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>> INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INTERNATIONAL NEWS




SPAIN

Title Insurance Marketing Starts in Spain

"Title Insurance guarantees the intentions of the buyer of a home in the terms established in the deed. Therefore, any swindle committed before or after the purchase or any legal problem relating to it is covered by the policy. In exchange, the insurer subrogates in the legal actions that the insured should start against the parties causing the damage". This is how Gonzalo Fernandez de Mesa, managing director of L&E España, defined title insurance, a product that will be marketed in Spain as from September 1, 2001.
The price will be "very competitive" , said Fernández de Mesa. There will be a flat premium of 30,000 pesetas (US$ 158.80) and a twenty-year period. The policy will cover all vices existing before or after signing the sale deed. De Mesa said that there are in Spain "reportedly one million sale-purchase transactions a year. The rate is a consequence of market spread, because this is not intended to be a cheap product".
This insurance reaches the Spanish market after an agreement between Marsh and L&E, an international group recently purchased by April Group. It will be marketed by Genesis to reach a projected annual premium income of 50 billion pesetas (US$ 264.8M).


UNITED STATES

Drop and Losses in US Market Figures, Reports ISO

Insurance Services Office (ISO) reported a 7.3% fall to $ 20.3bn in P/C net income during 2000, as mounting underwriting losses offset rising premiums. The market posted an underwriting loss of $ 32.3bn (40% above 1999) while the combined ratio also increased to 110.4% (1999: 107.8%). Surplus for the industry as a whole went down to $ 318.7bn (-4.7%), the highest annual percentage decline since 1974. Losses and loss adjustment expenses, including catastrophes, went up 8.4% to $241bn. These results are detailed in ISO's research paper "Insurer Financial Results 2000", which can be found at http:// www.iso.com

Red Ink in Second Quarter CAT figures

U.S. property/casualty insurers will pay an estimated $4.4bn for insured-property losses from nine catastrophic events in the second quarter of 2001. According to ISO ( Insurance Service Offices ) estimates, this is the second-worst second quarter in the last 10 years, after 1998, when 2nd. Qr. catastrophe losses totaled $4.5 billion.
The second quarter of 2001 stands out among similar periods over the past 10 years in that two catastrophic events each caused more than $1bn in insured-property damage - $1.2bn from Tropical Storm Allison and $1.7bn from the thunderstorm catastrophe that affected16 states from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Catastrophe losses for the first six months of 2001 now stand at $5.1bn, the fourth-costliest six-month period since 1992. Losses in the corresponding period last year totaled $3.4bn. Curiously enough, the second quarter of 2001 tied the second quarter of 1997 for the fewest number of catastrophes: nine.


FRANCE

SCOR's Shareholders Special Meeting Approved Purchase of SOREMA

Jacques Blondeau presided over Scor's Shareholders Special Meeting held in Paris that approved the purchase of Sorema S.A. and Sorema N.A., subsidiaries of Groupama. The deal will be made issuing 6,370,370 new shares that will be owned by Groupama. In this way, Scor's own funds will increase by 344M euros (US$ 303M) - 24M euros (US$ 21.14M) as a capital increase and 320M euros (US$ 281.99M) as an issue share premium.
The Special Meeting approved as well all the other resolutions under consideration, including the introduction of measures to facilitate shareholder voting rights.


ITALY

GENERALI Approved INA's Merger

Generali's shareholders meeting approved the merger of Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INA) into the Italian group through an exchange of 15.08 INA shares for one Generali share. The merger, to be completed by the end of 2001, will demand a capital increase by Generali up to 22.3M euros (US$ 19.56M) and a total of 22.2M shares which shall be presumably distributed among INA's current shareholders. INA's life business will be spinned off, creating a new company named INA Vita. INA will no longer quote in the Milan Stock Exchange.


SWITZERLAND

SWISS RE's Buys LINCOLN NATIONAL's Reinsurance Business

Swiss Re (RUKN) and Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE: LNC) announced that Swiss Re bought the reinsurance company Lincoln Re, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for two billion dollars. Lincoln's reinsurance business will become part of Swiss Re North American Life & Health, thus strengthening its leading position in the world's largest life and health reinsurance market. "Lincoln Re is an excellent strategic step in our world-wide expansion plans of our life and health reinsurance operations, and to strengthen still further our leading position in this segment of the US market", said Walter B. Kielholz, Swiss Re's president. "As world leaders in capital and risk management, Swiss Re is excellently prepared to profit from the success of Lincoln's reinsurance business, in order to offer a better service to clients of both companies all over the world".
"Selling Lincoln Re is a logical step in Lincoln's strategic development to stop being a multi-line insurer and turn into a financial services company whose core business is the offer of products and services for asset creation and protection", remarked Jon A. Boscia, CEO, Lincoln National Corporation.

 
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