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July 2008/2

  • Following the withdrawal of Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) from the bidding process, the sale options for Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) insurance business look to be dwindling - along with the value the banking giant can expect to extract from the unit.
  • The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the UK Government have agreed on a number of new initiatives to ensure that flood insurance remains widely available for years to come.
  • Recently launched SME online marketplace Coverzones has secured further funding with an investment from UK insurer MMA as it looks to expand its business, The Insurance Insider can reveal.
  • The US Treasury and Federal Reserve has attempted to stave off a further deepening of the credit crunch with plans for a temporary increase in a longstanding credit line for beleaguered mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • The departure of a group of senior executives from the property division of Heritage Underwriting Agency plc will be seen as a major blow to Argonaut Group International Holdings, which bought the Lloyd’s insurer earlier this year.
  • Investor pressure is thought to have been the key driver behind Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) sudden exit from the bidding process for the insurance business of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced last Thursday (11 July).
  • A sub-committee of the US House of Representatives has approved a measure that could lead to the creation of a national insurance office to remove state laws that conflict with international agreements.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed "significant weaknesses" in ratingspractices following a 10-month investigation into rating agencies Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor's (S&P).
  • New Insurance Australia Group (IAG) CEO Michael Wilkins detailed a much anticipated restructure last week that will see the Australian insurer withdraw its investment from Lloyd's Syndicate Alba and sell some of its UK-based motor insurance operations.
  • Tropical windstorm Bertha - named the first Atlantic hurricane of 2008 - will skirt past Bermuda, after an unprecedented early start to the hurricane season.
  • With the announcement by Swiss Re last week that Stefan Lippe is to become group deputy CEO and COO, replacing Andreas Beerli, the reinsurance giant appears to be refocusing its attentions on the underwriting side of the business.
  • Already beleaguered by depressed rates which are likely to continue to fall, European insurers could see their bottom line further eroded as economic conditions worsen and margins are sapped by the rise of direct sales, according to rating agency Standard