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May 2004/4

  • Australian insurer QBE announced last week that it would buy the remaining 50 percent of Mercantile Mutual from its joint venture partner ING in a bid to increase market share in a strongly performing Australian insurance market.
  • Despite continuing strong results in the US property casualty (p/c) sector, recent pronouncements from insurance stock analysts offer a rather mixed message on investment prospects for the next few years.
  • UK insurer Royal & Sun Alliance (R&SA) made a positive start to the year with a 30 percent rise in first quarter operating profits to £100mn.
  • Shares in Swiss Re fell today after the reinsurer failed to meet analysts’ forecasts in its 2003 life and health results.
  • Return to banking profit and reduced investment write-downs feed €675mn profit Giant German insurer Allianz was at last able to deliver positive news on its flagging banking arm last week, as it revealed that Dresdner Bank had made profit for the firs
  • Germany’s Hannover Re announced a “vigorous surge in profitability” today, despite a year-on-year fall in gross premiums of more than 20 percent. The reinsurer says it remains on track to beat its 2003 result.
  • There is growing evidence that the hard market is at an end, with downward pressures on both pricing and terms according to brokers on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Lloyd’s insurer Amlin last week announced the acquisition of UK retail yacht insurance broker SM Marine Holdings Limited.
  • Improvements in medical diagnosis and changes in lifestyle are having a mixed impact on the claims experience of critical illness insurers, according to research from GE Frankona Re.
  • Lloyd's has announced the appointment of a full-time representative to work with the Spanish insurance market.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set its sights on banks that provide so-called “structured finance” deals.
  • UK insurance brokers are in danger of missing the FSA deadline for increased regulatory compliance, Alexander Forbes and consultants IFA Mentor have warned.
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