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News digest

China launches insurance exchange

China's first insurance exchange platform, the Shanghai Insurance Exchange, launched yesterday (12 June).

The platform has an initial registered capital of 2.2bn yuan ($341mn) contributed by 91 companies, according to Shanghai Daily.

The exchange will allow for the launching and registering of insurance products and derivatives, with a focus on international reinsurance, marine and specialty insurance.

Lord Leach dies

Lord Leach of Fairford, a non-executive director and deputy chairman of JLT, died on 12 June after a short illness.

Lord Leach was chairman of Jardine Insurance Brokers, latterly JIB Group plc, between 1988 and 1997. He was appointed deputy chairman of the company in February 1997 and was also chairman of the nominations committee and a member of the remuneration committee.

Geoffrey Howe, chairman of JLT, said: "We are deeply saddened by Rodney's death. He was a greatly valued member of JLT's board for many years and made a significant contribution to the development and expansion of the group. His experience, wise counsel and friendship will be sorely missed. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Jessica, and his family."

Montgomery joins Tysers as NED

Lloyd's broker Tysers has hired Nigel Montgomery as a non-executive director.

Montgomery is a lawyer with extensive experience of the insurance industry and was a partner at leading international US firm Sidley Austin LLP until his retirement in 2015.

Allianz blasts stress test

Global insurer Allianz has criticised the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (Eiopa)'s EU-wide stress test.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Allianz's head of regulatory strategy Tobias Buecheler said that while insurance stress tests made sense in principle, the scenarios in the latest exercise would not produce a meaningful result.

Eiopa launched the stress test last month and widened it to include more carriers.

Reith rebrands Marketform as Neon

CEO Martin Reith has relaunched American Financial Group's Lloyd's business as he continues his efforts to turn around the carrier's fortunes.

Reith has rechristened the business Neon - which is derived from the Greek word for new - eight months after he was parachuted in as CEO to orchestrate an overhaul of the misfiring Lloyd's insurer.

"The timing is right for us now - it's good that we rebrand to move beyond the Marketform heritage," Reith told The Insurance Insider. "This is the outward sign of inward change."

AM Best upgrades Africa Re

AM Best has upgraded the financial strength rating of Africa Re (Nigeria) to A from A-, it announced on Friday (10 June).

"The upgrade reflects Africa Re's excellent risk-adjusted capitalisation, consistently strong operating performance and robust market position in the increasingly competitive African reinsurance sector," AM Best said.

Allianz Re names Asia underwriting head

Allianz reinsurance subsidiary Allianz Re has appointed Benedikt Schermutzki as head of underwriting for Asia Pacific.

Schermutzki will lead the treaty underwriting team at Allianz Re Singapore from 1 July, Asia Insurance Review reported.

He joined Allianz Re in 2013 and before that was head of new risk solutions at Munich Re.

Rule takes new PRA role

David Rule has been appointed executive director of insurance supervision at the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

Rule was previously executive director for prudential policy at the regulator. He replaces Sam Woods, who was announced as the new deputy governor for prudential regulation and CEO of the PRA in April.

Woods officially steps down as executive director of insurance supervision at the end of June.

JLT Re hires Nordic head

JLT Re has appointed Anna-Karin Toresson as head of its P&C reinsurance business for the Nordics.

This new role emphasises the business's expanding footprint in the region, the broker said.

She will join JLT Re on 1 July, reporting to Keith Harrison, CEO, JLT Re UK & Europe.

Kumamoto claims exceed $2.5bn

Claims from the earthquake that struck Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture in April have passed $2.5bn, according to the General Insurance Association of Japan.

As of 6 June, 168,589 claims totalling 272bn yen ($2.55bn) had been paid by domestic and foreign insurance companies, the association said in a 9 June statement.

The Kumamoto region alone has seen claims of 259.3bn yen.

2017 launch for Lloyd's India

Outgoing Lloyd's chairman John Nelson has revealed that the market's reinsurance operation in India is expected to come online at the beginning of next year.

In an interview with India's CNBV-TV18, Nelson said Lloyd's had already opened the office in Mumbai and expected to gain regulatory approval by the end of 2016.

The market announced in April that it was applying for permission to open a reinsurance branch in Mumbai.‎

Lloyd's appoints headhunter for chairman search

Lloyd's has appointed boutique headhunter The Zygos Partnership to spearhead the search for its new chairman, The Insurance Insider revealed last week.

Sources close to Lloyd's confirmed to this publication that Zygos had been awarded the mandate earlier this month following a competitive request for proposal process.

Last month, The Insurance Insider reported that internal work had begun on the recruitment of John Nelson's successor as chairman of the 328-year-old market.

Twia lines up early cover for 2017

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (Twia) has obtained a $350mn reinsurance deal to provide coverage for 2017 in the event that losses this year erode its surplus.

If triggered, the second-season cover will provide Twia with $350mn to meet 50 percent of its first $700mn of claims in excess of $2bn during the 2017 hurricane season.

Twia's catastrophe reserve trust fund is currently at its largest ever balance at approximately $600mn.

Barbican hires D&O manager

Barbican Insurance Group has hired Hans Sherman as directors' and officers' underwriting manager with immediate effect.

Sherman joins from CV Starr, where he was senior underwriting manager and head of management liability. Prior to this, he was an associate vice president at American International Group in London.

He will report to Andrew Pearson, underwriting manager, financial and professional lines.

MMC board director steps down

Maria Silvia Bastos Marques has stepped down as a member of the board at Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Marques' decision is effective immediately, and follows her appointment as president of Brazil's development bank, BNDES, last month.

BNDES was established in 1952 and plays a fundamental role in stimulating the expansion of industry and infrastructure in the country.

Clarke to become Miller chairman

Long-serving Miller CEO Graham Clarke will relinquish the role in 2017 and step up to become chairman of the broker.

Clarke will be succeeded as CEO by current chief operating officer Greg Collins, who will become deputy CEO as of 1 July.

The changes are subject to regulatory approval, with no exact date given for the handover from Clarke to Collins.

Doak challenges earthquake rates

Oklahoma insurance commissioner John Doak has said insurers must give valid reasons for increasing earthquake insurance rates, in order to keep the market competitive.

A public hearing was held last month to discuss the rise in earthquake insurance rates and the availability of suitable quake coverage for Oklahoma consumers.

During the hearing, Doak found that there was not a reasonable degree of competition in the market and that consumers had a limited ability to shop for a competitive price.

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