Standard Life ups Indian
stake…
AIG shrugs off US lending
jitters…
Individual business still
falling…
Tony Blair to advise
Zurich…
Swiss Re has powerful new
partner…

DEVELOPING MARKETS

UK insurer Standard Life has acquired an additional 7.15 percent
stake in its Indian joint venture (JV), HDFC Standard Life
Insurance (HDFC Standard), from its JV partner, Housing Development
Finance Corporation, for £25.7 million ($50 million). The
additional stake bought from the home mortgage supplier lifts
Standard Life’s holding in HDFC Standard to 26 percent, the legal
maximum for a foreign insurer.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

American General Finance (AGF), a unit of US insurer American
International Group (AIG), is to acquire what it termed a
“substantial portion” of the consumer branch loan portfolio of
Equity One for $1.49 billion. A unit of US bank Banco Popular,
Equity One offers secured retail mortgage and other unsecured loan
products. AGF’s business is performing “quite well compared to many
consumer lenders”, said AGF’s chairman and CEO, Frederick W
Geissinger.

US INDIVIDUAL LIFE

Total US application activity for individually underwritten life
insurance continued falling in November 2007, recording a 2.8
percent decline compared with November 2006, according to research
company MIB Group. The largest fall, 3.7 percent, was in the 45 to
59 age group, while only the over-60 age group reflected an
increase – 0.4 percent.

COMPANIES

Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services (Zurich) has secured the
advisory services of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair
will advise Zurich CEO James J Schiro and provide general guidance
on global political developments. Specifically, noted the insurer,
Blair will work closely with its newly launched Climate Change
Advisory Council.

REINSURANCE

US conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway will assume 20 percent of
reinsurer Swiss Re’s property and casualty business for the next
five years. This, it said, will enable it to increase its share
buy-back programme by CHF1.75 billion ($1.6 billion) over the next
two years. Further strengthening their relationship, Berkshire
Hathaway has bought a 3.03 percent stake in Swiss Re on the open
market.