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15th March 2015

Newslink Trends: Global Insurance Analysis

This week, leading insurers called for urgent action to reduce risk from natural disasters at a global conference in Japan. EIOPA published its equivalence assessments for Bermuda, Japan, and Switzerland, and the Indian Parliament at last passed the Insurance Bill extending the ceiling for foreign investment in the domestic insurance industry from 26% to 49%-after seven years of wrangling!
The Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) warned of potential fraud as new pensions freedoms are introduced next month in the UK, with the possibility of existing annuitants being offered flexibility in the future through the pre-election Budget next week.
The London Market Group(LMG)laid out five key initiatives for 2015, and Insurance Europe published "The Benefits of Insurance" with a warning to policymakers to ensure regulation was efficient and cost effective to enable wider coverage to be made available to more people. The Savings and Investment Policy project(TSIP) was launched in the UK, and Russell Group released a white paper on the Trade Credit insurance market. Aviva revealed thought-provoking research on the growing cost of motor insurance whiplash-type claims with recommendations on how to cut the cost and reduce overall premiums.
In the US, CoverHound raised $14m in Series B financing, and Elephant enhanched its Guidewire BillingCenter software. Transactor Global Solutions was chosen in the Philippines, SunGard iWorks Compass won an analyst's accolade, and Wesleyan went live with Sapiens' Closed Book solution. They were case studies on HCCI and its selection of Total Objects' Outward Reinsurance software and Allianz UK working with ORIAC's BPM software to streamline claims processing. Robert Gothan, ceo of Accountagility, warned that Solvency II Pillar 3 would be a challenge for insurers, and Pegasystems' Tony Tarquini expressed concern about the timeframe for retirement risk warning rules.
Lloyd's opened its Dubai platform, with Markel International underlining its significance for the region. Chales Taylor received regulatory approval to launch a managing agency, and its Adjusting division announced an exclusive relationship in Holland. Sompo is to take a 7.8% stake in SCOR with a view to increasing it to 15%. Crawford got the Competition & Markets Authority's(CMA) nod to proceed with the integration of GAB Robins. Prudential produced excellent results and announced that Group chief executive Tidane Thiam, the multi-talented Ivorian, is to leave to run Credit Suisse-quite a surprise for the market which reacted by raising the share price of the bank and reducing Prudential's. Generali said it was a year ahead of targets, and in the reinsurance sector, Hannover Re and IRB Brasil Re both produced strong returns, whilst Munich Re revealed its reduced target for 2015. esure's result echoed the competitiveness of the UK motor insurance market, and LV= reported a dip in operating profit. There were senior appointments at Capsicum Re and Towers Watson.
Articles on the above topics are included in those added to the Insurance Newslink and Financial Newslink global database service on Wednesday and today at www.onlystrategic.com