app
Canada-based Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. has introduced a new iPhone app for its group insurance clients, called IA Mobile.
TAL Services appoints new chief information officer
TAL Services Limited, an Australia-based life insurer, has appointed David Gillespie as its new chief information officer, effective 11 March 2013.
AEGON Religare launches Assured Returns Insurance Plan
India-based Aegon Religare Life Insurance Company Limited has launched AEGON Religare Assured Returns Insurance Plan.
Torchmark Corporation Declares Dividend And Announces Election Of 2 New Board Members
Torchmark Corporation (NYSE: TMK) announced that its Board of Directors has raised the quarterly dividend to $.17 per share on all of the outstanding common stock of the Company held of record as of the close of business of the Company's transfer agent on April 5, 2013. The dividend will be paid on May 1, 2013.
Beazley Announces Results for Syndicate 6107
The board of Beazley Furlonge Limited, the managing agency for syndicate 6107, announces the following results on behalf of the syndicate, which writes business on behalf of Names at Lloyd's.
Jubilee Life Insurance Emerges as Private Sector Market Leader in 2012
Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited announced impressive financial results for the year ended December 31, 2012, declaring the company as market leader in the private sector of life insurance industry.
Jackson National Life launches two new online resources
US-based Jackson National Life Insurance Company has launched two new online resources, Center for Financial Insight, and The Alternative Investment Learning Center.
Prudential Mortgage Capital Company provides $425 million in financing for Chicago, Seattle office towers
Prudential Mortgage Capital Company today announced that it provided $425 million in financing for two office properties in Chicago and Seattle, building on the momentum of its second highest yearly production in 2012 and moving toward its 2013 production goal of up to $13 billion.
TAL winner of Life Company of the Year Awards 2012
Australia’s leading independent life insurer, TAL, has been named Life Company of the Year at the 2012 Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)/ Plan for Life Awards in Sydney.
AXA Equitable appoints head of financial protection
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company has appointed Manish Agarwal as head of its financial protection.
Auto-Owners deploys Mitchell's WorkCenter Total Loss solution
Auto-Owners Insurance, a multi-line property and casualty and life insurer, has deployed Mitchell's WorkCenter Total Loss solution to strengthen its customer satisfaction.
SLJ obtains approval to operate insurance company in Costa Rica
Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited (SLJ), through its St Lucian subsidiary, has obtained regulatory approval to operate an insurance company in Costa Rica.
Aflac Introduces Hospital Advantage Policy
Aflac, the No. 1 provider of voluntary and guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, launched a new hospital confinement indemnity insurance policy designed to help with out-of-pocket costs resulting from an unexpected hospital stay or visit to the emergency room.
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Names David M. O’Malley, Chief Operating Officer
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a more than 166-year-old company, is pleased to announce that its Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of David M. O’Malley to Chief Operating Officer. O’Malley had previously served as the company’s Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer.
New York Life announces management changes
New York Life Insurance Company has appointed Cara-Anne Gagliano and Thomas Hendry as senior vice presidents and Don Desidera as managing director and chief technology officer.
Kansas City Life Announces Fourth Quarter 2012 Results
Kansas City Life Insurance Company recorded net income of $7.9 million or $0.71 per share in the fourth quarter of 2012, a $2.2 million or $0.20 per share increase versus the same quarter in the prior year.
Record sales for Manulife Philippines in 2012
On the back of improving economic conditions in the country, Manulife Philippines achieved record sales for both insurance and wealth in 2012.
Principal Financial names executive vice president
The Principal Financial Group, Inc., a US-based life insurer, has named Ralph Eucher as its executive vice president, effective on 9 March 2013.
Penn Mutual Life Insurance appoints COO
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company has approved the appointment of David O'Malley as its new COO.
Newport Group appoints new vice president
The Newport Group, a provider of retirement and executive benefit plans, has appointed Kevin Bachler as vice president of deferred compensation and executive benefits area.
ING sells insurance units in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand
Dutch financial conglomerate ING Groep N.V. has completed the sale of its life insurance units in Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand to Pacific Century Group (PCG).
Northwestern Mutual recognized as one of "World's Most Admired" companies
Northwestern Mutual today was recognized as one of the "World's Most Admired" companies in the life insurance industry, according to executives, directors and analysts worldwide responding to FORTUNE® magazine's 2013 annual survey.
Three Senior Executives Join New York Life
New York Life announced today that Cara-Anne Gagliano and Thomas Hendry have joined New York Life as senior vice presidents of the company and Don Desiderato has joined as senior managing director and chief technology officer.
Aviva to sell Russian life and pensions operations for EUR35m
Aviva plc, a UK-based life insurer, has said that it will sell Aviva Russia to Blagosostoyanie, a non-state pension fund in Russia, for a consideration of EUR35m ($46.02m).
Swiss Life posts 26% increase in profit from operations to CHF 993 million with net profit after one-off effects of CHF 93 million
Swiss Life increased its profit from operations adjusted for one-off effects from CHF 788 million to CHF 993 million in 2012 (+26%) thanks to further operational improvements and an excellent investment result.
Sagicor Life Insurance names president, COO
Sagicor Life Insurance Company (Sagicor USA) has named Bart Catmull as its president and COO, effective 1 April 2013.
Pacific Life Insurance launches new solution for de-risking pension plans
US-based Pacific Life Insurance Company has expanded its portfolio of pension risk-transfer products by launching new product called, Pacific Secured Buy-In.
PALIG appoints two new board members
Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG) has appointed Jerry Carlisle and Wendell Mottley to the company's board of directors.
Minnesota Life launches mobile-optimized self service site
US-based Minnesota Life Insurance Company has partnered with Usablenet, a mobile and multichannel platform company, to provide mobile access to LifeBenefits.com where group life insurance enrollees can view their accounts.
AXA UK & Ireland delivers strong growth and improved profitability
AXA UK & Ireland delivers strong growth and improved profitability
AXA Wealth full year 2012 results
Platform assets increase 51% - Architas assets up 20% - AUM grow from £18.9bn to £21.6bn in the last 12 months AXA Wealth announces its full year 2012 financial results, with significant growth on its Elevate platform where assets are up 51% from £3.5bn to £5.3bn.
AIG launches trade credit insurance in UAE
American International Group, Inc.(AIG) has launched its Trade Credit product in the UAE, for companies of various sizes.
Future Generali to distribute its Micro-insurance product through Common Service Centres (CSC) in Himachal
Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd., the Insurance joint venture between Future Group of India and Generali of Italy, has tied up with Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd. an SCA (Service Centre Agency) to distribute its Micro-insurance products at an affordable cost through 1000+ Common Service Centers (CSCs) delivery outlets of Kangra, Una and Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.
American Equity reports Q4 net income of $36.4m
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company has reported fourth quarter 2012 net income of $36.4m, or $0.55 per diluted common share, compared to fourth quarter 2011 net income of $49.7m or $0.79 per diluted common share.
Manulife Financial announces Subordinated Debenture issue
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“MLI”), the Canadian insurance company subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, announced today that it intends to issue $200 million principal amount of 2.819% fixed/floating subordinated debentures due February 26, 2023 (the “Debentures”). MLI intends to file a prospectus supplement to its November 11, 2011 base shelf prospectus in respect of this issue.
American Equity Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Results
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (NYSE: AEL), a leading underwriter of index and fixed rate annuities, today reported fourth quarter 2012 net income of $36.4 million, or $0.55 per diluted common share, compared to fourth quarter 2011 net income of $49.7 million or $0.79 per diluted common share.
AXA appoints new HR Director
AXA Insurance - Direct & Partnerships is pleased to announce today the appointment of Nicola Green as its new Human Resources Director.
Janashakthi Trailblazes Insurance market Launches Life saver - on pensions for life platform
Introducing yet another trailblazing product, Janashakthi Insurance launched 'Janashakthi LifeSaver' retirement plan which offers a secure pension for the policyholder and spouse for their entire lifetime upon retirement. Janashakthi LifeSaver retirement plan offers a sensible, flexible and tax effective way to save for retirement.
Future Generali Insurance receives ISO certification
Future Generali India Insurance, one of the fastest growing General Insurers has received ISO 9001:2008 certification for its Claims, Customer service & all support functions & also for its centralized health servicing unit (FGH) located in Pune.
Manulife Asset Management’s Asian Small Cap Equity fund outperformed benchmark by more than 26% in its first year
Manulife Asset Management (Thailand) Co. Ltd. announced today that its Manulife Strength - Asian Small Cap Equity FIF (‘MS-ASIAN SM’) has significantly outperformed its benchmark in the year since its launch.
Raffles Health, Bupa launch two new international health insurance plans
Raffles Health Insurance Pte Ltd (RHI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Raffles Medical Group has launched two new international health insurance plans targeting next generation expatriates and international businesses in the Asia Pacific region, in conjunction with international health insurer Bupa.
Lion Insurance partners with Command Investigations for anti-fraud services
Lion Insurance Company, a US-based workers' compensation provider, has signed an exclusive business partnership with Command Investigations, LLC as their national provider for all SIU and Anti-Fraud services.
Gerber Life deploys MajescoMastek’s Elixir North America platform
US-based Gerber Life Insurance Company has deployed MajescoMastek’s Elixir North America platform to administer all its lines of business.
United Fire selects iPartners’ insurance business intelligence solution
United Fire Group Inc., a US-based property and casualty insurer, has selected iPartners’ insurance business intelligence solution.
Great-West Lifeco to acquire all shares of Irish Life for EUR1.3bn
Canada-based Great-West Lifeco Inc. has reached an agreement with the Government of Ireland to acquire all of the shares of Irish Life Group Limited, through its Ireland-based subsidiary Canada Life Limited, for C$1.75bn (EUR1.3bn).
Sony Life Revises Insurance Premium Rate
Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (Sony Life), a wholly owned life insurance subsidiary of Sony Financial Holdings Inc., today provides notice of revised insurance premium rates on some of its products, effective Tuesday, April 2, 2013.
Universal American Corp. Reports 2012 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
Universal American Corp. (NYSE: UAM) today announced financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.
RBC Insurance, Shoppers Drug Mart launch co-branded travel insurance product offerings
Canada-based RBC Insurance Holding Inc. has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation to launch co-branded travel insurance product offerings, effective 16 February 2013.
MIDAS Underwriting launches two non-standard personal motor products
UK-based MIDAS Underwriting Ltd has launched its two non-standard personal motor products: Midas Performance Car and Midas Classic Car.
Colonial Life introduces new accident insurance plan for working Americans
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company has introduced a new group accident insurance plan to provide financial protection for working Americans who have an accidental injury.
Newline Australia appoints medical malpractice underwriter
Newline Australia Insurance Pty. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newline Holdings UK Limited, has appointed Tony Bainbridge as its medical malpractice underwriting manager.
Ohio National Announces Sales and Capital Growth in 2012
Ohio National Financial Services today announced record sales and capital growth, including an unequalled industry record in individual life insurance sales performance.
Aviva grows consumer protection with enhanced annuity offering
Aviva is improving its annuity offering as part of its calls to industry within the Rethinking Retirement Report 2013, by extending its guarantees and offering an increased value protection period.
Willis Group deputy chairman to step down
Willis Group Holdings plc has said that Martin Sullivan, the firm’s deputy chairman and chairman and CEO of the Willis Global Solutions unit, will step down in May 2013, after a transition, to pursue other interests.
Ironshore acquires Excess Risk Reinsurance
Ironshore Inc., a Bermuda-based property and casualty insurance provider, has acquired Excess Risk Reinsurance (ERR), Inc., a managing general underwriter that specializes in the employer stop loss insurance sector.
AIG to buy Aurec’s interest in AIG Israel
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has reached an agreement with Aurec Gold Investments Limited (Aurec) to acquire Aurec’s 49.99% interest in AIG Israel Insurance Company Ltd. (AIG Israel).
Capital BlueCross implements TriZetto’s integrated software solution
Capital BlueCross, a US-based health insurer, has implemented TriZetto Corporation’s integrated software and services solution, to enhance its already existed claims-processing unit.
Western & Southern Financial selects CallidusCloud to manage incentive compensation process
Western & Southern Financial Group, a US-based financial services organization, has deployed CallidusCloud’s Commissions to manage the incentive compensation process for its wholesalers.
NFP Advisor Services appoints SVP of business development
NFP Advisor Services Group, a US-based business segment of National Financial Partners, has appointed Dan Schwamb as senior vice president of its business development.
AssuredPartners names regional executive vice president
AssuredPartners, Inc., a US-based insurance broker, has named Eric Anderson to the new role of regional executive vice president, effective immediately.
Heffernan Insurance appoints SVP of construction practice for Manhattan office
Heffernan Insurance Brokers, a US-based independent insurance brokerage firm, has appointed Michael Kertzner as senior vice president of construction practice for its Manhattan office.
AmTrust Financial net income rises in Q4
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.(AFSI), a US-based insurance holding company, has reported net income of $55.3m, or $0.79 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $37.9m, or $0.56 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2011.
HVAC Investigators launches iCheck desktop review service to P&C insurance carriers
HVAC Investigators (HVACi), a US-based provider of insurance carriers with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) damage assessments, has launched their iCheck desktop review service to property and casualty (P&C) insurance carriers across the nation.
State Compensation Insurance names COO
The State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund), a US-based workers' compensation insurer, has named Beatriz Sanchez as its chief operating officer (COO).
Neace Lukens appoints new senior vice president
Neace Lukens, Inc., part of AssuredPartners, Inc., has appointed Doug Gordon as its senior vice president.
XL Group to open office in Manchester, UK
XL Group plc, an Ireland-based insurance and reinsurance firm, has said that it will open an office in Manchester, UK, to grow its business with middle market clients and brokers.
Digital Insurance partners with CUNA Mutual Group
Digital Insurance, Inc., a US-based employee benefits agency, has entered into a partnership with CUNA Mutual Group.
EPIC appoints P&C insurance producer, principal for San Mateo office
US-based Edgewood Partners Insurance Center (EPIC) has appointed George Descalso as a property and casualty (P&C) insurance producer and principal in its San Mateo office.
Align General Insurance appoints vice president of specialty commercial division
US-based Align General Insurance Agency, Inc. has appointed Bob Stone as vice president of its specialty commercial division.
John Hancock Insurance launches Protection Indexed UL product
John Hancock Life Insurance Company, a US-based unit of Canadian insurer Manulife Financial, has launched Protection Indexed UL (IUL), which is designed to provide some of the affordable indexed universal life premiums in the industry.
AIG launches new CorporateGuard D&O policy
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has launched its new CorporateGuard D&O policy which responds to shifts in current risks to directors and officers, as well as evolving corporate governance demands.
Genworth US Mortgage Insurance completes integrations with loan origination systems
Genworth US Mortgage Insurance (USMI), a unit of Genworth Financial, Inc. has completed the integration with Ellie Mae's Encompass360 and Lender Processing Services' (LPS) PCLender loan origination systems (LOS).
Allied World Assurance posts loss in Q4
Switzerland-based Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG has reported a net loss of $41.1m, or $1.17 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to net income of $183.1m, or $4.63 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Hiscox launches new, improved portfolio product
Hiscox Ltd, a Bermuda-based specialist insurer, has launched Hiscox Professional Liability Portfolio.
Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia to launch new small mid cap mutual fund
Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia (MAMI) held a press conference today to announce the upcoming launch of a new mutual fund.
HCC Insurance net income rises in Q4
HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., a US-based insurance group, has reported net earnings of $108.1m, or $1.06 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $78.3m, or $0.74 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Encompass Insurance appoints vice president of sales
Encompass Insurance Company, a subsidiary of The Allstate Corporation, has appointed Daniel Maloney as vice president of sales.
NAS Insurance names senior executives to underwriting team
US-based NAS Insurance Services, Inc. has named two senior executives to its growing team of underwriters.
Xchanging launches new mobile application
Xchanging plc, a UK-based business process and technology service provider, has launched a new mobile application, called X-presso, which will allow claims handlers and insurers to view and use claims files on the move using their iPads.
Western Financial acquires Melfort Agencies in Saskatchewan
Western Financial Group, a Canada-based insurance and financial services company, has acquired Melfort Agencies Ltd. and added it to its family of insurance brokerages in Saskatchewan, effective 1 February 2013.
WellPoint appoints new CEO
WellPoint, Inc., a US-based health insurer, has appointed Joseph Swedish as its new CEO, effective 25 March 2013.
Marsh & McLennan Q4 net income increases
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., a US-based insurance broker, has reported a net income of $259m, or $0.47 per dilute share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $256m, or $0.46 per dilute share, for the year ago quarter.
Willis Group reports loss for Q4
Willis Group Holdings, a UK-based insurance broker, has reported a net loss from continuing operations of $804m, or $4.65 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with reported net income of $24m, or $0.14 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.
Arcana Insurance names chief business development officer
US-based Arcana Insurance Services has named Gary Kirkindoll as its chief business development officer.
Arch Capital Q4 net income drops
Arch Capital Group Ltd., a Bermuda-based provider of property and casualty insurance lines, has reported a net income available to common shareholders for the 2012 fourth quarter of $13.7m, or $0.10 per share, compared to $138.9m, or $1.01 per share, for the 2011 fourth quarter.
CNO Financial Q4 income rises
CNO Financial Group, Inc., a US based insurance holding company, has reported net income of $101.2m, or $0.41 per dilute share for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $64.4m, or $0.23 per dilute share in the same quarter a year ago.
Assurant Health signs five-year IT support agreement with Zensar
Assurant Health, a US-based provider of health insurance products, has signed a five-year agreement with Zensar Technologies, an RPG Enterprises company, for information technology support of a suite of business applications.
Towergate Insurance names CEO of network division
Towergate Insurance Plc, a UK-based entrepreneurial company, has appointed Gary Duggan as CEO of its network division, effective 11 February.
Integro names Chicago operations leader
US-based Integro Insurance Brokers has named Thomas Zacharopoulos, managing principal and the firm's market relations leader, as Chicago operations leader.
Hilb Group acquires Pennoyer Group
The Hilb Group, LLC (THG), a US-based insurance broker, has acquired The Pennoyer Group, Inc. from its shareholders, effective 31 January 2013.
JLT Re appoints CEO of reinsurance operations in China, Hong Kong
UK-based JLT Reinsurance Brokers Limited (JLT Re) has appointed Henry To as chairman and CEO of its reinsurance operations in China and Hong Kong.
Medata to provide bill review for Windhaven Insurance
Windhaven Insurance, a US-based auto insurance provider, has selected Medata, Inc., as its new bill review software vendor.
Marsh enhances access to National Flood Insurance Program
Marsh Inc, a US-based insurance broking and risk management provider, has enhanced its Flood Service Center (FSC), which provides flood coverage, including through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to the clients.
Munich Re introduces first performance guarantee insurance for LED
Munich Re has introduced ground-breaking insurance coverage with the US lighting company Xicato. Xicato provides its customers with a 5-year performance guarantee on its LED modules for colour consistency and lumen maintenance. Munich Re will now assume a portion of the financial risk the guarantee entails.
Legal & General completes UKPIF with FIX portfolio acquisition
Legal & General Property announces, on behalf of its UK Property Income Fund, that it has acquired the FIX Portfolio from a consortium of investors represented by Paradigm Real Estate Managers.
Warburg Pincus agrees to sell shares of Primerica
Primerica, Inc. announced today that Warburg Pincus LLC has agreed to sell 2,500,000 shares of Primerica’s common stock in an underwritten public offering.
Genworth US Mortgage Insurance introduces Simply Underwrite guidelines
Lenders now are able to offer simplified and expanded national mortgage underwriting guidelines that allow lower credit scores and eliminate nearly all geographic restrictions using new Simply Underwrite (SM) guidelines from Genworth US Mortgage Insurance (USMI), a unit of Genworth Financial, Inc.
Michael La Fleur joins Barney & Barney
Barney & Barney, LLC, one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerages, today announced that Michael La Fleur, who has more than 20 years of experience in business insurance and risk management, has been named Client Executive.
Allstate Affinity announces new relationship with United Airlines
Allstate Insurance Company announced that members of United Airlines' MileagePlus program may earn MileagePlus award miles for pursuing Allstate for a new auto or homeowners policy.
DentalXChange offers Guardian claim status transaction
DentalXChange, an Irvine, California-based technology company that specializes in providing online solutions to connect dentists, patients, and insurance companies, is proud to announce that The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), now offers online claims status verification through DentalXChange.
McCoy Insurance Services launches new virtual insurance office
McCoy Insurance Services, a locally based insurance agency in Illinois, is proud to announce the launch of its new website and interactive digital marketing campaign.
Aetna offers Affordable Benefits Package for FBP association members
Aetna today announced a new product offering designed for the more than 14,000 members of the Flexible Benefits Plans (FBP) Employers Association.
Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange partners with office of Healthcare Advocate
The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange and the Office of the Healthcare Advocate have agreed to a partnership to administer Connecticut's Navigator and In Person Assistance Programs (NIPA).
Mitchell announces initial results of new data analysis program
Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty claims and Collision Repair industries, announced today the initial results of their unique new data analysis program specifically focused on understanding the vehicle and collision factors that impact injury patterns in motor vehicle accidents.
Swett & Crawford acquires Southern Hospitality Underwriters
In an expansion of its specialized program business, Swett & Crawford acquired the assets of Griffin, Georgia -based Southern Hospitality Underwriters Inc., a regional firm specializing in business insurance for the limited service hotel/motel space.
Aviva to sell share in Delta Lloyd
Aviva plc has said that the firm intends to sell the remaining 19.4% of its stake in Delta Lloyd NV, an Amsterdam-based financial services provider, for GBP353m
Insurance Australia Group to sell its loss-making UK business
Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) has agreed to sell all its Equity Red Star business in UK to private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners for $A130m ($130m).
Cigna and Saico team up to extend offerings
Cigna and Saudi Arabian Insurance Company BSC (Saico) have signed a joint-venture agreement to enhance their 11-year business relationship.
Northwestern Mutual to recruit more than 5,500 financial professionals in 2013
Northwestern Mutual today announced its is aiming to add 5,500 financial professionals - including both financial representatives and financial representative interns - in 2013 in response to an increasing demand for financial security planning.
US Treasury closes US$7.6 billion public offering of AIG common shares
The US Treasury has completed the sale of 234m shares of common stock of American International Group (AIG), a life insurance and retirement services provider based in the US, at a price of $32.5 per share.
Santander and AEGON form a partnership
Santander and AEGON have announced they will create a new life insurance company.
China regulator to review HSBC’s Ping An sale
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission is seeking more information from Ping An Insurance after reviewing HSBC's planned sale of its $9.4bn stake in China's No.2 insurer.
Group risk market to ‘remain challenging’ in 2013
The group risk market will continue to face challenges for insurers and advisers alike in 2013, according to Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group.
Towers Watson appoints life insurance head for France
Towers Watson has appointed Julien Brami as sales and practice development leader for its life insurance consulting practice in France.
AIG snaps up Woodbury Financial Services from the Hartford
AIG’s life and retirement business, AIG Life and Retirement, has acquired Woodbury Financial Services from The Hartford.
Low simplicity ranking for health insurance brands
The health insurance industry in the UK has been ranked second from last in a brand simplicity index.
Prudential Financial marks JV launch in China
Prudential Financial has marked the opening of its joint life insurance venture with Fosun International in China.
Life insurers urged to think ‘boldly’
Few life and pensions companies appear to have grasped the speed and magnitude of changes in the competitive landscape, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
UK life sales predicted to dip
New life sales in the UK are likely to dip over 2013 and 2014 as the market readjusts after the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.
India’s IRDA to miss product standardisation deadline
India’s Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is reportedly likely to miss the November 30 deadline that had been set for the final guidelines on standardised products for the insurance sector. Billy Bambrough reports
Scottish Provident stresses simplicity with product launch
Scottish Provident has launched a new simplified whole-of-life product that solely offers life cover and has no investment element.
Aviva improves PHI cover
Aviva has added further benefits and options to its private health insurance (PHI) cover, Healthier Solutions.
SA insurer launches prepaid card
South Africa’s Hollard Insurance has launched a prepaid card with the aim of making the claims payment process for consumers easier, safer and more efficient.
Stability for South Korea
South Korea’s life sector is stable and underpinned by continued demand for insurance policies, rising risk awareness and increasing emphasis on prudent capital management, says Fitch Ratings.
AIG explores JV with PICC Group and PICC Life in China
AIG is exploring a potential joint venture (JV) with PICC Group and PICC Life to distribute life insurance and other insurance products in the Chinese market.
Future of Standard Life’s JV with HDFC Life in spotlight
Standard Life has said it would consider a partial IPO of its joint venture with HDFC Life in India “should legislation and market conditions allow."
Aviva appoints ex-AIA chief Mark Wilson as new CEO
Aviva’s incoming CEO, Mark Wilson, – the former CEO of AIA Group – has admitted that over recent years Aviva has “not performed to its potential”.
ING granted extra time for insurance disposals
ING has been granted an extension by the European Commission to divest its insurance operations.
HSBC mulls $9.5bn Ping An stake sale
HSBC has confirmed that it is in discussions which may lead to the sale of its $9.5bn stake in Ping An Insurance, China’s second largest insurer by premium income.
Allianz Life hires ‘agent of change’
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) has hired Margaret Peck as senior director of change implementation for its operations department.
Zimbabwe hikes capital threshold for insurers
Zimbabwe’s finance minister Tendai Biti has reportedly increased the minimum capital thresholds for insurance companies and brokers by between 350 to 500 percent in a bid to boost the underwriting capacity of the industry.
Manulife Financial names Paul Rooney as COO
Canada-based Manulife Financial has appointed Paul Rooney as its chief operating officer (COO) and senior executive vice president.
Prudential partners with Thailand's Thanachart Bank
Prudential and Thanachart Bank have partnered in an exclusive 15-year deal to jointly develop their bancassurance business in Thailand.
Fitch fires warning over Italian insurers
Fitch Ratings has warned that the eurozone crisis – despite showing signs of stabilisation – will continue to threaten Italian insurers’ ratings in 2013.
BMO Insurance launches mobile friendly version of website
BMO’s insurance website is now available for mobile and tablet devices as the provider aims to make its services more accessible to consumers in Canada.
UK’s ABI focuses on annuity rates transparency
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has launched a consultation on annuity rates transparency to help people approaching retirement shop around for the best pension deal.
Reliance Life delivers bumper profit
Reliance Life Insurance (RLI) made a profit of INR310m ($5.64m) in Q3 2012, an increase of 276% over the previous quarter.
UAE insurer enters partnership with MSH INTERNATIONAL
Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC) has signed a global overseas medical claims administration agreement with MSH INTERNATIONAL, which is a third-party administrator of international healthcare and employee benefit plans.
Online life insurance comparison tool launched in UK
A new life insurance comparison service has been launched in the UK ahead of the EU Gender Directive, which is due to become effective on 21 December 2012.
Moody’s: slight medical claims impact on US health insurers post-Hurricane Sandy
Health insurers in the US are expected to experience a slight dampening of medical costs over a short period of time, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Future of ING’s Indian life business in question
Battery maker Exide Industries is reportedly seeking to buy out ING’s 26% stake in its Indian life insurance business.
Aviva holds talks over future of its US life business
Aviva’s US life and annuities business may be sold following the insurer’s confirmation that it is holding active discussions with external parties regarding the US operation.
Insurers called on to embrace technology
Insurers have been urged to adopt a technology-centric business model if they are to survive the coming years, according to Barry Rabkin, principal analyst for insurance technology at Ovum.
Survey highlights value of personalised financial advice
Individuals are over 60 percent more likely to implement a financial change when there is an explicit investment recommendation, rather than general guidance, according to a study released by financial services provider TIAA-CREF.
Life insurance sector criticised for ‘over-inflating’ cover needed
The life insurance industry has been accused of ‘hugely over-inflating’ for many years the amount of cover people typically need.
Allianz strikes ten-year Asia deal with HSBC
Allianz and HSBC have signed a ten-year exclusive bancassurance distribution agreement for life insurance in Asia, enabling Allianz to tap into major growth markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
AIG agrees $11m multi-state settlement
AIG’s has agreed to pay $11m to various state insurance departments after the financial institution’s life insurance companies resolved examinations by multiple states over its claims settlement practices.
New York Life makes two senior appointments
New York Life has appointed Troy Glover and John Fleurant to two senior roles at the company.
Aviva launches online CPD tool
Aviva has launched an online continuing professional development (CPD) tool so advisers can achieve and maintain the level of professionalism required in the post-RDR world.
Aetna to launch new iPad tool for speedier applications
US-headquartered health insurer Aetna plans to launch a mobile field enrolment tool for the iPad, which is designed for its Medicare sales agents and brokers.
Scottish Provident to replace unit-linked Pegasus product
Scottish Provident will replace its current unit-linked Pegasus product with a new simpler whole of life product.
AXA Equitable appoints David Kahal for key distribution role
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company has appointed David Kahal as senior vice president of life distribution management.
ING U.S. introduces new indexed universal life product
ING U.S. has launched a new indexed universal life (IUL) product that provides death benefits coverage and cash-value accumulation potential.
Insurers warned to ‘take full control’ of spreadsheet data
The UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued a statement that insurance firms will be expected to demonstrate “appropriate controls” with regard to internal data flow systems, such as spreadsheets.
Global Federation of Insurance Associations created
Thirty one insurance associations representing 87 per cent of the worldwide insurance business have formally established the Global Federation of Insurance Associations.
Bharti AXA Life appoints CDO
Vineet Patni has reportedly been appointed chief distribution officer of Bharti AXA Life.
Retirement planning tops the reasons for life insurance
Retirement planning is viewed by consumers over 18 in the US as the top reason for obtaining life insurance, according to research from Northwestern Mutual.
AIA Group to acquire ING’s insurance operations in Malaysia
AIA Group has agreed to acquire ING’s insurance subsidiaries in Malaysia for a cash consideration of €1.34bn (US$1.73bn).
Tata AIA Life Insurance appoints deputy CEO
Mukesh Dhawan has been named deputy chief executive officer and chief distribution officer at Indian insurer Tata AIA Life Insurance Company with immediate effect.
Standard Life to open Singapore branch as part of Asian expansion
Standard Life is to expand its retail investment business in the Asian market by establishing a branch in Singapore.
Bancassurance has flourished in China but challenges remain ahead
Pioneered in France in the 1970’s, bancassurance took deep root in many markets in Western Europe and as a distribution channel reached maturity in terms of market share over a decade ago. In recent times, bancassurance has flourished in China, although there are challenges ahead. Stafford Thomas explains.
MagicBoard device in India spells improved sales productivity
IndiaFirst Life Insurance has launched ‘Magicboard’, an integrated portable device that aims to improve sales productivity by optimising leads and recommending the right product based on the customer’s needs.
US drive for health insurance exchanges
The number of states in the US likely to involve the federal government in plans to establish a health insurance exchange is projected to be higher than expected, according to a recent report carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Health Research Institute (HRI).
Scottish Life helps advisers become 'RDR ready'
Scottish Life, a division of Royal London Group, has announced introduction of new business illustrations for advisers, in the lead up to the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) Advisers can now obtain RDR ready illustrations for the providers individual pensions and group pensions through Scottish Lifes online service or from the National Support Unit Ewan Smith, managing director of Scottish Life said: Now were launching a...
Fitch: German life sector remains stable
Germanys life insurance sector is expected to remain stable, with German life companies well prepared to meet the sector's current challenges, according to Fitch ratings Although Fitch views the low interest rate environment and the pronounced volatility of the capital markets as the main challenges for German life insurer, the ratings agency does not foresee a significant number of rating changes over the next 12-24 months
L&G research reveals pensions savings shift
The report, 353, looks at the intergenerational contract on a household and family level between the 2012 generation of 35 year olds and their parents generation the 35 year olds of 1977. It found that in 1977, the state pension provided 53% of the average income of retired households, with a further 18% coming from company or private pensions
Prudential Financial to acquire The Hartford's individual life insurance business
The acquisition comes after The Hartfords previous announcement that it is to turn its back on the individual life insurance and annuity sectors and focus on its property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds operations Under the terms of the agreement, Prudential will pay The Hartford a cash consideration of $615m and primarily will receive approximately $7bn of general account investment assets and corresponding reserves, and rights...
Towers Watson launches cloud computing software for life insurers
Towers Watson has introduced life insurance financial modelling on a cloud computing grid to enable insurers to take advantage of cloud-based distributed processing for greater computing capacity. It comes as Towers Watson has launched MoSes Azure, a new software integration product that enables life insurers to run MoSes financial models in Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Services. Todd Erkis, global life software product manager at Towers...
China's CIRC approves new life insurance JV
Pramerica Fosun Life Insurance Company, (PFL) the proposed 5050 joint venture between Prudential Financial and Chinas Fosun International, has been officially approved by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to begin operations.
Health insurance information becomes standardised in the US
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the US means the countrys insurers are now required to provide consumers in the private health insurance market with a brief summary of what a health insurance policy or employer plan covers.
Malaysia's central bank is to push for insurance to be 'more accessible'
Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia s central bank, will reportedly encourage insurance and takaful industries to offer more options in the form of micro products to those who have less access to financial services as part of the countrys ten year financial sector plan Bank Negara deputy governor Datuk Muhammad bin Ibrahim was reported by The Borneo Post as saying that insurance services will be made available more efficiently in terms of cost,...
EIOPA and FINMA sign MoU for insurance supervision cooperation
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure optimal supervision of insurance groups with international activities in the European economicarea (EEA) and Switzerland.
Research suggests new way to think about sustainable investing
Asset owners, asset managers, consultants and governments are struggling with what it means to be a sustainable investor, with many finding the practical implications and applications of sustainability off-putting, according to Towers Watson research. The global research project was conducted in conjunction with Oxford University and was supported by 22 asset managers and eight prominent investment thinkers.
Business tie-in for Gocompare.com and LifeSearch
UK insurance comparison site Gocompare.com is offering customers free protection advice, after announcing a business tie-in with protection adviser LifeSearch Customers who buy their policy via LifeSearch will also receive advice on setting up trusts and will gain free access to its claims desk.
Call for gender pricing awareness campaign
Kevin Carr, CEO of Protection Review, which has been established to provide independent commentary on thelife and health protection markets said: We have spoken to hundreds of advisers in recent weeks and it seems that around half of those we meet are completely unaware of G-day and the potential client issues it brings, not just for protection for also for annuities
Simplicity 'the key' to online life insurance best practice in Asia
A new report has recommended that life insurers in Asia use simple language, multi-media and a well-organised menu structure that allows prospects to easily analyse how much of one type of insurance protection they need as key points in the online sales process The report, which was recently published by consulting firm Celent, explained that although the internet has entered the sales process for life insurance in some Asian markets for about...
Empire life appoints new VP of retail insurance distribution
Daniel Dessureault has been appointed vice president of retail insurance distribution at Canadian-headquartered insurer Empire Life. Dessureault will be responsible for increasing Empire Lifes profile and building relationships with its key distribution partners. Drew Wallace, executive vice-president for retail at Empire Life, said: Daniels keen understanding of our industry and strong relationships with many of our distribution partners will...
China's CIRC approves new life insurance JV
Pramerica Fosun Life Insurance Company (PFL), the proposed 5050 joint venture between Prudential Financial and Chinas Fosun International, has been officially approved by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to begin operations.
LV= launches 'G-Day guarantee'
LV will switch its protection business to gender neutral rates on 1 December 2012 and is offering advisers a G Day Guarantee ahead of the forthcoming EU gender directive The EU gender directive means that from 21 December 2012, which is known as G Day,premiums and benefits for all new insurance contracts will have to be calculated on a gender-neutral basis.
The power of enterprise social networking
When it comes to social networking and financial services, the focus is increasingly on enterprises having their own social networks, rather than using consumer social networking sites, according to James Fabricant, CEO and Founder of IdeaPlane, an enterprise social network Another perceived barrier for entry we have come across for some life insurers and private bankers, is the pressure to cut costs and boost efficiency in the current...
Consumers trust the internet most for life insurance
Swiss Res European Insurance Report 2012 has revealed that the internet is the most trusted source of advice for life and protection insurance with approximately 25% of respondents citing this channel, compared to about 105 of financial advisers or brokers An insurance company and friends and family ranked second and third respectively in terms of the most trusted sources concerning life and protection insurance
Gloomy outlook for Italian insurance sector
Fitch Ratings has indicated that most Italian life insurers could be downgraded in the next 12-24 months as the countrys insurance sector rating outlook remains negative. The ratings agency said the eurozone debt crisis, despite showing signs of stabilisation, will continue to exert negative pressure on Italian insurers' ratings in the short to medium term. Fitch Ratings said the Italian insurance industry is highly exposed to the eurozone...
ING U.S. study reveals life insurance 'disconnect'
has found that 78% of its respondents viewed life insurance as a valuable financial tool yet 51% of respondents said purchasing a life insurance policy was not their priority, while 61% had never calculated their life insurance needs
Critical illness gap facing women with full-time jobs
Although an increasing number of women are taking financial control of the household, over 10 million of full-time female workers are not covered by a critical illness policies, says a report carried out by Scottish Provident However, 84% of the employed women included in the study do not hold a critical illness policy with 57% of them say they could not justify the costs for taking out the insurance policy
Employer-sponsored family health coverage rises in the US
Annual premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage in the US reached $15,745 in 2012, a year-on-year (YoY) rise of 4%, with workers paying on average $ 4,316 towards their coverage, according to research released by the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.
MassMutual's acquisition of The Hartford's retirement plans business means 'win-win'
The announcement by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) that it has entered into a definitive agreement with The Hartford to purchase its retirement plans business has been described as credit positive for both companies by Moodys Investors Service The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, is expected to close by the end of 2012.
John Hancock Life Insurance launches new iPad apps
John Hancock Life Insurance, the US unit of Canadian insurer Manulife Financial, has launched two new iPad applications for intermediaries: JH Life Briefcase and JH Market The JH Life BriefCase app is designed for intermediaries to store, organise and manage illustrations and information about clients for John Hancocks universal life, survivorship universal life and term life products
Life insurers urged to draw on product design
New life insurance products should be designed in a way that interest rate risks, can be effectively hedged, according to the latest sigma study from Swiss Re. The study notes that interest rates have been falling over the last 30 years, with yields on 10-year government bonds falling below 2% recently in many markets
CNP Assurances appoints Frédéric Lavenir as CEO
Jean-Paul Faugre, chairman of the CNPAssurances Board of Directors, said that thanks to Lavenirs experience as chairman and CEO of BNP Paribas Lease Group, he has acquired an in-depth understanding of a business model based on a partnership with distribution networks.
Maltese insurer selects BSB's Solife software
Commenting on the acquisition, Bashar Khatib, CEO of GlobalCapital said: We have an ambitious expansion strategy for our life insurance business and Solife will support its effective implementation both in Malta and abroad.
Insurers fail to fully unlock potential of mobile apps
The adoption of mobile apps in the insurance industry is still at a very early stage, showing patchy and inconsistent deployment, according to new research AXA was awarded the overall winner in the app ranking because the research firm said it offers a consistently good app portfolio across all insurance sectors.
UK's FSA cracks down on mis-selling caused by sales incentives
Martin Wheatley, managing director of the FSA and CEO designate of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has highlighted a range of disturbing findings following a review of 22 firms financial incentive schemes that encompassed insurers, banks, building societies, and investment firms. Speaking to an audience of senior bankers, compliance officers, trade and consumer groups, Martin Wheatley, managing director of the FSA and CEO designate of...
Life insurer concerns about Solvency II model calibration
Many life insurers regard themselves as still having considerable work to do to validate and document risk measures for Solvency II, according to a Towers Watson survey Interest rates, credit spreads and mortality and lapse assumptions are some of the most challenging risks, with two-thirds of firms still looking to make considerable progress in these areas, said the survey The survey also found a reluctance from some firms to rely too heavily...
LV= agrees protection advice partnership with RAC
LV has signed a five-year partnership deal with the motoring service provider RAC, initiating a five year partnership. It is the first time LVs protection advice service has been made available through a partner organisation. Through LV, RAC will offer a customer telephone based advice service on protection products such as income protection, critical illness and life cover, and inheritance tax planning
ICICI Lombard GIC launches health insurance product
ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company (ICICI Lombard GIC) has launched a product called ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance, which offers critical illness cover and hospitalisation coverage. The critical illness aspect of the product covers procedures including cancer, a major organ transplant and end stage liver failure
India's SBI Life Insurance appoints new MD and CEO
Atanu Sen has been appointed managing director and chief executive officer of Indian private life insurer SBI Life Insurance
John Hancock Financial makes senior appointments
John Hancock Financial, the US division of Manulife Financial Corporation, has made two senior appointments. Gallagher, an 18-year veteran of the company, has been appointed as executive vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer
OP-Pohjola acquires Skandia Life Finland
Finlands OP-Pohjola Group Central Cooperative has purchased the entire share stock of the new Finnish life insurance company Aurum Investment Insurance (Aurum) from Skandia Life Assurance Company, which is part of the Old Mutual Group.
Manulife Japan appoints new CEO
Hitoshi Morita has been named president and CEO and representative executive officer of Manulife Japan, with his appointment becoming effective on 1 September 2012 Morita has held various leadership roles at Manulife in human resources, strategic initiatives and business development, after joining Manulife Japan in 2006 Prior to joining Manulife, he worked for Japanese and overseas insurance companies in product development, risk management...
TIAA-CREF Life appoints Dave Anderson as CEO
Dave Anderson has been named the new CEO and president of life insurer TIAA-CREF Life.
AIA survey points to life insurance potential in Australia's SMSF market
A total of 66% of respondents including advisers, brokers and accountants in Australia have cited the knowledge gap as the main barrier to members of self-managed superannuation (SMSFs) taking up life insurance, according to a findings from a survey released by AIA Australia.
Standard Life appoints industry veteran to grow Canadian business
Financial services industry veteran Jennifer Gregory has been appointed national vice-president for business development, group savings and retirement at Standard Life in Canada. Gregory will be responsible for creating a strategic vision and a national roadmap to grow Standard Lifes group savings and retirement businesses in Canada
Bright Grey revamps website to raise protection awareness
Bright Grey, a division of the UKs Royal London Group, has redesigned its consumer-facing website as part of its new digital strategy targeted at raising awareness about protection among consumers. Itis designed to support financial advisers and aims to shows consumers that the need for protection extends beyond mortgages and gaining an understanding of the importance of protection.
Small rise in net profit for Ping An's life operation
The life insurance operation of Ping An, the second largest life insurer in China by premium income, registered a net profit of RMB 7bn ($1.1bn) in H1 2012 a 4% rise compared to the same period in 2011. In the first half of 2012, with changes in the macroeconomic environment and new policies governing the bancassurance business sector, Ping An said the life insurance market faced greater challenges with industry growth slowing across the board
Liberty Mutual advances in Chinese market
US-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Groups subsidiary, Liberty Insurance Company (Liberty), has been granted approval by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to establish a branch in Chinas Shandong Province David Long, Liberty Mutual Insurance Groups president and CEO, said: Liberty Mutual continues to build its reputation in China as a strong provider of quality insurance products and as a company dedicated to helping people live...
Australia's direct life business grows rapidly
The number of life insurance products sold directly to consumers without the aid of a financial adviser has increased from 109 in 2008 to 203 in 2012 an increase of 86%, according to a to report published by Rice Warner Actuaries.
MetLife study highlights importance of employee benefits
A total of 49% of employees in the US say current economic conditions mean they are counting on employers to help them achieve financial security through a range of employee benefits such as dental, disability and life insurance, according to a MetLife study The 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, which was conducted in September and October 2011, said current economic conditions means many younger employees - who are often...
Aetna swoops for Coventry Health Care
US-headquartered health insurer Aetna is to acquire US-based health care company Coventry Health Care in a $7.3bn deal The acquisition, which is expected to close in mid-2013, is projected to add nearly 4 million medical members to Aetnas membership. Aetna said the Coventry acquisition would substantially increase Aetnas Medicaid footprint, creating more opportunity to participate in the expansion of Medicaid and to pursue high acuity...
Nippon Life completes Reliance Capital stake acquisition
Indias Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM) has completed the acquisition of a 26 per cent stake - valued at INR 14.5bn ($261m) - in Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM) to Japans Nippon Life As part of the transaction, Yutaka Ideguchi, general manager of the international planning and operations department at Nippon Life has been inducted as a non executive director of RCAM Nippon Life said RCAM has grown steadily since its...
Obamacare US agency appoints new director
Gary Cohen has been reportedly named as the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) the US agency charged with helping implement many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) known as Obamacare
Ageas Protect appoints marketing head
Ageas Protect, the UK arm of Ageas, has appointed Steve Casey as its head of marketing and propositions Casey joins Ageas from Friends Life, where he was formerly head of marketing and intermediary proposition development He is a chartered insurer with nearly 30 years experience in the life and health insurance sector working for organisations including Swiss Re and Liberata UK, before he joined Friends Life in 2005.
Canadian player files patent for 'owner-directed' life product
Canadas Olympia Financial Group has filed a patent application in Canada and the US for an owner-directed universal life insurance product that is targeted at sophisticated investors The products owner-directed feature would mean the owner of the insurance plan is permitted to fully manage the assets in their account. An individuals account could also have safeguards against a policy lapse for the non-payment of premiums andor loss of...
John Hancock offers LTC option
John Hancock, Canadian insurer Manulife Financials US unit, has launched a new option for its long-term care (LTC) insurance policy, Custom Care III The additional feature is an alternative to a traditional inflation option and provides automatic increases in benefits that occur gradually over time, as well as voluntary buy-up options. Benefit Builder enables a policyholder's benefits to grow through an automatic crediting formula tied to the...
Singapore's ageing population presents opportunity for insurers
Manulife Singapores CEO and president Annette King has stressed the opportunity for life insurers to cater for the needs of Singapores ageing population The proportion of residents aged 65 and above in Singapore increased from 7.2% in 2000 to 9.3% in 2011, according to a report released in September 2011 by Singaporean government departments.
Obamacare sparks 'can-do' response in US
Commenting on ACA, Leslie Levinson, chair of the Healthcare Practice Group at law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer, said: Many had already accepted that change is coming, and whether the court threw out the law, in whole or in part, people were already moving in a direction to do things differently, recognising as in the UK that the way of delivering healthcare on a traditional basis has got to change.
Merger to create new Filipino life insurer
Asian Life Financial Assurance (ALFA) and Banclife Insurance are to reportedly merge, to form a single entity known as Philippine Life Financial Assurance Corporation (PhilLife) The two Philippine insurers are completing documentary requirements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Insurance Commission (IC), according to the Philippine Star It is said the new life insurer would have more than 24 offices in the Philippines...
Manulife Singapore appoints chief legal officer
Nirmala Nair has been appointed chief legal and compliance officer at Manulife Singapore. Nair is responsible for the legal and compliance functions in Manulife Singapore and is part of the senior leadership team.
Friends Life 'beefs up' CI product
Friends Life has beefed up it Protect critical illness offering by adding four new conditions that are covered and removing restrictions on pay-outs linked to terminal illnesses.
Poll highlights insurance gap in Canada
Over one-third of Canadians have gone, or have had a family member go, without needed health care because of insufficient insurance coverage, according to a poll The Ipsos Reid poll, carried out on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) and the Institute for Health Economics, found that 36% of respondents have gone without health care because of insufficient coverage.
Asia drives strong H1 2012 life results for Ageas
Life insurance activities contributed 205m ($253.3m)to Ageas's net profit for H1 2012 compared to 52m in H1 2011, a rise of 294%, which was mainly driven by strong results in Asia Ageas generated 127.7m in gross written premiums for life insurance in Asia during H1 2012, 19% higher than in the same period last year
Malaysia's AmLife launches endowment range
Malaysian insurer AmLife has reportedly launched a new endowment product range named AmLife SecureBuilder, which provides life protection and also aims to enable policyholders to build up savings. AmLife CEO Paul Low said customers can chose the premium payment duration and decide when they would like to receive the maturity payout
Barclays launches Zambian life insurance business
The company says that it will provide Zambians with a range of tailored insurance products, including credit life protection on loans, funeral cover on deposit accounts, and a standalone family protection plan. Absa CEO Maria Ramos said: The Zambian regulatory environment and soundness of the countrys economic profile, with increasing levels of economic activity lends to a requirement for increased services to protect the customer
AIG to snap up Woodbury Financial Services
American International Groups (AIG) life and retirement business SunAmerica Financial Group has signed a definitive agreement with The Hartford to acquire its subsidiary, Woodbury Financial Services Woodbury Financial Services will become part of the SunAmerica Financial Groups Advisor Group when the transaction is finalised The transaction is expected to be finalized by the end of 2012, subject to required regulatory approvals and customary...
MetLife's net income doubles in Q2 2012
MetLife has announced positive Q2 results, with operating earnings of $1.43bn, up 18.18% from $1.21bn in Q2 2011 The insurer reported net income of $2.3bn in Q2 2012 more than double compared to $1.1bn in the same period last year This net income included net derivative gains of $1.4bn, after tax, largely due to falls in interest rates and the impact of MetLifes credit spreads during the quarter.
Generali names Greco as group CEO
Generali Group has appointed Mario Greco as its new group CEO and general manager of the company. The appointment follows the formal resignation of Giovanni Perissinotto, former managing director and group CEO of the company, from Generalis board of directors on 23 July 2012
Pan-American Life expands Latin American and Caribbean footprint
Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG) has completed the acquisition of MetLifes assets and businesses in the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Panama, St PALIG expects to receive regulatory approval and close on the remaining MetLife businesses and assets in Caribbean countries over the next few months.
Cambodia: positioned for growth
Cambodias booming economy and a range of socio-economic factors, including a young and competitive workforce and a rapidly growing middle class, appear to be laying the foundations for a sustainable life insurance industry in the country, according to research by Life Insurance International.
AIA Group posts positive H1 2012 results
AIA Groups business performance for the six months ended 31 May 2012 show that its value of new business grew (VONB) by 28% to $512m compared with $399m in H1 2011 The groups VONB margin rose by 6.6% from 36% in H1 2011 to 42.6% in H2 2012
Questions mount over Aviva USA sale
However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the sale of Aviva USA, will lead to the crystallisation of an approximate £800m ($1.23bn) write-off, as a result of its fall in value.
Call for "level playing field" in Irish PMI market
The European Commission (EC) has proposed abolishing the unlimited state guarantee enjoyed by Irish health insurer Vhi Healthcare by the end of 2013. The EC said that since Vhi is a statutory body, and its statute does not provide for liquidation or winding up, this means Vhi cannot go bankrupt
UK provider launches regulatory briefing website
UK life insurance provider LV has launched a website for advisers on the forthcoming EU gender directive and I-E tax changes. The EU gender directive means that from 21 December 2012, which is known as G Day,premiums and benefits for all new insurance contracts will have to be calculated on a gender-neutral basis
Prudential Singapore launches CI product for affluent market
The product offers a payout of up to S$500,000 ($397,425) for the diagnosis of an early stage medical condition and up to $250,000 for selected diabetic complications. In the event of an accident or mishap, the policy has an accidental death benefit of 100% sum assured coverage, or $1 million, whichever is lower in the event of an accident
New player enters UK life market
The BGL Group has launched a new entrant into the UK life insurance market called Beagle Street Beagle Street Life insurance provides customers with instant cover, as soon as they buy, with no need for medicals, according to the BGL Group It said the majority of customers are expected to purchase entirely online, although a team of telephone advisors are on hand if customers prefer.
SA life insurers' confidence falls
A survey of life insurers in South Africa shows that confidence in the sector has dropped by 12.9 % from 93 index points in Q1 2012 to 81 in the second quarter In spite of this drop, Tim Rutherford, a life insurance spokesperson at Ernst & Young, said life insurance confidence levels continue to be the strongest in the financial services sector
Canada's life insurance supervisor urged to 'tighten up' quality control
The body responsible for supervising the safety and soundness of life insurers in Canada has been told that its management oversight needs to be strengthened in order to tighten up quality control The recommendation came in an internal audit of the Life Insurance Group (LIG) that is part of Canadian regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)
Manulife Financial strengthens Indonesian focus
Bank Danamon is to offer Manulife Financials insurance and wealth management products to a broader range of customers through its branch network across Indonesia. The initiative is a follow up of the partnership agreement between Manulifes operation in Indonesia and Bank Danamon in October 2011. The products launched through the partnership include life insurance protection as well as investment options, through 14 unit-linked funds
Demand for insurance accounting rules convergence
This noted that a total of 47% of respondents said they want the US to abandon its national accounting standards in favour of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Over the last decade, the study explained that approximately 100 countries around the world have adopted the IFRS accounting framework that aims to enable companies to produce financial statements that investors in all the main capital markets can understand
Major boost for Indonesian life market
Life insurance coverage in Indonesia is said to have risen by 15.1 percent year-on-year (YOY) in Q1 2012, according to a media report citing the Association of Indonesian Life Insurance Companies (AAJI). The Jakarta Post, reported that this means that the number of Indonesian consumers taking out life insurance coverage reached 52.8m
Positive diagnosis for Thai health insurance sector
United Overseas Bank (UOB) reportedly expects rising healthcare expenditure in Thailand and the countrys aging population to boost the Thai health insurance market over the next decade According to Thailands The Nation newspaper, Yuttachai Teyarachakul, UOB (Thai)'s personal financial services executive director, said over 60-year-olds currently represent 12% of Thailand's 70-million population, but the bank foresees this proportion rising to...
Cigna signs JV with Turkey's Finansbank
Health insurer Cigna has signed an agreement to acquire a 51% stake of Finans Emeklilik, the life and pensions subsidiary of Turkeys Finansbank Cigna will purchase the 51% stake Finans Emeklilik for 85m ($103.8m) and enter into a long term distribution agreement with Finansbank for the distribution of insurance products through its branch network and other channels
Aetna appointments underline European drive
US-headquartered health insurer Aetna has appointed Marco Bannerman as head of global partner sales and Mike Lewars as head of UK intermediary sales. The appointments come at a time when the provider is aiming to build its international private medical insurance business Based in the UK, Bannerman will direct the team managing Aetnas key global broker partnerships
US life insurance activity rises by 2.1% in June
Application activity for individually underwritten life insurance in the US increased by 2.1% year-on-year (YoY) in June 2012 for all ages combined, according to the MIB Life Index, which measures life insurance application activity in the US
Life expectancy rise prompts Israel to revise insurance rule
Israels Ministry of Finance has reportedly ruled that the life expectancy component of an employee benefit known as managers insurance will no longer be available to under 55-year-olds Managers insurance typically provides a monthly allocation into an insurance fund of 18.3 percent of the employees salary, paid in part by the employer and in part by the employee
Life expectancy rise prompts Israel to revise insurance rule
Israels Ministry of Finance has reportedly ruled that the life expectancy component of an employee benefit known as managers insurance will no longer be available to under 55-year-olds. Managers insurance typically provides a monthly allocation into an insurance fund of 18.3 percent of the employees salary, paid in part by the employer and in part by the employee
Major boost for Indonesian life market
Life insurance coverage in Indonesia is said to have risen by 15.1 percent year-on-year (YOY) in Q1 2012, according to a media report citing the Association of Indonesian Life Insurance Companies (AAJI). The Jakarta Post, reported that this means that the number of Indonesian consumers taking out life insurance coverage reached 52.8m
China's life market set to rocket
Rising life expectancy, growing per-capita annual disposable income and an increase in the countrys ageing population are forecast to enable Chinas life insurance market to ensure a CAGR of 19.2% between 2011 and 2016, according to a market report from the Insurance Intelligence Center. The report, Life Insurance in China, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2016: New Administrative Rules for Reporting Premiums to Change the Market...
Health insurer to pay over $1.7m for alleged deceptive marketing
Health insurer, Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) an operating subsidiary of US health insurer Cigna has been ordered to pay more than $1.7m for allegedly using deceptive marketing practices. The sum will be paid to consumers and the state government of Massachusetts for allegedly improperly marketing its cancer and surgical insurance to more than 1,000 Massachusetts veterans, including specifically targeting World War II...
Aviva's Malaysia JV attracts growing interest
Aviva has reportedly shortlisted potential buyers including Prudential, Manulife, AIA Group and Sun Life Financial for the sale of a 49% stake in its insurance joint venture in Malaysia with CIMB Group
Zurich restructures its UK life business
Zurich has restructured its UK life business to focus around three core areas: corporate, retail, and in-force - instead of previously being more aligned along product lines or propositions. The corporate area comprises Zurichs corporate savings and corporate risk business units, to be led by Simon Foster as the new head of corporate
WellPoint to snap up Amerigroup
The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2013 and is subject to certain state regulatory approvals and standard closing conditions and customary approvals Wellpoint said the acquisition will boost the companies capabilities to more effectively and efficiently serve the USs growing Medicaid population
LV= appoints head of customer experience
Financial mutual LV has appointed Craig McVoy as head of customer experience for its retirement solutions business. McVoy will be responsible for leading the retirement solutions customer service teams and identifying ways to enhance service delivery to advisers and customers. Prior to LV, he was head of contact centres at Inchcape and spent eight years at Privilege Insurance.
Singapore survey flags up insurers and banks' 'inadequacies'
A mystery shopping survey conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has found almost a third of the product recommendations made by insurers and banks were assessed by an industry panel as unsuitable However, it said almost a third of the product recommendations were unsuitable because the products recommended did not match the shoppers financial objectives or their stated investment horizons.
Aviva plans to be a 'leaner' operation
Aviva plans to exit 16 segments deemed to be non-core as part of a revised strategic plan to focus on fewer business segments where it believes it can produce attractive returns Speaking to Life Insurance International, a spokeswoman for Aviva explained that the term exit means that either Aviva may sell its stake in a business segment or stop writing new business for a particular sector.
ABI signals 'concern' over EC proposals
The European Commission (EC) has proposed a package of legislative proposals to improve consumer protection in financial services that would impact insurers administrative and operational requirements if they become effective. In the first place, the ECs is proposing to introduce a new information requirement for the sale of packaged retail investment products (PRIPs). Based on the proposal, the producers of all investment products, including...
ABI signals 'concern' at EC regulatory proposals
The European Commission (EC) has proposed a package of three legislative proposals to improve consumer protection in financial services that would impact insurers administrative and operational requirements if they become effective In the first place, the ECs is proposing to introduce a new information requirement for the sale of packaged retail investment products (PRIPs) Based on the proposal, the producers of all investment products,...
Half of Singapore's rising rich underinsured
Half of Singapore's rising rich were underinsured by industry standards, according to research commissioned by UOB Wealth Banking. One in four (24%) of the target segment, defined as assets under management (AUM) between S$100,000 ($79,000) and S$350,000, replied it had no insurance
Pakistani insurer launches new expat cover for UAE residents
Pakistani insurer State Life Corporation is reportedly planning to launch a new health insurance scheme in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and elsewhere in the Gulf, region Gulf News reported that State Life will provide cover for Pakistanis and other expatriates in the UAE It is hoping to capitalise on the compulsory insurance laws that Abu-Dhabi has developed over the last few years, and which may soon be extended to the other emirates.
Irish health insurer appoints new CEO
John ODwyer has been appointed CEO of state-owned Irish health insurer Vhi Healthcare, with a remuneration package in excess of that recommended by the Irish government. He is currently on secondment to their Greek company Interamerican, the second biggest insurer in Greece where he is the chief operating officer and executive director with responsibility for the life, general and health businesses.
Manulife Financial enters Cambodian market
During the official opening of the Manulife ( Cambodias) head office, Davis Wong, senior vice President and chairman of Manulife (Cambodia), said: The company sees the potential of Cambodia, with a population of about 15 million and an emerging middle class, as a growth area in the ASEAN countries.
Major US health insurance reform given green light
The US Supreme Courts decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means that from 2014 the 30 million Americans who do not yet have health insurance, will be have access to affordable private health insurance plans, according to President Obama The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010, but opponents of the reform claim that the laws individual responsibility provision exceeds Congress power to regulate interstate commerce...
Aviva lands five-year deal with Tesco Bank
Aviva has secured a five-year deal with Tesco Bank to provide life protection products for its UK retail customers. The agreement, which will begin later this year, will cover the sale of Avivas core protection products, including life insurance and critical illness cover These products include: simplified life insurance, over 50s life insurance and life insurance with critical illness cover
Phoenix Group to transfer approx £5bn of assets to Guardian
Guardian Financial Services, a consolidator of closed assets in the European life insurance sector, has agreed to acquire 300,000 in-payment pension annuities from Phoenix Group, which is a closed life assurance fund consolidator
Insurers told to mind the risks in Asia
Asia offers immense growth opportunities for insurers, but providers should also consider challenges including catastrophe risk, longevity risk and retirement security risk, says a senior figure at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Speaking at a conference on 25 June 2012, Ng Nam Sin, assistant managing director of the development group at Monetary Authority of Singapore explained that although gross premiums in Asia ex-Japan have...
Solvency II's data challenge
Life insurers need to improve data consolidation practices ahead of Solvency II, to in order to comply with the strict regulations that will govern the quality of data according to software provider Mastek. Mastek says that with the introduction of Solvency II, regulators will need to be convinced that businesses have enough capital liquidity to cover the level of risk within the business
L&G agrees deal with First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland
Legal & General has agreed a long-term distribution agreement with First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland for a range of life insurance, investment and pension products Consultants at First Trust Bank which is part of AIB Groups UK business will sell Legal & General products throughout their branch network on an appointed representative basis, using Legal & General's Retail Distribution Model (RDR) model for banks and building...
Life insurance savings of being smoke free highlighted
Financial comparison website MoneySupermarket has highlighted the savings on life insurance coverage available to consumers in the UK five years on since the smoking ban was introduced in England. The smoking ban was introduced on 1 July 2007 and MoneySupermarket said a 30 year old male smoker smoker wanting £100,000 ($155,499) of cover over the next 25 years would pay £36 a month with Scottish Provident, but £22 if he was smoke free for 12...
American General updates online application tool
American General Life Companies (American General) has made enhancements to AG Quick Ticket, its web-based life insurance application tool that allows applications to be completed and submitted electronically It is also now possible to enter AG Quick Ticket through popular illustration and quoting tools, such as WinFlex and Vital Term, as well as through agency websites.
Education's role in 'bridging' the life insurance gap
A new survey from Genworth Financial indicates a significant gap for the second consecutive year between the amount of life insurance most people in the US have and what they may actually need
Economic woes hit Irish PMI sector
Reflecting the pressure of the countrys economic environment, a survey by Irelands Health Insurance Authority (HIA) of 1,011 showed that only 43% had private health insurance in 2011 compared with 46% and 52% in 2009 and 2005 respectively This means the size of Irelands health insurance market peaked with 2.3m customers at the end of 2008 and had declined to 2.14m by the end of March 2012. Health insurers face a significant challenge in...
Life CFOs feel interest rate pressure
Chief financial officers (CFOs) at life insurers have said the current low interest rate environment is their primary business concern, according to a Towers Watson survey. Out of thirty CFOs surveyed, 97% said they consider interest rate risk a significant exposure for their company, with 45% seeing prolonged low interest rates as posing the greatest threat to their business.
Solvency II seven year phase-in mooted
The European Union is reportedly considering a seven year Solvency II regulatory phase-in period for life insurers, according to a report by Bloomberg. Stephan Kalb, who heads Fitch Ratings insurance ratings team, was quoted as saying that a seven year transition could buy the life insurance industry time to solve its struggle with the low interest-rate environment that reduces the yields insurers earn on their investments.
Shake-up at Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial has made four key leadership appointments, including naming Scott Sleyster as the new chief investment officer for the company Sleyster has been at Prudential for over 24 years and prior to his role as CIO for the US businesses, he led the full service retirement and institutional investment products business.
Taiwan's financial regulator gets tough on foreign life insurers
Taiwans Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) reportedly plans to require foreign life insurance companies to set up subsidiaries, rather than just branches, for the sale of individual insurance policies on the island Taiwan Economic News said it would cost an estimated NT$2bn for a foreign life insurer to establish a subsidiary whereas now they only need an operating fund of NT$50m for a Taiwanese branch office
Euro body update on Solvency II equivalence
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has published its latest announcement on measures for Solvency II equivalence for non-EU countries. The announcement, in Solvency II Equivalence Transitionals comes after the European Commission has developed a transitional regime for Solvency II equivalence for third countries which either have a risk based regime similar to Solvency II, or are willing and committed to move...
Deloitte: Solvency II alert on annuity rates
Solvency II regulation could reduce annuity rates by between 5% and 20% according to research conducted by Deloitte. The consultancy firm explained that the Solvency II regime may force annuity providers to switch from investing in corporate bonds to lower-yielding assets as well as also having to hold higher levels of reserves
PMI provider offers UK consumers private treatment abroad
Health insurance provider Passport2Health has launched a private medical cover package combining private UK diagnostics with overseas treatment. The providers customers can choose from hospitals in France, Germany, and Spain well as Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Gran Canaria and Malta The company says that medical tourism is a growing market, with around 60,000 people a year believed to be travelling away from the UK for treatment abroad
HMRC consults on insurance premium limit initiative
The UKs HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published a consultation document inviting views on proposals for the implementation of an annual limit to the amount of premiums payable into qualifying life insurance policies The consultation is the next stage after the UK government announced plans for a £3,600 annual limit (out of date mentioned in budget) on premiums paid into qualifying policies (QPs) issued on or after 6 April 2013. In...
Income annuities become bestsellers in the US
Income annuity sales in the US rose by 22.9% year-on-year (YoY) in Q1 2012 and were the quarters bestselling products for the first time, says a study. Data from the Beacon Research Fixed Annuity Premium Study noted that sales of indexed annuities also grew by 8.9% YoY in Q1 2012
UAE health insurer targets Qatari market
Daman, a specialised National Health Insurance Company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has launched Daman Health Insurance Qatar (Daman Qatar) in partnership with Munich Health, which is part of Munich Re
Canadian tax on health and disability insurance blasted
Frank Swedlove, president of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has criticised a new tax on life, health and disability insurance affecting consumers in the Canadian province of Manitoba The proposed Retail Sales Tax of 7% would apply to premiums associated with disability, critical illness and accidental death and dismemberment for both group and individual insurance policies, as well as for all forms of group creditor...
Swiss Re UK assurance warning: mind the gap
The life assurance protection gap for the UK has increased by 20% from £2trn to £2.4trn over the past ten years, according to Swiss Re In its report Term and Health Watch 2012, Swiss Re said on average, this gap amounts to around £100,000 per person, with the amount of under-insurance greatest among single parents, couples with children and those aged 35 and under.
Burmese life industry set to open up
Burma is set to open up its life insurance market to private companies for the first time in almost fifty years, the Myanmar Times has reported. The state-run life insurer, Myanma Insurance, has reportedly sold 180 application forms to interested parties, although it is said foreign life companies will not be allowed to enter the market.
European insurance sector vulnerability highlighted
Solvency capital ratios of the 20 largest European insurance groups have started to deteriorate slightly, according to the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). The insurance sector also remains vulnerable to a possible long-lasting low interest rate environment, though the sector would be capable to cope with this challenge for some time said EIOPA. These were the key conclusions in EIOPAs biannual report on the...
Negative outlook for Italian life insurers
Moodys Investors Service has said the outlook for the Italian life insurance market remains negative as consumers reduced ability to save and Italys weakened economy continue to hit sales Macro-economically, the ratings agency warned that with around 40%1 of their assets invested in Italian sovereign bonds at around 200bn at the end of 2010 Italian insurers have significant sovereign concentration risk.
Swiss Life and Sanitas launch joint health products
Insurers Swiss Life and Sanitas have developed a joint distribution and market development concept that can be tailored to changing customer circumstances and can help them to introduce product and service innovations quickly.
India's LIC appoints new chairman
Life Insurance Corporation of India, the government-owned Indian insurer, has confirmed the appointment of Dinesh Kumar Mehrotra as its new chairman. The Economic Times reported that Mehrotra was approved for the position on 31 May after a year spent as acting chairman following the departure of TS Vijayan Mehrotra has been at LIC for over 30 years, and was the companys managing director from 2005 until he became acting chairman
Sun Life expands Asian footprint with Vietnam JV
Sun Life Financial hopes to become a market leader in Vietnam after agreeing a joint venture with Vietnamese insurer PVI Holdings. PVI will own 51% of PVI Sun Life and Sun Life will own the remaining 49% stake
Hollard's African expansion continues into Zambia
South African insurer Hollard has opened a life insurance office in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, thereby expanding its presence in southern Africa The decision to expand into Zambia is a strategic part of a deliberate plan, said Hollard CEO Nic Kohler, and it extends Hollards regional presence to five countries, including Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa Kohler said: Ever since we embarked on our Southern Africa expansion...
Nordic life markets: Solvency II and liberalisation to drive changes
Nordic life insurers look set to enjoy continued growth in, but market liberalisation and Solvency II regulation, are likely to reshape the Nordic life sector, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings In the first place, the ratings agency predicts long-term profitable growth opportunities for the Nordic life market due to the strong economic prospects, rising life expectancy and growing consumer awareness of the need for occupational and...
Jackson acquires SRLC from Swiss Re
Jackson National Life Insurance, an indirect subsidiary of Prudential, has agreed to purchase Swiss Res US life business SRLC for $621m. SRLC is a life insurance business that sits within the US division of Swiss Res Admin Re
Call for full information disclosure
A total of 33% of people will consider embellishing their responses when completing an insurance application form in order to keep their premiums down, according to research from Zurich. Out of all those questioned, Zurich said 44% of respondents cited price as being more important than having the peace of mind that they were covered A total of 72% of respondents said they believe there are circumstances where it is acceptable to stretch the...
Aviva Facebook app gauges users' health
Aviva has launched a new Facebook app which rates users' health and allows them to compare scores with friends and family in an effort to encourage people to become healthy. The app provides people with advice and goals to become fitter and healthier who will be able to share progress on their goals tracker to build up online support. It rates users health by inviting them to answer a short quiz about their lifestyle, including diet, exercise,...
AXA denied entry to Taiwanese market
Taiwans Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has rejected an application by AXA group to enter the Taiwanese life insurance market According to the Taipei Times, the rejection is a result of concerns over AXAs long term commitment to the Taiwanese market It is reported that AXA applied to make its third entry attempt in January, and had up a preparatory office in Taipei with a staff of 30
Empire Life adds health care spending account
The Empire Life Insurance Company (Empire Life) has said it is adding a traditional health care spending account (HCSA) to its group products A health care spending account is a product that can help employers manage costs, enhance a plan and offer employees more choice Empire Life has offered an Incidental Health Benefit, and is now expanding its offering to include a traditional HCSA.
Scottish Provident boosts product range
Scottish Provident has unveiled a series of product boosters across its self assurance critical illness cover to coincide with its 175 anniversary celebrations As part of the expansion of its critical illness policies, Scottish Provident has added multiple sclerosis to its existing ABI definitions The enhanced definition means a pay out could be made after three months of persisting impairment rather than six months
Swiss Re completes longevity insurance contract for UK pension fund
Swiss Re has completed a £1.4bn ($2.2bn) longevity insurance contract for AkzoNobel's UK pension fund, which will cover close to 17 000 individuals and their future contingent beneficiaries Costas Yiasoumi, Head Longevity Solutions, SwissRe Corporate Solutions, said: Whereas the UK pension longevity market tends to be dominated by intermediaries who write and then sell on the exposure, this deal stands out in that all of the longevity exposure...
India's IDBI adds online insurance platform
IDBI Federal Life Insurance, a joint-venture of Indias IDBI Bank and Federal Bank and insurance provider Ageas has launched an online platform where its Termsurance Seniors Plan is now available GV Nageswara Rao, managing director and CEO for IDBI Federal Life Insurance, said there is an increasing awareness for life insurance plans sold over the internet in India, with almost 10m searches every month. Rao said: Customers increasingly today...
Prudential Financial expands US dental insurance business
Prudential is now offering offer dental insurance via Prudential Dental in all 50 US states, with 190,000 provider locations available to employees on a regional basis The provider can offer dental insurance throughout the US because of the expanded offerings of the networks DenteMax, CAREington and CONNECTION Dental along with the 4Most Network in West Virginia and the surrounding areas
Greek exit poses 'red alert danger' for Spanish and Italian insurers
Italian and Spanish insurers are most exposed if Greek exits from the eurozone through the contagion effect it could have on Italian and Spanish sovereign and bank debt, says Fitch Ratings Federico Faccio, senior director for insurance at Fitch Ratings, explained that Italian insurers have considerably more exposure to their own sovereign debt than is the case with Spanish insurers
MetLife targets emergings markets in growth plan
MetLife intends to drive profitable growth in emerging markets and refocus the US business as part of initiatives to increase shareholder value.
Liberty Mutual appoints chief actuary for group benefits unit
Boston based Liberty Mutual Insurance has appointed Brian Dunham as the new senior vice president and chief actuary of its group benefits operation. Dunham joins Liberty Mutual from Unum, where he was in charge of the pricing and financial responsibility of Unums large case group life and disability business
Solvency II: The cost of delay
A new report from Deloitte has highlighted a 54.2% increase in the number of respondents who are concerned about the European Unions insurance industrys ability to achieve compliance with Solvency II by the end of 2013 According to the Deloitte report, which involved 60 insurers with UK operations, 37% of respondents were concerned about the industrys ability to meet the Solvency II deadline up from 24% last year.
China Life officially appoints Yang Mingsheng as chairman
China Life has officially appointed Yang Mingsheng to succeed Yuan Li as its new chairman and executive director It came after China Life announced Yuan Li had tendered his resignation as the chairman and executive director of the company due to reallocation to other job duties.
'Golden' $10.2trn opportunity in US
A new study by Conning Research & Consulting indicates that the protection gap for the USs middle-income market is estimated at $10.2trn, representing a huge opportunity for life insurers. Over the past five years the missed opportunity in the middle market for life insurers has grown significantly, and our latest estimate is that it has reached $10.2trn, says Terence Martin, director at Conning Research & Consulting. Martin says there...
Future of Sun Life Financial's UK unit questioned
Sun Life Financial reportedly plans to sell its British life insurance unit to avoid new capital requirements for European insurers under the Solvency II regulatory regime. Sky News reported the story and said Sun Life has hired Morgan Stanley to auction the business, which could fetch £1bn.
Insurers missing Solvency II risk opportunities
The survey, from global consulting firm Protiviti, said whileinsurers are continuing to invest in risk technologies to help meet compliance demands, a general tick-box attitude to risk means UK insurers aremissing out on the enterprise-wideopportunities presented by regulation such as Solvency II. The survey found that almost two thirds of survey respondents report that chief risk officers or heads of risk are are still not on insurance...
Abraaj Capital-backed Saham Finances targets Lebanese provider
Insurance holding company Saham Finances has agreed a deal with Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group to acquire an 81% stake in Lebanons LIA Insurance sal In a statement, the parties said they have agreed to maintain and develop the existing cooperation between Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group and LIA Insurance sal, in the field of bancassurance.
ING Asian insurance sale attracts interest
A sale of INGs Asian life insurance business would help the financial institution repay the remaining 3bn ($3.8bn) of state aid it received as part of the capital support facilities it received by the Dutch government during the financial crisis ING spokeswoman Carolien van der Giessen said: We are exploring options for our Asian Insurance and IM activities and while all options are open, we are currently exploring options for a sale.
Cambodia officially inaugurates first life insurance company
Cambodia has reportedly launched its first life insurance company, with the official inauguration of Cambodian Life In September 2011, Life Insurance International reported that the new company is an initiative of the Cambodian government which will retain 51% of Cambodian Lifes equity following its establishment. The remaining 49% will be divided between four foreign insurers: Indonesian insurer PT Asuransi, Thai insurers Bangkok Life...
Tokio Marine acquires Delphi Financial for approx $2.7bn
Tokio Marine Holdings has completed its acquisition of Delphi Financial Group, a US life and property and casualty insurance group, in a deal costing approximately $2.7bn. As part of the financing for this acquisition, TMNF will receive a loan of $1.3bn, of which $780m will come from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation's US dollar-denominated fund created in response to yen appreciation
Accenture launches cloud-based software application for life insurance
The management consulting company has also unveiled a new actuarial calculation engine to help life and annuity insurers reduce the time to launch new products. Accenture said that among the features of its life Insurance platforms new business and underwriting component is an automated and configurable rules-based decision engine, which enables life and annuity insurers to rapidly and consistently analyse underwriting risk, reduce the need...
Zurich's Q1 profit dips by 19% YoY for global life
Zurich Insurance Groups (Zurich) global life business operating profit (BOP) fell by $69m to $293m in Q1 2012 or by 19% in US dollar terms compared to the same period in 2011.
MetLife's Wheeler: 'Bank-centric rules are "wholly inappropriate" for insurers'
MetLifes insurance business should not be governed by regulations written for banks, according to William J This was the argument prepared for Wheelers recent testimony to the US House of Representatives Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee
Doubt over Aviva's strategy in Malaysia
Aviva has reportedly put its Malaysian operations up for sale and is said to be is close to hiring a bank to help with the sale process
Education needed on long-term disability insurance
A report released by Sun Life Financial has found 33% of full-time workers surveyed in the US lack long-term disability insurance The report, which was based on a survey of over 2,000 workers across the US, suggests that many workers are unprepared about how they will be affected by changes to workplace benefits involving life or disability insurance
'Death search' ruling hits NY life insurers
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo announced the new rules on 14 May 2012, which will require all life insurers in New York to cross-check their policies at least every three months with recent deaths using the Social Security Master File of deaths or another database acceptable to the Superintendent of Financial Services The ruling comes after an investigation by the DFS in July 2011 resulted in $262.2m worth of claims being delivered in...
Telco enters South African insurance market
Telco Vodacom, which is part of the Vodafone Group, has been granted regulatory approval to underwrite and sell insurance products in South Africa As part of the strategic decision to enter the South African insurance market, Vodacom has appointed life insurance provider FRANK.NET, which is owned and capitalised by Liberty Holdings, has been appointed to provide administrative and claims support for the offering Vodacom said the business case...
'Innovation warning' from senior IRDA figure
A senior figure at Indias insurance regulatory and development authority (IRDA) has said that life insurance product innovation is not necessarily the driver for winning long-term customer loyalty This was the personal view expressed by Devarakonda Ramesh, deputy director (Life) at the IRDA, in the May 2012 edition the IRDA Journal Ramesh said: Though it is a natural demand for innovation to meet the changing needs; an insurance product may...
UK investors take long-term view
UK investors are less likely to make long term investments compared to counterparts their in the Middle and Far East, according to research by Friends Life. The survey of almost 3000 investors in Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) found that 20% of Singaporeans favoured an investment period of more than three years, with the number rising to 31% in the UAE
Ageas UK's protection arm sees 71% Y-o-Y rise
Life insurance provider Ageas UK said the total inflow of gross written premiums (GWP) rose to £15m in Q1 2012 compared to £8.8m in Q1 2011 a year-on-year rise of 71.2% The provider said the continued growth reflects the successful roll out of the companys protection proposition to an increasing number of IFAs and new affinity partnerships.
Samsung Life and Dubai SWF set for alliance
Samsung Life Insurance is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) as part of a partnership to sell life insurance in emerging markets, according to media reports
Jubilee Group appoints David O'Sullivan as head of life
Specialist Lloyds insurer Jubilee Group has appointed David O'Sullivan as head of life in a strategic move to grow its specialty life business OSullivan will join from Swiss Re where he is currently head of global life and health underwriting. He will focus on the long-term development of a specialty life business across both underwriting and distribution.
Allianz Life names new legal department VP
Allianz Life has appointed Mike Fischer as a new vice president within its legal department, where he will oversee the departments oversight of business operations, product development, distribution, and tax.
Colonial Life launches new group term life product
Colonial Life has launched a new group term life product that aims to gives employees an affordable way to purchase coverage Policyholders can also use an accelerated death benefit to help offset the expenses associated with a terminal illness
Handelsbanken to establish new Finnish life insurance company
Swedens Handelsbanken is to establish a life insurance company in Finland in response to the growing need to find new ways to finance health services for the countrys growing population Antti Heinonen, country manager for Handelsbanken Life in Finland, who will be the CEO of the new company, told Life Insurance International that he expects its Finnish life insurance services to be operational in a matter of weeks
Nigel Wilson takes the helm at L&G Group
Legal & General Group has appointed Nigel Wilson as group chief executive and the successor to Tim Breedon Wilson will be Legal & General Groups chief executive designate and will formally succeed Breedon with effect from 30 June 2012. Legal & General said Breedon will remain an employee of the company until 31 December 2012 and will undertake an important advisory role on key activities including working on and lobbying for an...
Irish health insurer confirms rebranding
Laya, an acronym for Looking After You Always and QUINN-healthcare said it is currently in the process of transitioning to the new brand Dnal Clancy, managing director of QUINN-healthcare, explained that as from 1 May its new underwriter would be Elips Insurance Limited, a wholly owned subsidary of SwissRe.
Code of conduct under scrutiny
LifeSearch, a UK protection intermediary, has warned against the poor industry selling practices of other distributors and the laissez faire approach to the quality of distribution by some product providers. Speaking at its annual awards event in London, Tom Baigrie, CEO of the Baigrie Davies LifeSearch group, said: At LifeSearch we fear that, with RDR approaching and premiums set to rise, our market may well attract many new start-ups, some...
MetLife recruits AIG's Townsend to head Asia region
MetLife has reportedly appointed Christopher Townsend as head of its Asia region, which consists of Japan, Korea, Australia, Hong Kong and China. According to news reports, Townsend will be based in Hong Kong and will joins from American International Group and will report to Metlife CEO Steven Kandarian Prior to joining MetLife, it is reported that Townsend was responsible for the Chartis units operations in Australia, New Zealand and the...
UK long term care costs set to soar
The total cost of long term care for the elderly in the UK is forecast to rise from £21.8bn ($35.2bn) now to £37.9bn by 2025 a rise of 73.9% according to a report released by financial mutual LV. The Future of Long Term Care report said that as life expectancy in the UK increases, the number of people needing to make use of formal long term care services will grow from 840,184 today to 1.1m by 2025 an increase of 37%
Allianz signs MOU with Western Union
Allianz and Western Union have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop, design and distribute insurance products in several countries around the world. The companies anticipate that Allianz will take the role of product provider and Western Union will serve as the distributor
Manulife Financial hires veteran of Asian finance as CFO
Manulife Financial has appointed Steve Roder, who was formerly chief financial officer for AIA Group, as its incoming senior executive vice president and chief financial officer. Among other tasks, Roders responsibilities will include include management and oversight of the companys global financial affairs, including actuarial and capital management
Ghana's life insurance market takes the Express leap forward
LeapFrog Investments, an impact investment fund, has acquired a majority stake in Ghanaian life insurance provider Express Life making it the largest private foreign investment in the history of Ghanas insurance industry. The plans is for Express to draw on LeapFrogs capital and distinctive operational expertise and become the Ghanaian market leader by offering products often costing less than US$10 per month, and thereby serve Ghanas large...
US life insurers urged to tackle underinsurance
Misconceptions over the cost of life insurance may be preventing many consumers in the US from getting the coverage they need, according to a new report. The 2012 Insurance Barometer Study, conducted by the Life and Health InsuranceFoundation for Education (LIFE), and professionaldevelopment organisation LIMRA,found that consumers in the US believe lifeinsurance costs nearly three times the actualprice.
European insurers face increased lapse rate risk
Insurance companies in Europe face an increased lapse rate risk as surrender penalties reduce and households' disposable income is squeezed by the tough macroeconomic environment, according to Fitch Ratings Federico Faccio, senior director for insurance at Fitch Ratings, explained that if European households, stretched by cuts to public expenditure, increased tax rates and low growth, demand their money back on life insurance products,...
Insurance venture targets Filipinos
and Standard Chartered Bank Philippines have reportedly announced the establishment of Assurance Solutions Insurance Agency, (ASIA) a new firm that will distribute Pru Life products to wealthy Filipino clients of Standard Chartered Bank Philippines BusinessWorld Online reported that ASIA will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank that will be managed separately from the banks operations.
Options are 'critical' for retirees
Tullys comments come after 60%of people aged 55 and over in the UK have received medical treatment for conditions which would qualify them for an enhanced annuity, and yet 72% said they were unaware that certain lifestyle or medical conditions could qualify them for a better retirement income.
Empire Life launches iPad app
Canadian provider, the Empire Life Insurance Company (Empire Life), has launched a new iPad application, called SimpleQuote, which it says delivers fast quotes on up to four term insurance products at once.
FSA 'blacklists' traded life policy investments
The UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA) has confirmed that traded life policy investments (TLPIs) are high risk products that should not be promoted to the vast majority of retail investors in the UK. Investors hope to benefit by buying the right to the insurance payouts upon the death of the original policyholder
Life protection gap facing UK consumers
A total of 60 per cent of adults in the UK do not have life insurance, according to research by Barclays Barclays said the main reasons for consumers in the UK not taking out life insurance were the increasing pressures on household expenditure and needing to cut back on costs
The Hartford bows to pressure
The Hartfords actions arguably represent an impressive display of the power of shareholder activism. These actions include The Hartfords decision to place its individual annuity business into runoff, as well as pursuing sales or other strategic alternatives for its individual life, Woodbury Financial Services and Retirement Plans businesses. The actions came less than a month after John Paulson, president of The Hartfords largest shareholder,...
Two decades of dramatic change
While there are many aspects to the change that have occurred in the Australian life market over this period, the shift in its ownership structure and consolidation stand out as being amongst the most significant. Back in 1990, Australias 55-member life insurance industry was still characterised by the significant presence of mutual insurers of which there were seven holding a combined share of premium income of just over 40%.
China Life's Q1 net profit falls by 29%
China Lifes net profit stood at CNY5.63bn ($894.3m) in Q1 2012 a 29% year-on-year drop due to lower premium income Group premium income totalled CNY113.8bn in Q1 2012, a 7.3% drop compared to the same period in 2011 China Life said the fall in net profit was attributable to the fact that stock markets remained at a low level continuously, although there was a slight recovery during the reporting period
Survival of the fittest for Spain's insurers
Large insurers with a competitive advantage in their distribution network through stronger banking groups are likely to benefit from banking consolidation, according to Moodys Investor Services This is because of the major role that banks play in the distribution of life products, says the report entitled "Spanish Insurance: Banking Consolidation Will Further Advantage the Strongest Insurers The report notes that vast majority of Spains...
US life insurers urged to 'challenge' pricing misconceptions
Misconceptions over the cost of life insurance may be preventing many consumers in the US from getting the coverage they need, according to a new report The 2012 Insurance Barometer Study, conducted by Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) and professional development organisation LIMRA found that consumers in the US believe life insurance costs nearly three times the actual price.
Decline in Scots taking out life insurance
The number of Scots taking out life insurance has fallen to 47%, down from 54% in 2011, according to the Scottish Widows Protection Report However, they have little confidence that their savings will cover them in the event of a change of circumstances, with 58 percent believing they would only survive financially for a short period of up to six months.
MetLife reaches key multi-million dollar settlement with Californian watchdog
Californias state controller John Chiang has said a multi-state settlement with US-headquartered life means the insurer MetLife will pay an estimated $500m in unpaid life insurance and annuity benefits to beneficiaries or states acting on their behalf However, MetLife said it will pay out about $438m to policyholders over the next 17 years, and it expects to pay out to $188m to beneficiaries this year. The settlement came after Chiang and...
AIG's payment further reduces its debt to Uncle Sam
In the latest in a series of repayments, the insurer has made the final payment of $1.5bn to withdraw the US Treasurys interest in AIA Aurora, a special purpose vehicle created to hold ordinary shares in AIGs formerly wholly-owned subsidiary, American International Assurance.
Danica Life to exit Irish market
Life assurance company Danica Pension, which is part of the Danske Bank Group, has stopped accepting new business for its life and pensions operation in Ireland, Danica Life A spokesman for Danica Pension said the decision has been taken because Danica Life in Ireland has not achieved the scale necessary to help sustain their business in the current economic environment.
US life insurers in good shape despite tough environment, reports Moody's
US life insurers results in Q4 of 2011 continued to reflect a tough environment, says Ann Perry, a vice-president at Moodys Investor services. She notes that US life insurers overall reported modest improvements in operating profit and net income in 2011 but that in the fourth quarter net income came in slightly lower than in the same period in 2010.
Hyman's Robertson moves to simplify pension fund de-risking
The new indices track the survival patterns of members of pension funds, plotting the differences compared with the population at large and break down the experience for retirees with different sizes of pensions
Call for more clarity on Solvency II
A milestone on the road to making Solvency II a reality appeared to have been reached after key amendments were recently secured yet KPMGs Solvency II director Janine Hawes says the European Parliaments new delay means the implementation date of 1 January 2013 for the regulatory regime will now be unachievable. Solvency II is a new European regulatory regime designed to establish a revised set of EU-wide capital requirements and risk...
Positive view of UK group risk market
Swiss Res Group Watch 2012 report has stated that in-force group risk premiums rose by 2.9% in the UK during 2011, compared to a fall of 7.7% in 2009 and 1.8% in 2010 The Group Watch 2012 report is an analysis of in-force data covering group life, group long-term disability income and group critical illness cover in the UK market
All eyes on Thailand as Prudential ponders $500m insurance deal
Prudential is reported to be considering bidding for the insurance business of Thailands Thanachart Bank in deal said to be valued at approximately $500m It has been reported that the Thanachart Bank unit, is set to be auctioned and is expected to include life and non-life assets as well as a bancassurance arrangement
Canada's changing pensions market
The controversy sparked by the Canadian governments decision in its March 2012 budget regarding Old Age Security (OAS) has put the countrys pensions system firmly in the spotlight. In the budget, announced on 29 March 2012, the federal government said the entitlement age for OAS will gradually rise from 65 to 67 starting from 2013.
Life insurance plays role in IHT planning
Taxpayers in the UK will waste £448m ($720.8m) this year due to poor inheritance tax (IHT) planning when it comes to their life insurance policies, according to a new report In order to avoid this, the Tax Action Report from professional advice website unbiased.co.uk, said individuals taking out life protection specifically to provide for their heirs need to decide either to leave the payout to beneficiaries directly, or alternatively put...
Manulife Taiwan launches new life product
Manulife Taiwan has launched a new universal variable life product called Quan-Xin-Quan-Li Universal Variable Life (UHL). This is a back-end load product that allocates the full premium to investment assets at the start of the policy The product enables customers to choose a mandate structure whereby Manulife Asset Management manages the customers fund selection, or they can make their own fund selection from a range of underlying funds.
ERGO to launch life insurance JV in China
The Ergo Insurance Group, which is part of the Munich Re Group, is to launch a joint venture that will primarily offer life insurance to private customers in the Chinese province of Shangdong ERGO and Shandong State-owned Assets Investment Holding Company (SSAIH) will each hold a 50% share in the joint venture, and the headquarters will be located in Jinan, the capital of Shandong
Female retirees prioritise savings more than men
The insurer's Class of 2012 study, which looks at the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year, said 62% of women will make savings a priority compared with 52% of men Although 57% of respondents named saving as their top priority for them, 36 per cent said spending money on travelling the world will be a priority for them.
Japanese provider to acquire stake in MNYL
Japans MS&AD Insurance Group is to acquire a 26% stake in Max New York Life (MNYL), an Indian-headquartered life insurance company In an all cash transaction, MS&AD will pay INR 27.3m ($526, 289) for the stake, which according to MNYL, will make it the second largest foreign investment in the Indian life insurance sector
Singapore's LIA supports industry review
Singapores Life Insurance Association (LIA) has said it supports the need for the industry to undergo a regular review and the objectives of the Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR) Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, announced the launch of FAIR on 26 March 2012 at the LIAs 50th anniversary gala dinner Responding to FAIR, an article from the LIA in The Straits Times quoted Tan Hak Leh, president of the...
Ageas Protect launches edu-tech programme
Ageas Protect, formerly Fortis Life, has launched an educational platform to help protection intermediaries understand the impact that major legislation will have on customers towards the end of 2012 The technical area explains how the EC gender directive will affect female customers interested in buying life cover, or life cover with critical illness products in the run-up to the introduction of gender neutral pricing and products on and...
New loss ratio rules challenge US health insurers
Health insurers in the US are likely to reduce their premiums to conform to the new requirements of the medical loss ratio (MLR) rules enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study The MLR rules, which became effective on 1 January 2011, aim to control private insurance costs for consumers and government by requiring a minimum percentage of premium dollars to be spent on medical care and health care quality improvement, as...
Axa targets growth in Romania
Under the contract IBM will provide systems integration and management services to assist the French insurers Romanian subsidiary, SC AXA Life Insurance, beef up risk management, consolidate data and automate several areas of the insurance process
Providers urged to create more long term care products
A total of 71% of financial advisers in the UK believe that providers should create new prefunded long term care products, according to a new study The research from Defaqto, a financial research and software company, comes after the UKs Commission on Funding of Care and Support published its report Fairer Funding for All in July 2011, which proposed a lifetime cap on care costs The preferred figure is £35,000, which is the amount someone in...
MetLife 'scores' with Super Bowl advert
MetLifehas used the Super Bowl in the US to launch an advertising campaign aiming to persuade consumers that obtaining insurance does not have to be complicated The tagline of the campaign is MetLife: I Can Do This, and in the three hours after thead,traffic doubled toMetLife'smobile-phone applications, the company said. Richard Hong, vice president, for global brand, marketing & communication for MetLife, said: Most people know life...
Focus on long-term care products
A total of 71% of financial advisers in the UK believe that providers should create new prefunded long-term care products, according to a new study. The research from Defaqto, a financial research and software company, comes after the UKs Commission on Funding of Care and Support published its report Fairer Funding for All in July 2011, which proposed a lifetime cap on care costs. The preferred figure is £35,000 ($55,829) which is the amount...
Insurers boost technology spending
Spending on information technology (IT) by the worlds insurance companies is rising and will reach a total of $140.6bn in 2012, predicts Celent. This level of spending on IT would represent an increase of 6.3% compared with 2011 when, according to the research firm, IT spending fell by 1.1%. Looking ahead, Celent anticipates that insurers combined spending on IT will grow at an annual average of 5.8% over the next two years to reach $157.5bn...
'Golden' $10.2trn opportunity in US middle market
The protection gap for the USs middle income market is estimated at $10.2 trn, representing a huge opportunity for life insurers, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting. Over the past five years the missed opportunity in the middle market for life insurers has grown significantly, and our latest estimate is that it has reached $10.2 trn, said Terence Martin, director at Conning Research & Consulting Martin said there...
Insurance offers 'golden opportunity' for US banks
Many US banks are missing out on a golden opportunity to increase service fee income and boost customer retention through greater cross selling of insurance and investment products. This is the key finding of a study, The Value of an Investment and Insurance Customer to a Bank, sponsored by Prudential Financial and Western National Life. The studys results provide the proof needed for banks and credit unions to seize the opportunity for...
Bullish outlook for equities in 2012
Global equities have had their strongest quarter in over 10 years on the back of strong economic data and hopes that the European debt crisis was past its worst point. Following the sharp rally seen in recent months SIG reduced its equity exposure at the end of March 2012 for fear profit takers will take the edge off the market
Indonesia's BNI targets more income from bancassurance
Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is reportedly expecting to receive a larger amount of fee-based income in 2012 from its bancassurance business after securing deals with several insurance companies. The Jakarta Post reported that BNI has signed agreements with its subsidiary PT BNI Life Insurance, PT Asuransi Jiwa Sequis Life, PT Asuransi Cigna and PT AIA Financial.
UK enhanced annuity sales surged in 2011
With conventional annuity rates being driven down by low interest rates, UK consumers are increasingly recognising the income benefits to be derived from enhanced annuities. This was clearly evident in 2011, a year in which enhanced annuity sales surged by 22% compared with 2010 to £3.02bn ($4.8bn), according to Towers Watson. Last years strong demand for enhanced annuities, which are available to people with medical conditions or lifestyles...
Auto-enrolment hopes fade as Populas highlights concerns
There are high hopes that auto-enrolment into workplace pension schemes will increase the number of workers in the UK saving for retirement through a pension scheme by up to 9m. But with just six months to go before auto-enrolment commences, the outlook for the success hoped for is fading, indicates a survey commissioned by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF). Conducted by research firm Populas, the survey reveals that 33% of...
China's Ping An delivers positive performance in 2011
Chinas second-largest life insurer, Ping An pulled out all the stops in 2011 to produce a net profit attributable to shareholders of CNY9.475bn ($1.5bn). With its performance last year, Ping An trounced its larger rival, China Life, which has reported a 45.5% slump in net attributable profit for 2011 to CNY18.33bn.
Singapore's life cover challenge
The insurance industry must take up the challenge to narrow the shortfall in protection coverage for Singaporeans, according to Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Menon highlighted a 2009 study by the Nanyang Technological University that found that the existing life cover of the average Singaporean is only about a third of what his dependants will need in the event of his early death.
Prudential's Asian expansion pays off
Prudentials Asian expansion strategy paid off for it in 2011 by transforming what would have been a dismal set of results into reasonably positive set.
L&G highlights the monetary value of mothers
Legal & General has estimated that the average value of a typical mother contributing to domestic work around the home is just over £32,000 Legal & General released the data because according to the companys research the monetary value of a mother is sometimes overlooked when families try and work out their life insurance needs.
Winning Strategies in life insurance
Or you could buy the combined value of at least 10 of the biggest brands in the world, which would include Apple and Microsoft.
Life insurance sentiment turns positive
After a period in the doldrums, life insurance sentiment has returned to positive territory, according to a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Respondents to the survey said they experienced stronger volumes of business during Q1 2012 and 95% saw new business as having increased
Five insurers make it onto ethical list
Nine insurers and one reinsurer have been named as being amongst the worlds most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute, a non-profit organisation focused on promoting ethical corporate behaviour
UK life insurers sheltered from Eurozone crisis
Strong 2011 results from UK life insurers have confirmed that most of the sector is sheltered from the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, according to Fitch Ratings The rating agency says that in contrast to several European insurance groups, most major UK life insurers have negligible direct exposure to the sovereign debt of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain (GIIPS) and typically less than 5% of shareholders equity
Gary Shaughnessy appointed CEO of Zurich Life
Global insurer Zurich has appointed Gary Shaughnessy as CEO of its UK life business with effect from June 2012. Shaughnessy joins from Fidelity Worldwide Investment where he has been managing director for its UK defined contribution and retail business, since 2008
IRI promotes National Retirement Planning Week
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) has announced that National Retirement Planning Week 2012 will take place from April 9 to 13. National Retirement Planning Week is led by the National Retirement Planning Coalition a group of prominent financial industry, education and advocacy organizations that have joined together to increase awareness of the need for comprehensive retirement planning. Among the events for National Retirement Planning...
IRI: Annuities marketplace is robust
The insured retirement industry is in a financially strong position and poised for continued growth, according to the US-based Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) IRI's market analysis, which is based on new sales reports, research findings and emerging demographic trends, follows an announcement from The Hartford regarding its decision to change its strategic direction to focus on its core property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds...
UK DC members "adversely impacted"
The average British private sector worker saving in a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme has lost £2,750 ($4,384) per annum of their future retirement income in the last twelve months, according to The Alexander Forbes National Pension Index. Carey said: Hopefully gilt yields, which influence annuity rates, will recover to some extent when QE stops, improving annuity rates and reversing the worst of the serious deterioration in the...
'Short-termism' spells pension danger for UK consumers
A total of 55% of consumers in the UK have revealed they do not have long-term investments, savings, or pensions, according to research commissioned by Skipton Financial Services. The Priority Report' quizzed adults on their attitudes and behaviour towards spending and saving in the current economic climate of higher inflation and squeezed pay. This found that once consumers in the UK pay for their essentials, such as bills, rent and...
More US insurers opt for long-term care exit door
Commenting, Prudential Group Insurance vice-president Malcolm Cheung said: The decision to exit the individual long term care business reflects the challenging economics of the individual market and our desire to focus our resources and capital on the group market where we see the greatest opportunity.
China Life dishes up more bad news
The warning from Chinas largest life insurer indicates that it had a very tough second half and will follow a 21.8% decline in its attributable profit in the first half of 2011 to CNY12.96bn ($2.05bn). Taken in the middle of China Lifes expected profit decline 45% its attributable profit in 2011 will come in at about CNY18.5bn
Skandia UK appoints new head of protection
Jefferies will focus on developing the protection proposition and strengthening Skandia's position in the market. He was previously head of sales and marketing at Ageas Protect and prior to that led the protection and investment marketing teams at Friends Provident.
Customer engagement recommendations from LIMRA Europe
LIMRA Europe has recommended that providers reach out to consumers when they are most ready to buy, and offer the option of a needs analysis, as effective ways to engage with potential life insurance buyers. Other recommendations from LIMRA Europe include: offering a personal contact option; contacting clients who recently bought life insurance and reaching out to all generations and all income levels Chris Heath, research manager at LIMRA...
Busting European insurance myths
This is particularly true in the European life and pensions industry believes Ernst & Young (E&Y). In a study, Voice of the customer Time for insurers to rethink their relationships, theservices firm highlights what itterms myths pervading the European life,pensions and investments industry:
Hedge fund presses for The Hartford's break up
John Paulson, president of hedge fund management firm Paulson & Co, believes there is only one way that US insurer The Hartford Financial Services Group can unlock value for its shareholders and that is by separating its life and general insurance operations. With Paulson & Co now the largest shareholder in The Hartford, Paulson has backed his proposal in a letter to The Hartford chairman, president and CEO Liam McGee.
ABI gets tough on transparency
When it comes to investing their hard-earned retirement savings, a study by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that a third of workers in the UK approaching retirement do not shop around for the annuity product best suited to their circumstances. One of the fundamental requirements of the code is that service providers will be compelled to communicate clearly to their clients that they are free to use their retirement savings to...
The Hartford to divest individual life and retirement businesses
The Hartford has decided to place its individual annuity business into runoff and is pursuing sales or other strategic alternatives for its Individual Life, Woodbury Financial Services and Retirement Plans businesses The shake-up comes as the business has decided to focus on its property and casualty, and group benefits and mutual funds businesses. According to The Hartford, the decision is the result of management and the board of directors'...
US interstate compact has achieved mixed success
In existence for nine years, the US Interstate Insurance Compact Model aimed at enabling life insurers to file a single new product application in multiple states has been met with mixed results In its study, Milliman found that in 2011 132 insurers were registered with the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (IIPRC), 58 (78%) more companies than were registered at the time of its last study in 2009
Principal grows Latin American footprint
Increasing its presence in Brazils asset management market, US insurer Principal Financial Group is to acquire a 60% stake in Brazilian mutual fund and asset management company Claritas Administrao de Recursos for an undisclosed sum. Commenting on the acquisition, Luis Valdes, president and CEO of Principal International, said: Entering the Brazilian mutual fund and asset management market has long been a strategic priority for Principal.
Achmea takes a grim view of Dutch life market
Signalling a gloomy outlook for the Netherlands life insurance market, the countrys largest composite insurer Achmea has announced that it is to fully impair goodwill related to its life insurance and pension activities The total amount involved is 279m ($365m) and relates to goodwill that arose from the merger of Achmea and Dutch bank Rabobanks life insurance subsidiary Interpolis in 2005. At the time of the merger, Achmea was a unit of Dutch...
US' flaw-ridden Death Master File
Prudential Financial has become the latest US life insurer to agree to pay beneficiaries of unclaimed life policies Under the agreement brokered by the California Department ofInsurance, Prudential will pay a total of some $17m to beneficiaries in 20 states. Prudential also agreed to regularly check the US Social Security Administration (SSA) Departments Death Master File (DMF) to determine whether any of its life insurance policyholders,...
AIG prospering again, says CEO
Announcing American International Groups (AIG) 2011 results, its president and CEO Robert H Benmosche sent out a clear message that AIG has put its troubled past behind it and is again a force to be reckoned with in the insurance industry.
UK insurers face a whopping final bill from the FSA
What is likely to be the UK Financial Service Authoritys (FSA) swansong annual fundin requirement announcement has received a cold reception from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) In its 20122013 fiscal year, the FSA is looking to raise £578.4m ($910m) in fees it levies on financial services companies, an increase of £77.9m (15.6%) compared with 20102011.
South African life insurers step up
However, while this move saw about 3,800 new intermediaries enter the industry over the past 12 months, Astute found that the dropout rate remained very high. The end result was that the net number of registered financial advisers active in the South African life industry increased by only some 700, taking the total to about 17,400.
Japan's Nippon Life acquires 1% stake in AIA Group
Nippon Life has acquired a 1% stake in pan-Asian life insurance provider AIA Group worth approximately US$430 million as at the close of 20 March 2012. AIA Group said Nippon Lifes investment in it would enable the Japanese insurer to participate in the significant growth opportunities available to AIA across its Asia-Pacific ex-Japan life insurance markets, primarily through its proprietary agency distribution channel.
L&G highlights the monetary value of mothers
Legal & General has estimated that the average value of a typical mother contributing to domestic work around the home is just over £32,000 Legal & General released the data because according to the companys research the monetary value of a mother is sometimes overlooked when families try and work out their life insurance needs.
Union of Canada Life breathes its last breath
Bringing the existence of one of Canadas oldest life insurers to an end, the Ontario Superior court of Justice ordered the winding-up of Union of Canada Life (UCL). Founded in 1863, UCL operated as a fraternal society and at the time of its demise had 22,000 policyholders, primarily in the province of Quebec.
China Life appoints ex-insurance regulator as chairman
Beijing-headquartered China Life has appointed Yang Mingsheng as chairman of China Life, replacing Yuan Li According to news reports, Mingsheng was previously vice chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) He is also said to have worked for about 30 years at Agricultural Bank of China.
Old Mutual stakes its claim in Nigeria
UK-domiciled insurer Old Mutual is to take its first step into West Africa through the acquisition of Nigerian insurer Oceanic Life from Nigerian bank Oceanic Bank Group Commenting on the deal, Old Mutual Africa MD Johannes Gawaxab said that exploiting the opportunity that Nigeria and the broader West African region presents makes sound business sense and will form part of Old Mutuals strategy of expanding its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.
Grim sovereign debt outlook from Standard Life
A sovereign debt trap is looming that very few over-indebted countries will be capable of escaping This grim warning has been sounded by Standard Life Investments (SLI), a unit of UK insurer Standard Life. SLI observes that governments of many developed economies are suffering from the highest levels of national debt in a generation
Sagicor expands its US presence
Increasing its reach in the US life market, Barbados insurer Sagicor Financial Corporations US unit Sagicor Life is to acquire PEMCO Life from PEMCO Mutual, a Washington statebased company focused on general insurance.
Zurich Financial goes for name change
Subject to approval by shareholders at Zurichs annual general meeting to be held on 29 March, the Swiss company will re-emerge as Zurich Insurance Group. In a statement, Zurich said that over the past several years Zurich has streamlined its business portfolio to concentrate on insurance
Axa Real Estate's letting spree in France
Europes economy may appear to be teetering on the brink of recession but you would hardly say so, judging from the leasing success Axa Real Estate Investment Managers are achieving in France. Axa Real Estate reports that in 2011 it signed 96 leases on 175,000sqm of space in its office and retail portfolio, an increase of 23% compared with 2010. Of the lettings, 58 representing 63,000 sqm were new leases, while the remaining 38 representing...
Singapore life market surged ahead in 2011
Singapores life insurance industry put in a strong performance in 2011, with the Singapore Life Insurance Association (LIA) reporting that on a weighted basis, total new premium income came in at S$2.007bn ($1.6bn), up 21.6% on the S$1.651bn recorded in 2010.
Insurers look to policy admin system upgrades to help cut costs
With insurers finding profitable top-line growth hard to come by, slashing costs is now a key focus, ccording to the 2012 World Insurance Report produced byconsultancy Capgemini and theEuropean Financial Managementand Marketing Association (EFMA).
UK closed life book giant under the takeover spotlight
Phoenix Group, the largest player in the UKs closed life insurance book sector, has ended speculation in the media by confirming that it has received a number of approaches from potential bidders for the company.
IFC backs Moroccan Insurer in Sub-Saharan expansion drive
In an effort to improve the availability of insurance in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund are to make an equity investment of $90m in Morocco-based Saham Finances.
Indian insurers to provide HIV
Health insurance cover for people suffering from HIVAIDS or those vulnerable to infection such as doctors and nurses is set to become a reality in India. This follows a request issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on 2 February 2012 to all life and general insurers to submit comments on an exposure draft within 30 days. According to the IRDA, the move to compel insurers to provide health insurance to those...
Solvency II for pension funds gains momentum
Release by the European Commission (EC) of a White Paper An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions in February has been hailed by European insurance federation, Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA) as a major step in the right direction. In the White Paper the EC commits itself to a review the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) Directive with a view applying the Solvency II regime for insurers to pension funds.
Aviva releases 2011 claims figures
Aviva paid more than £439m ($695.7m) to its protection customers in 2011, which includes life insurance and critical illness cover, 7.6% higher than the figure for 2010. In 2011, Aviva made payments for 10,495 life insurance claims and 1,568 CI claims In total the insurer paid 99% of all protection claims (life insurance and critical illness cover)
AILO fires warning over EU legislation
AILO believes that including similar provisions to those in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID 2) in the Packaged Retail Investment Products legislation and the Insurance Mediation Directive II would result in a narrower choice of investment products and make it harder for clients to obtain independent financial advice. AILO has written to Sharon Bowles, MEP for South East England and Chair of the European Parliament's...
Friends Life appoints chief risk officer
UK-headquartered life insurance provider Friends Life has appointed Rosie Harris as its chief risk officer and she is expected to join the company during April. She will report directly to Andy Briggs, CEO of Friends Life and be a member of the group executive committee Harris will be responsible for managing the broad strategic and operational risk management and governance framework for Friends Life group and maintaining a strong...
Rise in AEGON'S CI payout rates for 2011
AEGON UK paid 93 per cent of all individual protection critical illness (CI) claims in 2011, 2% higher than in 2010. Of the claims declined, AEGON UK said 81 per cent were due to the definition of the critical illness not being met and 19 per cent were due to non-disclosure of important information.
HSBC Insurance rolls out early critical care plan
HSBC Insurance has launched a new early critical care plan that provides financial protection for the early detection of a medical condition by making lump sum payouts of 100% of the sum assured upon diagnosis. HSBC said the plan differentiates itself from similar products in the market by providing 100% payouts, of up to S$1 million, at all stages of a medical condition from early to intermediate and critical.
Online only is just not good enough
Research by LIMRA highlights that although the online channel is drawing a far larger audience of potential life insurance buyers in the US than ever before, it has significant failings when it comes to securing sales
Opposition to Solvency II for pension funds mounts in the UK
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authoritys (EIOPA) review of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive aimed at making defined benefit (DB) pension funds subject to Solvency II capital requirements is meeting powerful opposition in the UK. In a recent speech he made it clear the UK would not accept a change of this nature, warning it would cost companies sponsoring DB funds £100bn ($160bn) and lead to...
BB&T takes lead in US wholesale life distribution market
In a deal that will propel it to the largest independent wholesale distributor of life insurance in the US, regional banking group BB&T is to acquire Crump Groups Crump Life Insurance Services and Crump Property & Casualty Insurance Services
Restructuring time at New York Life
New York Life (NYL) has embarked on a restructuring that will see operations of the US largest mutual life insurer divided into an insurance group and an investment group.
Allianz helps to turn India green
Under the 10-year joint initiative, Allianz and C-Quest will co-finance replacement of some 8.5m incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient lighting in households in three Indian states.
Talanx clinches deal in Poland
Participating with the German insurer in the 700m ($890m) cash deal is its Japanese alliance partner Meiji Yasuda Life, which will acquire a 30% stake in WARTA from Talanx, subsequent to the deals closing.
L&G, Hannover Re team up in UK risk transfer market
Marking its entry into the longevity insurance segment of the UKs defined benefit pension scheme risk transfer market, Legal & General (L&G) has finalised a deal with the Pilkington Superannuation Scheme (PSS)
EU in regulatory overdrive mode
Twelve-hour days are more or less the norm for the 200 European Commission (EC) officials in Brussels writing up new legislation to rein in financial services They are working in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis and they follow norms set by various G-20 meetings
L&G muscles in on UK property market
The total was made up of 19 purchases totalling £970m, the largest being the Rolls Building in London for £305m, and 18 sales totalling £710m
ING rethinks strategy
INGs restructuring strategy announced in November 2010, under which it planned initial public offers (IPO) for its insurance and investment management business in the US and another for those in Europe and Asia, is under review
Indian government to provide a helping hand to migrant workers
Indias prime minister Manmohan Singh has unveiled measures which are to be undertaken by the government this year to improve the lot of the millions of Indian working in foreign countries Speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (non-resident India day) 2012, Singh announced that the government is to sponsor a new voluntary pension and life insurance fund which will provide social security benefits and low-cost life insurance cover against...
Fairfax Financial seizes opportunity in Thailand
Boosting its presence in Thailand, Canadian reinsurer and insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings has acquired a 25% stake in Thai Re, Thailands largest domestic reinsurer
ACLI calls for US to put reform pressure on Japanese government
Japans expression of interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement has created a lobbying opportunity for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) Using the membership application as a platform, the ACLI has called on the US government to use it as an opportunity to put pressure on Japans government to introduce reforms in the countrys life industry.
Competition heats up in India
Taking the plunge into India, US health insurer Cigna has joined forces with Indian consumer products conglomerate TTK to establish a new health insurance company
AIG consolidates for growth in US employee benefits sector
On the hunt for enhanced operational efficiency, American International Group (AIG) is to create a new group benefits operation in the US through the merger of the group benefits units of its core US life business, American General Life Companies (American General), and its general insurance business, Chartis US Accident and Health According to AIG, AIG Benefit Solutions will offer about 24 insurance products and programmes, many available on...
Norwegian life insurers face tax crunch
A favourable tax situation enjoyed by Norwegian life insurers appears set to come to an end following a proposal by the countrys ministry of finance. Moodys Investor Services analyst David Masters explains that under the current tax legislation, life insurers are exempt from paying tax when they realise gains in their equity portfolios However, when a life insurer subsequently transfers these gains to policyholder accounts, a tax deduction...
Indian regulator takes comparative ULIP shopping mobile
Life has become easier for tech-savvy Indian consumers looking for the best deal in unit linked insurance policies (ULIP), thanks to a new service introduced by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)
AIA embarks on big spend in Taiwan
One focus of the capital expenditure will be the establishment of a series of iCenters which will deploy technology systems in areas such as policy processing and sales and account management
Nippon Life extends its reach in India
The deal with Reliance Capital, a unit of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group, is worth 22bn ($285m) and represents the largest yet foreign direct investment in Indias asset management industry
China's life insurance market ends 2011 on stronger note
Data from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), published by the countrys official news agency Xinhua, reflects an increase of 6.8% in premium income compared with 2010 to CNY969.98bn ($154bn)
Aon migrates to the UK
In a major endorsement of Londons standing as a global financial centre, Aon has announced that it is to move its corporate headquarters from Chicago to London
SEC lays fraud charges against Life Partners
Dropping a bombshell on the US life settlements industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Life Partners Holdings and three of its senior executives with involvement in a fraudulent disclosure and accounting scheme involving life settlements. Since its founding in 1991 it has completed more than 137,000 transactions for a client base of more than 28,000 individuals and institutions involving the purchase of 6,400...
End to MetLife's bank holding company status is in sight
Hastening its exit from the US retail banking market, MetLife is to sell the bulk of the depository business of MetLife Bank to GE Capital
Risk management set for monumental test
For insurers and other business at the coalface of consumer markets and globalisation this is a resounding message that comes through in the World Economic Forums (WEF) Global Risks Report 2012. Now in its seventh edition, the report draws on comment from 469 industry leaders and experts in specific fields and is published in cooperation with Marsh & McLennan Companies, Swiss Re, the Wharton Center for Risk Management and Zurich Financial...
US health insurers looking healthier
Things are looking up for US health insurers, believes Moodys Investor Services, prompting the rating agency to change its outlook for the industry from negative to stable Key financial metrics for the US health care insurance sector have stabilised, with solid earnings and stable to slightly positive membership growth in the past two years," said Stephen Zaharuk, a Moodys senior vice-president
Low interest rates maul US pension funds
Based on the consulting and actuarial firms Pension Fund Index, which monitors 100 of the US largest funds, 2011 ended with the funds nursing a record $464.4bn combined deficit
Big changes at the top at Allianz
The honour of being the first female appointee in the insurers 121-year history has gone to Helga Jung, since 2000 head of group mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Quantitative easing takes big toll on UK funds
Quantitative easing, the Bank of Englands (BoE) response to the UKs flagging economy, has done severe damage to the countrys defined benefit (DB) pension funds
China's life insurers on the hunt for new capital
Joining a steady stream of Chinese life insurers seeking to bolster their depleted capital resources, Ping An, Chinas second-largest life insurer, has announced plans to issue up to CNY26bn ($4bn) through a convertible bond issue
Aviva makes going mobile for advisers
In the first development of its kind in the UK, Aviva has launched a version of its dedicated adviser website that can be accessed through mobile phones.
Zurich and Prudential Financial team up to serve multinationals
In an unusual move in the competitive insurance market, US insurer Prudential Financials Prudential Group Insurance unit and Swiss insurer Zurich Financials (Zurich) Zurich American Life, have joined forces to service American multinationals
Friends Life expects big savings from outsourcing deal
The outsourcing agreement covers customer services and most IT functions and is anticipated to start generating annual cost savings of £143m from 2013 for Friends Life, a wholly-owned unit of Resolution which acquired the insurer in 2007 as part of its life industry consolidation strategy
Canadian government to crack down on bank annuity-type products
No doubt much to the delight of Canadian life insurers, the countrys minister of finance Jim Flaherty has come down hard on banks that are attempting to circumvent strict rules forbidding their involvement in the sale of life insurance
UK advisers testing the social media water
The common perception amongst many IFAs is that social media is a time-wasting fad, but large numbers are now fully embracing it as an important business tool," said Philip Calvert, founder of IFA Life, an online business and financial social networking website dedicated to IFAs, mortgage brokers and financial planners.
Dorchester Pacific exits New Zealand life insurance market
Troubled New Zealand financial services group Dorchester Pacific has closed its doors to new life insurance business Dorchester Pacific, which until the announcement offered life cover in addition to its consumer finance operations, was saved from bankruptcy in 2010 when shareholders agreed to swap its debt for new equity. In a statement that accompanied Dorchester Pacifics results for the half-year to September 2011 its CEO Paul Byrnes...
Changing of the guard at Bharti Axa Investment Managers
Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises desire to exit the countrys financial services industry has been partly realised with the announcement that state-controlled Bank of India (BoI) is to buy its 25% stake in Bharti Axa Investment Managers (BAIM)
Non-payment catches up with New York Life insurers
It has been a long wait for many beneficiaries of policies issued by life insurers in the state of New York but after what have in some cases been decades they are finally receiving what is due to them
Sanlam and Shriram shuffle assets in India
In a reshaping of its interest in India, South Africas second-largest life insurer, Sanlam, is to sell its 26% stakes in Shriram Life Insurance and Shriram General Insurance to its joint venture partner, Shriram Capital
Reluctant UK Treasury consults on premium gender equality
Making no secret of its dislike of the concept, the UK Treasury has opened a consultation on the implementation of the European Court of Justices ruling banning the use of gender as a risk factor by insurers as from 21 December 2012 (see EU insurers gender headache)
Smaller US life insurers win in the customer satisfaction stakes
Smaller is better, or at least that is the broad opinion of Americans when it comes to their level of satisfaction with life insurers reveals the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) compiled by the University of Michigans Ross School of Business (RSB) In its study the RSB found that life insurers achieved an overall score of 80 out of a potential 100 on the ACSI while smaller insurers scored an average of 82
Tough times ahead for US insurers
Future growth in the US life insurance is a matter of managing capital and risk in an uncertain environment, Ernst & Young (E&Y) has emphasised in their new Global Insurance Center US Outlook Those life insurers that manage the associated multiple variables will be the winners of the tumultuous years ahead, predicts the professional services firm. Laying the groundwork for future growth while wrestling with low interest rates and...
New UK pension risk transfer insurer promises a better deal
Founded by the former chairman of The Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, Long Acre has set itself the objective of reducing the cost of DB pension scheme buyouts by up to 20%
VA writers head for the exit door
Hit by losses in the wake of the global financial crisis and ongoing equity market volatility, a number of major variable annuity writers in the US have exited the market
Korea Life takes the plunge into China
Undaunted by the poor showing of foreign insurers in China, Korea Life Insurance (KLI) is to forge ahead with the establishment of a joint venture (JV) life insurance company in the country, reports Xinhua, Chinas official news agency KLI, Koreas second-largest life insurer, received the go-ahead in November 2011 from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to proceed with the establishment of the 50:50 JV in partnership with Zhejiang...
Rothesay Life piles on the deals in UK risk transfer market
With the closing of three deals worth a total of £2.28bn ($3.56bn) December 2011 proved to be a highly successful one for Rothesay Life, a UK defined benefit (DB) pension scheme risk transfer specialist owned by US investment bank Goldman Sachs In the largest of the three deals, Rothesay Life concluded a £1.3bn longevity insurance solution involving pension liabilities of the Airways Pension Scheme (APS), one of two DB pension schemes...
The Hartford exits private placement insurance sector
Turning its back on the ultra-high net worth private placement insurance sector, US insurer The Hartford Financial Services Group has sold its Hartford Life Private Placement (HLPP) unit to Philadelphia Financial Group (PFG) in a $117.5m cash deal.
Talanx, Meiji Yasuda Life join forces
Using the platform of an alliance forged in November 2010, German insurer Talanx and Japanese insurer Meiji Yasuda Life are to jointly acquire control of Polish insurance holding company Europa Group
Reliance Industries calls off Bharti Axa Life deal
Under a proposal announced in June 2011, Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises was to sell its 74% stakes in its life and general insurance joint ventures (JV) to Reliance Industries (RI) and its subsidiary Reliance Industrial Infrastructure (RII), for an undisclosed sum
Manulife takes the plunge into Cambodia
Cambodias embryonic life insurance industry has taken another decisive step forward with the announcement by Manulife Financial that it has been given the go-ahead by the countrys Ministry of Economy and Finance to establish a wholly-owned life insurance business The Canadian insurer said that it had also agreed to provide support to the government in its efforts to develop the countrys life insurance industry
EU insurers' gender headache
Gender equality must be upheld at all costs, the European Court of Justice ruled in March 2011 when, despite stiff opposition from the insurance industry, it ruled that in the EU when assessing and pricing insurance risk the use of gender was in conflict with the European Charter.
UnitedHealth joins march into Medicare Advantage
This comes with the announcement that it is to acquire XLHealth, a sponsor of Medicare Advantage health plans with a primary focus on Medicare recipients with special needs, such as those with chronic illness
VA book takes big bite out of ING Group's bottom line
Changes in assumptions relating to the US VA book, which closed to new business in early-2009, will result in an estimated earnings charge of between 900,000 ($1.25bn) and 1.1bn against fourth-quarter 2011 results, the Dutch group has announced.
Embedded value to determine insurers' IPO eligibility in India
Indian life insurers will not have to first achieve profitability before embarking on a capital raising exercise through an initial public offer (IPO), the countrys Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has ruled. The IRDA has deemed the main prerequisite for an IPO will be that an insurers embedded value is at least two times its paid-up equity capital This approach has also received the approval of market regulator, the...
UK closed life giant under takeover spotlight
Phoenix Group, the largest player in the UKs closed life insurance book sector, has ended speculation in the media by confirming it has received a number of approaches from potential bidders for the company.
Foreign insurers face big decision
Although Chinas life insurance market has grown spectacularly and holds the promise of more to come, foreign players are losing market share ground steadily
FSA attacks 'toxic' life settlement funds
The FSAs warning sparked a rush for the exit door by investors in one of the largest of these funds, the EEA Life Settlements Fund, forcing its managers, Guernsey-based EEA Fund Management, to halt redemptions. FSA MD Margaret Cole spelled out the regulators concerns in no uncertain terms, emphasising the damage caused by past failures of life settlements products.
British workers have little trust in pensions
Across a broad spectrum of workers aged 18 to 55 and above, the IFP found that a mere 29% of people have confidence that contributing to a pension scheme is the best way to save for their retirement.
Danger lurks in UK hybrid schemes
Our research indicates that some schemes are so complex that even those accountable for running them struggle to understand their workings," said June Mulroy, the Pensions Regulators executive director for DC scheme, governance and administration
Keeping the distributor satisfied
Insurance producers remain the most vital cog in the US life distribution channel, but many are not getting the resources and support needed to maximise their businesses, according to a new study by professional services firm Deloitte Consulting.
ING US turns to mobile technology
In a world where mobile communications is becoming the order of the day, ING US has harnessed this trend to encourage employees to enrol in their workplace retirement plan
UNIQA exits Germany
Turning its back on the German insurance market, Austrias second-largest insurer UNIQA is to sell its 91.7% stake in German insurer Mannheimer AG Holding to German insurer Die Continentale
US individual life application activity still in the doldrums
Application activity for individually underwritten life insurance in the US during the first 10 months of 2011 eased by 0.4% when compared to the same period in 2010, research firm MIB has reported
First National Bank slashes life cover costs in South Africa
To ensure that our customers are getting the best possible value for money, we have stripped out all unnecessary distribution costs, such as advertising and broker fees, enabling us to pass the saving on to our customers," said Johan Nagel, CEO of FNB Insurance.
Life cover ranks high among the US military
US military personnel also represent a segment of the population more likely to buy life insurance than their civilian counterparts, according to First Command Financial Services.
Aviva Singapore offers bet on stronger renminbi
In a pioneering move, UK insurer Aviva has launched the first single premium non-participating endowment plan denominated in Chinese renminbi in Singapore The new product has been branded the Dragon Renminbi Plan (DRP) and offers an annual yield of 2.85%
Auto-enrolment reprieve for small businesses
Bowing to pressure from small business groups, the British government has announced an extension of the deadline for auto-enrolment of employees of businesses with fewer than 50 employees Under the revised deadline, small business must begin automatically enrolling their staff no later than May 2015, instead of the previous timing of April 2014
Irish Life sale put on hold
The sale of Irish Life, Irelands largest life insurer, had been ordered by Irelands minister of finance Michael Noonan in June 2011 as a means of contributing towards the 4bn ($5.4bn) recapitalisation of ILPG.
Aviva turns to social media
UK insurer Aviva has taken this to heart with the launch of Magic Money, a campaign that uses social media such as Facebook to raise awareness among younger workers about the importance of starting to save early in their lives.
Danish pensions giant storms into UK market
The objective of NOW: Pensions is to target employers who opt for the default fund, the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), which has been established by the government as an alternative for employers not wishing to appoint a fund management company.
Social media grabs producers' attention
There can be little if any doubt remaining that social media in its various forms is here to stay as an important communication medium in the life insurance industry
Harnessing an ineluctable trend
Initial concerns about the compliance issues surrounding the use of social networking sites in life insurance marketing have given way to the recognition that Facebook, Linked-In and other networks are here to stay. The inevitability of social media as a force for reaching out to three critical components of the life industry producers, consumers and employees have let to a veritable explosion in the use of the technology.
The Hartford takes waiting out of buying life insurance
To remedy this shortcoming, the US insurer has introduced Issue First, a solution it claims reduces the time required to issue a permanent life insurance policy from 48 days to five days
AIG remains upbeat despite profit slump
The news came close on the heels of AIGs announcement of poor third quarter results which saw it swing from a net attributable profit of $1.8bn in the previous quarter to a net attributable loss of $4.1bn.
UK pension scheme membership continues its downward trend
Continuing a long-entrenched downward trend, membership of occupation pension schemes in the UK fell again in 2010, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported
Catastrophe life reinsurance costs on the decline in 2011
Despite a dramatic rise in natural catastrophes in 2011, the cost of catastrophe excess of loss (XOL) life reinsurance has declined this year, according to a study by Aon Benfield For its study, the reinsurance intermediary assessed data from 284 insurers from 21 countries, or groups of countries, which buy a combined life catastrophe reinsurance capacity of 7.5bn ($10.6bn).
China Life dishes up more bad news
China Life attributed the significant deterioration in its performance in the third quarter to the sharp decline in the Shanghai A-Share Stock Price Index which shed almost 15% of its value in the third quarter of 2011.
Axa Wealth talks up growth plans
To achieve this target will require a significant acceleration in the 10% year-on-year growth pace reported by Axa Wealth in the first nine months of 2011
Insurance technology vendors end legal battle
The battle began in December 2007 when Accenture filed a suit against Guidewire in which it accused its rival of having infringed certain of its claims management patents and of having stolen trade secrets relating to claims management technology Accenture had developed
UNIQA warns of pain now for gain later
The composite insurer has warned investors that to cover restructuring costs a one-time provision of about 170m ($240m) is to be incurred in the fourth quarter of 2011 and will result in its net profit for the full year being a "flat zero
Online employee benefit enrolment takes lead
When it comes to employee benefit online enrolment is the way to go reveals a study by US mutual insurer The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian).
US industry at 'little risk' from eurozone woes
US life insurers risk exposure to potential debt defaults by peripheral Eurozone countries is small, according to Shachar Gonen, an analyst at rating agency Moodys Investor Services
Biggest players got bigger in 2010
A recovery in assets managed by the worlds largest asset managers that got off to a flying start in 2009 and continued at a slower pace in 2010 has favoured the largest players
UK banks pay-up big time for PPI mis-selling
Mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) has taken a heavy toll on Spanish bank Santanders UK business units profit, reducing what would have been an attributable profit of £1.197bn ($1.8 bn) in the first nine months of 2011 by £538m to £659m
EIOPA aims to enhance variable annuity selling standards in the EU
Seemingly in preparation wider adoption of variable annuity (VA) products in the European Union, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has just published its Draft Report on Good Practices for Disclosure and Selling of Variable Annuities
New York health insurers back down
A disagreement between health insurers in New York State and the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) over disclosure issues has ended in victory for the departments superintendent Benjamin M Lawsky The conflict was sparked by the DFS ruling in September that health insurers in the state must make planned rate increases public
Life insurers' low interest rate woes
The worst of the credit risk crisis may be in the past for the US insurance industry, but new threats are emerging in the form of the lowest interest rates seen in the country since the early 1950s, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting.
Legal & General sets new UK buyout record
Setting a new record in the UKs defined pension scheme buyout market Legal & General (L&G) has entered into a bulk annuity contract with the trustees of the Turner & Newall (T&N) Retirements Benefit Scheme, Alexander Forbes Trustee Services, worth £1.1bn ($1.75bn)
Towards a better deal for UK DC fund members
More can be done to ensure that defined contribution (DC) pension fund members in the UK receive the best services, believe a coalition of six leading investment companies Backing their view, the companies announced the formation of the Defined Contribution Investment Forum (DCIF) at the National Association of Pension Funds annual conference held in October. The members of DCIF are particularly concerned that the widest variety of investment...
Commercial property stirs up mixed views
Commercial property shares will produce "outsize returns" when global economic recovery gathers pace, predicts Frdric Tempel, head of European property securities at Axa Framlington, Axa Investment Managers property portfolio management arm.
Retirement gloom descends on the UK
This ominous announcement is based on a study conducted by the insurer of individuals aged 45 to 65 who have financial plans in place to provide for their long-term future.
AVIVA India streamlines microinsurance processing
To address the problem, AVIVA India and its long-standing partner, BASIX have introduced a straight through processing (STP) solution which they claim is a first in India
Cigna looks for growth in seniors market
Significantly increasing its reach in the seniors market, US health insurer Cigna Corporation has made a successful offer for HealthSpring, one of the largest players in the Medicare Advantage segment Cignas cash offer of $3.8bn for the managed care company was pitched at a 37% premium to HealthSprings share price just prior to the announcement of the deal Commenting on the deal, Cigna president and CEO David M Cordani said: "HealthSpring is a...
3 US insurers set for systemically important status
The starting point for a review of a non-bank by the FSOC to determine whether it is a SIFI under the proposed guidelines would be total consolidated global assets of $50bn for US groups and $50bn of total consolidated US assets for foreign groups
Korean insurers taken to task for colluding
Koreas competition authority, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTA), has come down heavily on some of the big-names in the countrys life insurance industry, dishing out fines totalling KRW365.3bn ($325m) to 16 insurers which it accused of having operated as a cartel between 2001 and 2006
TIAA-CREF Life boosts its high net worth reach
Significantly expanding its reach into the US ultra high net worth investor market, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company (TIAA-CREF Life) has forged an exclusive distribution agreement with M Financial Group
Optimism fades in UK financial service sector
Sentiment in the UKs financial services industry in September fell for the first time since March 2009, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reported
Soaring contributions ahead for US pension plan sponsors
According to the SOA, sponsors cash contributions to private sector pension plans have generally exceeded minimum required levels and in the 10 years to 2009 aggregate annual contributions averaged about $66bn
A wake-up call for financial advisers
To address the problem, Genworth teamed up with Gregory Fairchild, associate professor at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business in a research project dubbed LifeJacket, aimed at assisting financial advisers so they close the insurance coverage gap.
A huge mortality protection gap to fill
But from all accounts life insurers are failing to capture the full potential of developing and developed markets in the region as evidenced by a massive mortality protection gap.
Life premium income growth stalls in China
The industrys performance in the first eight months of 2011 represented a significant decline in momentum compared with the first half of the year which saw total premium income increase by 13% compared with the first half of 2010
Absa growth in African takaful market
Extending its reach in the Islamic financial services market, South African bank Absas wholly-owned insurance unit Absa Insurance Company (AIC) is to acquire the insurance book of the countrys only independent Sharia-law compliant insurer Takafol South Africa (Takafol SA)
Intact on-sells Axa's former Canadian life unit
Axa announced on 26 September that it had closed the sale of its Canadian general and life insurance operations to Canadian general insurer Intact Financial Corporation for C$2.6bn ($2.5bn) Simultaneously, Intact announced that it had agreed to sell the life insurance portion of the acquisition, Axa Life Insurance, to Canadian composite mutual insurer SSQ Financial Group for an undisclosed sum. Axa Life Insurance operates in the individual and...
Direct marketing by US life insurers missing the mark
This is the view of Gary Wooley, director of insurance consulting at Mintel Comperemedia, a consultancy specialising in direct marketing
Prudential Financial gets go-ahead in China
The JV partners received initial approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) in mid-September to form what will be the first life insurance company in China that will be owned jointly by a non-state-owned enterprise and a foreign capital enterprise.
Allianz moves up global brand value ranks
Allianzs aggressive branding strategy is paying off with the insurer achieving the highest brand value increase of any European financial services company in Interbrands Best Global Brands 2011 study
Old Mutual exits US retail mutual fund market
Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM), a unit of UK insurer Old Mutual, is to exit the US retail mutual fund market following an agreement to sell its 17 US retail mutual funds to Touchstone Investments for an undisclosed sum For Touchstone, the acquisition will bring with it 17 mutual funds with total assets under management of some $2.3bn Under the agreement with Touchstone, OMAM will act as a sub-advisor to the 17 funds
UK pension gloom
In a bid to prevent the UK from plunging into recession, the Bank of England has embarked on a new round of quantitative easing that will see it inject £75bn ($120bn) into the economy. There is no other choice, said the Bank of Englands governor Mervyn King, who warned that the current financial situation is "the most serious financial crisis at least since the 1930s, if not ever". However, while the banks action may be the correct thing to do...
Life settlements under heavy attack in the US
In an open letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has called on the regulator to back the SEC life settlements task forces findings and recommend to Congress that it amends the definition of a security under the Federal securities laws to include life settlements.
Premiums soar in the US
Costs of employer-sponsored health insurance in the US have soared this year according to a report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Based on a survey of employers conducted between January and May this year, the non-profit organisation found that compared with the same period in 2010 the average premium for single coverage had risen 8% for single coverage and 9% for family coverage.
Life insurance takes a backseat in the financial planning process
A recent survey by a life industry consultancy paints a grim picture of the centrality of life insurance in the financial planning process in the US. Saybrus Partners teamed with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of American consumers on a variety of questions related to financial planning, investing and life insurance. The most disturbing finding, by far, was that only about half of adults who currently have a financial adviser...
Allianz stakes claim in CO2 trading market
It has now broadened the scope of its investments with the acquisition of a 10% stake in Wildlife Works Carbon (WWC), a developer of projects reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation.
WellPoint and IBM team up
US health insurer WellPoint and IMB are joining forces to bring the power of analytical computing to bear on the challenge of improving patient care. At the heart of the solution is Watson, one of the most advanced computing systems yet developed by the technology giant. Watson, named after IMB founder Thomas J Watson, was developed by a team of IBM scientists who set out to build a computing system that rivals a humans ability to answer...
Discretionary clauses banned in California
Discretionary clauses in life, health and disability policies became a thing of the past in California in early-October when the US states governor signed into law Senate Bill 621 (SB621) SB621 protects consumers of life, health and disability insurance from discretionary clauses in their insurance policies which give the insurer the sole discretion to decide if a beneficiary has become disabled, even if the consumer has a doctor certify that...
MetLife takes reverse mortgage lead
Departure of two of the USs largest banks from the reverse mortgage market has created an opportunity for the US largest life insurer, MetLife, to fill the void The departure of two of the largest players in the reverse mortgage business, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, citing the chaotic nature of the US housing market, has not deterred others from filling the void.
Allianz takes a step back in Bahrain and Qatar
Allianz has done an about-turn on its go-it-alone strategy in the Qatar and Bahrain takaful sectors with its decision to transfer 75% of its unit serving the two Gulf states, Allianz Takaful, to Bahrain-based financial service company MedGulf BSC In an announcement, Allianz stated: "Allianz Takaful will continue to sell the whole range of takaful and insurance products in the market of Bahrain and life and health products in Qatar
Solvency II regulation for pensions faces opposition from business
This warning comes from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the UKs biggest business organisation, in a call on the British government to resist plans by the European Commission (EC) to treat defined benefit pension schemes as insurance contracts.
Big future for accountable care organisations
According to Aon Hewitt, an ACO refers to the organisational structure adopted by federal agency the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to implement the Shared Savings Program established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Hefty sentences for life settlements scamsters
The axe has fallen on Adley Abdulwahab and Christian Allmendinger, two former Texas businessmen found guilty in June 2011 of a life settlements fraud in which some 800 people in 36 US states and in Canada lost a total of $100m
UK retirement savings go out the window
UK consumers are under heavy pressure and it is showing in one of the worst ways possible: deferment, or even abandonment, of saving for retirement According to the UK life insurer, 35% of British adults who are yet to retire have stopped paying into their pension savings programmes
Industry body prods UK consumers to shop around for annuities
The ABIs solution to the problem comes in the form of a compulsory code of practice that will compel insurers to remove the annuity application form in the communications they send to their customers
AIA Group firing on all cylinders
Asia is the most attractive place in the world in which to operate as a life insurer," Tucker stressed in his review of AIAs third-quarter 2011 results
Education and income affects worker insurance decisions
From an education perspective, the life insurers study revealed that workers with a high school education only had the lowest level of understanding of life insurance and were least likely to sign up for this benefit (65%)
UK property tops Axa Real Estate's buying list
French insurer Axas property investment unit Axa Real Estate Investment Managers (Axa Real Estate) was particularly active in the first half of 2011, completing 80 transactions worth a total of 2.13bn ($3.1bn) on behalf of clients compared to 2.7bn of transactions during the whole of 2010
Hope for the underinsured in the US
It may be the focus of heated political debate in the US, but President Obamas Affordable Care Act appears to be the only hope for millions of Americans who have health insurance plans providing inadequate coverage Underinsured families are at nearly as high risk as the uninsured because, while they have health insurance, holes or limits in their plans expose them to often unaffordable medical costs," said Commonwealth Fund senior...
Ping An gains ground in China
Ping An, Chinas second largest life insurer, romped home in the first half of 2011, reporting a net profit of CNY12.998bn ($2bn), up 32.7% compared with the first of 2010
Risk transfer picks up speed in the UK
After a slow start to the year, the UKs defined benefit pension scheme risk transfer market is again a hive of activity with all signs pointing to a sustained high level of activity A prediction made at the start of 2011 by actuarial consulting firm Hymans Robertson that it would be a busy year for the UKs defined benefits pension scheme risk transfer market is proving to be correct
GCC faces a $60bn headache
Governments of the Gulf Cooperation Councils (GCC) six-member countries face a monumental financial headache in the health care space, warns the World Economic Forum (WEF) The combined annual health care bill of the six countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will, predicts the independent international organisation, rocket from $12bn at present to $60bn by 2025
No quick recovery in sight
After a precipitous plunge in 2008 and 2009, life insurance premium income in the UK stabilised in 2010 However, pressure on disposable incomes is likely to prevent any meaningful recovery until at least 2013, with even this being placed in doubt by the potential negative impact of the Retail Distribution Review. Although the UKs life insurance industry will continue to face challenging market conditions for some time to come there is some...
Mid-market America is US life insurers' big hope
In 2004, financial services organisation LIMRA estimated that life insurance sales in the US would increase by $9.5trn if the 48m then underinsured households bought the amount of life coverage they needed
US individual life application recovery remains uninspiring
Application activity in the US individual life insurance sector inched up in August, rising 0.7% compared with August 2010, research firm MIB Group has reported
US annuity market remains in upwards mode
Demand for variable annuity (VA) products in the US remained strong in the second quarter of 2011 with sales rising by 20% compared with the same period in 2010 to $40.9bn, financial services organisation LIMRA has reported
Securian strikes second acquisition deal of 2011
Continuing to take advantage of rationalisation in the US insurance market, mutual financial services company Securian Financial Group is to acquire American Modern Life Insurance Company and its subsidiary Southern Pioneer Life Insurance Company, from American Modern Insurance Group (AMIG) for an undisclosed sum
Global broking giants scramble into Africa
Significantly expanding its reach in Africa, US professional services and insurance brokerage group Marsh & McLennan Companies (Marsh) is to acquire the brokerage business of Alexander Forbes of South African financial services company Alexander Forbes (AF)
Retirement hopes are fading fast in the UK
Highlighting an overall upward shift in the age at which people anticipate being able to stop working, the asset management firm found that 37% of non-retired British adults intend to retire over the age of 61
US FATCA regulation looms large for insurers
FACTA requires foreign financial institutions (FFI) to report information to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest
2010 UK life and critical illness payouts just under £2bn mark
Payments by UK insurers against claims under life and critical illness (CI) policies in 2010 totalled £1.916bn ($3.1bn), an increase of 6.4% compared to with 2009, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has reported
Private equity firm buys Aegon's UK closed-book business
The cash deal is worth £275m ($450m) and comes three months after Aegons announcement that it is selling its US-based reinsurance unit Transamerica Re to French reinsurer SCOR for $912.5m (see SCOR snaps up Transamerica Re).
Top communications award for Guardian Life
Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has walked off with the top honour in the annual reports category of the Insurance & Financial Communications Associations (IFCA) 2011 annual adjudication of communications excellence in the US insurance industry
US lawmakers act to stop double-digit rate hikes
Under a new regulation required by the Affordable Care Act, health insurers seeking to increase their rates by 10% or more must now submit a request to state or federal reviewers who will determine whether the request is reasonable or not
Longevity driving innovation in the US
Whether it is combination products built with long-term-care (LTC), or LTC combined with an annuity, todays product tweaks in the US life insurance market reflect the importance of longevity as the dominant variable in the marketplace
Retail giant enters Australian insurance market
As an initial step, Woolworths, Australias largest supermarket group, will be offering life insurance and pet insurance as an addition to its financial services strategy launched in 2008 under the Everyday Money brand
Allianz gives PIMCO more breathing space
In a major restructuring, Allianz is to give greater autonomy to its two key asset management operations, Allianz Global Investments (AGI) and PIMCO, which will as of 1 January 2012 function as discrete investment management businesses housed in a new division, Allianz Asset Management
Cambodia to get first life insurance company
The new company, to be named Cambodian Life Insurance, is an initiative of the Cambodian government which will retain 51% of the new insurers equity following its establishment.
UK enhanced annuity sales rising
Indicating the growing interest in enhanced annuities, professional services firm Towers Watson reports that sales in the second quarter of 2011 came in at £774.5m ($1.28bn), the highest quarterly sales figure since enhanced annuities were introduced in the UK in 1995
Australia looks to national disability insurance
This damning conclusion was reached by the Productivity Commission which published an enquiry report at the end of July in which it calls for radical reform of disability insurance in Australia
US insurers explore social media
Social media such as Facebook provides a huge opportunity for US life insurers to communicate interactively with their customers However, lingering concerns about reputational risk and regulatory compliance have prompted most life insurers to adopt a cautious approach
MetLife puts 'for sale' sign on banking unit
MetLife, the largest life insurer in the US, has put up a for sale sign on its banking unit, MetLife Bank The move indicates MetLife wants to avoid potentially stricter regulation of large banks which it would face because of its status as one of the US 10 largest bank holding companies
Willis pays up for slipping up
Commenting on the fine, the FSAs acting director of enforcement and financial crime, Tracey McDermott, said: "Willis Limited failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure payments it was making to overseas third parties were not being used for corrupt purposes
S&P takes a dim view on the US
Commenting on its decision, S&P said in a statement: "The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilise the governments medium-term debt dynamics With the US sovereign debts downgrade also went a downgrade by the rating agency to AA of the long-term counterparty credit and financial strength ratings...
Pacific Life thinks big in life retrocession market
In a deal that will make it North Americas biggest provider of life retrocession insurance, US insurer Pacific Life Corporations Pacific Life Re unit is to acquire Canadian insurer Manulife Financials life retrocession business unit, Manulife Life Retrocession, for an unspecified amount.
Manulife IBM for outsourcing support
Building on a decade-long relationship with IBM, Canadas largest life insurer Manulife Financial has entered into an outsourcing agreement with the US technology giant worth a total of about C$630m ($660m) over the agreements seven-year life.
US industry on the brink of a surge in M&As
If the strategic thinking of the majority of US insurance executives is transformed into action, a surge in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the industry lies just around the corner
Low interest rates have US insurers on edge
But for insurers it is creating a monumental problem, battering their prospective investment income while at the same time driving up the expected cost of future liabilities, observes Towers Watson in a new study.
Fast decisions are of the essence, believes Aviva
Indicative of its success in the speed stakes, Aviva reports that 95% of its underwriting decisions are now being made within eight hours of questionnaire completion by applicants for life cover and all decisions within 24 hours.
Putting health insurance in the hands of the American consumer
As a key step towards this objective, the CMS has taken steps to encourage creation of new private non-profit, consumer-governed health insurance plans that will give consumers and small businesses additional affordable health insurance choices
Falling gilt yields bad news for annuity buyers
Investors seeking a safe haven amid the global equity market turmoil have been switching aggressively into government bonds, in the process driving their yields down to either multi-decade lows or near lows
US bank fixed annuity sales post strong gains in Q1
Sales of fixed annuities by US banks in the first quarter of 2011 surged 16% compared with the first quarter of 2010 to $4.93bn, according to data from fixed annuity research firm Beacon Research
Old Mutual South Africa takes big plunge into outsourcing
In a move aimed at improving efficiency and cutting costs, UK insurer Old Mutuals largest unit, Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA), has opted to go the outsourcing route Under a five-year contract worth ZAR2.49bn ($360m), Japanese telecommunications group Nippon Telegraph and Telephones information technology subsidiary Dimension Data and South African telecommunications company Telkom will operate all data and voice services for OMSA, its banking...
AIG gets go ahead for Nan Shan Life sale
Almost two years on, American International Group (AIG) has finally received approval from Taiwans Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to sell its 97.57 percent stake in Nan Shan Life to a consortium led by a unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Ruentex Groups Ruen Chen Investment Holding Company
Call for Solvency II deadline delay
Widespread calls from within the European insurance industry to delay the implementation of the Solvency II regulatory regime scheduled for 1 January 2013 are starting to receive solid political backing
Premium income growth takes a dive in China
It was slow-down time for Chinas insurance industry in the first half of 2011 with the life sector producing a particularly dismal showing, reports the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC)
Punjab Bank to buy MetLife India stake
Subject to regulatory approval, PNB will acquire a 30% stake in MetLife India for an undisclosed sum and establish a joint venture in Indias life insurance market
Indian new premium income nosedives
According to the regulator total first-year premium income in the three months to 30 June came in at INR182.83bn ($4.1bn), down 28.4% from the INR255.22bn recorded in the same quarter in 2010-2011
Allianz hailed as being greenest of the green
In its Best Global Green Brands 2011 survey, global brand rating company Interbrand has ranked the European insurer as the greenest financial service company in the world
Aegon UK rebrands asset management unit
A lot believes the UK unit of Dutch insurer Aegon which on 1 September will change the name of its asset management unit Aegon Asset Management to Kames Capital
Ray of hope on US retirement savings front
Americans are known for their optimism and that is being reflected in their increasing participation in retirement plans, even as the economy continues to struggle," said E Thomas Foster Jr, vice-president of the insurers retirement plans group
Qatar to get new life and health insurer
This follows the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authoritys granting of a licence to Qatar Insurance Company (CIC) to establish a new wholly-owned unit to be named Q-Life & Medical which will have an initial capital of QAR100m ($28m)
Singapore sets cracking first-half growth pace
The increase followed a 44.6% rise in premium income in the first quarter of 2011 and took total premium income in the first six months to SGD941.5m, 38% more than in the first half of 2010
AIA Group sets a cracking pace at its interim stage
Investors who backed AIA Groups initial public offer in October last year have reason to smile following release of the Asian life insurers interim results for the six months to 31 May 2011
Buying life insurance the American way
When it comes to buying life insurance, Americans preferences are shifting increasingly away from the traditional brokeragent channel in favour of indirect channels, particularly the internet This is one of the notable findings of The 2011 Insurance Barometer Study conducted by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) and financial services organisation LIMRA
Living benefits the rage in the US
Living benefits, which emerged in the US as little more than benefit accelerators that enabled policyholders to tap into the assets accumulated in a life product, have grown in recent years to tap into cash values in tax-efficient ways, even for guaranteed income for life.
ING bows out of Latin American insurance scene
The Dutch group has agreed to sell the bulk of its pensions, life insurance and investment management operations to Colombian investment holding company Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana (Gruposura) for a cash total of 2.62bn ($3.74bn)
Nippon Life takes ?500m bet on Allianz
Extending its quest for international investment opportunities, Nippon Life, Japans largest life insurer, has announced that it is to invest 500m ($710m) in European insurer Allianz.
Munich Re hands back Russian life licence
After six years, the German reinsurer has decided to cease direct operations in the country and return the licence of its Moscow-based life reinsurance unit MR Life EECA. In a statement, Munich Re explained that the reason for returning the licence is the restrained development of personal insurances markets which has resulted in a change in demand for life reinsurance
Axa Private Equity bags Citigroup portfolio
Clinching its second major deal with a US bank in just over a year, Axa Private Equity has acquired a $1.7bn portfolio from Citigroup comprising 207 limited partnership interests in private equity buyout funds and direct stakes in an undisclosed number of companies
Zurich Financial enters Malaysia
Zurich has agreed to pay around $115m for 100% of Malaysian Assurance Alliance Berhad (MAAB), the only significant operating unit of Malaysian company MAA Holdings Berhad.
Problems loom for auto-enrolment in the UK
Auto-enrolment of employees into pension schemes in the UK due to commence in 2012 is heading for a "car crash", warns Lee Hollingworth, head of defined contribution services at Hymans Robertson His warning follows a survey undertaken by the pensions and benefits consulting firm of finance and human resources directors at the UKs largest employers those with more than 5,000 employees. The new pension regime requires all employers to...
Regulation in Minnesota grinds to a halt
Along with all state departmental functions, insurance regulation, which forms part of the duties of the Department of Commerce, was brought to a complete halt at the end of June by an impasse in the states legislature. The shutdown of Minnesotas state departments had its origins in May this year when the states legislature adjourned following the inability of Democratic and Republican members to agree on how to deal with the elimination of a...
European premium income off the canvas
Europes insurance industry saw total premium income rise from 1.06trn ($1.56trn) in 2009 to 1.12trn in 2010, an increase of 5.2%, according to preliminary data from European insurance industry body the Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA)
ING bids farewell to ING Direct USA
In a move that seemingly ensures INGs ability to repay the final 3bn ($4.3bn) of its obligation to the Dutch state ahead of its own May 2012 deadline, ING is to sell its online banking unit ING Direct USA to US bank Capital One
Axa, Norges Bank team up in Paris
The JV will be executed on behalf of Axa France Insurance Companies by the French insurers property unit Axa Real Estate Investment Managers and the Norwegian banks Norges Bank Investment Management unit which manages the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global.
Munich Re America goes green
Setting a good environmental example can also yield significant financial benefits indicates Munich Re Americas decision to install a 2.5 megawatt solar power system at its Plainsboro facility in New Jersey
Allianz turns its attention to gas
Silex Gas Norway, a wholly-owned unit of Allianz, has agreed to purchase a 6.4% stake in Norways gas transportation network Gassled from French oil company Total for a consideration of NOK4.64bn ($850m).
Solvency II looming too fast for most insurers
Solvency IIs 1 January 2013 deadline should be extended by a year, believe 60% of delegates from European insurers who recently attended a conference organised by reinsurance broking company Aon Benfield
Uncle Sam on the hunt for tax revenue
On the hunt for more revenue, the Obama administration is turning its attention to potential new sources lurking in the life industry, including corporate-owned life insurance and life settlements As budget woes worsen in the US, the federal government is looking in every nook and cranny for new sources of revenue.
MetLife strengthens its position in Turkey
Strengthening its position in Turkey, US insurer MetLife is to acquire a 99.86% stake in DenizEmeklilik, the life insurance and pension subsidiary of Belgian bank Dexias Turkish unit DenizBank, in a cash deal worth 162m ($245m)
Hong Kong readies for new insurance regulatory body
Following the conclusion of a public consultation, Hong Kongs government has put forward detailed plans for the establishment of a new insurance regulatory body, the Independent Insurance Authority (IIA) The proposed new authority will be independent of the government and will replace the existing Office of the Commissioner of Insurance which is a government body. Among proposals are that the IIA will have the powers to initiate...
LV= looks to outsource asset management
The mutual insurer, which trades under the brand LV, has announced that it has entered into exclusive talks with Threadneedle Investments, with the view to outsourcing management of the societys assets and existing external funds to the asset management company.
Aetna and Genworth agree Medicare deal
Continental Life is the unit through which Genworth supplies Medicare supplement insurance and will bring with it more than 145,000 Medicare supplement members
ING US aims to up its 401(k) market share
One will seek to build a network of key relationships with local and regional banks, credit unions and plan intermediaries who work in the banking industry
Bank of America exits US life insurance industry
Bringing to an end its direct involvement in insurance, Bank of America is to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary Balboa Life Insurance Company to mutual financial services company Securian Financial Group for an undisclosed sum
Solvency II tests find some insurers struggling
European insurance industry body the Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA) has hailed the outcome of a stress test conducted by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) as a confirmation of the industrys financial robustness The test to ascertain the ability of insurers to comply with Solvency II minimum capital requirements (MCR) under various adverse economic and investment market scenarios was undertaken by 58...
US Baby Boomers on the hunt for security
For US Baby Boomers, investing for retirement used to be all about high returns Now, by a margin of almost four to one, Baby Boomers want the certainty guarantees afford their retirement savings.
Life settlement scam meets its end
Adley Abdulwahab appears set to have many decades to contemplate the error of his ways following his conviction by a jury in the US state of Virginia of a life settlements fraud involving some 800 people in 36 states and Canada
US insurers fearing worst over accounting standards confusion
The US-based Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (ISAB) have been working toward a unified standard for several months now, but leaders of both bodies recently said they have pushed back work on the handful of "priority" convergence projects they had committed to complete this year.
UK insurers turn to a new tough-times model
Indicative of the problems facing the UK life industry, it enjoyed the last period of robust growth in terms of new business more than a decade ago
US insurers' strong voice on stability oversight council
With President Barak Obamas nomination of Roy Woodall to the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the US insurance industry is set to have a loud voice in what appears destined to become one of the most influential bodies in the country The FSOC was established under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 and is charged with identifying threats to the financial stability of the US and promoting market discipline
Axa to get new partner in India
Ending its five-year partnership with French insurer Axa, Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises is to sell its 74% stakes in their life and general insurance joint ventures (JV) to Reliance Industries (RI) and its subsidiary Reliance Industrial Infrastructure (RII) for an undisclosed sum
Manulife takes first step into microinsurance in the Philippines
Responding to a call by the Philippines insurance regulator to make life insurance more affordable, Manulife Philippines has entered the microinsurance market with a new product, FirstProtect
US small businesses face multi-billion dollar health reform headache
Small businesses in the US have joined forces to establish the Stop the HIT Coalition in an effort to prevent the introduction of Health Insurance Tax (HIT) in 2014. Forming part of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the tax would add a cost burden totallingbns of dollars to businesses and their employees, claims HIT. For the small business community, controlling the increasing costs of health insurance premiums has...
Treasury barely breaks even on AIG share sale
Marking the first reduction of its equity stake in American International Group (AIG), the US Department of the Treasury has completed the sale of 200m shares in the insurer at $29 per share to private investors.
EIOPA stress test a 'time-waster'
Though he expressed himself in more diplomatic terms, Peter Vipond, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) director of financial regulation and taxation, has effectively told the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to stop wasting insurers time. Vipond was responding to an announcement by EIOPA of the second Europe-wide stress test for the insurance sector in the run-up to implementation of the European Union (EU)...
Risk takes on a new meaning
Claiming top position is a risk that has in some respects escalated since the financial crisis: the burden of regulation that is being placed on the insurance industry by regulatory reform at international and local levels. This revelation comes from a wide-ranging study Insurance Banana Skins 2011, conducted by London-based non-profit organisation the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) in conjunction with professional...
Alliance with Wright USA ups ING access to federal employees
In a press release, Wright USA said the alliance will enable it to offer an expanded line of life insurance products designed to replace or supplement the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance plan offered by the government
Solvency II sword over European insurers' US operations
European life insurers with US subsidiaries face being competitively disadvantaged in the US market by Solvency II, the European Unions (EU) new regulatory regime due to be implemented in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) in 2013.
ING a step closer to full bail-out repayment
Digging into its retained earnings, ING has, at a 50% premium, repurchased 2bn ($2.8bn) of the core Tier 1 securities issued to the state in November 2008 to prop up its embattled balance sheet
New lease of life for failed US life insurer
Mutual insurer Shenandoah Life, placed into receivership by the US state of Virginias State Corporation Commission in February 2009, has received a new lease of life
Buy-ins finally make their debut in the US
A small deal compared with some that have been executed in the UK, the transaction involved a $75m pension risk transfer transaction for Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company, one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the US.
Sun Life takes claims submission mobile
Harnessing the benefits of modern technology, Sun Life Financial is to offer a free app to group retirement and savings plan members which enables them to use their smartphone to submit medical and dental benefit claims. According to the Canadian insurer, the new app will enable payment to be made to members in as little as 24 hours and will also enable users to check their plan balances and recent contributions. Taking the mobile app a step...
Pet insurance outdoes income cover in the UK
Specifically, the life insurer found 12% of UK adults have insurance to protect their income should they be unable to work because of ill health, while 15% insure their pets and 13% their mobile phones
US insurers get it wrong with Gen Y and X work seekers
The key conclusion of the financial services organisation in its study is that financial services sales positions offer what most Gen X and Gen Y job seekers are looking for working in a stable industry with lots of growth potential and opportunities to make a difference in peoples lives
Markets boost industry to a new high
Europes asset management industry has shrugged off the slump of 2008 to record a new all-time high in assets under its management at the end of 2010
Desperate Irish government out to pluck pension funds
In serious need of revenue, Irelands government is turning its attention to one of the remaining reliable sources of tax to dig the country out of its economic plight: pension funds
Direct credit could save UK insurers a packet
While the Association of British Insurers reports insurers paid out in excess of £84bn ($135bn) for insurance claims around £231m each day Bacs data shows only £25.6bn of this was paid through Bacs Direct Credit
UK guidelines streamline death benefit payments
Beneficiaries of life insurance policies in the UK can look forward to receiving payouts considerably faster, reports the Association of British Insurers (ABI) This follows the associations issuing of new guidelines aimed at cutting payment waiting periods from four months to just four weeks.
US annuity market gets off to a roaring start
Variable annuity (VA) sales in the US continued to power ahead in the first quarter of 2011, rising 24% compared to the first quarter of 2010 to $39.81bn, reported research and consulting organisation LIMRA.
UK risk transfer market to grow by £20bn by 2012
Defined benefit pension scheme risk transfers continue to be a bright-spot in the UK life market with actuarial firm Hymans Robertson (HR) reporting that the number of deals awaiting finalisation are at by far the highest levels since before credit crisis.
Florida becomes 23rd state to settle with John Hancock
In a continuation of the unpaid death benefits scandal that hit the US life industry in April, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) has become the 23rd state regulator to reach a settlement with John Hancock. The US unit of Canadian insurer Manulife Financial, John Hancock is the first and only life insurer to have reached a settlement with regulators in an unfolding investigation in which regulators of at least 36 states are now...
An ineluctable reality for life insurers
Social networks have exploded onto the world as a revolutionary way of communicating, but one most life insurers have yet to come to terms with
Aviva goes for speed with Simplified Life
That is the promise from UK insurer Aviva which claims 80% of consumers who apply online using the "super-fast quote and apply tool" for its Simplified Life product, with cover up to £500,000 ($800,000), will have an "on-the-spot decision" within a few minutes
US plan sponsors are equity shy
Sponsors of pension plans in the US are increasingly shying away from equity and turning to liability-matching investment strategies, reports Aon Hewitt, the consulting and human resources unit of Aon Corporation.
HSBC and Aviva strengthen ties in EU
Chief executive of Avivas UK business Mark Hodges said: "As a leading bancassurance provider in the UK and Europe, and an HSBC preferred partner, we are in the unique position of being able to offer a range of market-leading life and general insurance products
CSC backs underwriting technology
It is a goal US technology developer BioSignia claims it can greatly assist insurers in attaining with its Mortality Assessment Technology (MAT) Adding credence to its claim, US technology giant Computer Science Corporation (CSC) has formed an alliance with BioSignia to host MAT as an on demand or so-called cloud-based service
BNP Paribas insurance units united under Cardif brand
Single-brand strategies have gained another adherent, French bancassurer BNP Paribas, which has united its insurance operations under the name BNP Paribas Cardif
Goldman Sachs buys its way back into China's life market
The vendor in the deal is Axa, which received the go-ahead from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to sell its 15.6% stake in Taikang Life in early-March.
New China Life heads for a dual listing
Among New China Lifes existing shareholders, the largest is state-owned Central Huijin Investment, which in December 2009 bought a 38.8% stake in the insurer from the China Insurance Protection Fund
Mitsui Sumitomo expands in Asia
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI), Japans third-largest general insurer, has set its sights on Indonesias life market with the proposed purchase of a 50% stake in Asuransi Jiwa Sinarmas (Sinarmas Life) from Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas
Allianz and Banco Popular strengthen ties in Spain
In a move aimed at strengthening their relationship stretching back over two decades, Allianz and Spanish bank Banco Popular are to form a new joint venture, Allianz Popular
Ping An sets first quarter pace
Results for the first quarter of 2011 from Chinas two largest life insurers were very much a case of contrasts, with China Life reporting a sharp fall in profit and Ping An robust growth
Life association puts low figure on Japan earthquake death claims
Precisely how much life insurers will pay out in claims relating to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March remains uncertain, with the latest estimate from the Life Insurance Association of Japan (LIAJ) now standing at $2.4bn
Single parents top the list of America's uninsured
Yet in the US this is the group most likely not to have any form of life insurance, reveals a study conducted by life insurer Genworth Financial in conjunction with Gregory Fairchild, associate professor at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.
EIOPA stress test a time-waster
Though he expressed himself in more diplomatic terms, Peter Vipond, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) director of financial regulation and taxation, has effectively told the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to stop wasting insurers time Vipond was responding to an announcement by EIOPA of the second Europe-wide stress test for the insurance sector in the run-up to implementation of the EU Solvency II...
Costly sequel to Keydata collapse
The collapse of UK life settlements firm Keydata Investment Services in June 2009 has had unpleasant repercussions for Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) which has been fined £1.4m ($2.25m) by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for the mis-selling of Keydata products.
RDR comes under heavy attack
The sweeping regulatory change is now the subject of a parliamentary probe which has major implications for the UK life industry.
SCOR snaps up Transamerica Re
In a move that will propel it into second position in the US life reinsurance market, French reinsurer SCOR is to acquire Transamerica Re from Dutch insurer Aegon for $912.5m For Aegon, the sale will also result in an additional $500m in capital being released and enable it to repay the Dutch government the remaining 750m ($1bn) of the 3bn it received in emergency assistance in October 2008 The purchase price represents a 46% discount to...
Generali faces tough battle in Vietnam
Generali first entered Vietnam in late-2009 through the establishment of a representative office and in late-2010 was granted a preliminary licence Generalis formal entry into Vietnam through its owned unit Generali Vietnam Life Insurance Company brings the number of Asian countries and jurisdictions in which now it operates to eight
FirstIndia off to a flying start in first 500 days
Newcomer to Indias life market IndiaFirst Life Insurance has got off to a flying start, recording INR9bn ($204m) in its first 500 days of operation
US companies face daunting pension deficits
This left a funding deficit of $172.2bn (15.7%) which, although an improvement on the $181.8bn (17.7%) at the end of 2009, was still well below the $94.6bn (10.2%) surplus recorded at the end of 2007
Canadian defined benefit pension schemes on downhill slide
Based on a survey of executives responsible for more than 150 Canadian pension plans, Towers Watson found that 51% of DB funds have been converted to defined contribution arrangements for current or future employees, up from 42% in 2008
Aviva and Delta Lloyd drift apart
Subject to shareholder approval, Aviva will execute a private placement of 25m Delta Lloyd ordinary shares at 17.25 ($24) per share, a move that will reduce its stake in Delta Lloyd from 58.2% to 43.1% and generate gross cash of £381m ($610m)
New York regulator acts to curb mis-selling
In a move to improve consumer protection, the New York State Insurance Department has issued what it terms two new "emergency regulations" relating to the sale of life insurance and annuities
Old Mutual turns to mobile with microinsurance solution
Among the latest to adopt the solution is the South African unit of UK insurer Old Mutual, which has launched a mobile phone-based payment system targeting consumers who may be unable to commit to long-term, regular monthly payments
Brazilian regulations 'misguided'
Brazils government is under attack from 18 insurance bodies worldwide following its decision to drastically amend regulations governing reinsurance in the country In brief, the Brazilian government insurance regulator, the National Private Insurance Council, introduced two regulations on 31 March
Singapore off to a flying start
Ever volatile, Singapores life insurance industry is again enjoying a period of vigorous growth, reveal figures for the first quarter of 2011 from the Singapore Life Insurance Association (LIA).
A busy year for Aetna
The acquisition of Prodigy Health Group is in keeping with Aetnas strategy of diversifying its product offerings and adding new revenue streams," said Aetna chairman, CEO and president Mark Bertolini.
US insurers must look to middle market
Life insurers must look to the middle market to drive growth in life insurance sales in the US
Northwestern Mutual most admired life insurer
The US mutual insurer received the leading position in the life and health insurance industry sector, earning seven out of nine key attributes:
Judgement landmark sets DB fund precedent
The court case had its origins in a decision taken by Prudential in November 2005 that in future pensions increases would be in line with the retail price index subject to a normal annual maximum increase of 2.5%
Irish Life Assurance to be put on the selling block
From a high of 22.70 ($31.50) per share in February 2007 it has collapsed to its current 0.15 per share in the wake of Irelands devastating economic problems.
Brazilian regulations misguided, warn insurance bodies
Brazil’s government is under attack from 18 insurance bodies worldwide following its decision to drastically amend regulations governing reinsurance in the country. The decision was taken without prior consultation with insurers and reinsurers.
Nippon Life thinks big in Indian life marke
Making a substantial play to establish itself in Indias life market, Japans largest life insurer Nippon Life has agreed to acquire a 26% stake in Indian life insurer Reliance Life
Tallying the cost of Japan's earthquake
On 11 March, tragedy struck Japan when one of the one of the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit the country occurred 74km off the coast of the Oshika Peninsula Officially named Higashi Nihon Daishinsai (Great Eastern Japan Earthquake) by the Japanese government, the devastating tsunami which followed in its wake left thousands dead andbns of dollars of damage in its wake.
Five insurers make it on ethical list
Keeping the insurance industrys flag flying high, five insurers have been named as being among the worlds most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute, a non-profit organisation focused on promoting ethical corporate behaviour
US Federal Insurance Office ready for business
First mooted in 2009, The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) has taken a step closer to becoming a factor in the US insurance industry with the appointment of its first director Michael McRaith, the director of the Illinois Department of Insurance The FIO, which falls under the US Treasury Department, has no regulatory powers and will be tasked with, among other things, advising the federal government on insurance issues and participate in...
Asia-Pacific delivers for Alliance
Alliances Asia-Pacific operations fired on all cylinders in 2010, lifting total revenue from 6.84bn ($9.5bn) in 2009 to 9.3bn, and operating profit from 204m to 342m
AIG closer to settling debt
A time restriction on American International Groups (AIG) sale of equity securities it acquired when it sold its American Life Insurance Company (Alico) to fellow US insurer MetLife has been waived by MetLife AIG announced that it agreed to sell Alico to MetLife in March 2010 for $16.2bn of which $7.2bn was in cash and the remainder in MetLife securities
New York Life steps up agent recruiting drive
Our recruiting goal for 2011 is to hire more than 3,500 agents, with continued focus on young professionals, ethnic communities and recent college graduates," said Mark Pfaff, the US mutuals executive vice-president, in charge of US life insurance and agency operations
Aon Benfield calls on Turkish insurers to adopt Solvency II
The Turkish insurance industry is in a high growth phase, so there is extra pressure to assess its risks in the most effective way," said Marc Beckers, head of Aon Benfield Analytics for Europe, Middle East & Africa
L&G and Sainsbury's extend distribution relationship
A distribution partnership dating back to 2004 between UK life insurer Legal & General (L&G) and Sainsburys Finance, the financial services arm of retailer Sainsburys, has been extended for an unspecified period
US group life and disability market still in the doldrums
There was little to rejoice about in the US group term life and group disability sectors in 2010 with both remaining in the doldrums, according to studies by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Gen Re just released
Genworth turns its back on VA market
Genworth Financials much-ballyhooed exodus from the US variable annuities (VA) market likely will ripple throughout the VA market, and could usher other mid-tier players from the sector.
Genetic testing in the UK still a no-no
A final decision on the use of genetic testing by life insurers in the UK has again been put on long-term hold Originally due to expire this year, the Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics, which dates back to 2001, has been extended to 2017, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) announced in early-April. The Concordat and Moratorium on the use of predictive genetic test results works well for consumers," said ABI director of general...
UK pensions risk transfer market powers ahead
There is no end in sight for the boom in the UKs defined benefits pension scheme risk transfer market, indicates a study by actuarial consulting firm Hymans Robertson Our analysis illustrates that it won't be long before £50bn ($80bn) of pension scheme risk has been transferred to insurance companies and banks," commented James Mullins, Hymans Robertsons head of buy-out solutions Since the UKs pension scheme risk transfer market began in...
Warburg Pincus snaps up Chinese life broker
In yet another change in the landscape of Chinas insurance market, Chinese life and general insurance broker CNinsure has sold its 55% stake in Beijing Fanhua Datong Investment Management Company one of its two life insurance distribution units to Winner Sight Global, an affiliate of US private equity firm Warburg Pincus
Former top AIG man to head ING Insurance US
In a major reshuffle of its US operations, ING Group has announced that Rodney O Martin Jr is to take up the position of CEO of ING Insurance US Martin, who will report to ING Group CEO Jan Hommen, will join ING US from American International Group where he has occupied the position of chairman of its International Life and Retirement Services unit
Zurich Australia forms separate units
In a move to align its structure with that of its parent, Zurich Financial Services Australia (Zurich Australia) is to split its operations into separate general and life insurance units
Dai-ichi Life beefs up capital base yet again
Strengthening its capital base, Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life has completed the issue of $1.3bn in US dollar-denominated perpetual subordinated notes The notes carry a fixed interest rate of 7.25% per annum until July 2021 and a floating rate thereafter. The note issue represents Dai-ichis third major capital raising exercise in less than 12 months
Financial crisis hero lands top job at MetLife
On 1 May there will be a new man in the hot-seat of the US largest life insurer when Steven A Kandarian assumes the positions of president and CEO of MetLife from C Robert Henrikson
Aegis increases reach in UK over-50s sector
Pursuing a strategy to grow its retail distribution capacity in the UK, Dutch insurer Ageas (formerly Fortis) has acquired Castle Cover, a insurance broking firm specialising in the over 50s market, in a £52.8m ($85m) cash deal. This purchase supports our multi-distribution strategy and will build on our existing expertise which is focused on meeting the needs of this customer group," commented Ageas UK CEO Barry Smith Founded in 2006, Castle...
Final salary pension schemes becoming a rarity in the UK
Once taken for granted, final salary pension schemes are fast becoming a thing of the past in the UK, highlights the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) 2010 annual review
Critical illness cover in US gets little attention
But despite this and the role they can play in times of distress, critical illness policies have attracted little interest, indicates a study undertaken by industry body the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance and reinsurer Gen Re
Life insurance baffles many New Zealanders
Much of the reason can be attributed to shear consumer ignorance, indicates a study undertaken by the New Zealand life insurance unit of US insurer, CIGNA.
Aviva turns to technology to increase efficiency
The first of the new features added to Aviva for Advisers enables advisers to monitor and switch funds online on more than 1.6m investment bonds, individual, stakeholder and group personal pensions
Allianz alternate energy investment hits ?1bn
For Allianz it represents a vindication of a 1bn ($1.35bn) investment in wind and solar power, spearheaded by the companys Allianz Specialised Investments (ASI) unit.
Americans act to counter retirement concerns
Better times are ahead for US insurers on the retirement savings front, says Consumer Attitudes to Savings, a study by UK insurer Aviva Aviva USA president and CEO Chris Littlefield said: "There is evidence more Americans are taking action to do something about their retirement worries It is clear more Americans are prepared to work beyond the normal retirement age and plan to continue to save more for retirement
SCOR bows out of US fixed annuity market
IIC is a life insurance company specialising in the sale of fixed annuities, principally equity-indexed annuities, and is wholly-owned by the French reinsurers SCOR Global Life US Re unit
Chartis dishes out a $4bn blow to AIG
Coming to American International Groups (AIG) assistance yet again, the US government has agreed to allow AIG to retain $2bn of the net cash proceeds from the recently closed sale of its Japanese life insurance subsidiaries AIG Star Life and AIG Edison Life The $2bn will go towards funding part of the $4.2bn charge AIG took in its fourth quarter 2010 results to strengthen Chartis loss reserves AIG Star Life and AIG Edison Life were sold to US...
Dark days for LTC
Although an ageing US population is making long-term care insurance increasingly important, low lapse and low interest rates have made it a product many providers are turning their backs on
Zurich and Santander team up in Latin America
As a key element of the alliance, for $1.67bn, ZFS is to acquire a 51% stake in Santanders life insurance, pension and general insurance operations in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay
VA sales lead the pack in the US during 2010
Variable annuity (VA) sales ended 2010 on a strong note, rising 16.7% compared with the fourth quarter of 2009 to $38.5bn, reports financial services organisation Limra The strong finish helped boost VA sales for 2010 as a whole by 9.8% to $140.5bn. We attribute the growth to increased confidence in the VA market by consumers, advisors and the companies themselves" said Joseph Montminy, assistant vice-president for Limras annuity research
Singapore's life industry bounces back
On a weighted basis, total new premium income ended the year up 16% compared with 2009 at S$1.7bn ($1.3bn) with annual premium sales setting the pace with an increase of 20% to S$1.089bn
Aegon within sight of repaying bail-out debt
Aegons completion of a rights issue in February, in which it raised 903m, has taken the Dutch life insurer another step closer to meeting its objective of repaying the 2.25bn ($3.1bn) it owes to the Dutch government
Micro-insurers turn to technology
Micro-insurance has the potential to develop into a major global market but comes with unique problems ranging from the gathering of information on target markets to reaching of those markets
New York Life exits four Asian countries in five months
Ending a decade-long joint venture (JV), New York Life has sold its stake in Thai insurer Siam Commercial New York Life (SCNYL) to its partner Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) for THB8.4bn ($275m) New York Life International chairman and CEO Dick Mucci said that, given SCBs objective of integrating SCNYL fully into its consumer banking platform, both partners believe the time had come for SCB to take control of the business
ING moves closer to dismantling its empire
Dismantling of the ING Group has moved another important step forward by two agreements under which it will sell the majority of ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM) in two separate transactions for a combined price of about $1.04bn
Call for fair competition in the Dutch market
Niek Hoek, CEO of Dutch composite insurer Delta Lloyd Group (DLG), has called on the Netherlands government to restore fair competition in the countrys financial services market
Estate tax boost for US life insurers
Estate planning, a moment fraught with the sort of long-term planning that gives rise to insurance decisions, has always presented opportunities for life insurers Now, adding an additional opportunity for them to grab a bigger share at the high net worth individual market is new US estate tax legislation The new law forms part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorisation and Job Creation Act of 2010
Another dull year ahead for US life insurers
This statement sums up the view of the majority of 70 industry leaders surveyed by research and consulting organisation Limra Specifically, Limra found 59% of insurance executives believe overall individual life insurance sales will remain flat in 2011 and 68% feel group life sales will stall
Allstate Corporation turns its back on banking
In a move effectively marking its exit from banking, US composite insurer Allstate Corporations unit Allstate Financial is to sell the $1.1bn deposit book of its Allstate Bank to Discover Bank, a unit of US banking and payment services company Discover Financial Services
Disclosure Act could supercharge US annuity sales
the heat of political infighting over health care reform, at least one piece of insurance-related legislation appears assured of a comparatively easy path into law: the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act (LIDA) A bipartisan initiative by US senators Jeff Bingaman and Johnny Isakson, LIDA aims to promote the use of annuities and other forms of guaranteed lifetime income products
Zurich trims stake in New China Life
Following a trend amongst foreign insurers to reduce exposure in China, Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) has sold a 5% stake in New China Life (NCL) to an undisclosed buyer
Symetra goes for growth in US group life market
Nailing its colours to the mast, Symetra Life Insurance Company has declared its intention to "significantly" expand its presence in the US group life insurance market
Team Mercedes teams up with Allianz
Under the banner of promoting road safety, Allianz has become a co-sponsor of the Mercedes GP Petrona Formula One (F1) team Visible commitment to road safety is very important to us also as a signal to our 75m customers all around the world," said Allianz SE global head of group market management Joseph Gross
Body formed to tackle global ageing challenge
Ten major global companies have joined forces to launch the Global Coalition on Aging (GCA), a body which aims to spur awareness about aging and work with policy makers on the subject.
Sun Life gets 'OK' from Canadian consumers
For the second consecutive year, Canadian consumers have named Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada as the "most trusted brand in life insurance" in a survey conducted by opinion research firm HarrisDecima on behalf of the magazine Readers Digest
Rating agency warns of tough times ahead for US health insurers
A plethora of regulatory change combined with political and economic factors are working together to create an uncertain environment for US health insurers
Big flaws in Australia's superannuation system
Australias superannuation (super) system is the envy of many countries struggling to come to terms with the pension needs of ageing populations But despite the A$1.3trn ($1.3trn) super industrys success, all is not well, warns super industry body Industry Super Network (ISN) in a study into the use of how older Australians are using their super funds The ISN noted that in modelling the adequacy of current retirement income policy, the Federal...
Wells Fargo Insurance blazes acquisition trail
A unit of US bank Wells Fargo & Company, WFIS report that it now ranks as the fifth largest insurance brokerage in the world and the largest bank-owned insurance brokerage in the US
Insurers losing the innovation race
Insurers have adopted technology to improve processing functions, but many are failing to get to grips with the impact technology is having in the sphere of innovation
Conseco's attempt to triple premiums fails
No stranger to controversy, US insurer Conseco Life has been taken to task by Judge A Howard Matz of the US District Court for the Central District of California in a class action lawsuit against the insurer brought by aggrieved policyholders
US female retiree market abounds with potential
This is the message comes through loud and clear in a study undertaken by not-for-profit organisation the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) which concludes that female clients represent "tremendous" opportunities in the retirement planning market. Emphasising the significant role being increasingly played by women in the workplace and in household financial affairs, IRI president and CEO Cathy Weatherford said: "From managing a corporate...
AIA talks up takaful prospects in Malaysia
AIA is set to become a major player in the important and fast-growing takaful market in Malaysia," predicted AIA group chief executive and president Mark Tucker, a former CEO of UK life insurer Prudential
Solid growth predicted in the UAE
The DCCI predicts that the UAEs insurance market will achieve an overall CAGR of 10.4% between 2010 and 2014, with premium income rising from AED22.55m ($6m) in 2010 to AED33.5m
Punjab National Bank eyes bigger role in Indian insurance market
Among a number of moves in this direction is an invitation it has extended to local and international companies to submit interest in partnerships, with the aim to establish a venture in Indias life and general insurance markets
US individual life activity still on the decline
Application activity in the US individually underwritten life insurance sector in 2010 did not reflect what market players would like to see an increase Across all age groups, average year-on-year (Y-o-Y) application activity in December 2010 was 1.4% down, which MIB emphasised was less than the 3%-plus annual declines the industry experienced from 2006 to 2008
Symetra goes for growth in US group life market
Nailing its colours to the mast, Symetra Life Insurance Company has declared its intention to "significantly" expand its presence in the US group life insurance market Symetra intends to drive long-term growth in the group life market by expanding in-house underwriting, claims and actuarial expertise, and investing in field sales support.
Equitable Life saga draws to an end
The finale comes with the governments announcement that it has accepted the Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments scheme to compensate policyholders that suffered losses following the near collapse of the mutual insurer a decade ago
Swiss Life expands its group life footprint
Expanding its reach in its home market, Switzerlands largest life insurer Swiss Life has acquired the group life business of rival Swiss insurer Nationale Suisse, for an undisclosed sum
Life Partner target of SEC investigation
According to financial publication The Wall Street Journal, the SEC is investigating Texas-based LPHs method of estimating life expectancies of insured individuals, a key factor in determining the value of a policy in a life settlements deal
Barclays' big-bet on the online advisory channel
Barclays explained that it had conducted a detailed review of its financial planning advice and that its decision reflects the emerging trend that customers are increasingly purchasing and managing their investments online
Social media becoming a must-have for advisers
Financial advisers who ignore rapidly growing social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do so at their peril Or so findings by research firm Aite Group strongly suggest, with advisers employing the social networking phenomenon in their business enjoying greater success than those ignoring it To assess the impact of social networks, Aite Group conducted a survey of financial advisers in the US in the fourth quarter of 2010
Aviva looks to HP to enhance its global communications
In a move designed to enhance productivity across its global operations, UK insurer Aviva has outsourced the management of its Microsoft communications solutions to US technology company Hewlett-Packard (HP) for the next nine years.
China Life and PICC fall foul of state auditor
The companies involved are China Life Insurance (Group) Company, the parent of Chinas largest life insurer, China Life, and Peoples Insurance Company of China (PICC), the parent of Chinas largest general insurer, PICC Property & Casualty
Crédit Agricole acquires specialist French insurer
Frances largest bancassurer Crdit Agricoles insurance unit Crdit Agricole Assurances (CAA) has completed the acquisition of French life insurer Axeria Vie and its subsidiary April Patrimoine for an undisclosed sum.
Deloitte thinks big in UK pensions
Business advisory firm Deloitte is to expand its pensions advisory capacity as part of what it termed an "aggressive growth plan" to treble the size of its UK pensions advisory services practice within three to four years
Axa pays dearly for risk management blunder
In a major settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Axa Rosenberg, Axas US asset management unit, has agreed to pay $217m to clients harmed by a serious flaw in its quantitative investment model
Entrepreneur takes on big guys in New Zealand
Starting a new life insurance company from scratch is a big step and one two New Zealanders, Naomi Ballantyne and Richard Coon, have just taken with the founding of Partners Life
AIG's restructuring takes major steps forward
In another important step in its restructuring, American International Group (AIG) is to sell its 97.57% stake in its Taiwan unit, Nan Shan Life, to Ruen Chen Investment Holding Company for $2.16bn cash
Big plans to broaden pension coverage
If Canadas minister of finance has his way, all self-employed Canadians and those working for small companies will soon have access to pension schemes offered by financial institutions
Vietnam records solid premium growth in 2010
Building on its record of solid growth, Vietnams insurance market saw premium income increase by 20.3% in 2010 to VND30.69tn ($1.57bn), according to the Vietnam Business Forum
New York brokers down but not out
A dispute between New York state regulators and the states largest insurance broking organisations, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) and the Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater New York (CIBGNY), is heating up
US courts deal health reform two hefty blows
President Obamas Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has received another setback with a ruling by Federal judge Roger Vinson in the state of Florida that it is unconstitutional
Poizner's anti-Iran stance takes a knock
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizners fight to prevent insurers in the state from owning shares in companies with Iranian business connections has received a major setback from a ruling by the US states Office of Administrative Law (OAL) that his efforts constitute an invalid "underground regulation
Australians reluctant to pay up for advice
Australians are a tight-fisted bunch when it comes to paying for investment advice, indicates a study conducted by Australian research firm Investment Trends According to Investment Trends, its research revealed that the average Australian investors believe financial advice should cost A$300 ($304) for each consultation.
Alternate asset managers feel pressure on fees
Investors are looking for more value for their money when it comes to asset management, indicates a study of trends in 2010 by Mercer
War on crooked agents
Steve Poizner, Californias insurance commissioner, does not believe in playing around when it comes to imposing discipline on insurance agents in which the California Insurance Departments (CDI) Enforcement Branch plays a prominent role
Best Re opts for Malaysia
In a move aimed at positioning itself closer to its main source of business, takaful reinsurer Best Re has moved its headquarters from Tunis in Tunisia, where it was established in 1985, to Labuan in Malaysia A unit of Dubai-based takaful insurer Salama Islamic Arab Insurance Company, Best Re provides general takaful and family (life) takaful reinsurance and in 2009 reported gross premium income of $304.7m, up 17.7% compared with 2008
US life settlements market in recovery
According to Amrita, the index is based on a monthly survey of industry participants across the US and, similar to consumer confidence index, is designed to measure life settlement demand and attitudes
Great Eastern goes for growth in Malaysia's takaful market
Great Eastern Life Assurance Company (GEL), Singapores largest and oldest life insurer, made a significant move into Malaysias Islamic, Sharia law-compliant takaful market with the launch of Great Eastern Takaful in December 2010 Great Eastern Takaful is a joint venture with Koperasi Angkatan Malaysia Berhad, a financial services company serving the 140,000 regular, voluntary and civilian members of Malaysias armed forces The launch followed...
Genworth exits US variable annuity market
In an unusual move for a major US life insurer, Genworth Financial has announced that it is to cease writing retail and group variable annuities (VA)
Aetna takes $500m bet on technology
Medicity provides products and services that enable health systems, hospitals, physician practices and health information exchanges to securely access and exchange health care information
UK government moves to simplify financial services products
Choice is great but when it becomes so extensive that it causes confusion it becomes a problem, believes the UK government For many, financial services are confusing and this is not surprising when there are, for example, over 2,000 savings products on the market," said financial secretary to the treasury, Mark Hoban
Boom times continue for New York Life
Continuing its winning streak, New York Life (NYL) has reported a 47% increase in individual life insurance sales in the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, which was a record first nine months for the US largest mutual insurer
Wealthy repatriate offshore funds en masse
Driven by a massive repatriation of offshore assets by wealthy individuals, change is sweeping wealth management markets, reveals a study by Arjuna Sittampalam, a research associate at French business school EDECs Risk Institute. Indicative of the scale, he said the flow back from offshore European centres since the beginning of 2008 is estimated to be as much as $520bn, 25% of the total before the outflow commenced
Private equity investors up return requirements
Not only are private equity managers finding their fees under pressure according to consultancy Mercer (see Alternate assets managers feel pressure on fees), but they are also finding demands on their ability to produce superior returns increasing Based on interviews with more than 100 major investors in private equity funds, Preqin found that 63% of the investors expect to receive returns of more than four percentage points over public markets
Australia embarks on reforms to superannuation market
Sweeping reforms to Australias A$1.3trn ($1.3trn) superannuation (super) market are on the way, following the governments acceptance in large measure of recommendations made by a committee chaired by a former deputy chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Jeremy Cooper
Service makes search for lost policies easier
A lost life insurance policy can have serious implications for beneficiaries a problem a new online service in the US, Find Your Policy, aims to rectify. Find Your Policy is the brainchild of two brothers Michael and Edmund Hartmann who were left to settle the affairs of their fathers estate after he died and were frustrated in their attempts to research his insurance policies
Life settlements market gets legal structure in New York State
New York State Insurance Department has licensed the first two life settlements providers, FairMarket Life Settlements and Magna Life Settlements, under the states new life settlement law, the New Yorks Life Settlement Act Under the law, licensed life settlement providers must provide an owner of a policy entering into a life settlement with a consumer information booklet and other disclosures providing key information the consumer needs to...
MMI Holdings sees opportunity in Africa
South Africas life insurance industry marked another major step in its consolidation on 1 December 2010 with the listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange of MMI Holdings MMI is the product of a merger between two mid-size life insurers, Momentum and Metropolitan, and creates the countrys third-largest life insurer after Old Mutual and Sanlam Following the merger, shareholders of banking group FirstRand, Momentums former parent company, now...
Munich Re joins list of wind-farming insurers
Munich Re has acquired 40 wind-driven electricity generating turbines in a total of 11 wind farms in Germany The investment forms part of Munich Res Renewable Energy and New Technologies initiative launched in mid-2010 and is worth in the "low three-digit million euro range". Munich Re has stated that over the next few years it intends to invest up to 2.5bn ($3.3bn) in renewable energy projects such as wind farms, biofuels, solar energy and...
Aviva and UBI Banca extend alliance
The alliance dates back to January 2008 when the UK insurer acquired a 50% plus one share stake in UBI Bancas then wholly-owned life insurance unit UBI Assicurazioni Vita for 65m ($85m). Avivas partnership with UBI Banca involves the distribution of Aviva life insurance products through 1,151 branches of UBI Banca subsidiaries Banca Popolare Commercio and Industria, Banca Popolare di Bergamo, Banca Carime and Banca Popolare di Ancona.
Unmarried US workers gamble with danger
Despite most US companies offering open enrolment to life and disability insurance plans, only 39% of single and never married employees have life insurance, according to a study conducted for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
UK annuity rates slide
Based on MGM Advantages Annuity Index, which tracks the income paid on enhanced and conventional annuities on a quarterly basis, between September and December 2010 the average conventional annuity rate fell by 1.04% while the average enhanced annuity rate fell by 2.12%
Grip on US health insurers tightens
Things keep getting tougher for US health insurers in the wake of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010 In what the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) terms a phasing in of regulations under the act, it has released a proposal that will compel the 417 health insurers selling individual or small group policies to make public and justify any rate increases of 10% or higher in 2011....
Retirees ignore annuities at their peril
The proportion of retirees in the US relying on interest from their savings who are at risk of outliving their financial resources is growing alarmingly, according to a new study by Boston College In its latest National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI), a snapshot of American readiness for retirement, the centre for retirement research at US university Boston College paints a dismal picture, albeit one with rich potential for the life insurance...
Sale of Old Mutual's US unit delayed
In a statement providing minimal detail, UK insurer Old Mutual has announced that the sale of its troublesome US unit OM Financial Life Insurance Company (OMFLIC) to US private equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners has been delayed In the statement, the insurer noted: "Old Mutual and Harbinger are continuing discussions with state regulators to obtain the approvals that are required prior to the consummation of the transaction
Swiss Re issues first longevity trend bond
According to Swiss Re, the longevity trend bond is based on population data and would trigger in the event that there is a large divergence in the mortality improvements experienced between male lives aged 75 to 85 in England and Wales and male lives aged 55 to 65 in the US
New York regulator fines Citicorp for mis-selling
In a crack down on the mis-selling of retirement products, the New York State Insurance Department has extracted a $2m fine out of three insurance agencies affiliated to Citigroup, the US third-largest bank by assets New York State insurance superintendent James Wrynn explained that an examination of Citicorp Insurance Agency, Citicorp Investment Services, and SBHU Life Agency unearthed violation of regulations pertaining to certain sales...
Dai-ichi wants 100% of Tower Australia
This follows acceptance of an offer by Dai-ichi to acquire the 71.04% of Tower it does not already own by Towers independent directors who have recommended Tower shareholders to vote in favour of the offer
Vienna Insurance gets go-ahead in Macedonia
Extending its reach further in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), composite insurer Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) has been granted a licence to establish a life insurance unit in Macedonia The life licence also builds on VIGs presence in Macedonia where it has operated a general insurance unit since 2007.
Tough times ahead for French insurers
Frances life insurance industry recovered in 2009, recording a 12.8% increase in gross premium income compared with 2008 to 138.3bn ($179bn) But despite this, the outlook for Frances life industry is negative, believes rating agency Moodys Investor Services analyst and assistant vice-president Benjamin Serra Serra noted that while Frances economy coped relatively well during the financial crisis, it is entering the post-crisis era with weak...
Irish Life takes a grading hit
Reflecting Irelands economic woes, the countrys largest life insurer Irish Life Assurances insurer financial strength rating has been downgraded by rating agency Fitch Ratings from A- to BBB and its long-term issuer default rating from BBB to BBB
UK risk transfer market shines
Having recovered well from depressed levels in late-2008 and the first half of 2009, the UKs defined benefit pension scheme risk transfer market is just getting into its stride, believes actuarial consultancy Hymans Robertson Based on the level of activity we are currently observing in the market, we expect one in four FTSE 100 companies (largest 100 UK listed companies) to have completed a material pension scheme risk transfer deal by the end...
LIMRA study delves into the US immediate annuities market
This is the question LIMRA, the worldwide association of insurance and financial services companies, set out to answer in a study of more than 55,000 immediate annuity contracts issued in 2008 and 2009.
Voice identification comes of age
For financial services companies, the essence of security is verification of customer identities a task that has become more onerous with increasing use of remote communications, such as call centres, in an era when identity theft is rife
Transamerica life reinsurance solution awarded US patent
Indicating that it has developed something out of the ordinary, Transamerica Reinsurance has been awarded a patent in the US for its Velogica underwriting technology for non-medically underwritten life insurance.
Aviva TV ad falls foul of UK's Advertising Standards Authority
According to the ASA, in its ad Aviva claimed that its annuity products offered up to 20% more income than those of its competitors
Innovation the key to survival
In a stirring address to the 2010 LIMRA Annual Conference in Washington DC, Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of financial industry organisations LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, put out a challenge to more than 450 senior US insurance executives That challenge is to find new ways to adapt their product design, underwriting and distribution models in order to advance the life insurance industry, or risk obsolescence as the economic uncertainties...
Big challenges await UK fund managers in 2011
Among the most significant findings of SIGs survey are potential changes to fee structures with the majority of the industry (64%) expecting to see the use of performance fees increase further over the next 12 months
MetLife exits US long-term care market
Highlighting problems in the US long-term care insurance (LTCI) market, the countrys largest life insurer MetLife has announced that it will cease writing new LTCI business at the end of 2010
Indexed annuities set the pace
Equity-indexed annuities, which peg an investors rate of return to a market index with a minimum guaranteed rate, are among the fastest-growing annuity product sets in the US market.
US life settlements get a boost from model act
The model is based on a law enacted in the state of Kentucky in 2010 and requires insurers to notify people who are over the age of 60 or who are terminally or chronically ill in "easily understandable language" of alternatives to giving up their policy
Choice made easier for Australian consumers
Finding their way through a plethora of health insurance products has just become a lot easier for Australians, with the launch by the Office of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman of a new website
Data gold mine awaits exploitation
But what many do lack are methods of exploiting the data to the full Charles Davis explores strategies which research firm Strategy Meets Action highlights in a new study aimed at spurring insurers into data-mining action.
US life industry ensures its powerful position in Washington
Ensuring it retains its powerful lobbying position at the highest level in Washington, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has appointed another high-powered political figure, Dirk A Kempthorne, as its new president and CEO
Private equity firm grabs control of Tong Yang Life
Korean conglomerate Tong Yang Group has turned its back on the countrys life insurance market, with the sale of its 46.5% stake in Tong Yang Life Insurance to Korean private equity firm Vogo Fund for KRW900bn ($798m)
Europeans willing to sacrifice income for better future
This is the clear message of a study undertaken by consultancy Aon Hewitt across all the major economies in Europe On average, nearly half (49%) of workers surveyed for Aon Hewitts study stated that they would be prepared to sacrifice their income for a higher pension contribution by their employer
Evolves or face extinction, says Limra
Life insurers in the US that want to survive and thrive must innovate or risk becoming also-rans, Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of financial industry organisation Limra told 450 insurance executives at the 2010 Limra Annual Conference held in Washington DC in late-October
Whole life holds the fort in dull US life market
According to the financial service organisation, whole life sales in the third quarter were up 8% compared with the same quarter of 2009, while total new individual life annualised premium in the quarter was flat.
US health insurer bets $790m on diversification
In an interesting diversification move, US health insurer Humana has signed an agreement to buy Concentra, a privately owned provider of health and related services, for $790m in cash
Lion Street roars into action in the US
Newly launched Lion Street, which has the makings of a significant new player in the US insurance distribution market, has, in its initial foray, said it had "extended invitations to a limited number of elite life insurance advisers" to partner with it.
Indian life insurer takes complaints mobile
When a grievance SMS is received by SBI Life, the customers mobile number, date and time of the message is automatically registered at SBI Lifes central processing centre
Allianz talks up marketing drive
Launched in its home market Germany in October, the campaign is being rolled out across many of the 70 countries in which the insurer operates
Sun Life harnesses BlackBerry to strike while the iron's hot
Its one thing getting a companys employees rounded up to hear the benefits of group retirement plans, but getting them to sign up is another thing
Rating agencies under renewed attack from global watchdog
Credit rating agencies (CRA) must be toppled from their position as arbiters of risk, believes global financial watchdog, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Backing its view, the FSB has called on governments to remove credit ratings from laws and regulations determining parameters of financial institutions asset allocation In its call, the FSB has the backing of the Group of 20 (G20), comprising finance ministers and central banks of the 20...
Volatile ride for UK pensions deficit
Things looked better for hard-pressed sponsors of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes at the end of October, consultancy Aon Hewitt has reported, with the combined deficit of the countrys 200 largest listed companies at £69bn ($110bn), its lowest level in 13 months
Things get tougher for US health insurers
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has invoked a regulation that from 2011 requires them to spend between 80% and 85% of their premium income on medical care and quality improvement
Solvency II set to disrupt real estate investment
The study found that more than 40% of insurers believe Solvency II capital requirements will negatively impact their investments in private real estate funds, while a further third say it will prompt a revision of strategy
French retirement age reform row
Frances decision to increase the legal minimum retirement age to 62 years (from 60) and the age for receiving the full state pension to 67 (from 65) sparked off riots The negative potential, said Abaza, springs from insurers provision of incapacity and disability insurance on which guarantees are paid until retirement date
US insurers to up IT spending modestly
LOMA senior vice-president Jeff Hasty commented: "Information technology will continue to play a key role for insurers, with more IT spending shifting to the strategic use of technology to better understand customers and markets, improve products and increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
Mixed results from Australian insurers in a tough first six months
Australias life market proved to be tough going in the first half of 2010, with premium income falling 3% compared with the first half of 2009 to A$37.5bn ($37.5bn), reported actuarial consultancy Plan For Life (PFL). According to PFL, only the risk insurance sector enjoyed significant growth, with premium income rising 12.2%, while group superannuation investment business also increased, but only by 2.5% All the other market sectors were...
Munich Re expands its US Medicare footprint
In a move designed to strengthen its position in the US government-sponsored Medicare health insurance market, Munich Re is to acquire Windsor Health Group for $125m in cash Wolfgang Strassl, the Munich Re board of management member responsible for MH, said: "As one of the largest health insurance markets in the world, the US is very important for MH
Rate hikes see US state regulator forced out of office
After holding the position as the US states insurance regulator for over three years, Sullivan resigned amid condemnation of his approval of rate increases by Anthem, a unit of WellPoint, one of the countrys largest health insurers Indicative of the spiralling cost of health insurance in the US, rate increases for new coverage approved by Sullivan average 22.9% and reach as high as 47%
Buffet snaps up Sun Life Re
Taking the view that reinsurance is not its game, Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial (Sun Life) is to sell its life reinsurance business Sun Life Reinsurance (SLR), to US conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway, headed bybnaire Warren Buffet
An ugly legal battle brews in US health insurance industry
This follows the Los Angeles City Attorneys filing of an enforcement action against three health insurers controlled by investment bank Goldman Sachs and alternative asset management firm Blackstone Group Named in the city attorneys filing are California health insurers Mega Life and Health Insurance Company; health insurer Mid-West National Life Insurance Company of Tennessee; their parent company HealthMarkets; Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and...
Axa adds momentum to China's changing financial landscape
Marking a further blurring of the boundary between Chinese banks and insurers, the countrys largest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is to acquire a 60% stake in life insurer Axa-Minmetals Assurance Company (AMAC)
Insurers tackle a much-changed world
However, how insurers are tackling the challenge of managing risk and other issues in the wake of the financial crisis varies considerably, reveals a new wide-ranging study of insurers of all sizes
NY mutuals merge
In further consolidation of the US life insurance industry, two mutual insurers, Columbian Mutual Life Insurance (CMLI) and Unity Mutual Life Insurance (UMLI) have agreed to merge CMLI, the lead insurer in the merger, said that the combined operation will have assets of about $1.4bn and a surplus exceeding $100m
UK home owners turn their backs on insurance
Financial pressure on consumers in the UK is being reflected in many ways, not least of which appears to be neglect of life insurance This is indicated by a study by Sainsburys Banks life insurance unit which shows that there has been 47% increase in home mortgages not covered by life insurance since January 2006 Overall, the findings by Sainsburys indicate that 7.1m people with a collective outstanding mortgage balance of £318bn ($509bn) have...
MassMutual joins the great Taiwan exodus
US life insurer Massachusetts Mutual (MassMutual) has agreed to sell its 39.01% stake in MassMutual Mercuries Life (MML) to one of its partners in the joint venture, Taiwanese conglomerate Mercuries Corporation, for TWD3bn ($98m).
Zurich Financial Services backs NCL recapitalisation
A massive capital restructuring by New China Life Insurance (NCLI) has received the backing of its largest foreign shareholder, Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) In a move that will see it retain its 20% stake in Chinas fourth largest life insurer, it will pump in an additional $420m taking its total capital investment to $551m
New York Life takes its web services mobile
New York Life (NYL) is keeping up with the fast-growing trend towards mobile internet access, with the launch of a new mobile website Bringing our many Virtual Service Center capabilities to a customers hand-held device delivers service in the most convenient way and we are very pleased to do so," said NYLs head of individual policy services Gary Miller.
State Street to administer UK's NEST programme
US asset management company State Street has been appointed to provide fund administration and custody services to the UKs National Employee Savings Trust (NEST) programme
Baltimore Life adds to consolidation among smaller US insurers
Continuing the trend of consolidation among smaller US insurers, Baltimore Life Companies (BLC) is acquiring Philadelphia United Life Insurance Company for an undisclosed sum The acquisition, which will be paid for in BLC shares, will boost BLCs policy-base to 350,000 and its total assets to $900m. Founded in 1882, BLC provides life and health insurance and annuity products to individuals and businesses and is licensed in 49 states and the...
AIG draws closer to repaying taxpayers
Rescued from collapse by the US government in 2008, AIG promised in September to repay the US taxpayer in full The insurer is making impressive strides towards fulfilling this promise thanks to asset sales, the most significant so far being the just-completed initial public offer of its Asian unit, AIA. In a reaction reminiscent of a gold rush, investors flocked to get their share of American International Groups (AIG) initial public offer...
New York Life sells Hong Kong and Korea units to ACE
Pursuing its strategy to rationalise its foreign operations, the US largest mutual insurer New York Life (NYL) has reached a definitive agreement with composite insurer ACE Group to sell its wholly-owned life insurance operations in Hong Kong and Korea for about $425m in cash. Commenting on the deal, Dick Mucci, chairman and CEO of NYLs non-US arm, New York Life International, said: "While these are well-established businesses, New York Life...
Alico exits Peru
Credicorp, Perus largest financial conglomerate, is to acquire American Life Insurance Companys (Alico) 20.1% stake in life insurer Pacifico Seguros Credicorps wholly-owned subsidiary Grupo Credito is to acquire Alicos 38% stake in general insurer Pacifico Vida, for a total consideration of $170m On completion of the deal, which is the biggest executed in Perus insurance market yet, Credicorp and Grupo Credito will jointly own 96.1% of...
MetLife aims at focus in Japanese life market
In a rationalisation of its operations in Japans life insurance market, US insurer MetLife has agreed to sell its 49% stake in Mitsui Sumitomo MetLife Insurance to its joint venture partner, MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, for 22.525bn ($275m). Commenting on the transaction, MetLife International Business executive vice-president Eugene Marks said: "This transaction also allows MetLife in Japan to concentrate on leveraging our strong...
China and Taiwan forge landmark insurance pact
Signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between China and Taiwan on 29 June 2010 has had a sequel The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) has selected Xiamen, capital of Chinas Fujian province, as the pilot city to promote cooperation between the two countries insurance industries The ECFA is viewed as the most significant agreement between China and Taiwan since the two countries split after the Chinese Civil...
Canadian life industry hails reform proposals
Recommendations to improve Canadas retirement savings landscape, published in a report by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, has been welcomed by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) There seems to be a Canadian consensus building around the opportunities that MEPPs provide for Canadians to save more effectively in the workplace," commented CLHIA president Frank Swedlove
US individual life market continues to disappoint
Across all age groups, MIB data shows that application activity in the market was down 2% compared with September 2009, while activity during the third quarter was down 2.6 compared with the same quarter in 2009.
Canadian bank exits US market
Marking its exit from the US life insurance market, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canadas biggest bank by assets, has agreed to sell its US unit Liberty Life Insurance (LLI) to Athene Holding for $628.1m RBC expects the transaction will result in a loss of about $115m under generally accepted Canadian accounting principles on both a pre- and after-tax basis Athene Holding is the parent company of Athene Life Re, a Bermuda-based reinsurer focused...
Allianz confirms its faith in Formula One
With over 10 years of experience in Formula One racing, Allianz has reaffirmed its faith in the fast world of motor racing as a marketing platform. An evaluation of various global sponsorship platforms and of Allianzs activities over the past 10 years has shown that this engagement remains the strongest platform for global brand building, and for the communication of key safety messages to a worldwide audience", the European insurer said in a...
Zurich boosts its reach in the Middle East
Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) has expanded its reach in the Middle East, with the acquisition of a 99.8% stake in a privately owned Lebanese composite insurer Compagnie Libanaise DAssurances (CLD) for an undisclosed sum The acquisition of Compagnie Libanaise DAssurances marks a key milestone for us as we accelerate the expansion of our operations in the Middle East," said ZFS Middle East CEO Saad Mered.
Manulife goes wind farming on grand scale
In its latest involvement in the industry, Manulife has completed a financing arrangement for renewable energy specialist International Power Canada, for the construction of a 48.6 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Ontario The arrangement was undertaken by a syndicate of Canadian life insurers led by Manulife, and has provided total funding of C$117m ($225m) for a term of about 21 years
Resolution Group swoops again
Acquisition-hungry UK insurer Resolution Group has snapped up health insurer Bupas UK protection and risk business, Bupa Health Assurance (BHA), for £165.15m ($265m) This follows on the heels of Resolutions acquisition of Axa UK life and pensions operations in June for £2.75bn. In a statement, Bupa said the decision to sell BHA would enable it to focus on its health care businesses, including its health insurance products and services in the UK
Study predicts big change for Indian insurers
This is the conclusion of a study, Indian Insurance sector, Stepping into the next decade, undertaken by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and professional services firm Ernst & Young (E&Y) In the study, CII and E&Y emphasise that, in what they term Phase III of the industrys development, most large insurers are expected to decelerate the pace of distribution growth and increase their focus on retention of channel partners...
Mixed results from China's big three
After a slowdown in 2009, Chinas life insurance market is again on a strong growth track, reveals data for the first three quarters of 2010 released by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC). According to the CIRC, life insurance premium income in the first nine months of the year increased by 33.2%, compared with the same period in 2009, toCNY762.5bn ($114bn)
Americans get retirement jitters
Younger boomers those Americans now in their mid- to late-forties are at least as worried about their retirement planning, according to one of the first comprehensive studies of that important demographic. They may still have the luxury of time, but worry more about control and stability in retirement than older boomers, according to the survey of Americans aged between 44 and 75 by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
US health insurers under fire for weeding out bad risks
US health insurers have over the past three years taken an unusually harsh approach to new membership applications by individuals with pre-existing conditions, reveals a new study by the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce (CCEC). The harsh approach seemingly pre-empts the Affordable Care Act signed into law on 23 March this year, which from 1 January 2014 will ban the practice of denying coverage or rejecting claims based on a...
British taxpayers foot £1.5bn Equitable bill
An end is in sight for long-suffering policyholders of Equitable Life Assurance Society (ELAS), who suffered losses following the near collapse of the UK mutual insurer nine years ago. A compensation payment totalling £1.5bn ($2.4bn) is to be shared by some aggrieved policyholders with payments starting in 2011 Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the news on 15 October, during a speech in which he revealed planned drastic cuts...
Principles-based reserving on the cards for US insurers
More regulatory change is on the horizon for US life insurers following the announcement by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) that it is to measure the financial impact of modernisation efforts proposed for solvency regulation Our modernisation efforts promise to improve the accuracy with which regulators and companies match reserves to risk," said Thomas R Sullivan, chairman of the NAIC Life Insurance and Annuities...
Mixed pre-IPO results from AIA
This would represent an 8.7% improvement on the $1.84bn reported in the previous year and comes in the run-up to AIAs planned $35.5bn initial public offer on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the nine months to 31 August 2010 AIAs new business reflected a mixed performance with annualised new premium income increasing by a modest 4.9% compared with the first nine months of 2009 to $1.39bn
High praise for John Hancock's marketing
John Hancock Life, Canadian insurer Manulife Financials US unit, has won high-praise for its marketing material from the Insurance and Financial Communicators Association (IFCA) and for its sales materials for distribution partners John Hancock has received six awards from the IFCA including two Best of Show, its highest award, to be presented at the industry bodys annual award ceremony
Allianz exits fund of hedge fund management
Marking its exit from the fund of hedge funds management sector, Allianz has sold Allianz Alternative Asset Management (AAAM) to hedge fund management company Nexar Capital Group for an undisclosed sum Nexar was founded in 1999 by three former executives of Socit Gnrales alternative and has as its strategic partner Aquiline Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm
Allianz sells two Swiss units to Helvetia
Swiss composite insurer Helvetia Group and Allianz have reached an agreement that will see Helvetia acquire two subsidiaries from Allianzs Swiss unit Allianz Suisse for CHF302m ($304m). The larger of the two units sold by Allianz Suisse, Alba, is a general insurer and in 2009 generated premium revenues of CHF131.8m and a profit of CHF26m The second unit sold, Phenix, offers life insurance and general insurance, and in 2009 generated premium...
Protective Life shrugs off financial problems
Signalling its regaining of financial health, Protective Life Insurance Company, which in early-2009 was an unsuccessful applicant for assistance under the US Treasurys Troubled Asset Relief Program, is to acquire United Investors Life (UIL) from Liberty National Life (LNL) in a deal worth $316m Protective Life chairman, president and CEO John D Johns said: "It leverages our extensive experience and capabilities in acquiring closed blocks of...
AIG forges ahead with recovery strategy
Marking one of the more significant developments in its disinvestment programme, American International Group (AIG) is to sell its Japan-based life insurance subsidiaries, AIG Star Life Insurance and AIG Edison Life Insurance, to US insurer Prudential Financial in a deal worth $4.8bn
Website targets US health insurers
In a move it believes will level the health insurance playing field, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an online service that will enable analyses of health insurers product offerings In a statement the HHS said: "For the first time, price estimates for private insurance policies are available, allowing consumers to easily compare health insurance plans, putting them, not their insurance companies, in charge by...
UK households flock to deposit-based savings
In the first of a planned series of reports, UK bank Lloyds TSB has delved into the savings habits of UK households Overall, Lloyds TSB found that, between 2000 and 2009, UK households accumulated £802bn ($1.25trn) in new savings, including pensions, shares and deposit savings
Aviva launches advice app for customers
Reaching consumers is increasingly demanding a multimedia approach, a reality UK insurer Aviva has grasped with its new app for Apples iPhone, iPod touch and iPad The app Aviva Time to Act is a free download of a simpler version of Avivas online Pensions Tracker service
Management change at Munich Re life unit
Munich Re has announced a major change in the management of its life reinsurance division following senior executive Jonathan Ludbrooks decision to retire from the global life management team
Aegon UK health care property fund makes snail-paced progress
Britains population is ageing, a trend Dutch insurer Aegon believes offers an attractive investment opportunity in the field of newly built care homes for the elderly To this end it launched Aegon Target Healthcare Property Fund in November 2009 with the objective of raising up to £300m ($470m) from institutional investors Despite what appear to be attractive prospects for the sector, progress has been slow with the funds total assets standing...
Judge deals Great-West a harsh financial blow
Great-West Lifeco has been dealt a severe fine by an Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge who has ruled against the Canadian insurer for improperly using money from participating life insurance policyholders accounts The ruling follows a class action brought against Great-West in 2008 in which plaintiffs alleged that it had breached certain requirements of the Insurance Companies Act by using money from participating life insurance policy...
Medical insurance on the move
While travel insurance provides cover against inconveniences such as loss or theft of personal items, it is its role as portable medical insurance that is often the most critical Taken across the world, the bank found that the average cost of treatment in a foreign country is £2,040 ($3,200), an increase of 6.25% compared to 12 months earlier
Aegon wields the big axe for UK restructuring
Dutch insurer Aegons objective of slashing costs in its UK operation by 25% by 2011 began to take more shape in September with initiation of a number of moves aimed at creating a far more focused business Announced on 22 June 2010 by Aegon CEO Alexander Wynaendts, developments in the UK are part of a wider strategy aimed at accelerating restructuring of the insurers global operations over the next five years.
Prudential Financial faces US Senate probe
A probe launched in July by New York Attorney General Andrew M Cuomo into survivor death benefit accounts for life policies sold to US armed services members (see New York State Attorney General goes to war against US life insurers) has been elevated to Federal level Baucus probe will focus on the tax status of earnings by Prudential Financial on survivor death benefit accounts in its Service members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) programme
Northwestern Mutual rides high on permanent life product sales
As its customer base recalibrated risk tolerance in the wake of the recession, US life insurer Northwestern Mutual ramped up its marketing of permanent life products. The results have been spectacular: Northwestern Mutual which has used The Quiet Company as its slogan for a long time announced that between January and July this year the number of new permanent life policies purchased increased more than 23% over the same time period in 2009
Australia's CBA targets Vietnam bancassurance market
Expanding its reach in developing Asian markets, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has acquired a 15% stake in Vietnamese bank Vietnam (VIB) As part of the investment CBA will implement a long-term capability transfer programme replicating programmes in place with its partner banks in China. CBA said in a statement that the programme will be over five years and include shared business initiatives which are expected to see VIB emerge as a...
Virgin and TOWER join forces in Australia
British entrepreneur Richard Branson is to take on the challenge of breaking into Australias competitive life insurance market in early 2011 Using the existing Virgin Money base in Australia, the assault will be in partnership with Australian life insurer TOWER Australia Group (TAG). Virgin Money Australia MD Matt Baxby said: "Our new partnership with TOWER Australia is good news for the insurance sector and better news for Australian consumers
Diversification pays off for UNIQA
UNIQAs expansion strategy is paying off, the Austrian composite insurers general director Konstantin Klien emphasised in his comment on results for the first half of 2010 The latest results confirm our strategy of placing equal emphasis on Eastern and Western Europe in internationalisation and regional diversification of the UNIQA Group, while also driving forward our domestic market in Austria," said Klien
Axa and Resolution Group outline post-deal strategies in UK market
Axa has spelt out a strategy for its remaining operations in the UK, Axa Wealth, Axa Bancassurance and Sun Life Direct This follows the sale of its traditional life and pensions, independent financial advisor, corporate pension businesses and annuity businesses to insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowderys Resolution Group some four months ago for £2.75bn ($4.3bn) Explaining the strategy Axa Wealth CEO Mike Kellard said: "Axa Wealths main focus is...
AIA and ICBC forge bancassurance alliance
Strengthening its long-standing position in China AIA Group, American International Groups (AIG) Asian business has entered into a long-term partnership with state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) AIA will work jointly with ICBC in areas such as sales and marketing system, product innovation, service quality, technological advancement and sustainable profitability," said AIA executive chairman and CEO designate Mark...
Dai-ichi completes +300bn debt issue
Readying itself for pending changes in Japans solvency margin ratio (SMR) regulation, the countrys second-largest life insurer Dai-ichi Life has raised 300bn ($3.6bn) in the form of perpetual subordinated loans The insurer said the objective of the capital raising was to strengthen its capital base in keeping with new SMR regulation in Japan, which becomes effective at the end of March 2012, and global regulatory change such as Europes...
Small UK companies have auto-enrolment headache
For smaller companies in the UK, auto-enrolment of all employees into a workplace pension scheme will become compulsory from 2014 Despite this, only one-in-five companies have begun to consider the financial impact, reveals a study by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).
Cheaper cover for women could end
Cheaper insurance for women in the EU could soon be over following news that EU Advocate General Juliane Kokott believes that taking the sex of a person into consideration for insurance purposes is against a persons fundamental rights In their action they requested that the annulment of a provision transposing into law of an EU directive that permits sex-specific differences in insurance premiums and benefits
New York Life goes from strength to strength
An aggressive marketing strategy highlighting its financial strength using emotive slogans such as "Built For Times Like These" and "Guarantees Matter" continued to pay off for New York Life (NYL) in the first half of 2010. Following up on its record performance in 2009, the US largest mutual insurer has reported individual life insurance sales of $2.3bn in the first half of 2010, up a hefty 47% on what were record sales in the first half of...
Accounting upheaval faces insurers as IASB moves towards global contract standards
Uniform accounting standards for insurance contracts took a big step towards becoming a reality with the publication by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in late July of Insurance Contracts, an exposure draft of improvements for comment The IASB is working with the US Financial Accounting Standards Board to develop a harmonised standard that all insurers in all jurisdictions can apply to all contract types on a consistent basis
Bold plan to boost American retirement savings
A significant step towards auto-enrolment of employees in individual retirement accounts (IRA) has been taken in the US with the introduction of the Automatic IRA Act of 2010 by Democrat senator Jeff Bingaman and by Republican congressman Richard Neal. The concept of auto-enrollment in IRAs was developed by US think tanks the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation as part of their Retirement Security Project and is intended to...
Singapore market's mixed recovery in first half of 2010
Singapores life insurance industry continued to recover in the first half of 2010. The Singapore Life Insurance Association (LIA) reported new business of S$2.608bn ($1.92bn), an increase of 33.9% compared with the S$1.948bn reported same period in 2009. However, the recovery came off a very low base resulting primarily from extremely depressed new business of S$818m in the first quarter of 2009
AIG finds buyer for consumer finance unit
Continuing its asset divestment strategy, American International Group (AIG) is to sell 80% of its consumer credit unit American General Finance (AGF) to US investment management company Fortress Investment Group for an undisclosed sum Founded in 1920, AGF provides loans, retail financing and other credit related products to more than a million families in the US, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the UK through 1,100 branches
Delta Lloyd sets out transformation strategy
Following its listing on the NYSE Euronet Amsterdam stock exchange in November 2009, Delta Lloyd Group, the Netherlands sixth-largest insurer, has announced restructuring that will "transform its organisation and the way in which it serves its customers"
Data breach lands Zurich a hefty fine
Zurich Financial Services UK unit Zurich Insurance plc (Zurich UK), been fined £2.275m ($3.5m) by the UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA) following the insurers loss of 46,000 policyholders' personal details Zurichs data security failings resulted in the loss personal details including identity details, and in some cases bank account and credit card information, details about insured assets and security arrangements
Standard Life Canada honoured for excellence in communications
Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada (SLC) has excelled in the 2010 Insurance and Financial Communicators Association (IFCA) annual awards competition, scooping eight awards The IFCA awards are for excellence in marketing and communications creativity, design and writing in the North American insurance and financial services industry. The top honour garnered by SLC was a Best of Show award for its recruitment advertising: "When we see the...
Old Mutual plans South African property IPO
Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA), a unit of UK insurer Old Mutual plc, has announced plans to list a large portion of its property investments on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). The properties are currently housed in Triangle Real Estate Core Fund, a pension fund investment vehicle of OMSAs life insurance division The total value of the listed property fund will be some ZAR12bn ($1.65bn) including a targeted ZAR5bn to be raised in the...
Legal technicality saves AIG a packet
This follows US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York overturning of a judgment by the Southern District of New York in April In the April judgement, a jury found that AIG was liable for $34.4m on claims of fraudulent inducement relating to reinsurance facilities entered with the Axa Versicherungs predecessor, reinsurer Albignia, in 1996
Financial pressure taking its toll on UK pensioners
Caught between rising costs and low investment returns, pensioners in the UK are under pressure to make ends meet reports Axa. Dubbed the Money Sickness Syndrome it was first identified four years ago by mental health expert Roger Henderson and, according to Axa some 9m pensioners are displaying SMS symptoms
US individual life ownership plummets
That economic hardship is taking a heavy toll on American families has been made abundantly clear by data from consulting and development organisation LIMRA showing that ownership of individual life insurance has hit a 50-year low. Clearly, more American families are living on the edge surviving paycheck to paycheck and, as our new study suggests, too many without the safety net that life insurance provides," said LIMRA CEO Robert Kerzner
US bank brokerage sets new high
US bank holding company (BHC) insurance brokerage income set a cracking pace in first quarter of 2010, rising 9.6% compared with the same period in 2009 to $3.32bn, reports research firm Michael White Associates (MWA) Brokerage income in the first quarter of 2010 set a new record for the second consecutive quarter, noted MWA.
Munich Re establishes Japanese office as part of expansion strategy
The move forms an important part of a strategy to expand life and health reinsurance activities, said Joachim Wenning, a member of the reinsurers board of management Life and health reinsurance premiums increased from 24% of Munich Res total premium income in 1999 to 39% in 2009, Wenning added
Variable annuity sales perk up in the US
Sales of variable annuities (VA) appear to be out of the doldrums, rising by 11% in the second quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009 to $35.5bn, reports financial services organisation LIMRA Also indicating a firm recovery, VA sales in the second quarter of 2010 were 10% higher than sales in the first quarter, taking total sales in the first half of 2010 to $67.9bn, an improved 8% compared with the first half of 2009.
A decade of strong global private retirement asset growth lies ahead
Global retirement assets are set to enjoy robust growth over the next decade and will soar by two-thirds from 22trn ($28trn) at the end of 2009 to 36trn in 2020, predicts Allianz We expect the escalation in retirement savings to be the driving force for the development of the monetary wealth in many countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the US," said Allianz senior pension analyst Renate Finke.
Retained asset accounts come under increased fire in the US
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomos announcement in July that he had launched a fraud investigation into the withholding of proceeds of policies of deceased military personnel and veterans (see LII 250) by certain life insurers continues to make waves
Combo products come into their own
Products combining permanent life insurance and long-term care benefits have been around in the US for many years, but had generated relatively low interest This has changed in the wake of the financial crisis with the products finding eager takers, even among younger consumers
Growing defined pension benefit nightmare placing many FTSE 100 at risk of failure
Combined defined benefit (DB) pension scheme deficits of the UKs top 100 listed companies (FTSE100) improved markedly at the end of June, falling by £17bn ($26bn) compared with June 2009 to £73bn, reports consulting firm Pension Capital Strategies (PCS). The reduction was driven primarily by a significant increase in the funding of pension deficits, with the total amount pumped in by 58 companies increasing from £4bn to £11.8bn. However, the...
Prudential Financial extends global property reach into Abu Dhabi
Prudential Financial, the second-largest US life insurer, has set its sites on significant growth in the Middle Easts property market with the formation by its unit, Pramerica Real Estate Investors, of a joint venture (JV) with the Abu Dhabi governments Mubadala Development Company (MDC)
Foreign insurers get Malaysian takaful boost
In a move aimed at expanding the reach of Sharia law-compliant takaful insurance in Malaysia, the countrys central bank, Bank Negara, has granted licences that will see the formation of four joint ventures family takaful operations American International Assurance Berhad, in which American International Groups Asian subsidiary AIA Group has a 70% stake and Alliance Bank Malaysia a 30% stake;
US employees losing out on retirement benefits by sticking with herd
A study by Towers Watson provides compelling reason for US workers aiming to retire comfortably to rely more on their own initiatives and less on those of their employers. In its study, the professional services company found that from1998 to 2008 the value of total retirement benefits provided to new, salaried employees in eight major industries fell 19%, from 7.88% of pay to 6.36% of pay
Reform spells big trouble ahead for many smaller US health insurers, warns Weiss Ratings
Hailed by US President Barackas the answer to the countrys health insurance problems, the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could spell disaster for some small health insurers, warns rating agency Weiss Ratings president Martin D Weiss. Sweeping changes mandated by health care reform, such as the removal of certain limits and mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, will inevitably force health insurers to spend more on...
China's life market back on a strong growth path
Activity in Chinas insurance market regained its strong momentum in the first half of 2010, with premium income increasing by 33.4% compared with the first half of 2009 to CNY799.9bn ($120bn), reports Chinas official news service Xinhua, quoting the China Insurance Regulatory Commission The increase in the first half of 2010 was significantly higher than the 6.6% increase recorded in the first half of 2009 and the 10.9% in 2009 as a whole.
Insurers plan big spend on distribution upgrades
Insurers are waking up to the need to adapt marketing strategies to keep pace with the rapid changes phenomena such as social media and mobile technology are bringing about, reveals a study by management consulting and technology services provider Accenture Based on a survey of executives at 125 life and general insurers in 24 countries in North and Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa, Accenture found that, on average, they plan to invest...
Not all insurers' websites are created equal
How effectively they make use of that presence differs significantly from one insurer to another, emphasises Customer Respect Group (CRG), an international research and consulting firm focused on the way in which companies treat online customers. In a research report CRG identified a number of key trends in American consumers use of the online channel as it impacts life insurers
Brazilian government forges ahead with state insurer plan
Brazils minister of finance Guido Mantega has confirmed the government is to establish a state-owned insurer to be named Empresa Brasileira de Seguros (EBS) According to Moodys Investor Services senior analyst Rodolfo Nobrega the current draft of the bill relating to the establishment of EBS states that it could function in any segment of the insurance market
South African insurers detect record number of fraudulent claims
Fraud detected by South African life insurers in 2009 soared by 119% compared to 2008 to ZAR824.2m ($115m, reveals data released by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) Fraudulent claims represented about 0.5% of total claims and benefits of ZAR176.6bn paid by the life industry in 2009. ASISA deputy CEO Peter Dempsey said the rise could be attributed to the difficult economic conditions as well as improved detection...
iPhone comes to advisers' assistance
New applications for the Apple iPhone keep coming thick and fast, one of the latest being OmniLife, an application that enables advisers to provide clients with instant life insurance quotes on their phones Developed by Australian technology vendor Omnium, Omni-Life provides access to quotes on 120 products from 13 life insurers: AIA, AMP, Axa, Asteron, Aviva, CommInsure, ING, MLC, Macquarie Life, MetLife, Suncorp, Tower and Zurich Among its...
SEC loses fight for control of indexed annuities
A long-running battle between US insurance regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over regulatory control of the indexed annuity market has ended in victory for insurance regulators Victory came thanks to President Barack Obamas signing into law of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on 21 July Under the act, indexed annuities will continue to be regulated as fixed insurance products permanently,...
Employee benefit costs set to jump in the UK
Employers in the UK face significant increases in the cost of providing employee benefits such as life, critical illness and income insurance This warning comes from consultancy Aon Consulting following completion of its annual survey of insurers and reinsurers that provide group risk benefits in the corporate market. Employers and employees have had a relatively good ride recently with the cost of some of the most basic employee perks...
Standard Life Investments extends global reach
UK insurer Standard Life has added momentum to its globalisation strategy in the asset management industry with the formation of a reciprocal alliance with Japanese trust bank, Chuo Mitsui Asset Trust and Banking
AIG to approach shareholders to fund settlement
Shareholders American International Group (AIG), which is almost 80% owned by the US government, may soon be asked to cough up more money following its settlement of a $725m securities class action with Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray. Under the settlement, AIG has agreed to make an initial payment of $175m after entry of a court order granting preliminary approval of the settlement with the remaining $550m to be funded by AIG through...
IFRS takes another step towards uniform insurance standards
Uniform accounting standards for insurance contracts have taken another step towards becoming a reality with publication by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) of Insurance Contracts, an exposure draft of improvements for comment.
Retirement savings take a tumble in the UK
Tough economic conditions are taking a heavy toll on the savings of people in the UK over the age of 50, reveals life insurer LVs annual State of Retirement Report Britains over-50s have already seen their pension pots damaged by the economic crisis, and now many appear to be diverting still more money away from retirement saving to deal with immediate pressures," said Ray Chinn, the insurers head of pensions Specifically, LV found that 21% of...
Consumer ignorance weighs heavy on Australian life market
It may come as a blow to Australian life insurers that pride themselves on setting the highest ethical standards, but unfortunately few Australian consumers trust them This unpleasant reality was revealed by Australian internet-based insurance broker Lifebroker in its latest Life Insurance Report According to Lifebroker, 67% of consumers surveyed for the report said they believe insurers will use loopholes to avoid payouts
Aviva and Santander strengthen UK ties
Aviva and banking group Santander have entered into an exclusive five-year life insurance distribution agreement in the UK, building on an existing general insurance distribution agreement Under the agreement, Santander will sell, under dual AvivaSantander brands, decreasing and level term life insurance with or without critical illness and income protection insurance products through its 1,300 branches and via telephone and online channels
US worksite sales shine in a weak market
Voluntary worksite purchases of insurance by American workers edged ahead in 2009, rising 3.3% compared with 2008 to $5.4bn, reports worksite insurance research firm Eastbridge The increase came against the background of a 15% fall in individual life insurance sales in 2009 as reported by research and consulting organisation LIMRA. Indicating workers increased realisation of the need to protect income, growth in workplace sales was led by...
Equitable Life saga drawing to a controversial end
The decade-long Equitable Life Assurance Society (ELAS) saga that has its origin in bad risk management and regulatory shortcomings is finally nearing an end Policyholders of the 240-year old UK mutual insurer who suffered losses following its near collapse nine years ago are to be compensated, Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury, announced on 22 July.
Another top-level shake-up at AIG
Highlighting a clash of wills between himself and AIG CEO Robert Benmosche, Golub wrote in a letter to the AIG board: "Bob Benmosche has informed the board that he believes our working relationship as chairman and CEO to be ineffective and unsustainable
Scrapping compulsory retirement in UK could have unforeseen results
Regimented retirement appears set to become a thing of the past in the UK with the launch by the government of a consultation process looking at scrapping the default retirement age (DRA), currently 65 For example, with no fixed retirement date, the insurer believes this could ultimately lead to an increase in cost for employers which could lead some to consider removing cover altogether for their employees.
Fraud crackdown in US
In a crackdown on health insurance fraud, 94 people have been charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for participation in schemes to defraud the Medicare programme of $251m According to the DoJ, the accused participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided
US individual life activity takes an unseasonal dip
According to MIB, activity for individually underwritten life insurance in June 2010 declined by 3.9% in June year-on-year, the largest drop in application volume since March 2009
New York State Attorney General goes to war against US life insurers
In another potentially damaging blow to the US life insurance industrys image, New York State Attorney General Andrew M Cuomo has launched a fraud investigation into "practices that appear to have denied grieving military families and others ofms". According to Cuomo, he is investigating how military families and others were misled into putting benefits into insurer-controlled, low-yield, potentially risky accounts which reapedms of secret...
Pension Insurance Corporation comes to Alitalia scheme's aid
UK defined benefit risk transfer specialist insurer Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) has come to the rescue of members of the Alitalia Italian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme which is currently subject to assessment by the Pension Protection Fund
Aon, Hewitt deal sets consolidation pace
Aon Corporation, the worlds largest insurance broker is to buy US human resource (HR) and consulting company Hewitt Associates for $4.9bn, roughly half of its market capitalisation The deal is the largest in Aons history and significantly eclipses its previous largest deal, the acquisition of reinsurance broking company Benfield for $1.4bn in 2008. Aon CEO Greg Case said: "As we continue to grow our business, this merger will give us a broader...
Lincoln Financial repays US government
Lincoln Financial Group (LFG), one of the US life insurers hardest-hit by the financial crisis, has taken a key step towards normalising its balance sheet with the repayment in full of a $950m support package extended to it by the US Treasury under its Capital Purchase Program
Government ends India's war of the ULIPs
A two-month battle for regulatory control over unit-linked insurance products (ULIP) between insurance regulator the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IRDA) and capital markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has ended in victory for the IRDA.
Pulse insures the uninsurable
Indicating a change in attitude towards insuring HIV-positive people, UK insurer Pulse Insurance has launched Harbour, a product which it claims is a first-of-its-kind in the country Harbour offers customers either £10,000 ($15,000) or £25,000 life cover and up to £200,000 of accidental death cover
Rising life expectancy sees women take retirement planning lead
Women are consistently outliving men, often by years and even decades, giving rise to new concerns with outliving their savings in the midst of a wildly unpredictable equities market. Enter fixed immediate annuities a tried-and-true retirement product that fell out of vogue only to be revived as insurers begin to address women directly on the issue of longevity Because of increased life expectancy, US women are faced with financing a...
Conseco pays up
An unpleasant situation involving Conseco Life has been resolved, with the US insurer agreeing to reimburse aggrieved holders of its Lifetrend universal life product. Under the settlement, Conseco Life will establish a $10m fund for aggrieved policyholders and pay a $1m penalty to states participating in the settlement.
Catholic insurers join forces in the US
Consolidation of a slightly unusual nature has just occurred in the US, with the merger of two life insurers focused on the Catholic community, Catholic Knights and Catholic Family Life Insurance
Pan-American Life gets go-ahead in Costa Rica
Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PAL), a US insurer focused on the Hispanic market, has increased its reach with the receipt of a licence to operate in Costa Rica from the Central American countrys insurance regulator, the Superintendencia General de Seguros According to PAL, the company will offer individual health insurance as well as group life, accident and health insurance products in Costa Rica.
The costly downside of being healthy
Who will incur the highest post-retirement health care costs: a healthy person or an unhealthy person That answer is wrong, for American retirees at least, according to a Does Staying Healthy Reduce Your Lifetime Health Care Costs
Allianz and Standard Chartered join forces in Qatar's takaful market
Distribution of Allianzs Islamic law-based takaful products in Qatar has received a boost with the singing of a five-year exclusive agreement with Standard Chartered Bank. Under the agreement, Standard Chartered will sell Allianz Takafuls life insurance products which encompass protection, savings, investment and child education Allianz was granted a licence by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) to commence operations in...
Hope amid despair for UK pension schemes
In June 2009, the combined deficit of defined benefit pension schemes sponsored by UK companies stood at £40bn ($60bn) A year on and it has soared to a new record high of £100bn and could get far worse before it gets better, warns consultancy Aon Consulting.
Strong recovery in UK life insurance activity
Activity in the UKs life insurance market increased rapidly during the second quarter of 2010, reports professional service firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The recovery marked the second consecutive quarter of growth and was in tandem with the fastest rate of growth in the UKs financial sector for three years.
Deal boosts Mitsui Sumitomo in Malaysia
Japanese insurer Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company (MSI) is to gain entry into Malaysias life insurance market and expand its presence in the countrys general insurance market through a deal with Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Financial Group (HLFG).
Californian insurers toe the Poizner line
Despite strong opposition from some quarters, Californian insurers appear to be heeding California insurance commissioner Steve Poizners order that they sell Iran-related shares in their portfolios. The order targets 50 companies the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has identified as doing business with Irans nuclear, energy and defence sectors in the first quarter of 2010. According to the CDI, a detailed analysis revealed that, at...
US insurers largely passed by regulatory reform
Reform of US financial regulation has taken a leap forward following the approval of the 2,000 page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by the House of Representatives With the bills passage through the House, state insurance regulators are breathing a sigh of relief that its focus is primarily draconian banking regulation reform and leaves their authority largely unchanged. During intense debate on reform, insurance...
Brokers in UK prepare to do battle with FSA
UK insurance brokers future are under threat, warns the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA). The industry bodys concern stems from invoices received by its members from The Financial Services Authority for their 2010-11 Financial Compensation Scheme levy (FCSS) payments. BIBA CEO Eric Galbraith said brokers are facing 48-fold increases in their FSCS fees from two years ago, and laid the blame for the increase on mis-selling of payment...
Allianz see value in European property
Highlighting the attraction of European commercial property, insurer Allianzs global property unit Allianz Real Estate (ARE) is pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy with seven major deals announced since the end of 2009 worth a total of 1.4bn ($1.8bn). Largest of the acquisitions was Porta di Roma, a shopping centre in Rome, bought in a 50:50 joint venture between ARE and Dutch property company Corio in May for 440m. The largest shopping...
US health insurance costs continue to soar
Health reform or not, health insurance costs in the US are continuing to rise at an alarming pace, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB). Of the benefits consultants responding to the CIAB survey, 86% said prices increased for small accounts, those with 50 or fewer employees, with more than half the increases falling in the 11% to 20% range.
Aviva takes the online lead in Australia
According to Australian market research firm Investment Trends inaugural Life Insurer Benchmarking Report it is Aviva. Investment Trends conclusion was based on a review of the online offerings of 10 Australian life insurers across 150 functional areas and a survey of 1,400 financial planners aimed at determining what is important to them
Prudential Financial going for growth in European commercial property financing market
A dearth of bank finance in Europes commercial property market represents a significant opportunity for non-bank financial institutions to fill the void, believes Prudential Financial, the US second-largest life insurer. To exploit this potential the insurers property unit, Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI), has initial secured capital of £150m ($220m) from institutional investors including APG which manages the 240bn ($290bn)...
US insurers on mend
Numerous year-on-year comparisons reveal that the US life insurance industry has experienced dramatic improvement in its financial condition, reports rating agency Moodys Investors Service. A major indicator of the improvement was a precipitous 74% fall in investment impairments for the 19 life insurers covered by Moodys in its study. Moodys also noted that almost all of the life insurers posted positive operating earnings and net income...
Disgraced AIG execs proclaim their innocence
Though he has avoided prosecution, Joseph J Cassano, the former head of American International Groups Financial Products (AIG-FP) unit, is still fighting to restore his reputation, tarnished by what is seen as his pivotal role in the US insurers near-collapse. Write-downs related to credit default swaps (CDS) on subprime mortgage collateralised debt obligations (CDO) written by AIG-PF precipitated AIGs financial woes, which first came to light...
US insurers failing at online service
Four out of five Americans (83%) are likely to resolve any issues they experience in purchasing or processing a health insurance claim online by reaching for the phone This emerges from a study conducted by research firm Ipsos Public Affairs (IPA) for business transaction management technology specialist OpTier. IPA stressed that online customers looking to resolve claims and other issues using the phone are an expensive proposition in terms...
MassMutual in quest for originality
Charles Davis talks with US insurer MassMutual about the different approach of its new campaign, emphasising the need for expert guidance in financial planning. Among the time-honoured challenges in marketing life insurance is conveying stability and expertise without coming off sounding dull.
Caution dominates investor sentiment
With global financial markets still in turmoil gauging investor attitude towards various asset classes is of particular significance UK insurer Friends Provident has tackled this subject with the first of a series of studies undertaken by its Friends Provident International (FPI) unit. The objective, according to FPI director and general manager Jonathan Hall, is to build up an index that will become a reliable indicator of investor attitudes.
Bright future predicted for insurance in UAE
Research firm Bharat Book Bureau paints an optimistic picture of the potential of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) insurance market in a new report, UAE Insurance Market Forecast to 2012. According to Bharat, the UAEs insurance enjoyed a CAGR of around 30.5% between 2006 and 2009, and can be expected to remain buoyant, driven by the UAEs strong economic growth
Rothesay clinches £1.3bn BA buy-in deal
In one of the most significant defined pension (DB) scheme buy-in deals yet, UK risk transfer specialist Rothesay Life has insured £1.3bn ($2bn) of pension liabilities of the Airways Pension Scheme, one of the two DB schemes sponsored by British Airways (BA).
More consolidation in Australian market
Bank of Queensland Group (BOQ) has completed the acquisition of the life and general insurance units of St Andrews Insurance (SAI) from Commonwealth Bank Group (CBG). The A$45m ($40m) deal excluded SAIs investment, superannuation, retirement income and financial planning business units.
Resolution snaps up Axa UK life operations
Entrepreneur Clive Cowdery has moved to exploit consolidation opportunities in the UKs life market, announcing his Resolution Group is to acquire the bulk of French insurer Axas UK life operations Excluded from the deal are Axas UK wealth management operations comprising the Elevate wrap platform, Architas Multi-Manager, Axa Wealth International, Axa Winterthur Wealth specialist operations and Axa Direct Protection.
EU takes US to task on reinsurance tax proposal
Angelos Pangratis, acting head of the European Union (EU) delegation to the US, has been praised by the Coalition for Competitive Insurance Rates (CCIR) for his stance in opposing action to deny US tax deductions to foreign insurers on reinsurance cessions to affiliates outside the US Pangratis expressed the EUs opposition to the proposed tax move, which forms part of President Obamas 2010 fiscal year budget proposal, in a letter to, among...
Mixed signals from new US life settlements index
Now in its fifth month, an index of activity and prospects in the US life settlements market is providing mixed indications of whether the market has begun a sustained recovery following its setback in 2009. Produced by life settlements information specialist Amrita Financial the index produced a positive picture in April, rising 92.8 points (28.6%), from 324.6 points in March to 417.4 point
Sun Life launches mutual fund business in home market
Sun Life Financial has decided to apply its own investment skills in the Canadian mutual fund market with the launch of its own mutual fund management company Canadas third-largest life insurers initiative includes offering the investment capabilities of MFS Investment Management, Sun Lifes US-based asset manager, to Canadian retail investors. Establishing a mutual fund company is an important step in Sun Lifes strategy to grow our wealth...
Insurers shoulder huge World Cup risks
With the FIFA Soccer World Cup underway in South Africa and set to run until 11 July, insurers and reinsurers covering risks directly related to the event will be hoping that nothing goes seriously wrong Indicative of what is at stake, Lloyds of London estimates total risk covered at £6.2bn ($9bn) with the broad breakdown of risk covered being property and contingency at £3bn each and liability at £200m.
Major regulatory change lies ahead for Australia
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has taken the first step towards the introduction of significant change in the regulation of the countrys insurance industry with the release of a discussion paper describing its proposals to update capital standards. Proposed changes for general insurers are quite limited and focus on more risk-sensitive capital standards
Canadian crackdown on banks' online insurance marketing loophole
A regulatory loophole that has enabled Canadian banks to circumvent draconian restrictions on their ability to sell insurance is about to be closed by Canadas minister of finance, Jim Flaherty. Acting on a warning he issued in January this year, Flaherty has announced plans to prohibit the promotion of non-authorised insurance products on the web pages of Canadian banks Use of their websites by banks to promote their insurance operations has...
Life insurers set US industry capital raising pace
Capital-hungry US insurers went to the capital markets in droves during 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, raising a total of $38.6bn, reports rating agency Fitch Ratings Equity accounted for $8.5bn (22%) of capital raised during the five quarters while $30.1bn (78%) was raised through fixed-interest securities of which senior notes represented $29bn.
Old Mutual talks up South African mega-fund
Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA) has launched what it claims is the countrys largest multi-employer umbrella pension fund, the Old Mutual SuperFund Aiming to drum up business in South Africas pension market, OMSA Corporate umbrella fund product manager Hugh Hacking said the fund initially has 300,000 member accounts from some 5,000 employers.
Taiwan's accounting standards blamed for driving foreign life insurers out of market
These included Asian-market orientated UK insurer Prudential which, in June 2009, sold its agency distribution business to Taiwanese insurer China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan for a nominal amount of T$1 ($0.03)
Fee-based annuities start to make their mark in US market
Allianz Life Insurance of North America became the latest insurer to move in that direction, filing a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the launch of a fee-based variable annuity, the Retirement ProSM Variable Annuity
Discovery Holdings deal shakes up UK private health insurance market
South African insurer Discovery Holdings has acquired Standard Lifes health insurance unit Standard Life Healthcare (SLH) for £138m ($100m) in cash Trebling membership of its UK health insurance business, the deal was struck at a 47% discount to SLHs £258.5m net asset value. After closing of the deal, SLH will form part of Discoverys venture with UK insurer Prudential, PruHealth, following which Discoverys stake in PruHealth will rise from 50%...
The Hartford aims to slash the cost of cover
US insurer The Hartford aims to slash permanent life cover costs thanks to its new underwriting process which it claims substantially improves its ability to assess an individuals health and mortality risk. According to the insurers chief medical strategist, Robert Pokorski, it is estimated that more than half of new policyholders will qualify for one of the companys two lower-cost preferred classifications and could save significantly on...
E&Y wins Equitable Life fine appeal
Another chapter in the Equitable Life Assurance Society (ELAS) saga is complete, with a £500,000 ($730,000) fine for Ernst & Young (E&Y) relating to shortcomings of audits carried out on ELAS between 1997 and 1999 The fine was handed down to E&Y by the UK accountancy professions Appeal Tribunal following an appeal lodged by E&Y against a £4.4m fine imposed by the professions Joint Disciplinary Tribunal (JDT) in 2008
Prudential licks its wounds after AIA bid failure
Speculation is rife in the UK media as to whether Prudentials CEO Tidjane Thiam will survive the collapse of the insurers bid to acquire AIA Group, American International Groups (AIG) Asian subsidiary, for $35.5bn The deals failure thwarts Thiams ambition to make Asia "the groups future growth engine" and increase the proportion of business derived from Asia from 50% to 80%
Legal & General's rating hit by UK market woes
Reflecting its continued negative view of the UKs life market, rating agency Moodys Investors Service has downgraded the insurance financial strength rating of one of the countrys largest life insurers, Legal & General (L&G), from Aa3 from Aa2. The reason for its move, according to Moodys, is that the company expects any UK economic growth will be sluggish and a high level of household indebtedness will limit life insurance market growth...
Risk transfer deals soar to new record
With the effects of the financial crisis behind it, the UKs defined benefit risk transfer market continued its rapid growth during the first quarter of 2010 In an otherwise lacklustre UK life market, the defined benefit (DB) pensions risk transfer sector shone in the first quarter of 2010
LIC rides high in India
Indias largest life insurer, state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), is sustaining its market share recovery, reveals April 2010 data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). According to the IRDA, LIC recorded first-year premium income of INR41.73bn ($750m) in April, up 97.5% compared with INR21.13bn 12 months earlier, and was the primary driver of a 59.6% increase in total industry new business to...
Dai-ichi Life and IBM team up to streamline business processes
Japans third-largest life insurer Dai-ichi Life and US technology giant IBM have joined forces in a research programme aimed at developing technology solutions for insurers using IBMs semantic analytics technology.
US health insurance industry's reputation takes another knock
WellPoint, one of the largest health insurers in the US, is under scrutiny following a request from Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to governors and state insurance commissioners to re-examine recent insurance rate increases. Her call follows an investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) carried out at her request which found a proposed 39% premium increase in California by WellPoints...
US individual life sales on the rise
Hopefully marking the beginning of a sustained upturn, sales in the US individual life market recorded a solid recovery in the first quarter of the year Also on a rising trend, and setting all-time high records, are insurance sales through bank holding companies
Zurich Financial gains Indonesian foothold
Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) has taken its first tentative step into Indonesias life insurance market with the purchase of an 80% stake in Mayapada Life from Mayapada Group, an Indonesian conglomerate
Conseco looks to name change for new image
US life and health insurer Conseco formerly changed its name to CNO Financial Group, Inc on 11 May In addition, it establishes a unique identity that investors will recognise and that all our stakeholders will be able to keep separate from the identities of our principal insurance companies Bankers Life, Colonial Penn and Washington National.
US health insurers prone to costly admin errors
US health insurers could slash costs by $15.5bn annually by eliminating errors, reveals the American Medical Associations (AMA) third annual study of commercial health insurers The AMA estimates that $777.6m in unnecessary administrative cost could be saved if the health insurance industry improves claims processing accuracy by 1%
Fixed annuities lead slide in US annuity sales
Annuity sales in the US got off to a bad start in the first quarter of 2010, coming in at $47.4bn, down 6.9% from $50.9bn in the previous quarter and 27% on the first quarter of 2009 Data was supplied by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and for the first time combines fixed annuity data from fixed annuity research firm Beacon Research and variable annuity data from financial information specialist Morningstar
New York Life goes from strength to strength
A strategy of aggressively marketing its financial strength under banners such as "Built For Times Like These" and "Guarantees Matter" paid off for New York Life (NYL) in 2009. For the US largest mutual insurer it was a year of record insurance sales, which increased by 11% compared with 2008 to $2.66bn US life insurance sales provided the biggest boost, increasing 14% in 2009 compared with a 15% fall in the life industrys individual life...
AIG back in the black
American Insurance Group (AIG), in which the US government has a stake of almost 80%, had good news for taxpayers in the first quarter of 2010, reporting that it had generated a net profit of $1.45bn The result compares with a net loss of $4.35bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 AIG reported a net loss of $7.2bn in the fourth quarter following two consecutive profitable quarters
Uniqa reports solid gains in Slovakia
Austrian composite insurer Uniqa made impressive gains in Slovakias insurance market, bucking a downturn in the countrys life and general insurance sectors. In the life insurance sector, which saw a 4% year-on year fall in premium income, Uniqa reported premium income of 28.1m ($38m), up 7.9% compared with 2008
Regulators plunge India's ULIP market in to limbo
Indias Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IRDA) and capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), have locked horns over the latters move to impose its authority on unit-linked insurance products (ULIP). The SEBI sparked confusion in the market on 9 April when it issued an order restraining 14 the countrys 22 private life insurers from launching any new ULIPs or accept premiums for existing ULIPs...
Sophisticated investors urged to use life settlements as an asset class
Life settlements is a potentially profitable alternative for sophisticated investors, particularly those seeking an asset class uncorrelated to capital markets, believes Ryan Bisch, a senior associate at consultancy Mercers Alternatives Boutique in Melbourne, Australia. The global financial crisis was a wake-up call for many investors who realised that traditional alternative assets, such as hedge fund of funds, had failed to provide investors...
Mitsui Sumitomo takes first small step into China's life market
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI) has increased the scope of its involvement in Chinas insurance market with the purchase of a 7% stake in Sinatay Life Insurance) for CNY127m ($18.6m) The purchase marks by Japans third-largest general insurer marks its entry into Chinas life market
Aviva aims to axe UK final salary schemes
In a sign of the times UK insurer Aviva has taken the first step towards closure of its Aviva and RAC final salary pension schemes to accruals from 1 April 2011 According to Aviva, the UK and RAC final salary schemes take two-thirds of Avivas contributions to UK staff pension arrangements, yet only one-third of the insurers UK workforce of 21,600 have the final salary benefit
Prudential's plan to buy AIA hits a brick wall
It is back to the drawing board for UK insurer Prudential and advisers on its planned £13.9bn ($20.7bn) rights issue following a move by UK regulator the Financial Service Board (FSA). The rights issue forms the key funding avenue for Prudentials $35.5bn acquisition of US insurer American Insurance Groups Asian life insurance unit AIA Group
Axa's Asian ambitions suffer setback
Axas Asian growth strategy, a deal that would have given it full control of Axa Asia Pacifics non-Australasian operations, has been dealt a death-blow by Australias competition commission However, the door is open for Australias largest life insurer, AMP, to renew a bid for its Australian rival. Axas goal of gaining full control of Axa Asia Pacific Holdings (APH) non-Australasian operations has been dealt its second blow, this time by the...
SCOR enters China's life and health markets
Expanding its reach in Chinas insurance market, French reinsurer SCOR Group has been granted a composite licence by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission that will enable it to extend its current general insurance activities into the life and health insurance sectors.
Settlement industry spreads net wider
Viewed as targeting older policyholders, the US life settlements industry has begun looking to younger baby boomers as a source of supply of policies This comes at a time when the life settlements market is recovering from the impact of the recession that curtailed available capital, reports Charles Davis. As the US market for life insurance settlements continues to grow, producers conducting the transactions are continuously looking for new...
Solvency II threatens viability of small and medium insurers
Well intended it may be, but the European Unions Solvency II regulatory regime for insurers could reek havoc among small and medium-sized insurers, warns the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE). Although the new Solvency II regulatory regime is not intended to restructure the European insurance market it currently risks doing just that," stressed AMICE president Asmo Kalpala.
Munich Re reduces stake in Helvetia
In a move it describes as reducing its portfolio risk, Munich Re has reduced its stake in Swiss composite insurer Helvetia from 8.2% to under 3% The reduction involved the sale of Helvetia shares worth 119m ($160m) on which the German insurer and reinsurer said it realised a gain of about 90m Munich Re, which has had an association with Helvetia since 1988, emphasised that the reduction of its stake does not reflect any change in its...
China's government lauds Manulife-Sinochem
In recognition of a job well done, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance has received an "Excellent Organisation" award for 2009 from Chinas State Council National Economic Census Commission at the recommendation of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) In 1996 Manulife-Sinochem, a joint venture (JV) between Canadian insurer Manulife Financial and state-owned Chinese chemical giant Sinochem Corporation, became the first Sino-foreign JV...
Second life insurer enters Uganda
As part of its strategy to expand its reach in Africas life market, South Africas second-largest insurer, Sanlam, has launched a life insurance business in Uganda Though Sanlam has operations in eight other African countries outside its home market, the Ugandan unit, Sanlam Life Insurance Limited, is the first to carry its brand name. Commenting on the move into Uganda, Sanlams CEO Johan van Zyl said the decision was prompted by the scope for...
Not all insurers' websites are created equal
When it comes to using the internet to put their message across, some US insurers are getting it right while others are failing, reports internet consultancy and research firm Customer Respect Group (CRG) In its first quarter 2010 evaluation, CRG named five insurers with websites meeting their full range of criteria in areas including best practices, online trends and developments within the commercial web environment
UK annuity rate squeeze set to continue
Annuity rates in the UK are declining and are likely to continue doing so for some time, predicts Craig Fazzini-Jones, a director at mutual insurer Marine and General Mutual Life Assurance Societys MGM Advantage unit
Principal Financial and Banco do Brasil strengthen relationship
US financial services conglomerate Principal Financial Group and Banco do Brasil, Latin Americas biggest bank by assets, have reached a definitive agreement to extend their pension and long-term asset accumulation joint venture in Brazil, BrasilPrev Seguros e Previdncia SA (BrasilPrev) Together, over the past 10 years, weve built BrasilPrev into one of Brazils top retirement services companies with approximately threem accounts and nearly...
Money does not always buy a longer life
Money does count when it comes to longevity but it is not the only factor, reveals a study based on UK data conducted by actuarial consultancy Hymans Robertsons pension scheme advisory unit, Club Vita Analysing data from the Office for National Statistics and Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, Club Vita found that people living in Kensington and Chelsea live on average the longest in the UK to 86.6, six years above the national average of...
Allianz Saudi Fransi on a strong growth trajectory
Saudi Arabian insurer Allianz Saudi Fransi (ASF) is to proceed with a rights issue to raise an additional SAR125m ($33m) capital to position itself for implementation of what its chairman, Yousef Hamdan Al-Hamdan, termed a "rapid development plan ASF was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between European insurer Allianz and Saudi Arabian bank Banque Saudi Fransi, an affiliate of French bank Crdit Agricole
Rebound in European M&A activity predicted
Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the European insurance market is poised for a rebound, predicts Antonello Aquino, senior credit officer at rating agency Moodys Investors Service A recovery would after a period of comparatively low M&A activity which saw deals totalling 23bn ($29bn) in 2008 and 2009, combined
UK workplace pensions go from bad to worse
Workplace pensions in the UK present a sorry picture of decline, reveals 2009 a data study published by the Office for National Statistics (ONO) Of particular concern is that in recent years defined contribution (DC) pension provision has joined the long-term decline in defined benefit (DB) pension provision. Overall, the ONS study shows that 35% of private sector employees were in a workplace pension scheme at the end of 2009, down from 45%...
Japanese government angers insurance industry bodies
Ten major industry bodies representing the interests of life insurers, general insurers and reinsurers in the US, Europe and Asia have joined forces in condemning the Japanese governments stance on state owned Postal Life Insurance Service, or Kampo. The move follows a government cabinet decision on 30 April this year approving new legislation that contemplates legal and regulatory exemptions for Kampo from laws applying to private sector...
MetLife pays up for federal law violation
A contravention of the US Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by MetLife, the US largest life insurer, has been resolved by a non-prosecution agreement reached between it and the US attorney for the southern district of California, Karen Hewitt According to Hewitt, MetLife madems of dollars in improper payments to obtain the business of a San Diego insurance brokerage firms clients
Legal & General bets on property recovery
Commercial property is a good bet Legal & General bets on property recovery believes UK insurer Legal & General (L&G), announcing the launch of its UK Property Income Fund
US ripe for conversion options
Life insurance conversion options allow level term policyholders to convert their term coverage to a new, permanent whole life policy within a specified number of policy years
Another small US insurer rescued
National States Insurance has found itself among a growing number of small US insurers to be rescued from the brink of collapse following the Missouri Department of Insurances (MDI) decision to place it into rehabilitation In a statement, MDI director John Huff termed National States financial condition as being "hazardous." Under rehabilitation, the MIL assumes management of an insurers continued operations and attempts to correct problems,...
Dark days for Quinn Insurance
Major disruption to Irelands private health insurance market has been averted by the Financial Regulators decision to allow Irish general insurer Quinn Insurance Limiteds (QIL) health insurance unit Quinn Healthcare to trade as normal
FSA cracks down on bad pension switch advice in UK
Advisers in the UK providing poor pension switching advice to consumers are in for costly surprise, warns the Financial Service Authority (FSA) The regulators warning comes after its completion of follow-up work to improve pension switching advice that will see a number of firms required to carry out past business reviews dating back to April 2006
Genworth's wake-up call to advisers
A clients satisfaction with a financial adviser can be judged by the length of time that client retains his or her services This common perception could not be further from reality, reveals a study by US investment management and consulting firm Genworth Financial Wealth Management (GFWM), a unit of insurer Genworth Financial Many financial advisors believe that if they have had a client for 12-plus years, then that means their clients are...
UK equity release extends slide
Continuing a downtrend which began in the fourth quarter of 2007, activity in the UKs equity release market fell further in the opening months of 2010, data from industry body Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) revealed. SHIP reported advances in the first quarter of 2010 totaled £213.4m ($330m), down 12.9% compared with both the same quarter of 2009 and down 7.9% compared with the fourth quarter of 2009
Extortion attempt by individual against New York Life backfires
Californian Anthony Digati, 52, stands accused of choosing extortion as a novel approach to expressing his dissatisfaction with the performance of a variable universal life insurance product he purchased from New York Life (NYL), a company for which he once worked as an agent and manager According to his indictment by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, Digati assaulted NYL in February this year with an...
Sun Life chosen as Canada's top life insurer
Sun Life has emerged as Canadas most trusted life insurer in publisher Readers Digest Associations 2010 Canadian Trusted Brand awards programme conducted on its behalf by opinion research firm HarrisDecima In winning the award Sun Life edged out its two largest rivals, Great-West Life and Manufacturers Life
Health reform proves a boon to fraudsters
President Barack Obamas signing of the controversial Health Care Reform Act into law in the US in March has brought with it a new problem in the form of bogus health insurance schemes. Insurance regulators across the country have their hands full coping with the increase in fraud, with the Indiana Department of Insurance alone having issued cease-and-desist orders against seven companies purporting to be legitimate health insurance vendors...
Shareholders to bail out UK's top bancassurer
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), the UKs largest bancassurer, has received shareholder approval to proceed with a £13.5 billion ($21.6 billion) rights issue, the worlds largest. The rights issue follows a £4 million rights issue in May this year and forms part of a £22.5 billion capital raising exercise that includes a £9 billion swap of bonds into enhanced capital notes and equity. The latest rights issue, in which shareholders will be offered...
Munich Re to launch buy-out of Ergo minorities
Moving to streamline its primary insurance operations, Munich Re is to make a compulsory offer to buyout minority shareholders in its Ergo life, health and general insurance business unit. This action has been made possible by the purchase of Ergo shares from German bank HypoVereinsbank, a move that increased Munich Res stake in Ergo from 94.7 percent to over the 95 percent threshold required for compulsory minority buyouts.
Insurer tastes defeat in life settlements lawsuit
A lawsuit brought by Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York (LLA) against the owner of a $5m life policy bought under a life settlement contract has ended in defeat for the insurer, a unit of Lincoln Financial. The policy owner defended the legitimacy of the policy, and also contended that LLAs post-litigation conduct which included the acceptance of over $100,000 in additional premium payments which LLA sought to retain in its lawsuit...
Aviva enters Indonesia's life and pensions market
Marking its entry into Indonesias life insurance market, Aviva has acquired a 60% take in Asuransi Winterthur Life Indonesia (AWL), a unit of Indonesian general insurer Asuransi Wahana Tata (AWT)
Dai-ichi makes grand entrance on Tokyo Stock Exchange
Thursday 1 April was a momentous day for Dai-ichi Life when, in its new guise as a public company, it listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange following the worlds biggest initial public offer (IPO) in two years, and Japans biggest in 11 years In the IPO, Dai-ichi Life, Japans second-largest life insurer listed 10m new shares, 2.9m going to policyholders, 5m to Japanese investors and the balance of 2.1m to foreign investors
Europeans regain appetite for risk
This was reflected in inflows into undertakings for collective investments in transferable securities (UCITS) which excluding money market funds reflected net inflows of 165bn ($252bn) compared with net outflows of 420bn in 2008
Californian insurers square up to commissioner Poizner over Iran
Californias insurance commissioner Steve Poizner has left no doubt about his dislike of Irans political regime, backing it with an order to insurers licensed in California to sell shareholdings in 50 international companies he has identified as propping up Irans energy, nuclear, and defence sectors (see LII 245). Taking a first step to oppose the commissioner, five national and state trade associations representing Californias life, health and...
Pru's mega Asia deal comes with risk
Deals dont come much bigger than UK insurer Prudentials $35.5bn acquisition of American International Groups (AIG) Asian subsidiary AIA Group But the acquisition also comes with significant execution and integration risks cautions Hong Kong-based Sally Yim, a senior analyst with rating agency Moodys. The merger will involve two very large multinational operations, and it will therefore demand a considerable amount of management time to secure...
New York regulator fines Axa Equitable $1.9m for mis-selling
Joining a growing number of insurers to fall foul of regulators for mis-selling, Axa Equitable has paid a $1.9m fine to the New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) According to the NYSID, the violations occurred between 1 January 2001 and 30 June 2006 and involved inaccurate or incomplete disclosures to consumers buying replacement annuity contracts and life insurance policies
Primerica IPO marks end of bancassurer road for Citigroup
Marking the beginning of the end of its 12 years as a fully-fledged bancassurer, Citigroup has completed the initial public offer (IPO) of a portion of Primerica, its life insurance and financial products distribution arm Citigroup raised $320.4m in the IPO, which saw it sell 21.4m Primerica common shares at $15 per share The price represented a price-to-earnings ratio of only 7.8 based on Primericas reported net profit of $495m (1.93 cent per...
Majority of UK women risk retirement disaster
Women in the UK are likely to live on average nine years longer than men in retirement yet most women pay scant attention to their private pension needs, warns Standard Life.
IPO to accelerate Eureko's exit from Poland
Joining a worldwide surge in initial public offering (IPOs), PZU Group, Polands largest composite insurer, has filed a prospectus ahead of a listing scheduled for May. The IPO of state-controlled PZU is anticipated to see Polands State Treasury offer between 5% and 10% of PZUs issued shares and Dutch insurer Eureko, 17% For Eureko, which has a 33% stake in PZU, the IPO marks the next step in the unwinding of an unhappy relationship with...
US fixed annuity sales plunge
Fixed annuity sales in the US extended their falling trend in the fourth quarter of 2009 by slumping to $19.6bn, 43% lower than in the final quarter of 2008 and 11% down from the previous quarter, reports fixed annuity research firm Beacon Research.
Direct sales channels hit their mark in the US
Though sales of life insurance through direct channels in the US has been around for a long time, little detail about their significance has been available This has been changed by a study undertaken by research and consulting organisation LIMRA International which reveals that direct channels account for one out of every five individual policies sold. For the first time, we have been able to quantify the amount of individual life insurance...
A new look for the US VA market
Though US individual variable annuity (VA) sales ended 2009 on a slightly better note than the previous year, data from research and consulting firm LIMRA provides little convincing evidence that a sustainable recovery is underway.
Legal & General throws down HNW gauntlet
A price war could be brewing in the UKs high net worth (HNW) protection market following Legal & Generals (L&G) announcement it is now guaranteeing to match like-for-like competitor quotes for HNW business Burns continued: With dedicated support from our high net worth teams, fast and efficient case processing, and the backing of one of the largest underwriting teams in the UK, advisers will be hard pressed to look elsewhere for their high net...
Merger creates third-largest insurer in South Africa
A merger between two of South Africas mid-size life insurers, Momentum and Metropolitan, is set to create the countrys third-largest life insurer and end banking group FirstRands direct involvement in insurance
Canadians remain firmly on savings route
A tough economy is not deterring Canadian employers and employees from contributing to group defined contribution (DC) retirement and similar plans, reveals a study sponsored by Canadian insurer Great-West Life. Specifically, employers contributed 4.6% of salaries to their pension plans in 2009, up from 4.5% in 2008, while employees contributed 4.3% of salaries, up from 3.9%.
Northwestern and Nippon Life bolster ties
Further expanding its ties with US insurer Northwestern Mutual, Nippon Life, Japans biggest life insurer, has invested $250m in 30-year surplus notes issued by the mutual insurer
UK pensions body lures reluctant savers
Despite missing out on employer contributions, nearly 7m people in the UK eligible to join a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme have failed to do so, a shortcoming workplace pension scheme body the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) is attempting to remedy Spearheading the NAPFs efforts is its Pension Quality Mark (PQM), a programme launched in September 2009 that aims to encourage workers to join the DC scheme offered to them...
Auto-underwriting finally accepted in US
US life insurers have been slow in adopting automated underwriting but are finally accepting it as a solution, reveals a report authored by Clark Troy, a senior analyst with consultancy Aite Group Troy explained that automated underwriting is the life insurance equivalent of straight-through processing
US bank fixed annuity sales take dive
Annuity sales via US banks dived in the closing months of 2009 to record sales below $3bn in November and December for the first time since February 2007, reports bancassurance consultancy Kehrer-LIMRA
Technology giants power predictive analytics
Two of the most significant players in the global technology market, US-based Accenture and SAS Institute have joined forces to develop what they term the "next-generation" of predictive analytics solutions
Bonanza year for Standard Life Investments
For UK insurer Standard Lifes investment division Standard Life Investments (SLI), 2009 proved to be a winning one in all respects, including new business and that all-important ingredient, investment performance.
Axa's Asia-Pacific ambitions thwarted
Putting at least a temporary end to Axas ambitions to grow its Asia Pacific footprint substantially, a deal that would see the French insurers 64%-owned Axa Asia Pacific Holdings (APH) effectively split in two has met with unanimous rejection by the APH board. Under the proposed deal, Axa would acquire 100% of APHs Asian businesses while Australian insurer AMP would acquire 100% of Axa APHs Australian and New Zealand businesses.
Insurers turning to technology for solutions
Business analytics and intelligence will have a big impact on insurance and financial services companies over the next five years, 80% of insurance information technology executives told LIMRA for its Tech Quake: Predicting the Global Impact of Technology report
Singapore recovery still on track
Singapores life insurance industry consolidated its recovery in the fourth quarter of 2009 with premium income more than doubling compared with the final quarter of 2008 to S$2.1bn ($1.5bn) reveals data from the Life Insurance Association (LIA).
Americans crippled by premium hikes
American consumers in a number of states who buy their own health insurance from Anthem Blue Cross (ABC) are facing potentially crippling increases in the costs of cover at a time when many are already financially hard-pressed ABC, a unit of health insurance giant WellPoint, has requested increases in at least four states, which if granted will see policyholders face an increase of 15% and more in premiums this year
L&G seeks growth in longevity swaps
In an inevitable move, UK insurer Legal & General (L&G) has entered the rapidly-growing longevity insurance segment of the countrys flourishing defined benefit (DB) pension scheme risk transfer market. As one of the largest risk transfer market players, longevity insurance is a segment L&G cannot afford to ignore having in 2009 contributed £4.1bn ($6.6bn) out of total new business of £7.7bn, according to actuarial consultancy Hymans Robertson...
The New York State Insurance Department has acted to enhance consumer protection with the introduction of a rule compelling brokers and agents to describe to consumers their role in the transaction and how they get paid
Savings culture resurfaces in the US
Shocked into reality by the 2008-2009 economic crisis, Americans have regained the savings ethic, a shift Allianzs chief economist sees as permanent
Battle lines drawn in the US
A call by the American Council of Life Insurers for a ban on life settlement securitisation has met with vigorous opposition from the life settlement industry and the Insurance Studies Institute What has long been a strained relationship between US life insurers and the life settlement industry has deteriorated significantly following a call by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) for legislation or regulation to prohibit...
Californian insurers told to sell Iran-related shares or be shamed
Pursuing his objective of purging portfolios of insurers licensed in California of any Iran-related investments, the states insurance commissioner Steve Poizner has released the names of 50 companies doing business with Iranian nuclear, energy and defence sectors The release follows an instruction issued by Poizner in June 2009 to the 1,327 insurance companies licensed in the state to report all shares they hold in companies that have...
US individual life activity sustains recovery in January
US life insurers will be heartened by MIB Solutions release of individually underwritten life market data for January 2010, which reveals a continuation of the recovery in activity which first became evident in mid-2009. According to the industry data specialist, application activity in January increased by 1.2% compared with the same month in 2009, a development marking the sixth consecutive month where the year-on-year (YOY) change was positive
Obama sets out to milk insurers
Already weary from the toils of the health care reform debate, US insurers are gearing up for a handful of fresh skirmishes over new proposals to rein in the industry. All of the major insurance industry associations are calling attention to a number of details in President Barack Obamas 2011 budget proposal, from new life industry rules to taxation of major companies to potential changes for offshore insurers. The impetus for the...
Technology helps insurers slash costs
Charles Davis examines two innovative approaches, one adopted by MetLife with the objective of slicing travel expenses and the other an aggressive online marketing campaign launched by New York Life.
Prudential rejigs strategy in Asia
In Prudentials first major deal under the leadership of recently appointed CEO Tidjane Thiam, the UK insurer has acquired United Overseas Banks unit UOB Life Assurance (UOB Life) in a cash deal worth S$428 million ($306 million). UOB Life complements Prudentials existing life unit in Singapore, which in 2008 recorded premium income on an annual equivalent basis of £109 million ($175 million), making it as Singapores largest foreign life...
Phoenix sells a jewel in its crown as 'strategic repositioning' continues
US life insurer The Phoenix Companies (TPC) has sold its private placement insurance business PFG Holdings and subsidiaries Philadelphia Financial Group (PFG) and AGL Life Assurance Company to Tiptree Financial Partners for an undisclosed sum.
Symetra breaks six-year US listing drought
In the first listing of a life insurer in the US since 2004, Symetra Financial Corporation made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on 22 January, following an initial public offer (IPO) of shares at $12 each. Symetra shares traded as high a $13 per share in its first day, giving it a market capitalisation of about $1.4 billion. In the IPO, 20.7 million new shares were sold, raising $248 million in new capital for the...
AIG took financial system to 'brink of collapse'
Countering criticism of the Federal Reserves $85 billion bailout of the American International Group (AIG) in September 2008, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told the Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee of inactions dire consequences.
INDUSTRY TRENDSFitch remains downbeat on US life insurers Rating downgrades of US life insurers will continue to outnumber upgrades in 2010, warns Fitch Ratings On a more positive note, the ratings agency predicts the pace and number of downgrades will moderate compared to action taken in 2009.
Europe sitting on longevity time bomb
The financial crisis is at the forefront of international attention, but there is a issue Europe faces with the potential to make the current economic woes pale into insignificance: its ageing population.
Gen Re owns up and pays up
Ending one of the most shameful stories in the US insurance industrys history, reinsurer General Reinsurance Corporation (Gen Re) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice in which it acknowledged its role in a fraudulent scheme to manipulate American International Groups (AIG) financial statements. For the subsidiary of investment company Berkshire Hathaway, the settlement comes at a cost of $92.2 million, of which the...
UK sole traders shun protection
The entrepreneurial spirit lives on in the UK, with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) estimating there were 3 million sole traders operating in the country at the start of 2008. However, while many of these small entrepreneurs may be adept at creating wealth few are doing much to protect it, reveals a study by life insurer Scottish Widows, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group. Specifically, Scottish Widows found that sole...
Dutch bancassurer SNS Reaal lives to fight another day
SNS Reaal was kept afloat in December 2008 by an injection of 750 million ($1 billion) by the Dutch state and 500 million by its controlling shareholder, Stichting Beheer SNS Reaal, by way of the issue of core tier 1 securities.
UK advisers see growth in VAs
Independent financial advisers (IFA) in the UK have a generally positive attitude towards the future of variable annuities (VA), a study by Sun Life of Canada reveals According to Sun Life, 46 percent of IFAs believe the VA market is gradually gaining support, with 17 percent thinking it is up and coming
UK's Standard Life makes costly error
The new year got off to a bad start for UK insurer Standard Life when it became the recipient of the first significant fine handed down by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 2010. The FSA explained that between 10 July 2006 and 28 February 2009, Standard Life failed to ensure there were proper systems and controls over its Pension Sterling Fund (PSF), specifically in relation to the marketing material produced.
Moody's predicts consolidation ahead for UK Mutual insurers
Following a recent increase in regulatory scrutiny by the UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA), mutual insurers and friendly societies face consolidative pressures, believes David Masters, an analyst at rating agency Moodys Investors Service. Masters said increased scrutiny was marked by a letter sent by the FSA in October 2009 to mutual insurers CEOs regarding prospects of their institutions, particularly those that continue to write new...
Lloyd's chairman heaps praise on former AIG chief
Maurice Hank Greenberg found himself the focus of praise at the St Johns University School of Risk Management Insurance and Actuarial Sciences 15th Insurance Leader of the Year award dinner held in New York last month. Praise for the former head of American International Group came from Lloyds chairman Lord Peter Levene during a speech in which he accepted the schools 2009 Insurance Leader of the Year award.
Axa Equitable thinks boldly with Retirement Cornerstone platform
In an era where most annuity providers are moving toward simplified, single-stream product offerings, Axa Equitable believes it can offer growth and downside protection and still keep the product understandable for consumers. The US unit of the French insurer recently launched Retirement Cornerstone, a variable annuity with a dual-account investment platform that it hopes will change the way that investors view the uses and benefits of...
Growth of China's life market slackens in 2009
Specifically, the industrys premium income exceeded the CNY1 trillion ($146 billion) mark for the first time, coming in 13.8 percent higher than in 2008 at CNY1.11 trillion
Australian government proposes sweeping product rationalisation
Australias Treasury Department has issued a consultation paper calling for comments on the proposed rationalisation of life insurance products and managed investment products. This proposal, noted the Treasury, was developed through discussions with a range of stakeholders, including product providers, actuaries and legal experts.
NAIC proposal angers champions of US state insurance regulation
Hopes the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) may have had that its proposal to create a National Insurance Supervisory Commission (NISC) would be well received were dashed by a number of US insurance industry bodies which have condemned it as an unacceptable compromise between state and federal regulation.
Unipol and BNP Paribas to part company in Italy
In a major shake-up of Italys insurance market, Italian bancassurer Unipol Gruppo Finanziario (UGF) and French bancassurer BNP Paribas have agreed terms to end their joint venture (JV), BNL Vita, the life insurance distribution arm of BNP Paribas Italian banking unit, BNL Group.
Marsh acquires HSBC insurance broking unit, Boost for BNP Paribas affluent client reach, CNP Assurances completes Southern European refocus, Allianz renewable energy investment forges ahead, Swiss Res pioneering UK longevity risk deal...
Uncertainty and opportunity ahead
In a discussion with Charles Davis, Deloittes Rebecca Amoroso highlights the uncertainties US life insurers face as they head into 2010, particularly in the area of sweeping regulatory change. However, she also sees opportunity for insurers serving the needs of risk-averse retirees and near-retirees
Sompo and Nipponkoa fuel Japanese merger activity
Japans contracting life insurance market has brought about merger discussions between Japan-based insurers Sompo Japan Himawari Life Insurance (Sompo Life) and Nipponkoa Life Insurance to enter into merger discussions. The development follows shareholder approval received in December 2009 for Sompo and Nipponkoa to merge their general insurance operations, a move creating Japans third-largest general insurer.
Prudential Financial exits broking joint venture
Unwinding a partnership not of its making, US bank Wells Fargo has paid life insurer Prudential Financial $4.5 billion in cash to purchase the life insurers 23 percent stake in Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA), their retail securities brokerage joint venture (JV).
Canadian court rejects accident claim
A legal battle that had its origin in 2003 ended in 18 December 2009 in victory for Canadian insurer Co-operators Life Insurance with the countrys highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), ruling in its favour.
ING powers into burgeoning multicultural market in the US
Seeking to capitalise on the growing diversity of the US market, ING has expanded its enterprise-wide efforts aimed at serving multicultural customers.
Signs of North American revival
Pointing to a recovery in the North American life insurance market, application activity for individually underwritten life insurance in November 2009 lifted 3.9 percent year-on-year, reports life industry data specialist MIB Solutions.
Minnesota strikes against annuity mis-selling
Striking for the fifth time in two years, Lori Swanson, the state of Minnesotas attorney general, has extracted a settlement from a life insurer accused of mis-selling deferred annuities to senior citizens resident in the state.
Tesco throws its marketing weight behind Friends Provident
UK life insurer Friends Provident has boosted its distribution capabilities significantly with the launch of a bancassurance partnership with Tesco Bank, the retail banking arm of Tesco, the UKs largest supermarket chain
US insurers face mounting commercial property losses
Deteriorating conditions in the US commercial property market spell more losses in the medium-term for the countrys life insurers, warns Jeffrey Berg, a senior vice-president with rating agency Moodys.
UK risk transfer market ends year on strong note
Extending the recovery seen in the third quarter of 2009, the UKs final salary pension scheme risk transfer market recorded deals worth a total of £2.25 billion ($3.56 billion) in the fourth quarter, reports actuarial consultancy Hymans Robertson.
UK enhanced annuity market attracting growing interest
British consumers are displaying considerable interest in enhanced annuities also known as impaired life annuities and are likely to continue doing so, believes consultancy Watson Wyatt. This optimistic view from Watson Wyatt came despite weaker enhanced annuity sales in the third quarter of 2009, which at £447.7 million ($725 million) were down 7 percent compared with the previous quarter.
Paternoster still on UK buyout market sidelines
Paternoster, until 2008 a frontrunner in the buyout market, ceased writing new business about six months ago, a move that appears preempted action by the Financial Services Authority.Paternoster is, however, not back in business and will only resume writing new business once it has raised further money or when there is significant improvement in the economic outlook and, of particular significance, only once the company and the Financial...
Bosses well rewarded despite tough times
According to a disclosure by AIG, Benmosche will receive an annual remuneration of $3 million in cash plus $4 million in AIG ordinary shares which will be awarded in biweekly allotments
AIG's outstanding debt mountain
The answer to the AIG repayment question is that it remains a vast sum, totalling $83.6 billion
Californian insurers ordered to sell Iranian-related investments
Steve Poizner, Californias insurance commissioner, has ordered 341 insurance companies licensed in the state to dispose of all shares they hold in companies that have connections with Iran Poizners demand follows an instruction he issued six months ago to all California-licensed insurers to declare their interests in Iran-related companies. As a result of this probe, insurance companies have reported $12 billion in investments in companies...
Still repairing financial damage caused by residential property losses, US insurers face the prospect of hefty losses on commercial real estate (CRE), warns rating agency Fitch. Based on its assessment, Fitch believes weakening CRE fundamentals are set to trigger a jump in defaults across all segments of commercial property which on its conservative estimate will result in the US life industry sustaining losses of between $15.7 billion to...
Email gives smaller US insurers an edge
Effective communication with customers and agents is vital and, thanks to the power of email, need not cost the earth, as US insurers such as United Home Life have discovered Like many smaller US life insurers, United Home Life Insurance of Indianapolis, Indiana, battles for the attention of independent agents critical to the companys sales efforts.
Prudential turns its back on UK equity release
A blow has been dealt to the UKs flagging equity release market with the announcement by Prudential that it is to cease writing new business in the first quarter of 2010 One of the biggest players in the market, the insurer has a total equity release book valued at about £1 billion ($1.6 billion).
Hong Kong IPO for China Pacific
China Pacific Insurance, Chinas third-largest life insurer, has been given the go-ahead by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to proceed with an initial public offer (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE). China Pacific, which has a primary listing on Chinas Shanghai Stock Exchange, anticipates issuing up to 990 million new shares in the IPO at a minimum price of CNY23.52 ($3.4) per share
Manulife buys into China's asset management market
Canadian insurer Manulife Financial has secured itself an instant position in Chinas asset management market with the acquisition of French bank BNP Paribass 49 percent stake in ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management Company (TEDA) for 105 million ($158 million) in cash.
Ping An and Discovery Health team up
Chinas private health insurance market is expanding rapidly, something Chinese insurer Ping An and South Africas largest health insurer, Discovery, hope to exploit in a proposed joint venture With the forging of an alliance between Ping An, Chinas second-largest life insurer, and Discovery Holdings, South Africas largest health insurer, the wheels have been set in motion to create one of the more unique joint ventures (JV) in Chinas insurance...
US insurers go on the offensive
Prudential Financial joined the reassurance business recently, launching a major advertising campaign highlighting the company's solutions for businesses facing a variety of challenges in the post-financial crisis environment The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign centres around Prudential answering an SOS call from corporations looking for a partner with the financial strength and solutions for their retirement plans, asset management...
Sun Life backs multi-employer pension solution
A multi-employer defined contribution (DC) pension plan permitting all employers and the self-employed to automatically participate would greatly increase pension coverage, believes Tom Reid, senior vice-president for group retirement services at Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial. With three to five million Canadians not having access to an occupational pension plan, we need to improve the retirement, savings and income system in Canada,...
REGULATIONUS life insurers excluded from oversight by new Federal agencyFollowing tough opposition from life industry lobbyists, the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee has excluded life insurers from the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).On 22 October the committee approved legislation that will lead to the formation of the CFPA, a Federal body that will have wide regulatory powers.Exclusion...
Dark days for bancassurance
Bowing to pressure from the European Commission (EC) and major creditor the Dutch government, ING Group has turned its back on bancassurance, a model it has championed since its formation almost two decades ago.Under an agreement reached with the EC in late-October, ING will dismantle its bancassurance edifice, leaving its banking and insurance operations as completely separate entities.The dismantling process is set to take four years and...
Standard Life bows out of banking
Ending an 11-year and once highly ambitious foray into banking, UK insurer Standard Life has sold Standard Life Bank (SLB) to Barclays Bank in a cash deal worth a minimum of £226 million ($370 million), or about £35 million less than the banks net asset value as at 31 August 2009.The sale is in keeping with the insurers strategy of focusing on growth as an asset managing business, commented Sandy Crombie, Standard Lifes outgoing group...
Axa's Asia-Pacific ambitions thwarted
Putting at least a temporary end to Axas ambitions to grow its Asia Pacific footprint substantially, a deal that would see the French insurers 64 percent-owned Axa Asia Pacific Holdings (APH) effectively split in two has met with unanimous rejection by APH board.Under the proposed deal, Axa would acquire 100 percent of APHs Asian businesses.Australian insurer AMP would acquire 100 percent of Axa APHs Australian and New Zealand...
Twenty years to build, four years to dismantle
ING Groups plan to dismantle its sprawling insurance empire marks the end of one of the grandest fully integrated bancassurance models and one executed by a company that was from the start a bancassurer.ING Groups creation was facilitated by the Dutch governments lifting of legal restrictions on mergers between insurers and banks in 1990, a development that prompted merger negotiations between Dutch insurer Nationale-Nederlanden and Dutch bank...
Whole life enjoys a big comeback
In a US life insurance industry that has seen overall sales plummet since 2008, standing out as an exception are whole life policies which are enjoying a strong rebound in popularity among risk-averse consumers seeking a more stable investment alternative to the equity market Shoved to the sidelines during the heady days before the economic meltdown of 2008, whole life policies suddenly are back in vogue.The reasons for the comeback of whole...
The Phoenix's big battle to rise from the ashes
Fighting to restore its distribution capabilities, US insurer The Phoenix Companies (TPC) has opted to go it alone with the establishment of its own distribution company, Saybrus Partners.TPCs move follows major damage done to its distribution capacity in March 2009 when two insurers, State Farm and National Life Group (NLG), announced that they had suspended distribution of TPCs products indefinitely.In 2008 State Farm was responsible for 68...
American women remain under-served
Despite this, women remain under-served by life insurers and lag men in their understanding of benefits offered by life insurance in areas such as income protection
Ping An puts torrid 2008 in the past
Having suffered a profit-mauling a year earlier, the fortunes of Chinas second-largest life insurer, Ping An, rebounded in the third quarter of 2009 with its net profit coming in at CNY3.37 billion ($493 million), up from a net loss of CNY7.92 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Sixth paragraph should read: In the general insurance market Ping An grew by premium income by 38.5 percent to CNY29.02 billion in the first three quarters of...
Generali harnesses iPhone power
Accessing information on the move is increasingly becoming accepted as the norm, a trend that is being accelerated by the advent of smartphones such as Apples iPhone.Viewing this trend as an opportunity to deliver enhanced services, Generali France, a unit of Italian insurer Generali Group, has teamed up with consulting and technology services provider Accenture to develop an iPhone application to meet the needs of financial advisors serving...
Reverse mortgages under fire in the US
At least two major life insurers have been named in a damning report on the US reverse mortgage market undertaken by non-profit consumer advocacy organisation the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).The report Subprime Revisited: How the Rise of the Reverse Mortgage Lending Industry Puts Older Homeowners at Risk was authored by Tara Twomey, an NCLC attorney.In an overview of the report the NCLC notes: Annual reverse mortgage volume has topped...
SEC to focus on retirement products retirees can 'understand'
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is on the hunt for newly emerging risks Mary Schapiro, the regulatory bodys chairman told delegates to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Associations annual conference held in New York in late-October.In this hunt a focus will be on new products, particularly those related to retirement investing, she stressed.This focus, explained Schapiro, is especially important as employers...
US to clamp down on rating agencies
Standing accused of playing a key role in fuelling the global financial crisis, rating agencies have come under close scrutiny by legislators in the US culminating in the House of Representatives Financial Services Committees passing of the Accountability and Transparency in Rating Agencies Act in October.Though the Act must pass through the final legislative process, overwhelming bipartisan support in the committee means it is very likely it...
AIG readies Asian unit for an IPO
American International Groups (AIG) major Asian life insurance unit American International Assurance Company (AIA) is being lined up for an initial public offering (IPO) on an Asian stock exchange, a development aimed at accelerating its assumption of an independent identity. At this stage, we believe that a public listing for AIA would be in the best interests of all stakeholders, including US taxpayers, policyholders, employees and...
UK pension reform takes a turn for the worse
Success of sweeping reform of the UKs pension landscape heralded by the passing of the 2008 Pensions Act and due for implementation in 2012 is under threat, warns the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Aviva reattribution raises consumer group's ire
In a process dogged by controversy since it began in November 2006, Aviva has announced completion of the reattribution of the inherited estate in its Norwich Union CGNU Life and CULAC with profits funds.Completion of the reattribution follows the High Courts approval of the offer by the UKs largest insurer to policyholders in September 2009.
AIG's outstanding-debt mountain
Precisely how much does American International Group (AIG) still have to repay the US government?It is a question that is the source of much confusion which the beleaguered insurer has acted to put to an end with the release of up-to-date Government Accountability Office (GOA) data.The answer to the AIG repayment question is that it remains a vast sum, totalling $83.6 billion, the largest portion of which comprises preferred equity capital of...
Veteran banker takes over the hot seat at The Hartford
McGee, 55, steps into the positions Ayer had held since February 1997 at a time when the insurer is still repairing damage done by the worst financial setback in its 199-year history.Commenting on McGees appointment, Michael Morris, The Hartfords presiding director, said: Liams strong track record of success in leading large, complex financial services organisations makes him the ideal person to build on The Hartfords strong foundation.McGee...
New York Life proves itself worthy of AAA rating
Left with the coveted AAA rating are a mere handful: New York Life (NYL), Northwestern Mutual and TIAA-CREFThe Aaa rating by Moodys in March, followed by AAA from S&P in June and Fitch in October vindicated the confidence NYL expressed in its financial stability following an internally conducted stress test in February 2006.The US largest mutual insurer has now reiterated its confidence against the background of the World Health Organisations...
Premature death stalks US' uninsured millions
As the debate focused on the mooted creation of a of a government-backed health insurance plan in the US rages on, a study undertaken by Harvard University has greatly strengthened the argument of proponents of federal involvement.
Nationwide Mutual harnesses the power of the mobile phone
The risk of appearing to embrace technology for technologys sake is quite real, yet staying still is not an option, either.
Generali talks up Vietnam's big growth potential
Generali will become Vietnams 12th life insurer.Speaking enthusiastically about prospects in Vietnam, Generalis CEO Sergio Balbinot praised Vietnams government for steering the economy along what he termed a virtuous path by creating solid development opportunities for the life and general insurance market.Adding attraction to what Generali views as an insurance market ranking amongst those with the highest growth potentials is Vietnams very...
Legislation in US comes thick and fast
US insurance regulatory body the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has given its approval to the Reinsurance Regulatory Modernization Act of 2009, a proposed federal bill to be submitted to Congress that would reform reinsurance regulation by states.
COMPANIESNippon Life makes $500m investment in Prudential FinancialContinuing to expand its presence in the US insurance industry, Japans largest insurer Nippon Life has purchased a $500 million 10-year exchangeable surplus note issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, a unit of Prudential Financial Under the terms of the transaction, Nippon Life can exchange the surplus note for Prudential Financial ordinary shares at any time,...
European Commission aims to sniff-out risks
I commend this package to the Council and Parliament for rapid adoption, so that the new structures can begin functioning in 2010.Among key changes to the EUs regulatory landscape, the proposed legislation will see creation of a new European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) to detect risks to the financial system as a whole and to issue early risk warnings to be rapidly acted on.Commenting on the ESRB the EUs Economic and Monetary Affairs...
ING continues along disposal trail
Marking another step in its rationalisation strategy, Dutch bancassurer ING Group is to sell its 51 percent equity stakes in ING Australia and ING New Zealand to its joint venture (JV) partner Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) The Dutch bancassurer estimates that the 1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) cash deal will result in it realising a net profit of 300 million and the freeing up of 900 million capital.This transaction is another...
US employers take a dim view of health care insurance reform
Of concern is that conclusions being reached are far from positive, reveals a survey of employers undertaken by consultancy Watson Wyatt in mid-September.Escalating health costs have been top of mind for employers for years now, but the reform debate has pushed this issue to a critical point, said Ted Nussbaum, North America director of group and health care consulting at Watson Wyatt.While the national debate centres on options for expanding...
Consumers cling to their life policies
The study underscores the important link between life insurance and financial planning, and provides some encouraging news for insurers about the perceived importance of life coverage.In its latest Financial Behaviors Index survey conducted in August, insurance and banking services provider First Command Financial Services found that just 4 percent of Americans report making changes to their personal life insurance coverage as a result of the...
Mortgage payment insurers take £60m hit
Following discussions initiated by the FSA with relevant trade bodies and some insurers, market participants have agreed to: Refund increases by no later than June 2010 in premiums and reverse any reductions in cover for customers who have experienced these changes to their policy in 2009; Offer to reinstate policies where a customer had cancelled it within two months of an increase in premium or reduction in cover made during 2009; Freeze...
Tougher US regulation on the way after Senate study
The hearing in early May came against the background of a traded life insurance policy market that US financial services firm and life settlements player Cantor Fitzgerald estimated to be worth $20 billion Cantor based its estimate on policy face values, and predicted the market is likely to reach $100 billion in the next five years.In a summary of the hearing, the committee noted that its investigation which began in November 2008 has...
Variable annuities hold their own in UK
Activity in the UK's relatively new variable annuity (VA) market may have been down in the first half of 2009 but as product with significant growth potential the VA is certainly not out of the running
Technology provides a winning edge
More than ever, life insurers are seeking to streamline processes and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Iain Dunstan of financial services technology specialist Bravura Solutions provides insight into the advantages effective use of technology holds for insurers as they strive to meet these objectives
Merger to advance Conseco's capital rebuilding
Continuing its rush to rebuild capital, US insurer Conseco is to merge two of its insurance subsidiaries, Conseco Insurance Company and Conseco Health Insurance, into a third subsidiary Washington National Insurance Company (WNIC).
Outsourcing dealt a harsh blow by recession
For over a decade insurers have viewed the offshoring of business services as a major part of their cost reduction strategies.
life insurance news
Insurers take a M&A back seat
Insurers played a minor role in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the asset management market in the first half of 2009, accounting for only 4 out of 73 deals recorded by US securities and investment banking group Jefferies Putnam Lovell (JPL).
Once-embattled Philamlife becomes an acquirer
Marking a significant change in the Philippines' bancassurance landscape, Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philamlife), the country's largest life insurer, is to acquire a 51 percent stake in Ayala Life from Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). According to local media reports, Philamlife will pay PHP1.35 billion ($28 million) for its stake in Ayala Life, the country's seventh-largest life insurer.
UK regulator's future hangs in political balance
The future of the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) will be determined by the outcome of the country's next general election, which must be held on or before 3 June 2010.
Another setback for The Phoenix Companies
Negativity continues to pervade US insurer The Phoenix Companies (TPC), with the latest blow coming from rating agency Fitch which has downgraded TPH's insurer financial strength rating to BBB from BBB+. Fitch has also assigned the 158-year old Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer a negative outlook, indicating a further negative rating action ahead.
US fixed annuity sales growth
The US fixed annuity market lost momentum in the second quarter of 2009 with sales falling 20 percent compared with the previous quarter to $27.8 billion, reveals data supplied by independent fixed annuity research firm Beacon Research.
MetLife changes with the times
With an eye toward capturing a greater share of the emerging affluent market, US insurer MetLife has leveraged the online channel to offer sophisticated financial advice to investors with an initial investment of as little as $10,000.
SBI-Axa introduces technology to drive online sales
Continuing its pioneering path in Japan, SBI-Axa has become the country's first life insurer to introduce an automated underwriting system to support its new business process. The move adds another first for SBI-Axa which in April 2008 was launched as Japan's first direct-to-consumer life insurer focused primarily on the internet marketing channel.
Solvency II threatens UK retirement market
Solvency II took a decisive step forward in April with the European Parliament's approval of the Solvency II framework directive.
Moody's still downbeat on European insurers
Though first-half 2009 results from European insurers indicate a recovery in investment market performance in the second quarter after significant losses in the first, the business environment remains "deeply challenging", cautions David Masters, an analyst at rating agency Moody's
Swiss Life sets out to tackle
Dependence on financial result of traditional business and the high level of costs are impeding Swiss Life's progress - these are two key messages from Switzerland's largest life insurer which has just released a mixed set of half year results.
Aegon raises electronic communications bar
When it comes to harnessing the internet as an effective means of servicing customers and financial advisers Aegon UK is achieving outstanding success, indicates a series of assessments undertaken by UK-based independent specialist technology consultancy, Financial & Technology Research Centre (F&TRC
Deloitte sees big changes ahead
While some life insurers are merely hoping to ride out the global recession, many sense the imperative to expand their international footprint.
Starting on the long road to recovery
A rebound in global equity and credit markets came to embattled US insurer The Hartford Financial Services Groups (HFSG) aid in the second quarter of 2009, enabling it to come within striking distance of breakeven and beating analysts forecasts by a solid margin.Recovering from a $1.2 billion loss in the first quarter of the year and a cumulative net loss of $4.65 billion over the last three quarters, HFSG reported a net loss of $15 million in...
Life Insurance International - News Digest
Turning security into a money-spinner
A study on digital security in the life insurance market concludes that companies have the potential for significant value creation through more strategic emphasis on security initiatives.The 18-month study, undertaken jointly by technology vendor Computer Science Corporation (CSC) with the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), explores how carriers can better target their security investments to support growth and efficiency initiatives...
Anti-health care fraud organisations join forces
Fraud is a significant problem for insurers and health care providers alike and in the European Union (EU) alone results in losses of between 30 billion ($42 billion) and 100 billion annually, according to Paul Vincke, president of the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN).Based on the higher of the two estimates health care fraud equals about 10 percent of total health care spending in the 27 EU countries.Health care fraud...
UK equity release market's untapped potential
After holding relatively stable in the first quarter of 2009, the UK's equity release market became another victim to the weak economic conditions in the second quarter, with new business down 15.5 percent from the £275.7 million ($470 million) released in the first quarter of 2008 to £232.9 million.
US writers up fees, reduce benefits
Hammered by onerous guarantee commitments on variable annuities, US insurers have acted to significantly reduce risk exposure on new products. This is highlighted by a study conducted by Symetra Life, which included products from 10 of the largest VA providers.
Axa Equitable Life turns 150
Axa Equitable Life, the US unit of French insurer Axa Group, reached an important milestone in on 26 June 2009 with the marking of the 150th anniversary of its founding.
Partial victory for SEC opponents
Opponents of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) controversial Rule 151A have hailed a ruling by the US District Of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals as a partial victory. Under Rule 151A adopted earlier this year, the SEC will assume regulation of fixed indexed annuities (FIA) in January 2011.
US banks ride high on annuity sales
US banks enjoyed solid growth in the annuities market in the first quarter of 2009, with income earned on sales up 12.4 percent to a record $734.5 million, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, reports consultancy Michael White Associates (MWA). Annuity commissions increased by a similar 12.1 percent to $655.2 million.
Greenberg agrees to $15m SEC settlement
A four-and-a-half-year investigation conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has culminated in the US regulator charging former American International Group (AIG) chairman and CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and former vice-chairman and CFO Howard Smith for involvement in improper accounting transactions.
Aetna and UnitedHealth emerge as big winners in US Defense Department contract shake-up
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has created a major upset in the US health insurance industry with its decision to change suppliers of benefits to nearly six million active and retired service men and women and their families.Major losers in the change are Humana and Health Net while big winners are Aetna and UnitedHealth.The DoDs decision forms part of its revision of contracts awarded under the TRICARE programme covering the DoDs Military...
State lawmakers back life settlements
The US states of Maine and Washington have set a legal precedent by enacting laws which compel life insurers to advise senior consumers about life settlement as an alternative to the lapse or surrender of a life insurance policy
Regulators setting the stage for the next crisis, warn economists
Amid a scramble to introduce tougher, far-reaching regulation of the financial services industry, a group of 14 prominent economists warn of likely disastrous consequences of building new regulatory initiatives on the false premise that the financial crisis was caused by failure of the market system.
Vienna Insurance gains further ground in CEE
Already a major player in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) consolidated its position further in the region by shifting into overall top position in Slovakias general and life insurance sectors in the first quarter of 2009, from second position in 2008 This advance came on the back of gross written premium income of 186.23 million ($260 million) which gave the Austrian insurer an overall market share of 33.3 percent
Change ahead for Intesa Sanpaolo
Italys largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, formed in January 2007 out of the merger of Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI, has set in motion a process aimed at major rationalisation of its bancassurance operations The first is Intesa Vita, a 50:50 JV with Italian insurer Generali serving former Banca Intesa branches
Aviva bids farewell to 'challenging' Australian market
Australias top-heavy life insurance market is set to become even more concentrated with Avivas decision to sell its Aviva Australia Holdings (AAH) unit to National Australia Bank (NAB) The deal with NAB, the second largest player in Australias life market, follows the sale of Avivas general insurance operations in Australia and New Zealand in 2002, and marks the UK insurers exit from the Australian insurance market.
MassMutual enters Chinese market, Sun Life seizes UK growth opportunity, The Hartford in search of a new leader, Fortis gets another CEO, US individual life sales nosedive in first quarter, Florida regulator formalises ties with German counterpart, Generali broadens its direct reach in Italy, Barclays and CNP target southern Europe, ING aims to slash costs in home market, UK specialist life insurer set to change ownership, ING and Eureko join...
UK mortality model plays catch-up
A new mortality model has been launched by UK actuarial body, The Actuarial Profession (TAP), to address significant life expectancy increases since it last published projections in 2002 Gordon Sharp, chairman of TAPs continuous mortality investigation bureau (CMI), explained that the body became concerned last year by continued widespread use of a single set of projections
A breakthrough for bank branch sales in Canada
Canadian legislators have long stood firm in rejecting banks demands to be permitted to sell insurance in their branches But things could be changing, as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has adopted a bill permitting credit unions to sell insurance directly from their branches. The provinces move has provoked a negative reaction from Advocis, Canadas largest voluntary membership association of financial advisers
Improving global regulatory cooperation takes step forward
The Bermuda Monetary Authority, Taiwans Financial Supervisory Commission and the Bundesanstalt fr Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, Germanys financial supervisory authority, have become the first three regulators to sign the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) aimed at strengthening international cooperation efforts between regulators According to IAIS, the MMoU will assist...
Health insurance insider reveals all
Testifying before a Senate committee, a former senior health insurance industry executive has exposed a series of dubious practices used by insurers to boost profits His testimony comes at a bad time for a health insurance industry facing regulatory change that threatens to drastically shrink its customer base. Regulatory reform is a major focus of attention in the US, with health insurance reform arguably the most hotly debated of all
Fixed annuities take centre stage in risk-averse US market
American investors are not ready to flee the investment market entirely, if sales of fixed annuities are any indication.Total first-quarter 2009 sales of fixed annuities in the US, including equity-indexed annuities, jumped 78 percent from the same period a year ago, to an estimated $34.9 billion, according to consultancy Beacon Research.The results mark the fourth consecutive quarter of growth in fixed annuities sales, said Jeremy Alexander,...
Online shoppers remain wary of life products
Despite the rapid growth in popularity of internet shopping, insurance agents in the US are in no immediate danger of redundancy as a result of consumers flocking online to buy insurance, reveals a study by consulting, technology and outsourced services company, Accenture When it comes to buying life insurance products, Accenture found that 75 percent of consumers still prefer to buy their life products from an agent or other trusted source,...
Insurance sales boost US banks' bottom lines
US banks that sold insurance during 2008 were generally more profitable than those that had no involvement in insurance, indicates a study by bancassurance data research firm Bank Insurance Market Research Group (BIMRG).
First-quarter new business nosedives in UK
Recession in the UK economy took a heavy toll on new life insurance business in the first quarter of 2009 with virtually all categories recording sharp year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter declines, reports the Association of British Insurers. Single premium accumulation and protection new business, traditionally the largest source of new premium income, came under significant pressure in the first quarter of 2009 Compared with the first...
India's first insurance IPO mooted
Financial services group Reliance Capital, a unit of Indian conglomerate Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, is to reduce its stake in its wholly-owned life insurance subsidiary Reliance Life Insurance (RLI) by 26 percent, according to numerous reports in Indias media
A £40bn problem could get far worse
If British companies burdened with financial uncertainty presented by defined benefit (DB) pension schemes needed reason to consider the buyout option, it was provided in spectacular fashion in May. Among the top 200 companies, Aon Consulting, a unit of insurance broker and risk management service provider Aon, estimates that the combined DB pensions accounting deficit soared from £8 billion ($13 billion) at the start of the month to £40...
US fixed annuity sales continue to roar ahead
Fixed annuities continued to attract US investors in droves in the first quarter of 2009, reveals data released by consulting and research organisation LIMRA International. Based on LIMRAs data, fixed annuity sales in the first quarter of 2009 soared by 74 percent compared with the same quarter in 2008 to $35.6 billion In the process, fixed annuities outsold variable annuities which registered sales of $30.7 billion for the second consecutive...
MetLife sells Canadian operations to Unity Life
Continuing on its acquisition trail, Canadian life insurer Unity Life of Canada has clinched a deal with US insurer MetLife that will see it acquire substantially all of the insurance business of MetLife Canada for an undisclosed sum. Under the agreement, Unity Life will acquire MetLife Canadas block of some 100,000 life and health insurance policies and a small number of group annuity contracts, including policy liabilities of about C$300...
An industry under attack from all sides
Facing the looming possibility of a major upheaval of the status quo, the US health insurance industry continues to come under increasing pressure as it stands charged by its critics of multiple abuses.The first salvo in the attack came in March this year when Senator John D Rockefeller, chairman of the US Committee on Commerce, delivered a scathing condemnation of the industrys reimbursement practices.The health insurance industry has been...
Fitch takes a dim view on Japan
In a sweeping appraisal of Japans life insurance industry, rating agency Fitch has downgraded nine of the countrys 23 domestically-controlled mutual and non-mutual life insurers One of the major factors influencing the rating actions is what Fitch termed its increasingly negative view of the exposure of the Japanese life insurance industry to equity risk
EU reform focuses on cross-border supervision
Three new regulatory bodies are set to make their appearance in the European Union (EU) in 2010 following the European Commissions (EC) acceptance of proposals put forward by a study group chaired by Jacques de Larosiere, a former governor of Frances central bank and former chief executive director of the International Monetary Fund. Charged by EC president Jos Manuel Barroso in 2008 to make recommendations aimed at improving supervision of...
Canadian insurers get government backing, New York Life bolsters bank channel capacity, The Hartford decides to go back to its roots, US banks record modest growth in 2008, Strong calls for accounting reform, Activity slides in UK buyout market, Goodbye Norwich Union, Allianz extends Formula One sponsorship, European Life Settlement Association launched, Avivas China strategy achieves a key goal, India moves to liberalise bank channel, Aegon...
Mixed reception for TARP funds
As the gamesmanship surrounding life insurance participation in the US Treasury Departments Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) continues, some answers are finally falling into place as a wary Wall Street looks on. As the banking industry accepted billions in government bailout funds last autumn, life insurers aggressively lobbied for their own piece of the federal aid, worried about their balance sheets, which had been saddled by hefty...
Prevention is better than cure
Increasingly wellness programmes aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles are being offered by health insurers but often the question is asked: do they yield any positive results? The answer is yes in the case of both healthy and chronically ill policyholders, Emile Stipp, a fellow of the UK Institute of Actuaries told delegates to the Actuarial Professions Health and Care Conference held in Glasgow in May. Stipp based his conclusion on data...
Chesnara talks up Swedish buy
Snapping up an apparent bargain, UK insurer Chesnara has acquired Swedish life insurer Moderna Life for SEK250 million ($29.5 million) The cash consideration represents a 63 percent discount to Moderna Lifes embedded value of SEK670 million at the end of 2008, Chesnara estimates.Chesnara CEO Graham Kettleborough said: In my opinion, this is a high-quality business which is well positioned in the market, which we have bought at an attractive...
Mixed results from China's insurers
Chinas equity market provided welcome relief for the countrys insurance industry in the first quarter of 2009, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising 28 percent, compared with a 34 percent decline recorded in the first quarter of 2008 The markets recovery powered a significant improvement in the industrys total investment income which rose 41 percent compared with the first quarter of 2008 to CNY43.3 billion ($6.3 billion),...
UK PPI market reform hits a snag
A ruling by the UKs Competition Commission (CC) to bring sweeping reform to the countrys payment protection insurance (PPI) market in 2010 has hit a snag Barclays Bank and Lloyds Banking Group are appealing against the ruling to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.In particular, the banks are opposed to the banning of the sale of PPI by a credit provider within seven days of the sale of credit.
US reinsurance market faces a legislative upheaval
A controversy is raging over legislation under consideration by Congress that would radically alter taxation of foreign reinsurers in the US by closing a loophole that enables them to strip income from writing US business into tax havens Contrasting with this, domestic reinsurers are taxed in the US on income derived from their US business.Vehemently opposing change is the Coalition for Competitive Insurance Rates (CCIR), a group that includes...
The Hartford scales back aggressively
Beleaguered US composite insurer The Hartford Financial Services Group will on 1 June suspend writing all new business in Japan, its largest foreign market Termination of sales removes a major competitor in Japans variable annuity (VA) market in which The Hartford has played a key pioneering role and been the leading player for almost a decade.The Hartford reported that on 31 March 2009 its Japanese unit Hartford Life Insurance KK had more...
European industry weathers the storm
A slump in equity values and a major outflow from investment funds resulted in Europes investment management industry suffering a significant decline in assets in 2008
Nationwide campaign goes one better
Reflecting a strategic shift toward a more customer-centric value proposition, US composite insurer Nationwide Insurance has replaced its hilarious Life Comes at You Fast commercials with a series of testimonial spots with a much more serious tone.The new I Am On Your Side campaign features gripping documentary-style narratives by real Nationwide employees, each relating a tale of extraordinary customer service in their own words no slick...
(FREE) commissioner tells insurers to play fair, Swine flu creates dilemma for industry, Aviva takes steps to strengthen financial fortifications, UK gets first HIV cover, Tesco teams up with Friends Provident, Aviva bolsters Russian pension market position, Malaysia eases limits on foreign insurers, Allianzs successful foray into micro-insurance, Generali enters UAE life market, Aegon rids itself of a costly Asian problem
UK's private health market inches ahead
People covered by PMI schemes offered by private health insurers increased by 3.7 percent compared with 2007 to 6.22 million, while the number of people covered by health care trusts decreased by 2.2 percent to 1.11 million Overall this left the total number of people with some form of private health cover at 7.33 million, up 2.7 percent compared with 2007, and equal to some 12 percent of the total population.Health care trusts are...
Brokers unite to oppose reform
A coalition led by the US Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) has been formed to oppose the swift implementation of health insurance reform, a key objective of President Barack Obama and Democrat Party leaders If approved the impact on private health insurers and brokers could be devastating.As matters now stand, reform centred on the proposed creation of a public health plan will be included in the reconciliation of the 2010 budget...
Remaining TARP hopefuls still waiting
At least five US life insurers hoping to get their share of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program have dropped out during what has been a lengthy period of delay
A ray of hope in UK
This is the conclusion drawn by the leading insurer in the UK market, Legal & General (L&G) from its second quarterly survey of IFA confidence levels.In its protection market surveys L&G assesses: Current future sales; Current future opportunities to discuss protection with potential clients; and Current future ease (or difficulty) of converting those opportunities to sales
Australian life market takes a big hit
Years of solid growth in Australias life insurance industry came to an abrupt halt in 2008 as a number of factors contrived to send premium inflows plummeting Australias life insurance industry went from feast in 2007, a year in which premium inflows surged by 37.4 percent, to famine in 2008 as inflows slumped by 28 percent to A$37 billion ($27 billion)
Singapore insurers take a hammering
Singapores life insurance industry took a hammering in the first quarter of 2009, reports the Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIAS) Sales totalled S$818 million ($553 million), a plunge of 73 percent compared with the same period in 2008 The fall came on the back of an 11.3 percent decline in first-quarter GDP and revision of the governments GDP forecast for 2009 as a whole from -6 percent to -9 percent
Reform could spell disaster for US health insurance industry
Proposals to reform US health insurance being considered by President Barack Obama and Congress could have a devastating impact on private health insurers, concludes consultancy The Lewin Group (TLW) At worst TLW estimates that insurers could loose up to two-thirds of their customers to a proposed public health plan. TLWs estimates are subject to a number of assumptions, first being payment levels
SEC's opponents go on the offensive
Opposition to the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) Rule 151A under which it will assume regulation of indexed annuity products as securities in January 2011 continues to mount In the latest and potentially the most significant development the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA) has released a draft bill that would nullify Rule 151A clarify and confirm the insurance status of indexed annuities and insurance contracts. The...
Norwich Union takes top position in UK equity release market
In a close race, Norwich Union (NU) ousted rival insurer Prudential from the top position in the UKs equity release market in 2008 According to NU it achieved total equity release sales of £249 million ($360 million), marginally ahead of Prudentials sales of £242 million NUs equity release sales in 2008 were up 14.7 percent compared with sales of £217 million achieved in 2007
Lincoln National under pressure after downgrade
Having already slumped over 80 percent in the past six months, US life insurer Lincoln National Corporations (LNC) share price came in for renewed punishment during March, a month in which the US equity market recorded solid gains The S&P500 index, for example, gained almost 9 percent in March The first wave of selling of shares in the US 10th-largest life insurer (based on 2007 revenue) followed an announcement by rating agency Moodys that it...
Distributors abandon Phoenix
US life insurer Phoenix Companies troubles continue to mount relentlessly as it faces the prospects of a massive slump in life and annuity sales in 2009 and beyond The 158 year old Hartford, Connecticut-based insurers new sales prospects were dealt a severe blow in early-March when composite insurer State Farm announced that it had suspended distribution of Phoenixs products indefinitely, citing downgrades by rating agencies as its primary...
Asset management M&A activity slows
Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the asset management industry got off to a slow start in 2009, with 37 transactions announced in the first quarter compared with 57 in the first quarter of 2008, investment bank Jefferies Putnam Lovell (JPL) reported Despite this, JPL anticipates that, with insurers and banks selling desirable asset management operations to raise capital, 2009 will still be a year which will see headline-grabbing M&A...
Plunging market capitalisations give US life insurers a battering
Mounting investment losses and slumping stock markets are creating a perfect storm for US insurers, as the industrys market capitalisation plummets, and the timing could not be worse Even as insurers find themselves in dire need of access to their own stock to maintain cash, the market capitalisation crunch means they must preserve capital by suspending or dramatically reducing share buyback programs, which turns off shareholders and Wall...
Discontent mars Solvency II progress
Solvency II, the proposed regulatory regime for European Union (EU) insurers, took a decisive step forward in late-March with the approval of the text of the proposed Solvency II Framework Directive by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) The CPR consists of the member states ambassadors to the EU and is responsible for preparing the work of the EU Council, the EUs highest political body Welcoming the development Michaela Koller,...
Pandemic risk looms as large as ever, warns Lloyd's
A source of major concern and attention until recently, the threat of a flu or other pandemic has been pushed into the background by the global economic crisis But despite no longer being centre stage in the media, risk of a pandemic is real and present, warns Trevor Maynard, emerging risks manager at Lloyds of London In a study, undertaken for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Maynard focuses on the impact of a pandemic and stresses...
Old Mutual takes steps to stem losses in the US
UK-based insurer Old Mutual has taken a decisive step towards eliminating a major problem with the decision to close Old Mutual Bermuda (OMB), the offshore unit of its US life insurance operation, to new business One of our key priorities is strengthening governance and risk management and we have taken the decision to close OMB to new business with this in mind, said Julian Roberts, Old Mutual Group CEO Roberts replaced Jim Sutcliffe as CEO...
New York Life reports soaring sales... UK longevity product specialist calls it quits... FSA triumphs in lifetime ban hearing...
Making the saving decision simpler
Saving for retirement is one thing Making sure you are saving enough is another, and the difference between the two is the rationale behind an online peer data comparison tool launched in the US by Dutch insurer ING With a dedicated website (http:www.ingcompareme.com), the tool is designed to enable anyone to see where they stand in relation to others on a wide range of saving, spending, investing, debt and personal finance matters.
Survey prompts warning of huge UK protection gap
Half the UKs population would be penniless in less than a month if their income ceased, warns Axa Life, a UK unit of French insurer Axa This is despite the UK having the highest life insurance penetration level in the world: 15.28 percent of GDP in 2007, according to Swiss Re. From a protection perspective, a survey undertaken for Axa Life by research firm Onepoll revealed that 45 percent of the UKs adult population has not purchased any form...
AXA Asia-Pacific bolsters capital
AXA Asia Pacific Holdings (AXA APH) has successfully completed the first phase of a capital raising exercise targeting a minimum of A$660 million ($455 million) and a potential maximum of A$890 million in new ordinary equity capital AXA APH announced on 18 March that in the first phase of the exercise it had raised A$500 million in a placement of ordinary shares to unnamed new and existing institutional investors including French insurer AXA.
Risk management takes centre stage
More than anything else, the global financial crisis has exposed glaring inadequacies in the approach to risk management in the life insurance industries
Germany's Talanx finds new partner in Swiss Life
Swiss Life, Switzerlands largest life insurer, and Talanx, Germanys third-largest insurer, have formed a strategic partnership aimed at fostering co-operation in a number of areas including distribution, life insurance solutions in international markets and life reinsurance Reinforcing the partnership, Talanx will increase its stake in Swiss Life from 2.9 percent to up to 9.9 percent Talanx will also acquire another 3 percent stake from Swiss...
Reprieve for block exemption rule
In a last-minute decision, the European Council (EC) has lent its qualified support to the continuation of the insurance Block Exemption Regulation (BER) for insurers in the European Union (EU) Expiring on 31 March, the BER, as last renewed in 2003, sets out the conditions under which insurance companies can cooperate in the fields of joint calculations and studies, standard policy conditions, insurance pools and security devices without...
Alleanza deal sees Generali tighten its grip in Italy
A significant change in Italys insurance industry has been set in motion with the announcement by Generali Group that it is to acquire full control of Alleanza, a life insurer in which it already has a 50.4 percent stake In the non-cash deal, Alleanza minority shareholders will receive 0.33 ordinary Generali shares of for each ordinary Alleanza share they own Generali noted that this implies a 6 percent and 13 percent premium on the last...
Old Mutual on a transformation path in South African markets
Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA), a unit of UK insurer Old Mutual Plc, has clinched a deal that will see it acquire full control of acsis, a financial advisory and consulting firm active in the South African private client and retirement funds markets OMSAs managing director, Paul Hanratty, termed the acquisition a key step in OMSAs strategy of transforming itself into a savings and wealth management business acsis, which will retain its brand...
New mortality tables will shrink industry
The US life settlements industry is in for an unpleasant shake-up which could see its ranks shrink, predicts Leonard H Goodman, chairman and CEO of life settlements provider First Equity Benefits of America (FEBA) Goodman expressed this view following the announcement of changes to mortality tables by a number of actuarial firms indicating a significant increase in life expectancy US actuarial firms involved include ICS Services, 21st Services...
CSC walks off with North American outsourcing crown
Based on contracts held, US technology services company Computer Science Corporation (CSC) emerged as the leader in the North American life, pensions and annuities business process outsourcing (BPO) market in a survey by research firm Celent CSC was also named as the leading BPO provider for policy administration in the North American general insurance market. Celents research was based on data collected on 278 BPO contracts representing an...
Product rethink as Singapore new business nosedives
Singapores life insurers are designing schemes to assist financially stressed policyholders, Darren Thomson, president of the Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIAS) stressed in a statement accompanying release of data showing a dramatic reversal in the life industrys fortunes Thomson said an extended premium holiday for whole life and endowment policyholders with small one-off fees, and low-cost relief schemes offering coverage against...
ACLI calls on Japan to play fair
In yet another appeal to the Japanese government to play by the rules Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, has pointed to an a situation of unfair competition emerging in Japans life insurance market which holds potentially serious implications for US-Japan relations The focus of Keatings concern is Japan Post Insurance (JPI), Japans postal life insurance entity, which accounts for 35 percent of all life...
EFAMA blasts European retirement annuity bias
Favoured by regulation and tax incentives, annuities have become by far the dominant post-retirement solution in Europe. This bias towards substantial annuitisation of retirement savings early in retirement is, however, not justified, argue Raimond Maurer and Barbara Somova of Goethe University in Germany in a study undertaken for the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) In an environment where individuals can expect to live...
Conseco on the brink of bank credit default
Conseco, a survivor of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has a new dark cloud hanging over it as it teeters on the brink of defaulting on its senior secured bank credit facility The deciding factor will be the US life and health insurers auditors who have warned they are considering issuing a qualified opinion as to its ability to continue as a going concern. Should such an opinion be included in Consecos 2008 financial statements it would constitute a...
US debate rages on
Soon to be introduced in the House of Representatives, the National Insurance Consumer Protection and Regulatory Modernisation Act is set to spark heated debate on the thorny issue of federal regulatory involvement of the US insurance industry Central to the proposed legislation is the formation of an Office of Insurance Information within the US Treasury, which one of the bills two authors, congressman Ed Royce, stated would fill a gap prior...
UK regulator gets tough on money laundering
Insurers that fail to implement adequate anti-money laundering (AML) processes and systems leave themselves open to substantial damage, both financial and reputational, warns Jonathan Pell, CEO of UK data quality management specialist Datanomic Pells warning comes against the background of what he views as the UK insurance industrys weak corruption and control standards. Pell continued that the UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA) is...
UK regulator backtracks on mis-selling reform
UK regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has come under fire from consumer advocacy group Which The accusation follows the FSAs announcement that it has established a further consultation paper relating to compensation and redress payments arising from what it terms operational failures including mis-selling that life insurers may currently charge to the inherited estate of their with-profits funds.
Credit scoring stirs up controversy
Wider use of credit scoring, long-used by US general insurers, is being contemplated in other sectors, including life insurance This has prompted aggressive opposition from consumer groups and legislators and, in some states, use of credit-scoring by insurers has already been banned
ING sells Canadian general insurer ... Shenandoah Life falls prey to financial crisis.. Serious Fraud Office launches AIG probe...
Fixed annuities one bright spot in US market
For US life insurers, the fourth quarter of 2008 was a dismal one with sales performance in some sectors the worst in over half-a-century of recording But there was one bright spot fixed annuities reported financial services organisation, LIMRA International According to LIMRA, fixed annuity sales continued their winning streak in the fourth quarter, soaring by 79 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2007 to $34.9 billion
Slower growth on cards for 2009
One reason to be cheerful came from the UKs defined benefit (DB) pensions bulk annuity market Aon Consulting, a unit of insurance broker and risk management service provider Aon, reported how the total value of buyout and buy-in deals soared 193 percent to £8.2 billion ($11.9 billion) compared with 2007 figures.
Reform at last of UK PPI market
With the backing of the UKs Competition Commission (CC), proponents of reform of the countrys payment protection insurance (PPI) market have scored a major victory Following a lengthy evaluation of the market which culminated in the publication of a consultation paper in November 2008 (see LII 230), the CC has announced sweeping changes to the PPI market that will come into force in 2010 A ban on the sale of single premium PPI policies;
American consumer trust evaporates
Financial markets have taken a beating recently and so too has US consumer perceptions of insurers, financial advisers and other financial services companies, reveals a survey by US public relations agency Cohn & Wolfe The survey found that consumer trust in the financial services industry has dropped significantly when compared with a similar survey conducted by Cohn & Wolfe 18 months ago In the earlier survey, 67 percent of respondents said...
Breathing life into online marketing
In an insurers marketing armoury the internet today plays a key role, and one new UK company, Virtualpresenter.co.uk, believes it can greatly enhance a firms online presence At the heart of Virtualpresenters service is a specially filmed video of a professional, experienced TV presenter which is placed onto an insurance companys website to guide visitors towards specific pages Virtualpresenter believes its system is the most advanced use yet...
Life settlement fraud case grinds on
An investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation now running into its fifth year had another in a series of sequels in early January when four men were charged in a Florida court for their alleged role in a life insurance fraud in which more than 28,000 victims lost a total of $837 million In a statement the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said two of the defendants, Steven Steiner and Joel Steinger, were founding principals of Mutual...
ING comes to terms with reality
Dutch bancassurer ING Group is to make sweeping changes to its organisational structure in an attempt to slash costs and adapt to what it terms the new business environment ING will be led into this era of change by its chairman Jan Hommen, who will assume the additional role of CEO from Michel Tilmant who stepped down with immediate effect on 26 January. Revelation of changes at ING accompanied the announcement of its preliminary, unaudited...
NAIC dashes US life insurers' hopes
A request by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) to relax US life insurers capital and surplus requirements has been rejected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) executive committee A surprise decision, it followed positive recommendation by the NAICs surplus working group for six of the ACLIs nine proposals The six proposals related to reserving requirements, reinsurance collateral and accounting procedures.
Gloomy times ahead for AllianceBernstein
An indication of the toll taken by investment market turmoil on asset management companies has been provided by results released by AllianceBernstein, a US-based asset manager in which French insurer Axa holds a 62.4 percent stake
Protective Life joins approved TARP queue... AIG puts property unit on the selling block... BNP Paribas extends its reach in Taiwan...
No end in sight for saga of Equitable Life
Policyholders who suffered financial loss following the near collapse of the UKs oldest mutual insurer Equitable Life Assurance Society (ELAS) in 2001 gained cold comfort from the British governments response to Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abrahams damming report on regulatory incompetence This is the start of yet another chapter in the fight for compensation, rather than a conclusion, said independent policy adviser Ros Altmann. At the heart...
Conseco concedes errors
Conseco and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) have agreed to enter into discussions to resolve a particularly unpleasant situation the US life insurer finds itself in Discussions relate to serious accusations leveled against Conseco Life by the FOIR in December 2008 The FOIRs accusations relate to the insurers Lifetrend universal life product and include mismanagement and withholding information from the FOIR which has...
Dutch partners agree to forge ahead
Dutch bank ABN AMRO Netherlands has announced that it will not exercise its right to buy out Delta Lloyd Groups stake in their bancassurance joint venture (JV) in the Netherlands
Millions of British policyholders in need of advice
Over 10 million people in the UK could have the wrong life and other protection insurance, reveals a study undertaken by Barclays Financial Planning (BFP), a unit of Barclays Bank specialising in life insurance, pensions and investment products BFP based its estimate on a total of 25.6 million protection policyholders of which 42 percent 10.75 million have had one or more specific life changes since taking out or last updating their cover...
Insurers haul SEC into court
Opponents of the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) Rule 151A, under which it will assume regulation of indexed annuity products as securities in January 2011, are not taking the matter lying down Joining forces under the banner of the Coalition for Indexed Products (CIP), four insurance companies and two independent marketing organisations have filed suit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn...
Beazley goes for growth in the US
There is always opportunity, even in a time of recession, believes UK personal accident and life underwriting management agency Beazley Group, which is embarking on a drive to expand significantly in the US
An investment for tough times
Policy Selection Limited (PSL), a Cayman Islands-based specialist in traded life insurance policies, predicts the already fast-growing life settlements market is set to boom PSLs optimism is well grounded given the performance of its Assured Fund, an open-end mutual fund focused on investment in US traded life policies Research undertaken by PSL leaves little doubt as to traded life policies attractiveness as an investment, whether compared...
Allianz radically restructures Dresdner sale
Announced on 31 August 2008, a deal that would have seen German bank Commerzbank acquire full control of European insurer Allianzs Dresdner Bank unit in two phases has been radically restructured Under the original agreement Commerzbank was to have acquired 60.2 percent of Dresdner from Allianz at the beginning of 2009 and the remaining 39.8 percent in the second half of 2009. Under the revised deal Commerzbank will now at the beginning of...
US wealthy a neglected opportunity
High net worth individuals represent a significant market for life insurers and financial advisers in areas ranging from individual insurance to specialist estate planning. Despite this the high net worth sector remains underserved and in terms of life insurance productownership is still far from saturated
Financial crisis reshaping attitudes
American consumers financial goals have changed dramatically in the wake of the financial crisis, a development that holds significant promise for life insurers Axa Equitable Lifes chief innovation officer provided Charles Davis with valuable insight into how the insurer is harnessing this new opportunity The financial goals of American consumers have shifted noticeably in the past six months as the markets roiled beneath them, according to a...
Conseco provides a boost for Unity Life's Canadian strategy
Recently demutualised Canadian insurer Unity Life is to acquire US insurer Washington National Insurance Companys (WNIC) Canadian block of occupational disability insurance. The sale, for which no financial details were provided, marks WNICs parent company Consecos exit from the Canadian market.
Standard Life slays its paper dragon
Policy Selection Limited (PSL), a Cayman Islands-based specialist in traded life insurance policies, predicts the already fast-growing life settlements market is set to boom. PSLs optimism is well grounded given the performance of its Assured Fund, an open-end mutual fund focused on investment in US traded life policies.
Egg joins growing number of institutions in PPI mis-selling
UK online bank Egg Banking (Egg), a unit of US bank Citi, has joined a growing number of financial institutions to fall foul of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI).
Reserve relief for US insurers mooted
US life insurers reserve requirements could soon be eased if a call in this regard made by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in November last year is accepted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the body representing all US state insurance regulators Reserve and capital requirements for variable annuities with guarantees;
Allianz talks up Asian prospects
Despite economic gloom in developed economies, European insurer Allianzs economic research unit, Allianz Dresdner Economic Research (ADER), remains optimistic on prospects for emerging Asian markets.
US employers feel the pinch
With their profits under pressure many US companies offering health insurance benefits are feeling the pinch as group health insurance costs continue to soar. .
Conseco faces closure in Florida
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) has thrown the book at Conseco, alleging that the US life insurer is guilty of mismanagement and withholding information vital to performance of the FOIRs regulatory duties.
End of the line for Indiana insurers
December proved to be a month of intense activity for the US state of Indianas Department of Insurances commissioner Jim Atterholt, who within two weeks had to cope with two failed insurers.
FSA faces consumer responsibility discussion paper backlash
The UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA) has entered a minefield with the launch of a discussion paper on the level of responsibility consumers must assume when entering into a contract with a financial services provider The paper is the subject of harsh criticism by, among others, the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP), the FSAs own watchdog body. The discussion paper follows a recent report on the FSA undertaken by the National Audit...
Royal London enjoys the spoils of Resolution Life victory
Royal London, the UKs largest mutual life insurance and pension company, has taken its place amongst the top three providers of individual life protection insurance in the country This development comes as a sequel to a fierce battle in late-2007 for control of Resolution Life between closed life insurance fund manager Pearl Group and UK Standard Life which ended in victory for Pearl. For Royal London, Pearls partner in the bid for control of...
Americans buckling under cost strain
The number of Americans inadequately insured against medical expenses is growing alarmingly, warns the Commonwealth Fund (CF), a charitable foundation focused on promoting healthcare in the US In its 2008 Biennial Health Insurance Survey the CF found that between 2003 and 2007 the number of underinsured adults with incomes of 200 percent or more of the federal poverty level ($40,000 per year for a family), nearly tripled from 4 million to 11.4...
Insurer takes a bold leap into Web 2.0
Insurer takes a bold leap into Web 2.0 Web 2.0, a broad term covering emerging internet-based communications, is being recognised by corporates as a means of enhancing efficiency and disseminating knowledge
US life insurers plot a new strategy to counter pressure from the life settlements industry
US life insurers plot a new strategy to counter pressure from the life settlements industry The rampant growth of the US life settlements market has US insurers mulling a response in the form of policy loans on life insurance contracts.
Big challenges face foreign insurers
Big challenges face foreign insurers Chinas life insurance industry has set a cracking growth pace and, assisted by the full backing of the countrys government, looks set to deliver more of the same in the years ahead In 2000, Chinas life insurance industry ranked as the worlds 18th largest based on total premium income of RMB99.8 billion ($12 billion at the then prevailing exchange rate)
US life insurers under fire for travel discrimination
The issue has now come to a head with the filing of a complaint by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) against American General Life Insurance (AGLI), a unit of American International Group In a release the Florida Insurance Commissioner, Kevin McCarty, explained that his office is seeking to suspend or revoke AGLIs certificate of authority to write insurance policies in Florida and require the insurer to end unfair trade...
Bupa thinks big in Indian health market
Continuing to pursue an active foreign investment strategy, UK health insurer Bupa is to form a new health insurance company in India Max India, a financial and health services and technology conglomerate, is partnering with Bupa in the joint venture (JV) named Max Bupa Health Insurance (MBHI). JV Max India chairman Analjit Singh said that prior to the decision to establish MBHI, Max India had discussions with a number of international health...
Still brimming with opportunity
Still brimming with opportunity Despite achieving phenomenal growth since being opened up to private competition in 2000, Indias life insurance market remains in an early growth phase
New product combines life and health insurance
New product combines life and health insurance Life Investors Insurance Company of America (Life Investors), a unit of Netherlands insurer AEGON, and US insurer Madison National Life Insurance have joined forces to launch a product that combines all the key features of health, life and disability insurance
Nothing succeeds like success
Backed by a plethora of awards, Jackson National has earned a reputation for having created some of the US insurance industrys most successful marketing campaigns The chief of the insurers marketing unit provided Charles Davis with insight into its approach and strategy in the current economic climate.
Pearl Group emerges victorious to secure resolution in tug of war for control of Resolution Life
Pearl Group emerges victorious to secure resolution in tug of war for control of Resolution Life The battle for control of UK insurer Resolution Life ended in victory for closed life fund specialist Pearl Group on 16 November, when rival Standard Life withdrew its offer and Resolutions directors gave Pearls cash offer their full backing
Managing costs pays off in the US
Managing costs pays off in the US US companies managing health insurance programmes actively and effectively are scoring handsomely, reports professional service company Towers Perrin For the first time in over a decade we are seeing a number of companies keeping cost growth near the consumer price index for medical services, which currently stands at about 4 percent, said Dave Guilmette, MD of Towers Perrins health and welfare practice.
Insurers face life settlements dilemma
Insurers face life settlements dilemma They may not like it, but life insurers have no alternative but to acknowledge that the life settlements market is here to stay and will continue to grow rapidly
Supplementary benefits hold huge potential
Supplementary benefits hold huge potential A survey by consulting organisation LIMRA International has revealed a potential bonanza awaiting insurers in the US worksite marketing channel
New life insurance distributor Futurity First is established
Even in the most competitive of markets, there is always room for an innovative new player This is the philosophy behind Futurity First, a new US life insurance distribution company to be headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut According to Futurity First, it plans to distinguish itself by focusing on the middle-income and small business markets and by providing its customers with the same level of product quality, advice, professionalism and...
Facing strong economic headwinds
As a developing market, Hungary has shown itself capable of delivering life insurers above-average premium income growth However, with many developing markets come risks, as Hungary is now showing as it battles to correct severe fiscal imbalances at the expense of a drastic reduction in economic growthHungarys life insurance industrys growth rate displayed a marked slow-down during 2007, a development that became particularly evident in the...
Great Eastern celebrates centenary
August 26 was a day of particular significance for Singapores largest and oldest life insurer, Great Eastern Life Assurance Company (GEL) It marked exactly 100 years since a Canadian, AH Fair founded the company which began operating with total assets of S$70,000 ($49,000) and a staff of 15. From those modest beginnings GEL has grown into a company boasting total assets of S$46.5 billion ($32.5 billion) and market shares of 28 percent in...
Ohio legislators target STOLI
The US state of Ohios House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill, HB 404, that if approved by the Ohio Senate will deal a body blow to stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) in the state The essence of HB 404 is to protect consumers, usually wealthy senior citizens, from speculators who offer them a cash payment and agree to pay the premiums in exchange for receipt of the death benefits after the insured die. The key feature of...
IDBI Fortis launches in India
Almost two years in the making, Indias newest life insurer IDBI Fortis Life Insurance (IDBI Fortis) has commenced business operations Formation of IDBI Fortis dates back to July 2006 when negotiations commenced between Belgo-Netherlands bancassurer Fortis, public sector bank the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) and Indian private sector bank Federal Bank Regulatory approval for the formation of IDBI Fortis, Indias 12th private...
Equity release draws an ever-younger client base
Equity release draws an ever-younger client base Extracting capital from a residential property by way of a loan that need only be repaid when the property is sold or out of the borrowers estate after death equity release is gaining acceptance among pre-retirees in the UK
Allianz corners stubborn minority shareholders
AFor European bancassurer Allianz, gaining full control of its German life insurance unit, Allianz Lebensversicherungs (Allianz Leben), is a key element of its European rationalisation strategy However, Allianz Lebens more than 10,000 minority shareholders have proved stubborn, most having rejected a $900 million cash offer made by Allianz in January 2007 This left Allianz holding 92.58 percent of Allianz Leben, a marginal increase from the...
MetLife expands Mexican base
MetLife expands Mexican base MetLife has signed an agreement to acquire Mexican pensions administration company AFORE Actinver for an undisclosed sum Founded in 2003 by Mexican financial services company Grupo Actinever, AFORE Actinver is one of Mexicos 21 administradoras de fondos para el retiro (AFORE) which administer individual pension accounts
Insurers face life settlements risks
Insurers face life settlements risks Adding its weight to the ongoing controversy surrounding the US life settlements industry, rating agency Fitch has warned that life settlements expose life insurers and their reinsurers to a variety of risks in their core individual life segment
US industry bodies lock horns over STOLI
US industry bodies lock horns over STOLI US life settlement industry body the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA) has issued a strong condemnation of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) stance on stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI)
Insurers turn to STP to curb costs
Though straight through processing has long played a vital role in many financial service sectors, life insurers have been slow to harness its significant cost cutting benefits This is now changing as technology vendors hone in on the processing needs of the life insurers
IBM fights insurance fraud
EBB has contracted to use IBMs new Risk Identification Analysis Service, developed in collaboration with health care organisations, to combat health care insurance claim fraud
Battered US insurers joi queue looking for federal hand-out
Battered US insurers join queue looking for Federal hand-outs Announced on 14 October by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was instituted to buy equity stakes in banks in need of financial assistance. On 12 November an initial $250 billion of an ultimate $700 billion TARP bail-out package was made available to the Capital Purchase Program.
Norwich Union adds a new dimension to equity release
In a variation on the theme of home equity release, UK insurer Norwich Union (NU) has launched a service that assists homeowners to realise a portion of the value of their homes by downsizing to a smaller property The service is available to people over 55 years old and is the subject of a six-month pilot programme in the West Midlands region The rationale for the service is to provide an alternative to equity release products that permit...
Regulating the regulator
Having admitted to shortcomings in its handling of the Northern Rock debacle, the UKs Financial Services Authority (FSA) now faces harsh criticism for its regulation of life insurers The criticism has been leveled at the FSA by a Treasury Select Committee (TSC) investigating life insurers use of funds surplus to their realistic liabilities in with-profit funds
Landmark court victory for Marsh & McLennan
Landmark court victory for Marsh & McLennan A New York federal judge, Garrett E Brown, has dismissed a multi-district class action brought by three dozen commercial lines clients against US insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies (Marsh) and dozens of other insurance brokers and carriers about 20 other industry participants alleging that the brokers conspired to allocate clients, fix prices and restrain trade
A potent package from LV=
UK mutual life insurer LV has launched what it terms a revolutionary product providing home mortgage payments and living expenses protection Chris McFarlane, head of protection at LV, explained that the product is unique in that it provides mortgage protection for up to 25 years compared with 12 to 24 months in the case of most mortgage payment protection products. In addition to mortgage protection, LVs product offers cover against accident...
Tough asset management market starts to become even tougher
Tough asset management market starts to become even tougher In the tough global asset management arena the insurance industry is losing ground in the contest for market share, indicates a study undertaken by consultancy Watson Wyatt This was particularly evident in 2007 when the industry conceded considerable market share to independent asset managers. According to Watson Wyatt, based on the top-20 players that accounted for 37.5 percent of...
Standard Life ups Indian stake... AIG shrugs off US lending jitters... Individual business still falling...
Europe's life insurers are riding high
In particular, the picture is characterised by life business premium income in Europe recording its third year of robust growth in 2006 to reach a record 659 billion
Asset management boost for Generali
Asset management boost for Generali Assicurazioni Generalis expansion strategy in asset management took a decisive step forward in November, with the announcement that it would acquire Swiss Lifes wholly owned Swiss private banking subsidiary, Banca del Gottardo (BDG), for 1.069 billion ($1.59 billion)
OECD slams slack corporate governance
Poor corporate governance in the financial services industry has let the world down, believes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Supporting its view the international body, which represents 30 of the worlds largest economies, has launched a campaign aimed at raising corporate governance standards and performance in an effort to restore shattered investor confidence. Rebuilding investor confidence will be vital to...
Change sweeps through US health insurance
Change sweeps through US health insurance In an analysis that points to health insurance in the US becoming increasingly unaffordable, management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) projects that up to 60 percent of privately insured Americans 120 million people will be enrolled in some form of high-cost health insurance plan by 2020
Insurers face wide-ranging change
US life insurers entered 2008 facing both opportunity and challenges Opportunity lies in abundance in the rapidly expanding retirement market fuelled by millions of retiring baby boomers, while challenges include sweeping regulatory changes and increasingly complex risk management US life insurers will continue to experience modest growth in most lines of business in 2008, believes Doug French, an analyst at professional services firm Ernst &...
Joint venture launches UNIQA into Takaful
Austrian composite insurer UNIQAs expansion strategy in emerging markets has taken a notable step forward with the founding of an Islamic Sharia law-compliant life and health insurance company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Named Takaful Al-Emarat, the new insurer is based in Dubai and is a joint venture (JV) between UNIQA and UAE insurer Al Buhaira National Insurance UNIQAs stake in the JV is 15 percent, Al Buhairas 20 percent and other...
Regulators haul UnitedHealth over the coals
As one chapter of controversy closes for UnitedHealth Group, the USs second-largest health insurer, another chapter opens, so it seems. And the latest chapter could prove to be UnitedHealths most costly yet as it faces down the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and a potential fine of up to $1.3 billion Collaborating for the first time, the CDI and the DMHC have brought a joint...
Taking advantage of change
Insurers must face the reality that customer loyalty is on the decline, highlights a study by Capgemini But while some insurers may see this as a threat, the changing environment also presents growth opportunities to those that adopt an analytical approach to customer behaviour, reports Charles Davis Major shifts in world insurance markets could present huge growth opportunities for insurers willing to change with the times, emphasises...
New York gets tough on insurers
New York gets tough on insurers Eric Dinallo, superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) is taking no chances that insurers under his jurisdiction will spring any more unpleasant surprises. In the first part of a two-part strategy to ensure stability, the NYSID has announced that it will undertake on-site reviews lasting between one to two days of insurers financial stress testing and scenario analyses processes.
Alternative assets go mainstream
Exotic alternative asset classes have for many years been used by large financial institutions and their wealthy private clients as a means of risk diversification Now this investment avenue is about to become available to a far wider audience with the launch by asset manager Skandia Investment Group (SIG) of a multi-manager fund offering investors access to a range of alternative asset classes within a single structure. According to SIG, a...
Bank deposit guarantee adds to UK pension woes
Bank deposit guarantee adds to UK pension woes The UK governments attempt to solve one major problem banking industry instability has made the pensions crisis a whole lot worse, warns independent policy adviser Ros Altmann. Quite simply, she explained, by providing a 100 percent guarantee on bank deposits it is now far safer for consumers to put their money into a bank than a pension or any other long-term investment where protection...
A $3 trillion market in search of service
Excluding Japan, Asias investment management industry has an estimated $3 trillion in assets under management A significant market, yet one in which institutions do not have access to the level of asset management service and investment expertise enjoyed by institutions in the US, Europe and Japan, indicates a study by research and consulting firm Greenwich Associates Greenwich drew its conclusion from interviews with nearly 80 of the largest...
Prudential's online term life drive
Better known for its focus on the affluent market, Prudential Financial has teamed up with banks to harness the online channel to reach the mass market with a simple term life product, MyTerm
AEGON enters Turkey
AEGON is to take its first step into Turkeys life insurance and pension market with the acquisition of 100 percent of life insurance and pension product provider Ankara Emeklilik Anonim Sirketi (Ankara Emeklilik) from Polis Bakim ve Yardim Sandigi, the Turkish police pension fund
Allianz shakes up Australian life insurance market
Allianz shakes up Australian life insurance market In a move it described as shaking up the Australian life insurance markets status quo, European insurer Allianzs Australian unit has slashed the cost of cover and greatly simplified the application process
Long-term care riders gain momentum
A long-term care (LTC) rider married to an annuity product can help overcome middle-class fears of full-blown LTC policy costs, resulting in a product that appeals to a broader sector of the market than ever before.
An industry at a crucial crossroad
Though if taken at face value the UKs life insurance industry has enjoyed several years of outstanding growth, in reality this masks significant challenges The UK life insurance industry has enjoyed robust growth following the tough period between 2000 and 2003, during which time data from reinsurer Swiss Re reflects a 17 percent fall in total premium income to £98.65 billion ($196 billion)
Beleaguered Scottish Re jettisons international unit
As part of its strategy to dispose of non-core assets, Bermuda-registered life reinsurer Scottish Re has agreed to sell its International Life Reinsurance (ILR) unit to US insurer Pacific Lifes parent company Pacific LifeCorp for $71.2 million, subject to a potential downward adjustment The disposal comes at a time when Scottish Res market capitalisation has slumped to a mere $5.5 million and its counterparty credit rating slashed to CCC- by...
Long-awaited UK equity release boom predicted
Significant growth in the UKs equity release market is inevitable, predicts industry body Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) The reality is that declining levels of private pension provision and meagre state pension benefits will drive more people in this country to explore alternative ways to top up their income in later life, said SHIPs director general, Andrea Rozario Some will work longer, but a very large number are already planning to use the...
Big boost for HSBC's Asian bancassurance power base
Big boost for HSBCs Asian bancassurance power base UK bancassurer HSBC drove its expansion plans in the Asian insurance market forward vigorously in September, officially opening its first life insurance unit in Taiwan and sealing deals that will lead to the establishment of new life insurance companies in India and China and giving it a strong foothold in Vietnams insurance market.
Allianz targets Middle East growth
Allianz targets Middle East growth Allianz has designated the Middle East as its third major growth region, a strategic decision the European insurer has marked with the establishment of a regional office in Bahrain that will have responsibility for its businesses in Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka
Hedging has saved US insurers billions... Aegon opts out of participation in TARP... SEC snatches control of indexed annuities...
Dai-ichi Mutual launches new insurer
Dai-ichi Mutual launches new insurer The final stage of Japans financial markets deregulation will open the door for banks to compete with insurers across the full range of insurance products In anticipation of full deregulation, Japans second-largest life insurer, Dai-ichi Mutual (Dai-ichi), has announced the launch of a new insurance company, Dai-ichi Frontier Life (DFL), which will open for business on 1 October this year
US bancassurance divide closing
A new look at the interaction between US banks and life insurers has found that stronger marketing relationships have developed over the past five years However, there are some lingering barriers that must be breached to maximise bank distribution of life insurance products
Retirement income myth dispelled
Conventional wisdom suggests that retirement income is derived predominantly from savings and returns accumulated during the working years of a participant in a defined contribution (DC) pension plan This could not be further from reality, argue researchers at US asset management company Russell Investments, a unit of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Researchers Matt Smith, MD of Russells retirement services unit, and Bob...
FSA calls for risk management rethink
Turmoil in global investment markets has created a need for life insurance companies to reassess their risk management, the UKs Financial Services Authoritys (FSA) director and insurance sector leader, Sarah Wilson stressed in a speech delivered at a conference convened in London by the Institute of Economic Affairs in May She continued that downside risks have increased and this has had the effect of making the financial sector as a whole...
Tackling the daunting risk challenge
Though North American life insurers view enterprise risk management (ERM) as a key management issue, many have yet to implement crucial ERM elements reveals a study by professional services firm Towers Perrin Towers Perrin found areas where insurers lag most include quantifying economic capital (EC), the capital required based on an insurers view of risk.
The battle for customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is vital but is becoming increasingly illusive in the US and UK financial services industries reveals a study by Thunderhead, a UK-based business communications systems developer Alarmingly, Thunderhead found that only 17 percent of respondents feel a sense of loyalty to their insurance provider and an even lower 16 percent to their bank Also of concern is that 61 percent of consumers surveyed are considering switching...
Aetna scoops top efficiency honours... Fiserv teams up with Stone Point Capital... Getting tough on mis-selling...
Private health insurance high on UK employees' want-list
Private medical insurance (PMI) is fast rising up the workplace benefits want-list of UK employees, a survey conducted by health insurer BUPA reveals Indeed, if the current trend persists, PMI could become the most popular workplace benefit. In its survey, BUPA found that 40 percent of employees were eager to have PMI as a workplace benefit, up from 38 percent of employees in 2007
Credit rating agencies feel the heat
As the financial cost of the US subprime mortgage meltdown continues to mount, credit rating agencies are shouldering a hefty chunk of the blame The US residential mortgage-backed structured securities fiasco and its knock-on effect in other debt security sectors could eventually result in total investment losses of $945 billion, predicts the International Monetary Fund
AEGON takes another big step
AEGON takes another big step Netherlands insurer AEGONs aggressive growth strategy, which has been characterised by a spate of acquisitions and new alliances in recent months, was taken another step forward in August with the announcement that it was to acquire US investment bank Merrill Lynchs two life insurance companies, Merrill Lynch Life Insurance Company and ML Life Insurance Company of New York, for $1.3 billion in cash
Setback for Swiss Life's growth plans
Swiss Lifes ambitious profit growth strategy calling for earnings per share to grow at a 12 percent CAGR between 2008 and 2012 has been dealt a major blow The target, warns Switzerlands largest life insurer, will neither be met in 2008 nor in 2009. The warning came in its half-year report to 30 June reflecting a net profit of CHF1.637 billion ($1.49 billion) and earnings per share of CHF49.71, up 158 percent and 170 percent, respectively,...
A huge protection gap opportunity
When it comes to retirement wealth creation Australians have made impressive strides thanks to the success of superannuation funds The same cannot be said for using life insurance to protect their wealth, a shortcoming that presents life insurers with a significant opportunity to expand their reach Introduced in 1992 as the key element of a sweeping reform of Australias retirement system, superannuation (super) funds have become the dominant...
Swiss Life buffeted from all sides
Swiss Life buffeted from all sides Swiss Lifes acquisition of a strategic stake in German financial advisory firm MLP Group for 307 million ($400 million) in August this year was intended to play a key role in strengthening its position in Germanys retirement market Unfortunately for Switzerlands largest life insurer, things have not gone according to plan.
Share buybacks on the rise in Europe
Share buybacks on the rise in Europe A growing number of European insurers are announcing substantial share buybacks, a trend sparked by a host of factors including surplus capital built up in recent years, a shortage of suitable expansion opportunities and shareholder activism
Image of property funds lies in tatters
Image of property funds lies in tatters In September 2004 one of the UKs top-five life insurers assured investors that commercial property funds carry only slightly higher risk than bonds. Just over two years later the doors of many commercial property funds were being slammed shut, some for up to 12 month following an avalanche of withdrawals
US mutuals take the marketing gap
Amid US financial market turmoil US mutual life insurers have stood out as pillars of security, an attribute New York Life and Massachusetts Mutual are exploiting to the full in hard-hitting marketing campaigns Even as AIGs spectacular collapse began to grab headlines, executives at New York Life knew that they had an opportunity to calm the waters and distinguish the well-performing insurer from the contagion on Wall Street.
Prudential and Discovery launch PruProtect in UK
Prudential and Discovery launch PruProtect in UK UK insurer Prudential and South African insurer Discovery have teamed up to launch PruProtect, a joint venture offering a range of products that include life cover, income protection and severity-based serious illness cover
Boom times predicted for China's health insurers
A rising standard of living and strong backing from the government are set to drive rapid growth in Chinas private health insurance market, predicts German health insurer Deutsche Krankenversicherung (DKV) The prediction comes as DKV, a unit of German reinsurer Munich Res subsidiary, ERGO Insurance Group, marks its 10th year of involvement in Chinas private health insurance market. According to DKV Chinas private health insurance market has...
Deep pockets and patience
Indias private life insurance sector has enjoyed spectacular premium income growth, driven by the enormous success of unit-linked products Profits, however, remain illusive at a time when many of the life industrys hard-sell tactics are being called into question by respected Indian business leaders Since deregulation of Indias insurance market in 2000 a steady stream of new entrants has continued to swell the ranks of private life insurers...
Variable annuities sales stall in US
Reflecting uncertainty among consumers, net sales of variable annuities (VA) in the US in the second quarter of 2008 slumped by 13.4 percent compared with the first quarter of 2007 to $7.5 billion, according to VA industry body the National Association of Variable Annuities (NAVA) VA market performance in the second quarter of 2008 also contrasted sharply with that in the previous quarter when a 12.3 percent increase in year-on-year net sales...
Allianz walks off with top honours
On an international basis, Allianz has been honoured as the worlds most ethical insurer, while in the worlds most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesia, it has been named as the best Islamic (takaful) insurer The award as the most ethical insurer was bestowed on Allianz by the Ethisphere Institute, an organisation described as a think-tank dedicated to the research and promotion of profitable best practices in global governance, business...
ING revs up its image
ING revs up its image With the 2007 Formula One (F1) racing season just ended, Netherlands bancassurer ING Group is upbeat about the results of its first year of sponsorship of the ING Renault F1 Team
US annuity sales head for record year... New life settlements trading platform set for launch... Standard Life launches green initiative...
Slack security costs UK insurer dearly
Protecting customers personal details has become a serious issue, as one of the UKs largest insurers, Norwich Union Life (NUL), discovered to its cost in December 2007 Found by the UKs financial services watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), to have failed to protect customers confidential information and manage its financial crime risks, the insurer was handed a £1.26 million ($2.5 million) fine Norwich Union Life let down its...
US Senate blocks discrimination
On 24 April the US Senate unanimously approved the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), legislation that Senator Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, termed the first civil rights bill of the new century of the life sciences. The GINA addresses an issue being debated in many countries: the right of an individual to take advantage of technology that will determine whether or not they have...
Americans getting their number priorities wrong
Highlighting the need for enhanced consumer education, the Retirement Number Study, a survey conducted for Netherlands bancassurer INGs US unit in support of a new marketing campaign, has revealed that almost anything but the amount of money needed to retire comfortably is uppermost in the minds of most Americans Indeed, in the survey undertaken by market research firm Ipsos only 5 percent of respondents said they consider a financial number,...
Discovery shrugs off US setback
Arguably the most dynamic insurer to have entered the South African market in decades, Discovery has built an impressive business on the foundation laid by its health insurance unit Though Discovery had to admit defeat in the US, its South African and UK businesses continue to forge ahead at a brisk pace Breaking into the US health insurance market is a tough challenge, as South African composite insurer Discovery Holdings has found to its cost
Green light for auto-enrolment
In a significant move that will benefit UK insurers the European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union (EU), has approved the British governments plan to permit automatic enrolment of workers into insurance-based workplace personal pension (WPP) as part of pension reforms due for implementation in 2012 The ECs approval followed an approach from the UKs Department for Work and Pensions in which it requested clarity on...
US advisers shun variable annuities
Owners of variable annuities (VA) in the US have endured twofold issues of late: their investment-account balances have taken a hit, as have the financial-strength ratings on the insurers that issued their annuities That may explain why advisers are more reluctant than ever to recommend annuities to their clients, according to a study conducted by Spectrem Group for Ameritas Advisor Services, a unit of insurer Ameritas Life. Spectrem found...
Prudential aims to slash costs
Prudential aims to slash costs UK insurer Prudentials objective of reducing annual costs by £195 million ($403 million) by the end of 2010 has come closer to realisation thanks to a major new outsourcing agreement with Capita Group
Regulator takes UK with-profit insurers to task
Regulator takes UK with-profit insurers to task In a letter to chief executives of all insurers that provide with-profits funds, the UK financial services regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has hammered home the need to treat policyholders fairly
Opportunities squandered in UK pension market
Opportunities squandered in UK pension market Despite increasing slightly over the past few years, contributions to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes in the UK still fall short of supporting decent pensions for the majority of people, warns Tony Pugh, UK head of defined contribution pension services at human resources consultancy Mercer
Old Mutual South Africa revamps its structure
Old Mutual South Africa revamps its structure As part of a series of restructuring initiatives, life insurer Old Mutuals South African unit, Old Mutual South Africa (OMSA), has sold its 50 percent stake in Old Mutual Bank (OMB) to its 51 percent-owned banking subsidiary Nedbank for ZAR140 million ($21 million)
Retail distribution reform is vital for UK insurers
The UKs life insurance industry could self-destruct in the next five years if it does not back the core aim of the Financial Services Authoritys (FSA) Retail Distribution Review (RDR) of putting the consumer first, warns Mike Kellard, CEO of French insurer Axas UK unit, Axa & Winterthur Wealth Management Kellard was delivering the keynote speech at a conference in late January, Rethinking Life Insurance 2008 Generating and Preserving Value...
Senator aims to clean up US reverse mortgage market
US Senator Claire McCaskill has filed legislation aimed at curbing what she claims are predatory lending tactics practised in the reverse mortgage market Her proposed legislation, the Reverse Mortgage Proceeds Protection Act, would, she said, help protect seniors by ensuring they receive independent counselling prior to signing up for a reverse mortgage and requiring that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issue stronger...
AEGON increases an already ambitious 2010 growth target
AEGON increases an already ambitious 2010 growth target When Netherlands insurer AEGON set itself a target of increasing the value of new business (VNB) by 2010 to 1.1 billion ($1.6 billion), double the 550 million achieved in 2005, it appeared ambitious, even by AEGONs own admission
US uninsured numbers rising
The median household income in the US increased from $47,845 in 2005 to $48,201 in 2006, leaving the average American family 0.7 percent better off in real terms, according to a report published by the US Census Bureau However, despite this improvement in income, the number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006 As a proportion of the total population, this represented an increase from...
ING Direct USA, the US internet banking unit of Netherlands bancassurer ING Group, is to acquire ShareBuilder, an online brokerage business focused on direct marketing of what ING terms a limited set of simple and high-value investment products
UK pension schemes seek performance
UK pension schemes seek performance Despite volatility in world investment markets, UK executives responsible for final salary pension schemes still favour a significant exposure to return-seeking assets, consultancy Watson Wyatt has concluded following a recent investment seminar it hosted
UK pilots generic advice project
UK pilots generic advice project A pilot project that will assess the feasibility of providing generic financial advice (GFA) across three channels the telephone, the internet and face-to-face has been launched in the UK
Allianz solves Dresdner dilemma
For some time the sale of Allianzs Dresdner Bank unit has been in little doubt, being, rather, more a question of who would be the buyer The question has been answered with the news that Allianz is to sell Dresdner to Commerzbank and embark on an alternative bancassurance strategy in Germany. Speculation over the future of Allianzs Dresdner Bank has been rife
Health insurance takes the lead in Saudi Arabia
Health insurance takes the lead in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabias insurance industry put on a strong showing in 2006, lifting total premium income 35 percent compared with 2005 to SAR6.9 billion ($1.84 billion), according to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agencys (SAMA) annual survey report published in August
An unfinished growth story
Polands emergence as a free enterprise economy and accession to the European Union has spurred dynamic growth in its life insurance industry, now the biggest in Central and Eastern Europe In less than a decade Polands life insurance industry has emerged as one of Europes big success stories with premium income rising from PLN7 billion ($3.1 billion) in 2000 to PLN27.8 billion in 2007, a CAGR of 21.8 percent
The workplace market beckons
Economic uncertainty is driving increasing demand from US employees for enhanced benefits from their employers
Ping An's costly learning curve
Ping Ans costly learning curve A year ago Ping An, Chinas second-largest life insurer, trumpeted its 5 percent equity stake in Belgo-Netherlands bancassurer Fortis acquired for $3.5 billion as a major step in its goal of becoming a major player in global financial markets Its an investment Ping An has come to regret in the wake of Fortis near-demise and lead it to seriously question its future strategy.
UK consumers demand choice
Consumers in the UK demand choice when it comes to insurance products, reveals a survey conducted by not-for-profit trade body the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) According to the AIFA, 96 percent of respondents said they expected an independent financial adviser (IFA) to be able to select a product from the whole of the market, while only 4 percent would expect to be offered a product from a shortlist of companies The...
US health insurance industry consolidation forges ahead
US health insurance industry consolidation forges ahead Consolidation of the US health insurance industry has taken another step forward with the announcement that US insurer Cigna is to acquire Great-West Life & Annuitys health care division in a $1.5 billion cash deal
Health insurers stage land grab in group life market
Health insurers stage land grab in group life market Take care, life insurers: US health insurers are using years of experience in the employee benefits arena to carve out quite a niche for themselves in group life
Hartford Life's new structure for growth
Hartford Life, The Harford Financial Services Groups life insurance unit, is undergoing a major revamp aimed at enhancing its ability to harness US and global growth opportunities Central to the strategy of the US fourth largest life insurer is creation of four market groups: individual, employer, institutional and international With this new structure in place, we can better align all of our resources financial, talent, product development...
MetLife boosts its reverse mortgage market capabilities
US insurer MetLife has taken a step forward in its strategy of growing its share of the potentially vast US reverse mortgage market with the acquisition of EverBank Reverse Mortgage (ERM) from its parent company EverBank Financial ERM will become a division or operating subsidiary of Metlifes wholly-owned unit MetLife Bank which entered the reverse mortgage market in 2007.
Standard Bank bolsters African bancassurance
In a move long lobbied for by institutional investors the Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA) is to remove a pyramid structure through which it has controlled South African life insurer Liberty Group since 1999 To achieve the restructuring SBSA is to make a cash offer worth a total of ZAR4.4 billion ($575 million) to acquire the 40.83 percent interest it does not own in the top company in the pyramid, Liberty Holdings, which has a 52.2...
CSC joins forces with LOMA in India... Hanover Insurance exits life industry... ING closes Mexican sale...
Great-West Lifeco assists Standard Life to hive off a major portion of its longevity risk
Acting to significantly reduce shareholder exposure to longevity risk, UK insurer Standard Life (Standard) has accepted a bid from Canadian insurer Great-West Lifecos reinsurance unit, Canada Life International Re, to reinsure £6.7 billion ($13.2 billion) of its UK immediate annuity liabilities This transaction is believed to be the largest of its kind in the UK, and follows a full analysis of the strategic options for our annuity book and a...
Zurich's aggressive growth drive
Shrugging off international economic uncertainty, Swiss composite insurer Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) has announced ambitious new growth targets spearheaded by its Global Life unit Speaking at an analyst presentation in late-May, CEO of the unit Mario Greco announced that the new 2010 business value target has been set at $1.2 billion, an increase of 41 percent compared with the previous target of $850 million and an increase of...
Not all UK consumers mesmerised by protection product costs
UK consumers are not as focused on the price of protection products as advisers may think, concluded insurance industry executives attending a round-table debate hosted by insurer PruProtect Consumers are starting to move away from price and to place more importance on what really matters to them, Sammy Rubin, CEO of PruProtect, told attendees Supporting Rubins contention are findings of a survey undertaken by PruProtect that found 42 percent...
CEA sees room for improvement in Solvency II
CEA sees room for improvement in Solvency II European insurance industry body the Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA) has released what it termed high-level comments on the European Commissions draft Directive on Solvency II for European insurers, published in July
Distribution channel conundrum
Distribution channel conundrum Though increasing consumer demand across Europe for private pensions presents a big opportunity for life insurers, meeting the demand requires in-depth analysis of consumer attitudes towards existing and emerging distribution channels
Assicurazioni Generali sets bold strategic goals
Assicurazioni Generali sets bold strategic goals Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali has released a bold three-year strategic plan that includes increasing net profits to 3.8 billion ($5.4 billion) by 2009, a 58 percent increase compared with 2006 and double that achieved in 2005
Attorney general takes aim at Guy Carpenter in latest lawsuit
Attorney general takes aim at Guy Carpenter in latest lawsuit In the latest legal action against major US financial service industry players, Guy Carpenter & Company (GCC), one of the worlds biggest reinsurance brokers, has found itself facing an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal
FSA takes tough stance on payment protection advice
A hard line taken in January this year by UK financial regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) left no doubt about the steps it will take to protect consumer interests in the payment protection insurance (PPI) market In the FSAs sights was consumer finance specialist HFC Bank (HFC), which received a fine of £1.085 million ($2.1 million) this marks the highest fine imposed for infringements of PPI regulations In a statement...
Resolution and Friends Provident come closer to tying the knot
Resolution and Friends Provident come closer to tying the knot Barring a last-minute counter-bid, the merger of the UKs largest specialist manager of in-force closed life insurance funds, Resolution Life, and 175-year-old insurer Friends Provident is set to occur in late November
Axa Bank Europe formed... VAs set to take off in Europe... Uniqa takes control of Ukrainian insurer...
UK Post Office dangles a big cashback incentive on life products
UK Post Office dangles a big cashback incentive on life products Reflecting the competitiveness of the UKs life insurance market, the Post Office Life Insurance, a unit of the countrys Royal Mail postal service, has hung out a £100 ($205) cashback lure to prospective buyers of its new level term and decreasing term life insurance products
Dai-ichi pins its hopes on demutualisation
Ending months of speculation, Japanese life insurer Dai-ichi Mutual has announced plans for its demutualisation Subject to approval by policyholders and regulatory authorities, Japans third largest life insurer will in the first half of its fiscal year ending 31 March 2011 undertake an IPO, following which it will become Japans third listed life insurer In a statement the insurer explained that the decision to demutualise had been based on its...
CNP looks to new markets for growth
French insurer CNP Assurances (CNP) and Greek bank Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) have entered into a bancassurance alliance initially targeting two of Europes most underinsured markets, Greece and Cyprus Under the terms of the agreement CNP and MPB will enter into an exclusive 10-year renewable distribution agreement which carries an extension option in other countries where MBP operates Cementing the alliance, CNP will acquire a 50.1 percent...
Prudential gets Saudi Arabian asset management go-ahead
In a significant development in what it termed an ambitious expansion plan in the Gulf region, UK insurer Prudentials Asian asset management unit Prudential Asset Management (PAM), has received approval from Saudi Arabias Capital Market Authority to establish an asset management company The new company will be formed as a joint venture with Saudi Arabian bank Bank AlJazira and is to be named Prudential Jazira Asset Management. In addition to...
Baloise and Gothaer to merge German units... Streamlining broker account reconciliation... Insurers urged to market online...
Chinese regulatory authority opens door wider to banks
Involvement of banks in Chinas life insurance industry is set to increase thanks to an accommodating stance being taken by the China Insurance Regulatory Authority (CIRC) towards insurance sales via banks and, potentially, investment by banks in insurers In the latest development Chinas official news agency Xinhua reports that the CIRC has granted permission to the state-owned Bank of China and private sector bank China Minsheng Banking Corp...
Friends Provident has a lot of convincing to do
Friends Provident (FP) is facing a credibility gap following the unveiling of its much-awaited transformation strategy on 31 January Hyped by FP as the solution that will transform it into a more focused and profitable business, the UK life insurers strategy received a cold welcome, reflected in an immediate 10 percent slump in its share price to its lowest level in over three years Adding to negative sentiment was a warning that charges would...
Skandia family feud laid to rest
Skandia family feud laid to rest A dispute between UK-based insurer Old Mutuals subsidiary Skandia and the latters wholly owned Swedish life insurance unit Skandia Liv has been settled following a long-running arbitration process. The saga began in January 2002, well before Old Mutuals acquisition of Skandia in 2006, with the sale by Skandia of Skandia Asset Management (SAM) to Norwegian bank Den Norske Bank (DNB) for SEK3.2 billion ($395...
Aviva forges major bancassurance alliance in Poland
Aviva forges major bancassurance alliance in Poland UK insurer Aviva and Polish bank Bank Zachodni (BZ) have entered into an exclusive 15-year bancassurance partnership that includes the establishment of 50:50 joint venture life and general insurance companies The bancassurance arrangement will significantly enhance Avivas distribution network in Poland, complementing our well-established direct salesforce and the direct motor insurance...
South Africa's daunting protection gap
Though classified as a developing economy, South Africa boasts one of the highest life insurance penetration in the world 12.97 percent of GDP in 2006, according to reinsurer Swiss Re This ranks the country second in the world, behind only the UK on 13.11 percent, Despite this, a study commissioned by industry body the Life Offices Association (LOA) has revealed a yawning protection gap In the study undertaken by actuarial consultancy True...
Wells Fargo furthers insurance goals
Pursuing an ambitious growth strategy in the insurance market, US bank Wells Fargo has announced an acquisition which will provide it with an entry into premium financing This adds to an existing line up that includes life insurance, general insurance and health insurance
Boom time brings its problems
The UKs defined benefit (DB) pension scheme buyout market is booming with the value of transactions in the second quarter of 2008 reaching £2.7 billion ($4.8 billion), £1.2 billion more than the first quarter of the year and £847 million more than in the then record-breaking fourth quarter of 2007
UnitedHealthcare's admission policy faces stiff opposition
The New York Insurance Department (NYID) has issued a request to health insurer UnitedHealthcare (United) to delay implementation of what New York State Superintendent of Insurance Eric R Dinallo termed a controversial new policy requiring hospitals to provide notice within 24 hours after a patient has been admitted According to the request issued on 30 November 2007, United will impose a penalty of up to 50 percent of normal payment if a...
Conseco dumps costly problem
In a unique approach to a costly problem, US insurer Conseco is to hive off its long-term care (LTC) insurance unit Conseco Senior Health Insurance Company (CSHI) into an independent trust, the Senior Health Care Oversight Trust The strategy will enable Conseco to rid itself of a unit consisting of 142,000 LTC policies in run-off that has over the past 11 years absorbed $915 million to maintain a minimum level of regulatory capital and...
Allianz tackles Japan's VA market
In a case of better late than never, European insurer Allianz has entered Japans life insurance market following receipt of a licence from the Japanese Financial Services Agency on 7 March 2008 Quick off the mark, Allianz Life Insurance Japan (ALIJ) has launched its first product, a variable annuity (VA) offering a guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit, regardless of market performance Commenting, ALIJs chairman and representative director,...
Americans raid pension savings
Amid media comments such as swipe your way to the poorhouse, ReservePlus debit cards that enable people to borrow from their 401k pension savings are being actively marketed by Reserve Solutions, a unit of The Reserve, an asset management company that lays claim to having created the first money market fund in 1970.
Don't delay Solvency II preparation, warn actuaries
Dont delay Solvency II preparation, warn actuaries Although the deadline for the introduction of the European Unions Solvency II regulatory regime October 2012 may appear a long way off, insurers should start to prepare now, delegates at The Actuarial Professions recent General Insurance Research Organising Conference were told
Shin Kong Financial scrambles for capital
Dai-ichi Mutual Life, Japans second-largest life insurer has come to the assistance of Taiwanese financial services group Shin Kong Financial Holding (SKFH), the parent company of Shin Kong Life Insurance (SKL), which is currently in the throws of bolstering its capital base depleted by investment-related losses sustained by SKL. Assistance comes by way of a private placement in which Dai-ichi will acquire SKFH ordinary shares and SKL...
AM Best takes a dim view of AIG
Unpleasant surprises from American International Group (AIG), the worlds largest insurer, have become all too common as it reels under the impact of the US subprime meltdown First came mammoth losses $5.29 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007 and $7.8 billion in the first quarter of 2008 Then came a $20 billion capital raising exercise followed within weeks by the announcement that its CEO of three years standing, Martin Sullivan, had...
AIG takes a subprime tumble
The US subprime residential mortgage market fiasco that has decimated profits of countless big-name banks has made its presence painfully felt in the results of American International Group (AIG), the worlds largest insurer in terms of assets With its fourth-quarter 2007 results decimated by subprime-related realised losses of $2.63 billion ($1.71 billion after tax) and impairment charges of $11.47 billion ($7.46 billion after tax), AIG...
Another big profit shocker from AIG
Another quarter and more blood-letting from US insurer American International Group (AIG) which has reported a net loss of $5.36 billion for the three months to 30 June The third consecutive quarter of losses, the latest results brought net losses for the first half of 2008 to $13.16 billion and total net losses since the fourth quarter of 2007 to $18.45 billion AIG chairman and CEO Robert Willumstad said: Our second-quarter results were...
Insurers grapple with claims f
There is no end to the ingenuity of criminals reveals the first five-year review of claim fraud statistics in South Africa Between 2003 and 2007 the countrys life insurers identified 20,992 claim frauds ranging from identity theft to material non-disclosure and in the process prevented a total loss of ZAR1.33 billion ($185 million) Undertaken by industry body the Life Offices Association (LOA), the review was based on data collated by the LOA...
Great Eastern gets Vietnam go-ahead... War rages in US term life sector... Aon snaps up Gallagher Re..
Banks ride high on fixed annuities
Banks are doing a roaring trade and increasing their significance in the US fixed annuity market, reveals data compiled by independent research organisation Beacon Research Indicative of consumers quest for certainty in the current economic climate, fixed annuity sales via banks in the second quarter of 2008 soared 81.1 percent compared with the second quarter of 2007 to $7 billion, or almost a third of total sales of $24.6 billion....
Complacency takes a heavy toll
Financial markets are in turmoil sparked by the collapse of a housing boom in the US built largely on the shaky foundation of subprime mortgage lending A wealth of evidence indicates that more robust risk management would have spared many financial institutions from the pain they are now enduring. Addressing the European Parliament on the financial crisis sparked by the US subprime mortgage fiasco, commissioner for internal market and...
China Life faces strong headwinds
His comments accompanied the release of China Lifes 2007 annual results, which revealed a sharp fall in market share and vulnerability to a weak equity market
Australian investors in dash to safety
Australian investors in dash to safety Well-meant but hastily-conceived measures aimed at solving one problem in financial markets can often lead to other severe market dislocations not originally anticipated This is the unfortunate situation in Australia, created by the governments announcement on 12 October that it would guarantee all deposits in the countrys banks and non-bank authorised deposit-taking institutions for the next three years.
New York Life sets the standard... Marsh UK selects Capita...
Axa Asia-Pacific has ambitious goals for Australasian units
At its annual strategy conference held in late November 2007, Axa Asia-Pacific (AAP), a 53 percent-owned subsidiary of French insurer Axa, unveiled Ambition 2012, a bold set of expansion targets it has set itself for its units in Australia and New Zealand between 2008 and 2012 Among key targets during the five-year period are the doubling of both the enterprise value and new business volumes of both units, and the lowering of the Australian...
FSA dishes out more PPI punishment
Liverpool Victoria Banking Services (LVBS), a unit of UK life insurer LV, has learnt a costly lesson for what UK regulatory body the Financial Services Authority (FSA) termed serious failings in the sale of single premium payment protection insurance (PPI) Joining a growing list of errant PPI product suppliers LVBS has been fined £840,000 ($1.68 million) by the FSA for contraventions that occurred between 14 January 2005 and 8 August 2007. The...
Optional federal chartering would save billions of dollars
Optional federal chartering would save billions of dollars US insurers and insurance industry bodies lobbying for approval of legislation that would permit insurers to choose between existing state regulation or a new optional federal charter (OFC) have received a significant boost from a study authored by Laureen Regan, associate professor with Temple Universitys Fox School of Business and Management
UK insurers' £350 billion challenge
If ever proof was needed that defined benefit (DB) pension liabilities are unpredictable, the financially tumultuous month of September provided it in the UK The countrys 100 largest listed companies (FTSE100) began the month with what consultancy Watson Wyatt estimated at a combined DB pension scheme deficit of £12 billion ($21 billion) By the end of the month Watson Wyatt estimates that the deficit had swung into a surplus of £30 billion.
US insurers become big online advertising spenders
US insurers become big online advertising spenders The US insurance industry is turning increasingly to the internet as a marketing platform and will this year spend $980 million on online advertising, up 36 percent compared with the $720 million it spent in 2006, according to internet research company eMarketer
Life cover to be had at bargain prices
Increased longevity and tough competition have combined to make term life insurance one of the outstanding bargains available in the UK This is highlighted by research undertaken by Moneyfacts, an independent provider of personal finance information Moneyfacts noted that while consumers have seen the cost of general insurance such as motor and household cover spiral, average term insurance premiums have in some cases halved over the last decade
Signs of a recovery appearing
After a decade of falling new business volumes in its home market, the Swiss life insurance industry is confident that last years modest increase in premium income signals the start of a sustainable recovery Swiss life insurance business, individual and group, is in the midst of a growth turnaround, proclaims the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) in a review of market developments in 2007
Still too soon for complacency
Just as a modicum of stability appears to have returned to global financial markets hit by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis Christine Li, an economist at rating agency Moodys Investor Services, poses the question: Is the financial crisis really over
Franklin Templeton and China Life launch new joint venture
Franklin Templeton and China Life launch new joint venture A new asset management joint venture (JV) formed in Hong Kong has brought together two of the worlds largest financial institutions, China Life and US asset management company Franklin Templeton Investments
ING and Axa reshuffle in Mexico
This is no better illustrated than by a deal that will see Netherlands bancassurer ING sell significant parts of its Mexican business, Seguros ING, to French insurer Axa for 1 billion ($1.48 billion) Viewed as non-core by ING, the parts of Seguros ING to be acquired by Axa include its life and health insurance lines, its health maintenance organisation and property, casualty and vehicle general insurance lines
Prevention cheaper than cure
Though falls are a major cause of trauma among seniors, little has been done in the US to address the situation This is about to change, thanks to a study aimed at developing a fall prevention programme for seniors to be undertaken by Bankers Life and Casualty (BLC), a life insurer focused on the seniors market, Life-Plans, a supplier of services to health insurers, and the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Stressing the...
Scottish Re reveals subprime exposure
Scottish Re reveals subprime exposure Bermuda-based life reinsurer Scottish Re has again delivered unpleasant news, revealing in its second-quarter financial statement that it has a hefty exposure to US subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBSs) The revelation came only two months after Scottish Re had received a much-needed $600 million capital injection from MassMutual Capital Partners, a member of the US-based MassMutual...
Aviva USA offers health incentive
Aviva USA offers health incentive Stay healthy and get the benefit of lower life insurance premiums this is the essence of Aviva USAs Wellness for Life Program, launched in conjunction with US medical services company Mayo Clinics Mayo Clinic Health Solutions
Aviva extends Italian reach with UAV... Price comparison websites under fire... Honesty is the best policy...
Société Générale gets green light to advance bancassurance strategies in Russia and Romania
Socit Gnrale gets green light to advance bancassurance strategies in Russia and Romania Sogecap, the life insurance unit of French bancassurer Socit Gnrale, has received approval from Russias banking regulator to acquire payment protection insurer Soyuznik and establish a life insurance company in Russia
UnitedHealth on the back foot
A class action lawsuit brought against one of the US largest health insurers, UnitedHealth, in 2006 has reached finality with the company agreeing to pay $895 million into a settlement fund for the benefit of class members In the lawsuit CalPERS alleged that UnitedHealth issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the companys business, its stock option plans, compensation practices and its financial results, while employing...
Another life insurer for India... Life insurance goes online in Japan...
US retirement security takes a big hit... Sun Life talks up its growth prospects... UK consumers throw caution to the wind...
Facing a life expectancy time bomb
Facing a life expectancy time bomb The thriving US life settlements market is attracting a growing number of investors eager to cash in on what they perceive to be easy profits However, a life settlements expert has cautioned that even minor miscalculations of life expectancy could prove financially disastrous
If you can't beat them join them
The US life settlements industry continues to go from strength to strength despite concerted efforts by insurers and regulators to curb its growth Signaling that the life settlements are here to stay, a growing number of life insurers are themselves entering the market as serious players
Old Mutual's lucky break in China
The door to Chinas asset management market has been opened for UK insurer Old Mutual in an unusual manner: a Chinese regulatory requirement that has compelled Belgo-Netherlands bancassurer Fortis to sell its stake in one of two Chinese joint ventures (JV). For Fortis, the choice was to sell its 49 percent stake in Fortis Haitong or its 49 percent stake in ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management (AATEDA), company shares it inherited as part of its recent...
Allianz continues down the outsourcing route
In the latest in a series of outsourcing deals, the European insurers US unit, Allianz of America (AOA), has entered into a 7.5-year outsourcing agreement with information technology company IBM in what AOA termed a major step in its drive to achieve $150 million in operational savings within the next three years The contract covers AOAs life insurance unit, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, and its general insurance unit,...
Enquiry exposes AIG's house of cards
AIG was a disaster waiting to happen, is the clear message that emerged from a Congressional hearing into its near-bankruptcy However, while AIGs former CEO Hank Greenberg strongly implied that blame lay with his successors, a corporate governance expert does not believe Greenberg himself is blameless Born out of insurance agency CV Starr & Company established in Shanghai, China in 1919 by Cornelius van der Starr, American International Group...
Crisis sparks regulatory overhaul
Spurred into action by the credit crunch, the European Parliament is demanding of the European Commission that by the end of November it produces recommendations that will bring about a sweeping change of the European Unions financial regulatory legislation In the shadow of the global financial crisis, the European Parliament (EP) has plunged for a wholesale overhaul of the European Unions (EU) legislation to supervise its financial services
EU goes to war against tax evasion
EU goes to war against tax evasion The European Commission is drum-beating private savings contracts posing as life insurance up to the scaffold as part of its drive to cut Europes estimated 200 billion evasion of tax However, the proposals face stiff opposition that could take years to overcome, reports Brussels-based Jeremy Woolfe.
Private retirement plans falling short
The majority of younger Americans will reach the end of their working careers ill-prepared for retirement, a study undertaken by the US governments General Accounting Office has revealed The solution may, however, come as an even bigger blow to the private retirement planning industry
Benfield agrees to enter Aon's fold
In a deal worth $1.75 billion, Aon Corporation is to acquire Benfield Group, a move repressing notable consolidation in the global reinsurance brokerage and risk management industry Benfield, which is UK-based and incorporated in Bermuda, will add annual revenue of almost $1 billion to Aons existing revenue base of about $7.5 billion. In addition to a sizable revenue boost Aon believes Benfield will add significantly to it capabilities in a...
Barclays Bank and UK insurer Prudential have signed an agreement that makes Prudential the preferred supplier of conventional annuity products to the banks UK retail clients
Axa's Ambition 2012 hopes dashed
Reporting its third-quarter 2008 results, French insurer Axa reassured investors that despite market turmoil its financial position was sound and that there were no plans to raise additional capital.
Go-ahead for Aviva reattribution
After two failed attempts and 18 months of negotiations, UK insurer Aviva has been given the go ahead by policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode to proceed with a reattribution offer to the one million policyholders in two of its Norwich Union Life units with-profits funds Under the offer, policyholders in Norwich Unions CGNU Life and CULAC funds will be able to choose whether to receive a cash payment in return for giving up their right to...
SNS Reaal bulks up in the Netherlands' pensions market
SNS Reaal bulks up in the Netherlands pensions market The Netherlands bancassurer SNS Reaal ended 2006 with a 6 percent share of the Dutch life insurance market Announced in November, the latest acquisition will see SNS Reaal pay between 1.45 billion ($2.15 billion) and 1.54 billion for Swiss Lifes Netherlands unit, Zwitserleven Netherlands, and Belgian unit, Swiss Life Belgium (SLB)
Californian insurance commissioner scores a resounding victory over Allianz
Allianz Life Insurance Company (ALIC), a US unit of European insurer Allianz, has reached a $10.05 million settlement with Californian Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner The payment by ALIC followed an investigation into what the California Department of Insurance (CDI) termed the alleged targeting of thousands of seniors in deceptive annuity sales ALIC is the largest seller of annuities in California
China boosts bancassurance
Development of bancassurance in China has received a boost following the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the countrys insurance regulator, China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), and the bank regulator, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) In a release, the CBRC said the MoU will deeply strengthen business cooperation between banking and insurance sectors and the cross-sector supervisory co-operation The...
US composite insurer The Hartford has embarked on an initiative that will harness 10,000 independent agents nationwide selling its property and casualty (P&C) insurance products as a channel for cross-selling its pension, group benefits and individual life insurance products to business owners.
Insurers plan to implement Solvency II on the cheap
Most large European insurers are not planning on splurging vast sums on implementing the European Unions Solvency II regulatory requirements governing capital adequacy for the insurance industry, reveals a study by management consulting and technology services company Accenture Accenture found that during the period before Solvency II comes into force in 2012, one-quarter of insurers surveyed expect to spend more than 25 million ($37 million)...
Automating mortality management
Life insurers are starting to consider using mortality management technology systems as a strategy to improve profitability, reveals a study unveiled at industry body ACORD LOMAs Insurance Systems Forum held in Las Vegas in May The study was conducted by Transamerica Reinsurance, a US-based unit of Netherlands insurer AEGON, and MajescoMastek, a US-based unit of Mastek, an Indian IT company focused on the development of insurance industry...
AXA Equitable triumphs in US VA market
In 2007, which it justifiably claims as having been a stellar year for it, AXA Equitable Life (AEL), a US unit of French insurer AXA, leapfrogged its competitors to move from third into first position in the US variable annuity market AEL ended 2007 with total net variable annuity (VA) sales of $15.5 billion, up 20.2 percent compared with 2006 and well ahead of a 15 percent increase in total VA sales to $184.2 billion reported by insurance...
Long-term care insurers under fire in Washington
Long-term care insurers under fire in Washington Insurers offering long-term care insurance have come under strong criticism in the US state of Washington following a meeting between the states insurance commissioner, long-term care insurance professionals, a representative of Washington nursing homes and state legislators
Singapore sales boom could falter
Singapores life insurers enjoyed boom conditions in the first quarter of 2008 with industry body the Singapore Life Insurance Association (SLIA) reporting new business premium income of SGD2.993 billion ($2.2 billion), up 52 percent compared with the first quarter of 2007
Prestigious award for Zurich Financial's CEO
Credited with the financial turnaround of Swiss composite insurer Zurich Financial Services (Zurich), James J Schiro, its CEO, has become the 13th recipient of the Insurance Leader of the Year award presented by the New York-based St Johns Universitys School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Sciences Speaking at the award ceremony, the schools executive director, Ellen Thrower, explained that the award recognises outstanding...
Axa acquires full control of Turkish joint venture for $525m
French insurer Axa is to acquire the 50 percent stake held in Turkish composite insurer Axa Oyak Holding (AOH) by its partner in the joint venture, Turkish conglomerate Oyak Group, for a cash consideration of $525 million Established in February 1999, AOH held a 10 percent share of the overall Turkish insurance market as at 30 June 2007, according to the Association of the Insurance and Reinsurance Companies of Turkey General insurance is the...
Moving along the road to reform
Ireland has embarked on reform of regulations governing private health insurers, aimed at attracting new entrants into a market dominated for five decades by a single state-backed player Reform comes after intense pressure for change that culminated in the largest independent insurer exiting the market in 2007 Providing affordable health cover, be it private or state-funded, is a global challenge and one Ireland has tackled using a hybrid...
Activist investor takes Generali to task over governance
Activist investor takes Generali to task over governance Just a month after delivering an upbeat outlook on its growth prospects, Assicurazioni Generali, Italys largest insurer and Europes third largest, has come in for heavy criticism from Algebris Investments, a UK-based hedge fund manager In a 12-page letter to Generali, Algebris called for sweeping reforms of the insurers corporate governance and senior management remuneration structures,...
US group business disappoints... Protective goes online... Analysts back global expansion by insurers...
ERGO boosts Indian presence
The lure of Indias rapidly growing life insurance industry has attracted another foreign entrant, ERGO Insurance Group, the 91.7 percent owned primary insurance unit of German reinsurer Munich Re A joint venture (JV) with Indian conglomerate Hero Group, ERGO will have a 26 percent stake in the company to be named HERO ERGO Life Insurance (HELI) A fairly lengthy process of complying with the requirements of Indias Insurance Regulatory and...
US insurers in a VA arms race
Spearheading innovation are guaranteed living benefits which provide investors with certainty and carriers with higher fees
Former AIG executives agree to $115 million settlement
Amid the turmoil in financial markets an event that might otherwise have made headlines has been somewhat sidelined: A $115 million settlement between American International Group (AIG) and the insurers former chairman and CEO Maurice Hank Greenberg and three other former AIG executives The news came in a statement released by shareholder and corporate governance law firm Grant & Eisenhofer (G&E) which reached the settlement on behalf of AIG...
Pension paupers in the making
The future is bleak for many UK workers who will have to rely on income from defined contribution (DC) private pension plans when they retire, warns Fidelity International (FI) The warning is based on the findings of the asset management companys third annual Fidelity Retirement Index study that, based on 2007 data, indicates that the average member of a DC scheme faces a massive slump in income after retirement
Americans' healthcare pain
The amount the average American family spends on employer-sponsored health care insurance per year is edging closer to one months salary, reveals a study by Aon Consulting, a unit of risk management and insurance brokerage Aon Corporation According to Aon the median annual household income in the US is about $48,000, ($4,000 per month) while the median annual contribution for family healthcare coverage is $3,120, up 15 percent compared with...
SEC regulation a mixed blessing
Rule 151A, the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) proposed regulation that would classify indexed annuities as securities, has far-reaching implications for the insurance industry, believes Rachel Alt-Simmons, research director in the insurance practice at consultancy TowerGroup Alt-Simmons explained that indexed annuities have offered investors a middle-ground option between low-return fixed annuities and variable annuities that are...
Vienna Insurance Group forges ahead in CEE
Austrian composite insurer Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) continued to pursue its goal of building a significant presence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), adding a presence in three additional countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the closing weeks of 2007 The additions came via the acquisition of 100 percent of Seesam Life Insurance from Finnish insurer Finnish Suomi Mutual Life and brought VIGs presence in CEE to 18 countries Seesam...
New deal for cancer survivors
One in every six American men is likely to contract prostate cancer in their lifetime and this year alone 186,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease, according to US insurer The Hartford For most of these men, 90 percent of whom are at least 55 years old, this has made obtaining life insurance extremely expensive or even either impossible The Hartford believes this is an unduly harsh approach by insurers and has announced that it has...
The Hartford gets a $2.5 billion boost... SWIFT to power reinsurance platform... Life-Exchange brims with optimism...
US conglomerate General Electric (GE) and Chinas largest life insurer, China Life, have forged a strategic alliance under which they will join forces to develop and launch yet-to-be specified retail financial products
Egypt moves farther down liberalisation road
According to the Egypt Insurance Supervisory Authority (EISA), they have a combined share of 69 percent of Egypts life and general insurance market measured in terms of the industrys total investment assets as at 30 June 2006 of EGP18.7 billion ($3.3 billion)
Costly US state regulatory system boosts federal lobby
US insurers and insurance industry bodies lobbying for approval of legislation that would permit insurers to choose between existing state regulation or an optional federal charter (OFC) have received a boost from a study undertaken by Martin F Grace and Robert W Klein of the Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research at Georgia State University Among positive findings from the perspective of OFC proponents was the rapidly increasing...
Old-fashioned but still effective
In this era of digital communications, using the mail as a primary marketing method may appear outmoded To the contrary, Abi Wood of the Royal Mail argues that direct mail is still a highly effective tool in a life insurers marketing armoury and one also highly popular among consumers in the UK. Most UK consumers believe providing for next of kin after death is an important responsibility, with consultancy Mintels research showing that 76...
BUPA Australia closes in on MBF
The board of mutual health insurer MBF Australia has recommended acceptance of a A$2.41 billion ($2.1 billion) cash acquisition offer from BUPA Australia, a unit of UK health insurer BUPA According to BUPA Australia (BUPA), the offer represented a significantly enhanced and final proposal and followed an initial undisclosed offer made in August 2007 to MBF, Australias largest private insurer An acquisition of MBF by BUPA would represent an...
Decline in US term life premiums set to slow
Decline in US term life premiums set to slow Premium rates for individual term life insurance in the US will continue to fall in 2008 but at a much slower rate than has been seen for many years, predicts Steven Weisbart, vice-president and chief economist of insurance industry body the Insurance Information Institute (III) Indicative of premiums in 2008, the III estimates that, for example, the annual premium for a 40-year-old male non-smoker...
Subprime takes a heavy toll
First-quarter 2008 results for US life insurers told the tale of the battered economy, with dour executive after executive blaming the investment losses tied to the volatility in the credit and equity markets triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis American International Group (AIG), Nationwide Financial, MetLife, Prudential Financial, Hartford Financial and Lincoln National all were among the marquee names reporting lower profits, citing a...
Delta Lloyd goes the extra mile
Ending a dispute dating back to 2006 Delta Lloyd Group (DLG), the Netherlands unit of UK insurer Aviva, has reached an agreement with Dutch consumer organisations Verliespolis and Woekerpolis on compensation for some 200,000 aggrieved unit linked policyholders which they represent The action by the consumer organisations was sparked by a finding by Netherlands regulator the Autoriteit Financile Markten in 2006 that information provided to...
A hard-to-please audience
Launched in 2006 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Customer Impact Scheme, an initiative to improve customer experiences of the life and pensions industry, has achieved mixed results, indicates the 20072008 annual report of the ABI Customer Impact Panel, an independent oversight body On a positive note, 53 percent of customers surveyed strongly agreed or agreed that the industry has an excellent reputation, compared with 48 percent...
Reward day for whistleblower
Honesty displayed by Cleveland Tyson, a former vice-president of US health insurer Amerigroup, has been amply rewarded: to the tune of $56.25 million. The sum is his share of $225 million which Amerigroup has agreed to pay as a settlement to resolve claims its Illinois subsidiary defrauded the Illinois Medicaid programme, in a case brought by the United States government and the State of Illinois. Specifically, the settlement resolves...
US policyholders' insolvency safety net
A question being asked by an increasing number of US consumers is: What happens if my life insurer goes bankrupt The answer has been provided by the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHIGA), a voluntary association made up of the life and health insurance guaranty associations of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico According to NOLHIGA when a life insurance company encounters...
The fall of the mighty AIG
Though AIG is the most spectacular casualty among US insurers, the travails of many of its peers leave little doubt that the industry is in need of a review of its risk management capabilities and regulatory structure. Would that it were, for behind the AIG saga lies many of the nettlesome issues that plague the financial services industry at large namely the murkiness of risk and the reciprocal trust that fuels credit markets, a trust that...
Growing pressure on US insurers to enhance management systems
Watson Wyatts view is based on what it termed significant change in the financial reporting environment, driven by the movements toward an international reporting standard and toward principles-based approaches to setting reserves and capital for US life insurers The consultancy pointed out that at the same time regulations are changing, risk measurement and management demands are becoming more complex and, indeed, some insurers may find that...
European insurers at low risk in subprime crisis
European insurers at low risk in subprime crisis The US subprime residential mortgage crisis has set alarm bells ringing in global financial markets and has raised concerns about possible credit implications for European insurers
Health insurance premiums rise relentlessly
Health insurance premiums rise relentlessly The rise in US health insurance premiums has slowed to 7.2 percent (after any plan adjustments) in 2007 from 8.6 percent in 2006 but still remains significantly above the general rise in the cost of living, reveals the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Annual Benchmark Survey.
Max New York Life goes mobile... Pru streamlines asset management... Jordan formalises bancassurance...
Fair value accounting under siege
The mark-to-market rule, a key part of financial services industry accounting reform implemented just a few years ago, is under attack for its role in the failure of giants such as AIG and Washington Mutual A battle royal is raging between proponents of fair value accounting (FVA) standards and those that believe FVA has played a seriously negative role in exacerbating the global financial crisis.
Cigna launches medical crystal ball
Increasingly, health insurers and employers are acknowledging that a proactive approach to healthcare is a major weapon in the continuous fight against spiraling health costs One of the US largest health insurers, Cigna has taken up the challenge with the introduction of its Trend Management System (TMS) which takes the unique approach of predicting the likelihood of an individual experiencing serious health problems years in advance of them...
Conseco takes a pummelling
Troubled US composite insurer Conseco has reached a multi-million dollar settlement with 40 US states following an investigation of its long-term care insurance business co-ordinated by regulatory body the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and led by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) The investigation revealed what the PID termed a pattern of consumer harm relating to poor claims handling According to the terms of the...
New CEE market leader arises
An agreement entered into by two of Austrias largest financial services groups, composite insurer Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) and Erste Bank, is set to radically alter the market share profile of the fast-growing Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) insurance industry Under the agreement VIG will acquire control of Erste Banks life and general insurance units in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania and Austria, a move that will...
UK payment protection reform ahead
Payment protection insurance has always been an easy-sell, highly profitable product for UK credit providers Too easy, believes the UKs Competition Commission which has proposed radical reforms that will open up the PPI market to currently marginalised alternate product providers Rocked by controversy, the UKs Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) market has seen hefty fines handed down by regulatory body the Financial Services Authority for...
New non-disclosure approach
New guidelines issued by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the payment of critical illness, income protection and life insurance claims where medical information has not been disclosed have been widely welcomed by insurers as a means of improving consumer confidence and providing impetus to sales The number of protection claims that are turned down will fall, predicted the ABIs director general, Stephen Haddrill.
Electronic payments gain ground in US health care market... Zurich enters Middle East takaful market... Friends Provident dips a toe in Malaysia...
Europe's ?1 trillion headache
A combination of demographic changes and rising medical costs are placing a huge and growing burden on Europes primarily state-funded health care system Many countries may yet be forced to follow the example set by the Netherlands, which has placed private insurers in the forefront of providing a solution Health care expenditure in Europe is rising inexorably, in the process placing an increasing burden on government finances
Axa makes its entry into Russian market
Making its first move into Russia, Axa has paid 810 million ($1.16 billion) to acquire a 36.7 percent stake in Reso Garantia (Reso), a general insurer boasting Russias second-largest agent network Also in Axas sights is an entry into the Russian life insurance and savings market via a joint venture (JV) to be formed with Resos shareholders This strategic investment is an excellent opportunity for Axa to enter the Russian insurance market,...
Targeting the bottom of the pyramid
Once shunned by life insurers, the billions of people who make up the worlds poor are increasingly being recognised as a viable and profitable marketing opportunity Though major product and distribution innovation is required, many insurers are proving themselves up to the challenge In his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, CK Prahalad, professor of corporate strategy at the University of Michigan, urged private enterprise to...
UK facing catastrophic retirement crisis, warns panel of experts
UK facing catastrophic retirement crisis, warns panel of experts Additional declines in personal saving are inevitable in the UK and will increase the potential for a catastrophic income and retirement crisis in the country; this stark warning comes from the Prudential Retirement Income Panel, a group of independent financial advisers (IFA), industry product providers and retirement experts convened by UK insurer Prudential to assess problems...
UK insurer Legal & General (L&G) is set to make its first foray into Indias life insurance market following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Indias Bank of Baroda (BoB) and Andhra Bank
Meeting the demand for certainty
This is no doubt true of universal whole life products with no-lapse guarantees which were created to meet consumer demand for a policy with a death benefit that will remain in force even if the policys cash value falls to zero
The long road to optimum ERM
It is starkly evident that certain life insurers, banks and other financial services companies have experienced far more severe financial damage at the hands of the US subprime residential mortgage debacle than others A recent study by the Senior Supervisors Group (SSG) concluded that the reason lay in variations in the levels of adherence to effective enterprise risk management (ERM) In its finding the SSG, which comprises US, UK, French,...
The Hartford adopts producer education as a differentiator in the US disability insurance market
The Hartford adopts producer education as a differentiator in the US disability insurance market After a successful launch, an innovative education programme by US insurer The Hartford aimed at training producers and account managers in group disability income insurance products is set to go nationwide.
Moody's gives health insurers the thumbs up
Moodys gives health insurers the thumbs up The outlook for US health insurers is stable, believes rating agency Moodys Investors Service
Potent growth potential in Irish market
The Republic of Irelands life insurance industry continued to power ahead in 2006, lifting total gross premium income 27.8 percent compared with 2005 to 30.4 billion ($41.5 billion), according to the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA)
US private equity firm JC Flowers (JCF) has completed the acquisition of the life and commercial insurance and retirement services divisions of the former BISYS Group from US bank Citigroup
US regulatory revolution looms
While the debate on the proposed optional federal charter (OFC) for the US insurance industry rages on, federal involvement in the industry is set to take a significant step forward with congressman Paul Kanjorskis introduction in April of the Insurance Information Act of 2008 (IIA) The IIA would create a federal Office of Insurance Information that would represent the US internationally on insurance issues and coordinate with state insurance...
Long-term care cover a must-have in the US... Malaysians remain investment orientated... Asian insurers on IT spending spree...
Buyout market could disappoint
Three years ago Legal & General and Prudential were the only insurers vying for the business of UK companies wanting to remove their defined benefit (DB) pension scheme liabilities Today there are more than a dozen insurers in the UK buyout market all lured by the prospect of major growth in a DB pensions market worth about £1 trillion ($2 trillion) Not all share their optimism, the most sobering view on the buyout markets prospects coming...
Pension funds being burdened by excessive asset management fees
Pension funds are on the hunt for alpha, the added dash of performance over and above the returns generated by a benchmark index A resultant scramble for services of alternative asset managers has been a primary driver of a substantial increase in investment management fees paid by pension funds, an increase that is not always justified, cautions consultancy Watson Wyatt in a research note entitled A fairer deal on fees According to Watson...
ING comes out top Down Under
In a hard fought battle ING Australia has walked off with the title of Best Value Life Insurer in as study conducted by Australian financial product research firm CANNEX. In its study CANNEX assessed term life insurance, trauma insurance, disability insurance, income protection insurance and packaged multi-risk life insurance products available from 15 life insurers After careful collation of results from 15 insurers included in our research,...
Developing markets leading the way
Despite economic headwinds the worlds life insurance industry continued to make solid headway in 2007, Swiss Res latest world insurance study reveals Premium income grew at an inflation-adjusted 5.4 percent to $2.993 trillion, while premium growth exceeded the average world increase in GDP of 3.8 percent in 2007 and the world 10-year average real premium growth rate of just above 4 percent Developing markets led the way, registering an average...
US life insurance industry gets a clean bill of health
Amidst economic uncertainty in the US, rating agency Moodys Investors Service, in a review of the industrys prospects, has declared the countrys life insurers to be in good shape However, despite the life industry being awarded a stable outlook for 2008, some pertinent caveats are included by the author of the industry outlook, Laura Bazer, a Moodys vice-president and senior credit officer From a positive perspective, Moodys believes that the...
Prudential has ambitious growth plans for China
Prudential has ambitious growth plans for China UK insurer Prudential says it has ambitious growth plans for its Chinese asset manage- ment joint venture (JV) CITIC Prudential Fund Management (CITIC Prudential) and, to ensure it reaps the maximum benefit, has increased its stake in the JV from 33 percent to 49 percent
Credit crunch jitters hit insurers' property funds
Plunging UK commercial property values have sent investors scrambling for property fund exit doors However, many are finding the doors shut, including those of insurer Axa UKs Retail Life and Pensions Property funds, which have total assets of £2.1 billion ($4.1 billion) and about 100,000 investors Axas funds, which had seen cash reserves fall to 5 percent of fund values, are now subject to a six-month waiting period from the date a request is...
Retirement product has big flaws
Simplicity and a seemingly logical approach to long-term investment have enabled target-dated funds to become a major contender for US retirement savings However, a study reveals that target-dated funds inability to offer income guarantees is a potential threat to retirement income
State regulators hit back at critics
Fighting a tough battle against proponents of an charter under which US insurers would be able choose between current state-only regulation and federal regulation, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has come out strongly in defence of its role in the American International Group (AIG) debacle. Some insurance lobbyists hope to politicise and mislead policymakers by suggesting AIGs problems are a result of state insurance...
Aviva goes for unified branding
Traditionalists will be saddened to learn that two of Europes oldest and best-known insurance brand names, Norwich Union and Hibernian, are to disappear Both wholly-owned subsidiaries of UK insurer Aviva, their names are to be changed to Aviva within two years in the final phase of the companys move to a single worldwide brand. Explaining the rationale for the unified branding, Aviva group chief executive, Andrew Moss said: By investing in a...
Fortis and Ping An consolidate their relationship
The ambition of Chinas second largest life insurer, Ping An, to become a major player in global financial markets has taken a significant step forward with a landmark deal that will see it acquire a 50 percent stake in the global asset management unit of Belgo-Netherlands bancassurer Fortis for 2.15 billion ($3.39 billion) The deal follows Ping Ans purchase of a 4.18 percent equity stake in Fortis in November 2007, a move that made it Fortis...
Taking a close look at non-disclosure
Though honesty may be the best policy, this does not appear to be a sentiment shared by the 1.5 million life insurance policyholders in the UK that AXA estimates to be at risk of having a claim rejected. These policyholders 7 percent of the total number in the UK have put themselves at risk by knowingly having misled insurers when completing application forms in a quest for what AXA terms a desire for the perfect insurance self.
Comparing apples and pears
No European insurer escaped the ravages of declines in equity and bond values during the first half of 2008, but notable was a significant variation in net profit declines with a number of UK insurers such as Aviva and Prudential reporting losses while many Continental insurers net profits remained positive. However, accounting classification of assets and the accounting treatment with regard to impairment of securities under International...
Efficiency holds the key to success
In the intensely competitive US life insurance market, cost containment has become vital Despite this, two studies conducted by Deloitte have revealed that many insurers are falling short of efficiency levels that can be attained by harnessing technology more effectively Charles Davis reports Despite the focus on internal cost reduction in the US life sectors, benchmarking studies from professional services firm Deloitte identified much more...
America's big equity market bet
After three lean years US retirement savings assets enjoyed robust growth between 2003 and 2007 thanks primarily to high investment returns However, in a retirement savings market in which equity mutual funds are the key growth determinant, 2008 has the makings of a very lean year Assets in US retirement plans benefited from positive equity and bond market returns of 5.5 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, during 2007 and ended the year at...
CEA lobbies for block exempti
European life and reinsurance industry body the Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA) has strongly urged the European Commission (EC) to renew the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) beyond its current March 2010 expiry date First introduced in 1992 and amended in March 2003 the IBER grants an exemption to the application of competition rules to certain types of agreements in the insurance sector
PensionsFirst tackles defined benefit conundrum
PensionsFirst tackles defined benefit conundrum Claiming to offer a groundbreaking new approach to managing longevity exposure and market volatility risks for defined benefit DB pension schemes, PensionsFirst opened its doors for business in London in November PensionsFirst explained that its proprietary risk management platform enables it to separately analyse each of the risks a DB scheme faces such as longevity, inflation and investment...
Mapfre advances growth strategy
Moves in this direction came in quick succession and have this year included Mapfres acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Turkeys tenth-largest general insurer, Genel Sigorta, for 285 million ($414 million) and an investment of 197 million to establish a joint venture life and pensions business with Spanish bank Bankinter
On the hunt for lost customers
On the hunt for lost customers For life insurers, hunting down former customers was once a futile exercise Today, thanks to advances made in database analysis technology, the task has been greatly simplified and for those insurers that harness the technology there are potentially rich rewards
Aviva's strategic about-turn
Reaffirming Indias significance in the global business process outsourcing (BPO) market, UK insurer Aviva has sold its offshore life and general insurance processing unit, Aviva Global Services (AGS) to Indian BPO specialist WNS Global Services for £115 million ($228 million) Under the terms of the deal WNS will provide processing functions including policy administration and settlement, finance, accounting, customer care and other support...
Strong second quarter for US variable annuity sales
Registering the third straight quarter of growth, the VA industry recorded total net inflows of $8.7 billion in the three months to 30 June 2007, an increase of 34.8 percent compared with the first quarter of 2007 and 6.2 percent up on the second quarter of 2006 Perhaps more indicative of a rising trend in VA sales, the average quarterly net inflow during the four quarters to 30 June 2007 stood at $7.39 billion, a 15.3 percent increase...
Landmark alliance marks first foray by China's giant insurers into global markets
Landmark alliance marks first foray by Chinas giant insurers into global markets In a deal that heralds the arrival of Chinas giant insurers in Western insurance markets, Ping An, Chinas second-largest life insurer, has bought a 4.18 percent strategic stake in Belgian-Dutch bancassurer Fortis The investment, made via the purchase of shares in the secondary market, makes Ping An Fortiss largest shareholder and, based on Fortiss market...
The Hartford flexes its muscles in the US pension market
US insurer and financial services provider The Hartford Financial Services Group (The Hartford) marked the final month of 2007 with an acquisition spree that boosted total assets of its pensions business to $46 billion, an increase of almost two-thirds compared with the end of the third quarter of 2007 The acquisitions, combined with strong growth in existing business, will mean The Hartford ends 2007 having almost doubled its pension business...
Zurich Financial spreads its acquisition net
Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) continued on an acquisition path in July, announcing deals in Europe and Brazil These brought the number of acquisitions this year to six and forms part of the Swiss composite insurers ambitious growth target that includes growing annual premium equivalent (APE) life business from $2.9 billion in 2007 to $5.7 billion by 2010 A key focus is on expanding the bancassurance distribution channel, a...
Attorney general throws the book at health insurer
Attorney general throws the book at health insurer Martha Coakley, Attorney General of the US state of Massachusetts, has fired a broadside at MEGA Life and Health Insurance, Mid-West National Life Insurance and their parent company, HealthMarkets Inc (HMI), alleging in a complaint that they have engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices
MetLife thinks big in mortgages
In a deal that will expand its involvement in the US residential property market significantly, MetLife is to acquire the residential mortgage origination and servicing business of First Tennessee Bank National Association (FTBNA), a subsidiary of bank holding company First Horizon National Corporation The FTBNA deal follows the US insurers announcement in April this year that it was to acquire the reverse mortgage unit of EverBank Financial...
Small insurers survive and thrive
Big US life insurers have taken full advantage of their size and the economies of scale it brings to aggressively increase their market shares Despite this, many smaller life insurers have stood their ground and proved themselves capable of challenging their giant rivals Charles Davis reports Size may not be all its cracked up to be in the life insurance business after all, according to a new study by consultancy Conning Research and Consulting
A new insurance approach to longevity risk
In a claimed world first, UK pension scheme buyout specialist Pension Corporation has launched a longevity insurance product designed to protect defined benefit pension funds and their sponsors against the cost of pensioners living longer than expected The product is offered by Pension Corporations Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) unit which has the capacity to underwrite up to £20 billion ($39.5 billion) of pension liabilities The policy...
HSBC targets Korean insurer to accelerate its advance in Asia
HSBC targets Korean insurer to accelerate its advance in Asia UK bank HSBCs expansion strategy in Asian life insurance markets was advanced further in November with the conclusion of an agreement with Hana Financial Group (HFG), one of Koreas largest financial services groups
Rating agencies face new attack
Already reeling under harsh criticism for their role in the US residential mortgage-backed securities fiasco, rating agencies are facing a new attack, this time for under-rating US municipal bonds The attack comes in the form of a law suit initiated by Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal Blumenthals lawsuit names rating agencies Moodys Corporation and Fitch Incorporated and The McGraw-Hill Companies, parent company of rating agency...
ING's major step forward in the US
In a move that will substantially enlarge its footprint in the US pensions market, Netherlands bancassurer is to acquire defined contribution pensions plan administrator CitiStreet, a 50:50 joint venture between global financial services providers Citigroup and State Street Corporation, in a $900 million cash deal
Uniqa entrenches its position in Albanian insurance market
Austrian insurer Uniqa is to acquire a 46 percent stake in Albanian composite insurer Sigal for an undisclosed consideration The purchase cements a co-operation agreement entered into between the two insurers in March 2007 that included an option for Uniqa to acquire a majority stake in Sigal in 2010 Explaining the reason for the decision to purchase a stake in Sigal prior to 2010, Uniqa CEO Konstantin Klien said: The positive experiences we...
Insurer's image-boosting free cover
MassMutual, a US life insurer known more for its focus on the mass affluent, is making a name for itself by coming to the assistance of those far lower down the wealth scale the USs working poor with a unique programme aimed at achieving $1 billion of free life insurance in force Free life insurance: it sounds too good to be true
Fubon's ING Taiwan acquisition gets thumbs down from international ratings agency
Fubons ING Taiwan acquisition gets thumbs down from international ratings agency News that Taiwans third-largest financial services company Fubon Financial Holding Company (FFH) is to acquire Netherlands bancassurer INGs Taiwan life insurance unit ING Antai Life in a non-cash deal worth $600 million has not been well received by ratings agency Moodys. Following the release of details of the deal Moodys announced that while affirming FFHs Baa1...
Fortis takes action to boost solvency
Belgo-Dutch bancassurer Fortis has taken a decisive step in what it termed its accelerated solvency plan with the placing of 150 million new shares with institutional investors The issue which Fortis said attracted substantial interest raised 1.5 billion ($2.35 billion) and was pitched at 10 per new share, 36 percent below its closing price on 30 May 2008 The share issue which follows the raising of 625 million via a perpetual subordinated...
Skandia UK turns its back on the ABI
In a surprise move, Skandia UK announced on 3 November that it is ending its membership of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), an industry body with some 400 members that between them provide 94 percent of domestic insurance services in the UK A unit of UK-domiciled life insurer Old Mutual, Skandia UK had total assets under management of £39.5 billion ($62 billion) at the end of June 2008. Rationale for Skandia UKs decision is based on...
Risk and uncertainty still abound
First rocked by the near-bankruptcy of AIG, the US life insurance industry is reeling under the combined impact of slumping asset values and badly dented investor confidence Despite hope that the worst may be over, insurers face risks ranging from variable annuity guarantees to rising corporate bond defaults
Dai-ichi stakes its claim in Australia
Dai-ichi Mutual, Japans third largest life insurer, has bought a 29.7 percent stake in Australian life insurer TOWER Australia Group (TAG) from UK investment company Guinness Peat Group for A$376 million ($336 million) Of the total stake 14.9 percent has been acquired unconditionally, 5 percent is subject to regulatory approval and 9.8 percent subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. The deal with Dai-ichi brings with it a business...
UK annuity providers face hefty IT bill
UK annuity providers face hefty IT bill Annuity sales will rise from £9 billion ($18 billion) in 2007 to £16 billion by 2011, forecasts research company Celent
HSBC talks up bancassurance joint venture in Korea
Hana HSBC Life Insurance (HHL) represents a foothold in Koreas life insurance market, concedes UK bancassurer HSBC However, its a foothold HSBC and its joint venture (JV) partner, Korean banking and financial services company Hana Financial Group (HFG), aim to build on to grow HHL into one of Koreas top-ten players in the countrys life insurance industry within five years The JV was formed in November 2007 when HSBC acquired a 50 percent less...
UK regulators failed abysmally
The near-collapse of the UKs oldest mutual insurer Equitable Life in 2001 was preceded by a decade of regulatory failure, concluded UK Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham in a 2,800 page report that has taken four years to complete In her report, presented to both houses of parliament, Abraham called on the government to apologise to Equitable Life policyholders and to establish and fund a compensation scheme for those policyholders. Abrahams...
Conservatism is paying off
Thanks to prudent risk management Canadas life insurance industry is faring far better than its US counterpart in the face of financial market turmoil With the added benefit of a strong currency this places Canadas insurers in a sound position to pursue global ambitions
UK mortgage providers take the gap
When it comes to life insurance, home mortgage providers customers represent an ideal cross-selling opportunity, and in the UK it is one often taken advantage of at a high cost to customers, indicates a study undertaken by Post Office Life Insurance (POLI), a unit of the countrys postal service utility Indeed, in some instances the study found that customers could pay up to £1,971 ($3,900) too much in total over a 25-year period for term life...
UK insurers lethargic about Solvency II
Complacency appears to pervade the UK insurance industrys approach to the Solvency II European insurance capital adequacy directive, suggests a study undertaken by business advisory firm Deloitte Indicatively, Deloitte found that of insurers surveyed, 70 percent do not yet have a programme in place to equip themselves for the Solvency II directive which is due to be implemented in 2012 Commenting, Deloitte insurance partner Rick Lester said:...
The good life is taking its toll
Rising life expectancy has come to be taken for granted, especially in developed economies However, economic prosperity has been accompanied by a rising prevalence of obesity in many countries and with it an increase in obesity-related disease that some experts warn could reverse rising life expectancy Reinsurance group Swiss Re has termed obesity an escalating global epidemic and one too significant for the life insurance industry to ignore
US regulatory battle rages on
Incidents of gross misselling of indexed annuities have brought the product under the harsh glare of the US Securities and Exchange Commission which proposes classifying them as securities, a potential development that is drawing strong opposition from insurers and industry bodies US life insurers are lining up in opposition to a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule that would grant it oversight of certain indexed annuities.
Allianz's first European variable annuity launched
Germany has become the first country to be targeted by Allianz in the rollout of its first variable annuity (VA) product to be marketed in Europe, Invest4Life The insurers launch of VAs in Germany will be followed by the introduction of similar products in France at the end of 2008 and Italy in the first quarter of 2009. A single premium VA Invest4Life was jointly developed by the insurers German unit Allianz Leben and its international asset...
Reinsurance lifeline thrown to insurers
Reinsurance lifeline thrown to insurers Even in the dire circumstance the worlds financial market finds itself in opportunities are presenting themselves to companies positioned to seize them This is the view German reinsurer Munich Re is taking as it eyes opportunities for reinsurance as a direct substitute for what has become a scarce resource, capital.
Aon completes its exit of the underwriting market
Aons strategy to cease underwriting activities has reached finality with the signing of agreements to sell two wholly owned units speciality individual accident and supplemental health insurer Combined Insurance Company of America (Combined) and healthcare insurer Sterling Life Insurance for a total cash consideration of $2.73 billion Aon, the worlds second-biggest insurance broker, announced its intention to exit the underwriting market in...
The US Treasury Department has called for comment on what it termed a broad regulatory review it is undertaking of the regulatory structure associated with all financial institutions including insurers, banks, insured depository institutions and securities firms. The key issue driving the Treasury Departments regulatory review is to ensure that US capital markets remain competitive, explained David Nason, the Treasury Departments Assistant...
Aviva commits to Irish health insurance market
That pending regulatory reform of Irelands private health insurance (PHI) industry is set to improve its competitive landscape appears to underlie an announcement that Hibernian Group, UK insurer Avivas wholly-owned Irish insurance subsidiary, is to formally enter the market Hiberians entry comes via its proposed acquisition of a 70 percent stake in Irelands smallest health insurer Vivas Health from Allied Irish Banks (AIB) for an undisclosed...
PPI proposals stir up a storm in the UK
PPI proposals stir up a storm in the UK Rocked by controversy, the UKs £5 billion ($7.7 billion) annual premium payment protection insurance (PPI) market has been the subject of numerous regulatory enquiries. The Competition Commission (CC) has now proposed remedies to increase competition market, remedies as controversial as the PPI market itself.
Full potential still to be realised
Boosted by robust economic growth in the past decade, Lithuanias life insurance industry has flourished, sustaining a growth pace few others have matched But for now what had promised to be an ongoing growth story has been severely checked by economic problems, both global and specific to Lithuania. What it lacks in size Lithuania, a country with a population of only 3.7 million, has made up for in the dynamic growth of both its economy and...
A problem insurers face in developing countries is the difficulty many customers experience in accessing payment points. Indian insurer Max New York Life (MNY) has a solution that harnesses the mobile phones ability to provide communications even in remote areas. In conjunction with US bank Citibank and Indian mobile payments technology developer mChek, MNY has launched a mobile phone based payments service that enables customers to pay...
Nationwide Insurance reaches out to African American consumers
Widely recognised as an innovator when it comes to reaching underserved ethnic markets, US composite insurer Nationwide Insurance is set to take its advertising to a new level. The insurer recently announced that Carol H Williams Advertising (CHWA) a national agency focusing on ethnic advertising is now its African American agency of record The agency will help Nationwide enhance its reach to African American consumers with print, broadcast...
US fixed annuity sales rocket ahead
US fixed annuity sales rocket ahead Fixed annuity sales continued to surge in the third quarter of 2008, driven by favourable factors annuity market analyst Jeremy Alexander believes are still firmly in place The fixed annuity-sales boom is also notable for the rapid growth of the bank sales channel and increased market share of foreign insurers.
Tackling the HIV-AIDS challenge
South Africa holds the unenviable record of having the worlds highest prevalence of HIVAIDS Given the absence of long-term actuarial data, insuring HIV-positive people represents a major challenge for life insurers and one that they are tackling with a growing range of innovative products South Africa is home to almost 14 out of every 100 of the 38.6 million people afflicted by HIVAIDS worldwide, according to estimates made by UNAIDS, an...
McCreevy pulls no punches
Its blame time in the worlds financial markets and to date few have done a more thorough job than Charlie McCreevy, the European commissioner for internal market and services. Addressing a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels on 22 September, McCreevy systematically chastised role players in the current financial market fiasco and left no doubt that a new regulatory approach lies ahead. Unsurprisingly, it was US banks that...
A dark day for former AIG and General Re executives
The spectre of lengthy prison terms hangs over the heads of four former senior executives of reinsurer General Re (Gen Re) and one former senior executive of American Insurance Group (AIG) This unpleasant prospect follows their conviction on 28 February by a federal jury on 16 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, false statements to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and mail fraud Those convicted are Ronald Ferguson, Gen Res...
More action in Australian industry
More action in Australian industry The pace of change in Australias private medical insurance industry quickened in August with the announcement by private health insurer MBF Australia that, subject to policyholder approval, it plans to demutualise and seek a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange
Minnesota attorney general sues third insurer for miss-selling
Lori Swanson, the Attorney General of the US state of Minnesota, has brought a charge of undertaking unsuitable sales of long-term deferred annuities to Minnesota senior citizens against Midland National Life Insurance Company Iowa-based Midland National became the third insurer in 2007 to be sued by Swanson for the miss-selling of annuities In the lawsuit, Swanson alleges that Midland National did not comply with the states suitability laws...
US annuity sales set new record... Prudential Financial scoops prestigious award...
Transamerica tops for service
The claim by Transamerica Retirement Services (TRS), which swept the boards in a survey conducted by market research and consulting company Chatham Partners, that it offers superior customer service has been shown to have real substance In Chathams 2007 Client Satisfaction Analysis study, TRS, a retirement product marketing unit of Netherlands insurer AEGONs US subsidiary Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company, received 17 best in class...
Northwestern and Nippon Life join forcesNippon Life of Japan and Northwestern Mutual of the US, two of the worlds largest mutual insurers, are to assist each other in pursuing investment opportunities in their respective home countries with the goal of strengthening their respective asset management operations.
Swiss Life targets accelerated growth
A share buyback totalling CHF2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) over the next two years and a bolstered distribution structure are among key inputs into Swiss Lifes strategy to achieve average annual earnings per share growth of 12 percent and maintain return on equity at above 12 percent While these objectives could be viewed as conservative, they represent a show of confidence from Switzerlands largest life insurer, which has recovered well from net...
PPI mis-selling still rife in the UK
Despite hefty fines having been handed down, the sales methods employed in the UKs £5 billion ($9 billion) annual premium payment protection insurance (PPI) remain far from acceptable This conclusion was drawn by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) following a mystery shopping exercise it conducted to assess customer experiences of face-to-face branch sales of single premium PPI when sold alongside an unsecured personal loan.
Better advice from IFAs than banks
Better advice from IFAs than banks Anyone in the UK looking for financial advice on pensions or other savings products should stay clear of banks and building societies, it would seem
A tough road to economic recovery
Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments (OECD) recently appointed chief economist, has delivered a message of hope for global economic recovery tinged with a strong element of caution. Our OECDs base scenario is built on the premise that the current freeze in short-term financial markets will be resolved in a relatively short time span, but that bank deleveraging and recapitalisation, as well as...
Storebrand's landmark Nordic deal
In a cash deal valued at almost two-thirds more than its current shareholders equity, Norwegian insurer Storebrand Livsforsikring (Storebrand) is to acquire a number of Swedish bank Svenska Handelsbankens (Handelsbanken) life insurance and pensions units for NOK15.3 billion ($2.32 billion)
Male life expectancy in the UK is grossly underestimated
Male life expectancy in the UK is grossly underestimated A new model for forecasting UK mortality rates, formulated by a group of academics headed by David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, has revealed that British men could live significantly longer than currently predicted According to the model, which is based on an analysis of mortality data for 65-year-old males, males reaching 65 in 2050 would on average...
Aviva opts for consolidation... Legal & General goes Nationwide... Lucida off to a strong start...
UK insurers advance down the customer satisfaction road
UK insurers are generally getting more things right than wrong in their relationship with customers, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in its Customer Impact Survey Nevertheless, the industry bodys 2008 survey reveals room for improvement in certain areas The ABI survey is designed to provide insight into progress being made by insurers in the implementation of the Customer Impact Scheme launched in March 2006 with the...
Transamerica talks up Europe
Transamerica talks up Europe Transamerica Reinsurance, the second-largest life reinsurer in the US in terms of new business assumed in 2006 and a significant player in Latin America and Asia, has set its sights on replicating its success in the European market, which it entered in late 2006 This has been an important year of building our European base, introducing companies to our value-added business model and developing relationships, said...
Lifecycle fund asset confusion
Lifecycle funds, also termed target date funds, represent a fast growing market in the US driven primarily by defined contribution pension scheme members seeking a seemingly simple yet effective solution Indicative of their popularity, industry body the Investment Company Institute reported that total assets in lifecycle funds soared by 61 percent in 2007 to $133 billion, of which 88 percent was held in retirement accounts
Aegon to persevere in Canada
A strategic assessment by Netherlands insurer Aegon on the future of its wholly-owned Canadian unit Transamerica Life Canada (TLC) has concluded that it represents a solid foundation for a successful presence in the Canadian marketplace. However, to meet what Aegon termed its profitable growth objectives, TLCs business model is to be revamped with key objectives including improving efficiency of operations and reducing Aegons capital...
Resolution tug of war heats up
Its a hotly debated question as Edinburgh-based Standard Life and Pearl Group, a UK closed life insurance fund manager, play a fast-changing game of offer and counter-offer for Resolution
UK private pension contributions slump
UK private pension contributions slump It is belt-tightening time for life insurers serving the UKs private pension market as consumers scramble to make ends meet Already, contributions to private pension funds have plummeted with indications of worse to come.
Ending indexed annuity confusion
Since their introduction by the US life insurance industry in the mid-1990s, indexed annuities have been the subject of a regulatory conundrum: should they be treated as an insurance product or as a security?
A tough market is getting tougher
During the first half of 2008 Chinas life insurance market recorded its highest growth in premium income in a decade For listed domestic insurers the reward has been plummeting share prices, while for foreign insurers as a group it has been a boom that has to a significant extent passed them by. Chinas life insurance industry has presented a mixed picture so far this year with surging premium income contrasting with sharp reversals in...
US insurers caught in subprime mortgage industry crossfire
US insurers caught in subprime mortgage industry crossfire As the US financial industry begins to assess the damage wrought by the subprime retail mortgage industrys endless unravelling, insurers can hope that a relative lack of exposure buoys confidence in a jittery market.
CEA calls for a bigger pensions role for insurers
Insight into the role of insurers in the provision of pensions in the European Union has been provided by a first-of-its kind study produced by the Brussels-based Comit Europen des Assurances (CEA), an industry body representing 5,000 European insurers and reinsurers The survey, entitled The role of Insurance in the provision of pension revenue, fills a gap in that, until now, the size of the pensions market and insurers share of pensions...
ING and Piraeus Bank extend alliance in Greece
ING and Piraeus Bank extend alliance in Greece Netherlands bancassurer ING Group and Greeces fourth-largest bank, Piraeus Bank, have extended an exclusive five-year distribution partnership first entered into in 2002 for another ten years
South African insurers stage a comeback
South African insurers stage a comeback South African life insurers could have regained the confidence of consumers, believes Gerhard Joubert, CEO of industry body the Life Offices Association (LOA) According to the LOA, new recurring premium RA funds of ZAR747.1 million ($115 million) were recorded in the first half of 2007, up 36 percent compared with the same period last year
Disintegration of an industry giant
It took 18 years to build Fortis into a bancassurance giant which ranked as the worlds 20th largest company by revenue in 2007 Fortis glory ended abruptly in late September when three governments were forced to cobble together a rescue package that has left it a shadow of its former self. In what was to prove to be a sign of the turbulent times Fortis issued a reassuring statement on 26 September in which it stressed: Above all we underline...
Business as usual for AIG Africa
Business as usual for AIG Africa Shrugging off negative publicity surrounding its parent groups financial woes, AIG Africa has enjoyed yet another successful year Indeed, far from stagnating, expanding its three existing operations and moves into new African markets are high on the agenda, the companys newly appointed CEO Peter Flint tells LII.