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    Life insurance is one of the most important investments you will make in your lifetime, so you need to make sure that you are choosing the right one. SuggestInsurance.Com can guide you through the process of comparing life insurance plans in India so you can get the best policy for your lifestyle and your beneficiaries. These tips should help you avoid the typical pitfalls that are involved when you compare and choose life insurance plans in India:

    1. Shop around

    Get insurance quotes from SuggestInsurance.Com. With our help, you can acquire rates from different insurance companies in India in one go. This can help you save time and effort when you do not have to contact insurance companies one by one. Once you have the quotes, compare the offers of different life insurance providers.

    2. Work with an online insurance consultation firm

    Looking for information on insurance plans and companies can become confusing and can take a lot of time. Online portals like SuggestInsurance.com offers more transparency when it comes to insurance and different providers, so you can easily understand the complexities of life insurance in terms of premiums, exclusions, the benefits of the plans, and eligibility, and be able to make more informed decisions.

    3. Be honest

    Never lie about your hobbies, lifestyle, age, and health conditions. Insurance companies take a look at those factors to give you the most ideal and accurate quote and features they can provide. If you lie about those things and you die, your family may not receive the death benefit. Insurance is the contract based on the principle of utmost good faith both for insurer and insured.

    4. Understand what different types of policies can offer

    Term life insurance policies in India can offer different levels of protection to you and your beneficiaries. A pure term plan, for instance, is a policy that offers only life protection. Hence, if you survive the policy period, it terminates without paying anything to you. However, you can always renew or buy a new one if it expires or terminates.

    A term plan with return of premium (TROP) pays the paid premiums on maturity if you survive the policy period. A term plan that comes with a monthly income provides a lump sum payment to your beneficiary if you die, and pre-determined monthly payouts will continue for a specific period of time. A term plan with an increasing monthly income will pay the agreed sum of money to the beneficiary along with increasing monthly payouts for a given period to go with the inflation.

    About the Author

    Suggestinsurance.com is the online identity for IRDAI approved insurance broker – S B Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd. On SuggestInsurance.com, we offer quotes from leading insurance companies and let the customer explore the insurance plans, get their details, view and study brochure and other documents, compare features and benefits of these plans side by side and then take a decision.

    Source by Sonia Nagpal

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      If you rent an apartment or a house, your landlord is only responsible for the insurance that covers the cost of repairing the building if there is a fire or other disaster. To financially protect yourself and your belongings you will need your own coverage, known as renters or tenants insurance. No matter where you live, renters insurance is economical and worthwhile. It helps you protect your belongings. Insurance rates vary depending on the amount of coverage and additional features. Renters Insurance offers three types of financial protection:

      Coverage for Personal Possessions

      Liability Protection

      Additional Living Expenses

      Here is the checklist that can help you choose the right coverage when you are shopping around for renters insurance or discussing your needs with an insurance professional :

      A. Coverage for Personal Possessions

      How much insurance should I buy?
      Always make sure that you are well insured and protected in the event of burglary, fire or other covered disasters. The best way to do this is to determine the value of all your personal possessions by creating a home inventory (a detailed list of all of your belongings along with their estimated value).

      Should I choose replacement cost or actual cash value coverage?
      Your actual cash value policies include a deduction for depreciation. And replacement cost coverage will cost more but can be well worth the extra expense when the time comes to replace your belongings.

      Types of disasters that are covered?
      Renters insurance protects you against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and certain types of water damage (including floods from the running water when tap is left open by the tenant upstairs or from a burst pipe). Most of the renters insurance policies, do not cover floods or earthquakes. For flood coverage you need to consult the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers. And earthquake insurance comes as a separate policy or have it added as an “endorsement” to your renters policy, depending on where you live.

      Am I covered if I am traveling or away from home?
      Most of the renter’s policies include called-off premises coverage. It means that belongings that are outside of your home are covered against the same disasters listed in your policy. For example, property stolen from your car or a hotel room while you’re traveling would be protected.

      B. Liability Protection

      Do I have enough liability insurance?
      Renters insurance protects you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage done by you, your family members and even your pets. This coverage pays for both the cost of defending you in court and court awards up to the limit of your policy. Thus, it’s important to ensure the amount of liability coverage provided by your policy is sufficient to protect your assets. Always remember that your renters policy should also include no-fault medical coverage as part of the liability protection.

      What is the need for an umbrella liability policy?
      Incase you decide for a larger amount of liability protection, consider purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy comes into play when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage provided by your renters or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.

      Many insurance companies offer several types of discounts, but these can vary widely by company and by state, so review your options carefully. In case you need Small Business Insurance California, Renters Insurance California, or Renters Insurance San Diego the insurance experts and professionals can provide you with the right coverage at a price that fits your budget.

      Source by Ron Morgan

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      American businesses large and small say medical cost inflation, legal liabilities and technology risks are among their top concerns, according to the baseline findings of a new annual Business Risk Index from Travelers (NYSE: TRV). The survey polled more than 1,100 business decision makers to better understand what they believe poses the biggest threat to their business. Many leaders said the risks they identified as their biggest concerns are also the issues their business is least prepared to address.

      “While the new Business Risk Index revealed some typical risks for businesses, it also uncovered some uncertainties that are indicative of the times, including medical cost inflation and technology risks,” said Bill Cunningham, Executive Vice President of Business Insurance at Travelers.

      “Many respondents believe their businesses are least prepared to handle these risks. The good news is that many of these risks can be mitigated and there are resources available to help businesses of any size stay protected.”

      Amidst a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and recent, highly publicized cyber breaches, the top risks identified by those polled included:

      67 percent thought medical cost inflation was a leading risk for their business;
      58 percent cited legal liability issues, such as omissions and errors;
      53 percent were concerned about technology issues including data risks, such as hacking and viruses; and
      52 percent reported concerns with understanding and complying with U.S. government laws and regulations that may affect their business or industry.

      Despite the fact that 48 percent of respondents believe the world is growing riskier, only about one in four (24 percent) business decision makers say that preventing, preparing for and responding to risk is a strategic priority. Of this group, small businesses were least likely to name risk management as a strategic priority or an important management activity compared to large and medium-sized companies.

      Medical Cost Inflation

      When asked how much they worry about certain risks affecting their business, medical cost inflation was the leading risk. While many business decision makers are concerned with this issue, and 60 percent of respondents identified this risk as increasing, it is the risk that executives believe their business is least prepared to manage.


      Computer, technology and data-related risks, particularly computer viruses and hacking, are of major concern to business decision makers. In fact, 59 percent of respondents worry about their systems being infected with a virus and being susceptible to a security breach. Additionally, 44 percent worry about losing control of customer records and 50 percent are worried about the company computers becoming damaged or going down.

      Legal Liability

      Legal liability-related risks are another significant source of concern for business decision makers. These risks include professional mistakes, which worry 44 percent of respondents; driving accidents, which are a concern for 33 percent of those surveyed; and lawsuits brought on by employees, which concerns 35 percent of business decision makers.

      Small Businesses at Risk

      Small business decision makers do not appear as worried as their counterparts from mid- to large-sized companies about the issues identified as the top risks in the Travelers Business Risk Index. While they have indicated less concern, a damaging event could have an even greater long-term impact on a small business, which generally has less access to capital. The Business Risk Index identifies that only about half (55 percent) of small business owners rely on risk management guidance from their insurance carrier.

      Additional Concerns

      American business executives worry about numerous other risks. Sixty percent of respondents believe that extreme weather events are happening more frequently, and 37 percent believe the increase in severe weather frequency and severity poses an increased risk of damage to their business (e.g., damage to property, equipment, facilities or vehicles). About half (55 percent) of those surveyed have a business continuity plan in place, and only 30 percent of small business decision makers reported having a business continuity plan. Access to capital and financial issues worry 47 percent and, at 42 percent, risk to corporate reputation is also a mid-level concern. Concerns about employee safety and global economic risk were cited by 39 and 40 percent of American business executives, respectively.

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      Aviva’s overall performance in the first quarter was reassuringly calm and stable, in marked contrast to the weather and regulatory developments.

      Value of new business increased by 45%1 in Europe and 96%1 in Asia, more than offsetting a 22% decline in the UK. The Group combined operating ratio (COR) was 97.7% and IFRS book value increased 6% to 286p per share.

      Since our FY13 results in March, we have announced disposals of our US asset management boutique River Road, South Korean joint venture and Turkish general insurance business as well as a significant restructure of our Italian business. Our group is now simpler, easier to manage and more focused, whilst retaining significant benefits of diversification.

      Aviva still faces challenges in both the external environment and in the business as we progress our turnaround. The regulatory environment is constantly evolving and soft conditions in certain general insurance lines persist. We are adapting to these issues and look forward to sharing more of our strategy with you at our upcoming analyst day on 9 July.

      Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer, said:

      “Aviva’s overall performance in the first quarter was reassuringly calm and stable, in marked contrast to the weather and regulatory developments. The value of new business increased by 13% — the sixth consecutive quarter of year–on–year growth — and our book value grew by 6%.

      “We have made further progress simplifying our portfolio of businesses. Since our full year results in March, we have announced disposals of our Turkish general insurance business, US asset management boutique River Road, South Korean joint venture as well as a significant restructure of our Italian business.

      “Aviva still faces challenges both in the external environment and in the business as we progress our turnaround. The regulatory environment is constantly changing and soft conditions persist in certain general insurance lines. As a business we remain focused on cash flow, expense efficiency and the clinical allocation of capital to areas where we can maximise returns. There is still much to do.”

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      Fidelity National Financial, a leading provider of title insurance, technology and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries, today announced that it will present at the 2014 Barclays Americas Select Franchise Conference at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. A live webcast of the presentation will be available on FNF’s investor relations website at fnf.com.

      About FNF
      Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE: FNF), is a leading provider of title insurance, technology and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries. FNF is the nation’s largest title insurance company through its title insurance underwriters – Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York – that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States. FNF also provides industry-leading mortgage technology solutions and transaction services, including MSP®, the leading residential mortgage servicing technology platform in the U.S., through its majority-owned subsidiaries, Black Knight Financial Services, LLC and ServiceLink Holdings, LLC. In addition, FNF owns majority and minority equity investment stakes in a number of entities, including American Blue Ribbon Holdings, LLC, J. Alexander’s, LLC, Remy International, Inc., Ceridian HCM, Inc., Comdata Inc. and Digital Insurance, Inc. More information about FNF can be found at www.fnf.com.

      Forward-Looking Statements
      This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our expectations, hopes, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Because such statements are based on expectations as to future financial and operating results and are not statements of fact, actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The risks and uncertainties which forward-looking statements are subject to include, but are not limited to: changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; weakness or adverse changes in the level of real estate activity, which may be caused by, among other things, high or increasing interest rates, a limited supply of mortgage funding or a weak U. S. economy; our potential inability to find suitable acquisition candidates, acquisitions in lines of business that will not necessarily be limited to our traditional areas of focus, or difficulties in integrating acquisitions; our dependence on distributions from our title insurance underwriters as a main source of cash flow; significant competition that our operating subsidiaries face; compliance with extensive government regulation of our operating subsidiaries; and other risks detailed in the “Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information,” “Risk Factors” and other sections of the Company’s Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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      Today, Aegon’s innovation and global leadership role in longevity and pension risk management was recognized by the ‘Institutional Deal of the Year’ award, from Structured Products magazine.

      Aegon’s award-winning transaction involved longevity risk ˗̵ the risk that beneficiaries outlive their life expectancies, thereby forcing pension funds to pay out more benefits than they had planned for.

      The transaction, which took place in December 2013, followed a EUR 12 billion deal with Deutsche Bank and investors in 2012. Distributed to investors by Societe Generale, it hedged the longevity risk of EUR 1.4 billion of Dutch annuity obligations (longevity) and USD 5.0 billion of US-based mortality (US life policies).

      It worked by effectively creating a put option on the risk. This means that if Aegon’s risk moves adversely, it can collect up to EUR 200 million of the capital pledged by investors when the deal matures after 20 years.
      Attractive deal

      The transaction was structured to be attractive to investors, bring capital relief to Aegon and, in turn, help pension funds meet their obligations to individuals who are living longer than ever.

      Hedging risk is not unusual. Insurers regularly work with banks and reinsurers to hedge their exposure. Aegon’s approach is noteworthy by the fact that it was able to attract new sources of capital in large amounts at an attractive price – something that wasn’t previously possible.
      What made the deal unique?Chris Madsen, Managing Director, Aegon Blue Square Re (external link)

      Transactions had previously been structured in the form of 50 to 60-year swaps between two parties. “We found a way to wrap the obligation in a 15 to 20-year transaction,” explains Chris Madsen, Managing Director of Aegon’s internal reinsurer Aegon Blue Square Re.

      “This allowed us to reach capital market investors who prefer to invest for 15 years or shorter. This is a much larger group of investors beyond the usual reinsurers, including hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and other asset managers.”
      Transparent and scalable

      The approach offers complete transparency, which is valuable to Aegon and to investors. Aegon has an internal model that was used to value and structure the deal, but to help investors, modelling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS) was brought in to create a model that could be shared with potential investors.

      “Not only did this give people confidence in terms of the value proposition – everybody knew down to the penny how much we were making – but it also means everyone is looking at the same model for the mark-to-model,” says Jeff Mulholland, head of insurance and pensions solutions Americas at Societe Generale.
      Innovative approach

      “The market hadn’t seen a transaction like this before,” says Chris Madsen. “More buyers, meant Aegon was able to execute at a better price and the reinsurers and investors that might have been shut out from a two-party transaction gained access to a valuable source of diversification. Capital markets investors will also appreciate that longevity risk is completely uncorrelated with market risk. We’ve paved the way to creating a deeper market in longevity risk and that is what the market is recognizing with this award.”

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      Aegon today announces that it will call for the redemption of perpetual capital securities with a coupon of 7.25% issued in 2007.

      The redemption will be effective June 15, 2014, when the principal amount of USD 1,050 million will be repaid with accrued interest.

      Aegon’s decision to call the perpetual capital securities supports the company’s target to maintain a fixed charge cover within a range of 6 to 8 times. As a result of today’s call and the recent issuance of EUR 700 million subordinated notes, Aegon’s fixed charge cover is expected to increase approximately 0.7 times on an annualized basis.

      The securities are currently listed on the New York Stock Exchange with symbol AEF. This listing will be terminated following the redemption of the securities.

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      ACE Group today announced the launch of an exclusive mobile application that provides travel assistance services for its international casualty insureds doing business overseas.

      The ACE Travel AppSM represents an innovative step forward in mobile technology for eligible international travelers, including employees, volunteers, and students covered through ACE International Advantage®.

      Offered through ACE’s Executive Assistance® Services, the new mobile application provides ACE International Advantage customers with information essential to the planning of any international trip. Once the application is downloaded, customers have the option to create a travel itinerary prior to or during their trip. Based on the traveler’s GPS location, as well as their stored itinerary, real-time alerts, risk management mitigation tips, as well as tools to manage medical or other travel related incidents will be pushed to the user’s mobile device.

      “With the advent of smartphone technology and the ever-quickening pace of global events, it became apparent that ACE needed to make an investment in bringing mobile travel assistance services to the middle market and small commercial space. The ACE Travel App was developed specifically to fill this need by helping to keep travelers safe through the delivery of critical information should an emergency arise while clients conduct business overseas,” said Tim Benson, Senior Vice President, ACE International Advantage. “The development and release of this technology demonstrates ACE’s focus and commitment to providing industry-leading coverages and insurance-related services in the small commercial and middle market space.”

      “Globalization is on the rise, and as a result companies have expanded their international operations. Through this expansion, employees may be faced with greater and more unique travel-related exposures based on their destinations,” said Bryan Tedford, Executive Vice President ACE Foreign Casualty. “Whether business travelers are negotiating a business deal in Shanghai or making a sales presentation in Columbia, they can have real-time online and mobile access to ACE Executive Assistance® Services via their smartphone.”

      The following are some of the services and information available* to ACE International Advantage insureds through the ACE Travel App:

      Country Research
      Travel Alerts
      Security Services
      Emergency Assistance
      Concierge Services

      The mobile app is available for download on iPhone, Android and certain Blackberry models. Additional information and links to various app stores are available at by clicking here.

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      Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) and Qoros just signed a partnership agreement enabling all new cars the automaker to benefit China, support services and troubleshooting.

      As announced there are already two years , Allianz Global Assistance is pursuing its development in China, a growing market according to the Assistance . Signing a partnership with Qoros , AGA will now receive all new models of its Chinese manufacturer servicesd support and troubleshooting (towing and kidnapping, battery charging , exchange tires, petrol in case of fuel, on-site repair , provision of vehicle rental ) services also included in the guarantee of three recently Qoros launched on the Chinese market.

      AGA , which has invested heavily in China to cover over 1,130 cities also take this car market in full exepnsion to practice his Telematics system that can geotag the vehicle , handle the call and provide the fastest possible service required across China at any time of day or night .

      ” This new partnership is a unique opportunity to support the new star of Chinese automobile. Qoros drivers not only have a car at the forefront of modernity but assistance leading to cover all situations , “said Christophe Aniel , CEO of Allianz Global Assistance China and North Asia regional director .

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      In the first part of our interview with Euler Hermes CEO Wilfried Verstraete, we described how it has supported businesses for more than 100 years. In this second part, we concentrate on challenges and the global influence of credit insurance.

      Then, shifting to a broader view: with all the economic turbulence, how can you be sure you know all the risks?

      It’s true that global markets and trade routes are realigning and evolving, sometimes gradually, at other times with significant volatility. The key is to have people – expert analysts – in the markets, to be close to the clients and their buyers, and to monitor continuously.

      The knowledge we share with our clients is based on three pillars.

      First, worldwide risk-monitoring. Our unique proprietary worldwide risk information and financial performance database helps clients make the best-informed decisions about which companies to work with. We believe, we have the most extensive database in the industry.

      Secondly, our experienced risk experts – a global network in more than 50 countries – provide a deep understanding of local businesses and market contexts. Our credit decisions are thus systematically made in the country closest to our clients’ buyers.

      Finally, we have a strong reputation for economic research. Our in-house economists constantly analyze economic and industry sector trends to provide insights that support business needs.

      What was the hardest decision you had to take during your time as Head of Euler Hermes?

      There have been several. It’s never easy to make tough people decisions, restructure a job or department or an individual’s responsibilities. I look at a number of factors – performance, team morale, business impact, long-term sustainability – and especially attitude, before I or the Board of Management make a decision. It’s important that we bear in mind that our role is to lead by example, including managerial courage.

      It’s also difficult to reduce or withdraw cover on a company, sector or country. You’re aware it’s going to affect livelihoods and futures, even when the financial case is compelling. But our role and responsibility is to protect clients whose goal is safer, sustainable growth and reduced risk.

      Do you collaborate with other global lines like AGCS that also serve corporate customers? How does this collaboration work?

      Absolutely. Close collaboration and increased cross-selling with Allianz colleagues is a key objective in our distribution strategy. Hence, we’re closely integrated with other Allianz specialist brands such as AGCS – so we can develop tailor-made risk management solutions for specific clients. This collaboration has become significantly tighter – successful in terms of signing new business – since early 2012.

      And how is Euler Hermes performing?

      Very well, thank you. Following months of unpredictable market and political events and foreign exchange headwinds, the company posted record consolidated revenues of Euro 2.5 billion in 2013, up by 5 percent at constant exchange rate compared to the previous year. Operating profit was solid at Euro 459 million, up by 6.2 percent. Insured global business transactions totaled Euro 789 billion in exposure at the end of 2013.

      We made clear progress in each area of our three-pronged strategy: geographies, distribution and products. Growth in 2013 was driven by new markets, the multinational sector targeted by our World Agency unit, and new products. Europe showed positive growth signs, particularly in Eastern Europe, Germany, Italy, and in Spain with the Solunion joint venture. All regions contributed to strong operating income results through sound risk management and a selective and disciplined technical underwriting approach.

      Our financial solidity and best-in-class risk management help our clients develop their business safely. And our industry leadership is recognized globally, though competition is fierce and expected to increase in the coming years.

      What kind of challenges do you face ahead?

      I see three main challenges: increased insolvencies; transforming our business to make us easier for customers to do business with us; and ensuring employees can meet the client demands for speed, quality and change.

      After nearly six years of economic crisis and uncertainty, we believe growth opportunities are beginning to emerge, with increasing demand for trade credit insurance. In 2013, world GDP growth was limited to only more than 2.3 percent, its slowest pace since 2009. Many economies will begin to gain more traction in 2014, with world GDP growth expected to be up by 3.1 percent.

      While the outlook for 2014 is generally positive, it is clear that many risks remain to the global recovery. In spite of the slight improvement in our insolvency outlook, the total number of insolvencies is expected to be 24 percent higher than during pre-crisis years. Therefore, we’ll continue to strengthen our product range and our distribution channels, while keeping a strong focus on sound underwriting management.

      The second challenge is a common one across Allianz – how do we make it easier for our customers to do business with us? We’re taking a bottom up approach, gathering the best ideas from our employees on the front lines and implementing those innovations over the next few years.

      And finally, all of this requires a highly skilled and engaged workforce. Our Allianz Engagement Survey scores which measure staff identification with the company have increased in the last few years but there is still more to do. We will continue to invest in our employees through more customized programs in the Euler Hermes Academy. And, due to the key role of our country CEOs, we will launch a specialized selection, onboarding and development program for them.

      Our impact on the global economy coupled with these challenges make Euler Hermes an inspiring and interesting place to work!

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      With headlines such as “Scott wants tech firm to share firewall” or “Lorraine seeking company to share her umbrella”, XL Group has launched a new marketing campaign called “personal.” The ads feature XL’s own underwriters and risk engineers across print and online trade publications, social media and events, and highlight the company’s business appetite and broad range of commercial products and services.

      “By showcasing our sector-leading talent and expertise, this campaign takes an innovative approach to talking to brokers and clients about our insurance capabilities and services, and is clear about the business we want to write, all in the down-to-earth attitude that we’re known for,” said Greg Hendrick, Chief Executive Officer, Insurance, XL Group.

      The campaign was developed by XL Group’s internal Communications & Marketing team. Elliott Bundy, Global Head of Communications & Marketing, added: “With operations in over 20 countries around the world and with the ability to serve clients in over 140 countries, we wanted to find a concept that everyone could relate to, regardless of language or culture, as well as take advantage of today’s interconnected world. We believe the “personal” concept is a great way to tell our story and talk more directly about our business appetite across a variety of communication platforms.

      In addition to traditional trade publications, we are leveraging our social media footprint – LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube – as well as our own Fast Fast Forward thought leadership site to better identify and connect with our target audience and encourage dialogue about our offering, the topic of risk and ultimately support business goals.”

      The campaign is planned to launch in North America at the RIMS conference, taking place from April 27-30, and will be rolled out in Europe, Latin America and Asia beginning in May.

      Meet XL’s ad stars at http://xlgroup.com/insurance/get_personal

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      The charter ” Euro PP” which must guide the financing of ETI ( midsize ) through private placements has been officially launched by Bercy.

      Initiated in 2013 under the auspices of the Bank of France and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Paris Ile- de- France , the charter ” Euro PP” must provide a standard framework for SMEs and ETI who wish to directly fund from investors in the form of loans or bond issues.

      Among the actors involved in the project , the FFSA ( French Federation of Insurance Companies) and GEMA (Group of Mutual Insurance Companies ) have formally confirmed their adherence to this policy. ” This pragmatic collaboration between all financial actors allows us to offer many companies , including the ETI and SMEs, an important source of alternative financing. “Euro PP ” operations and help to support the return to growth, ” welcomed Bernard Spitz, President of the French Federation of Insurance Companies , in a statement sent to AFP.

      For their part, Michel Sapin , Minister for Finance and Public Accounts , and Arnaud Montebourg, Minister of Economy welcomed this ” proactive and consensual approach involved the overall objective of strengthening and diversifying tools service financing of the economy . “

      Almost one in seven people never take out the necessary insurance cover for winter sports but 64% admit they would not be able to pay for treatment themselves
      46% of those surveyed have been involved in an accident or near miss, with 76% needing medical treatment that they claimed for on insurance

      As Brits embark on winter breaks to snowier climes this season, Aviva’s research* shows that that almost one in seven (15%) winter sports-goers don’t take out the appropriate insurance cover for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding or tobogganing. This despite almost half (46%) of snow-lovers admitting to being involved in an accident or a near miss whilst on holiday, resulting in three quarters (76%) of them needing emergency medical treatment paid for by their insurance.

      Almost half (43%) of those surveyed who didn’t buy winter sports insurance said it was because they didn’t think they would ever need it, with 36% wrongly believing that they don’t need insurance if they have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)** and 11% forgetting to buy it. Yet when asked if they could afford to pay for any medical treatment themselves, without insurance, 64% of the respondents admitted they couldn’t.

      The research from Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, showed that many winter sports fans are unaware of the actual cost of receiving medical treatment abroad for winter sports related injuries.

      When asked what they could afford to pay if they needed emergency medical treatment (and didn’t have insurance) the average amount respondents said they could afford was £492 but in fact the average winter sports claim last year was £740 – a difference of £247!

      Heather Smith, director of Aviva general insurance, said: “We never like to think about the worst case scenario, especially when going on holiday, but when it comes to winter sports this can be a costly error.

      “Even if you consider yourself to be a competent skier remember that mishaps can happen to anyone and the cost of even a minor accident can run to hundreds of pounds.

      “It is worth taking the time to make sure you have the right insurance when you book up your winter holiday. It could save a lot of worry and inconvenience should your holiday somehow go off-piste.”

      Treatment for extreme injuries, such as a damaged spinal cord, can be very costly. In one actual claim the cost of emergency medical treatment was £31,000.

      Given a range of costs to choose from for actual winter sports injury claims the survey revealed that the costs were grossly underestimated for serious injuries– in the case of one specific injury by up to £12,000.

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      Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance partnered with climate and development experts ClimateCare, to develop a new way to measure and report the full impact of offsetting Aviva’s carbon emissions through ClimateCare’s ‘Climate and Development’ projects.

      Now, for the first time, Aviva has been able to robustly measure and report on the additional benefits its carbon offset programmes have had on local communities using the LBG Framework – a peer reviewed methodology which quantifies and measures corporate community investment, developed with ClimateCare.

      Although Aviva has been carbon neutral for many years, this new methodology reveals that in the last two years alone, Aviva’s carbon offset programme has positively impacted the lives of more than 200,000 people through two projects – LifeStraw Carbon for Water in Kenya and Envirofit Efficient Stoves in India.

      Zelda Bentham, Head of Environment and Climate Change at Aviva, said; “We have always been committed to offsetting our environmental impacts, but we also wanted to make sure our programmes delivered a broader community impact.

      “Using this methodology we can demonstrate the full value of offsetting our carbon emissions. In the last two years we’ve offset 126,555 tonnes of carbon emissions through two environmental projects, and that’s directly led to improvements in the lives of more than 200,000 people. It’s what our customers and investors expect so it’s really important we can credibly show this.”

      Since it was founded in 1997, ClimateCare has become a world leader in dual impact ‘Climate and Development’ projects, which both reduce emissions and deliver measurable improvements for local communities and the environment.

      “All our projects measurably improve people’s lives” explains ClimateCare Director, Edward Hanrahan, “Many, such as our efficient cookstove and water projects, which Aviva supports, are centred around people and vulnerable communities – providing safe water, improving health, creating jobs and stimulating local economies. Our clients see the value of taking an integrated approach to sustainability and we are always keen to help them talk about the full impacts of their actions in a robust and recognised way.”

      In India 82% of the population cooks over a 3-stone open fire which is inefficient, smoky, and causes more than 480,000 deaths a year across the country. To solve this problem, Envirofit International, a clean energy social enterprise headquartered in the US, has invested in designing, testing, producing, and marketing, high quality clean energy cookstoves.

      Envirofit’s replacement cookstoves significantly impact both health and the environment, reducing toxic emissions up to 80%, climate change emissions CO2 up to 60%, and black carbon up to 40%. The stoves also generate savings for the consumer by reducing fuel consumption up to 60% and improve cooking efficiency up to 40%. Carbon offsetting helps to subsidise the price of this technology, to make clean energy cookstoves more affordable to families across India.

      Measuring results

      It is challenging and time consuming to measure and report the total number of people benefiting from any project and it is more challenging still to understand the depth and nature of those impacts. An added complication arises when trying to attribute impacts to the purchase of a specific volume of carbon reduction credits.

      However in contrast to the majority of carbon reduction projects, many of ClimateCare’s projects cut carbon emissions by working directly with individual households and families. For example, by providing them with water filters so they no longer have to boil water on open fires, or selling subsidised cookstoves that use less charcoal, the projects cut toxic emissions, improve health and create jobs, as well as protecting the environment.

      In order to measure the carbon reductions generated through these types of project, regular on-the-ground monitoring is necessary. This makes it cost effective to carry out robust measurement of social impacts at the same time, and means ClimateCare’s projects are ideal for organisations that want to deliver social impacts through their carbon reduction activity.

      Developing the methodology

      The LBG Framework is a peer reviewed methodology, which quantifies and measures corporate community investment. Already an LBG member, Aviva’s carbon offset programme was the case study against which this new measurement framework was developed.

      0 26

      One in three Brits admits they are ‘tight’, a study has revealed.

      Research commissioned by Aviva has found that millions of Brits are cutting corners financially by refusing to tip restaurant staff, only heating one room – and sneaking drinks in to pubs, it emerged yesterday.

      Nearly three quarters of the 2,000 people polled said they had revised their expenditure for the better over the last 12 months amid the recent economic downturn.

      But incredibly one in ten may have gone a step too far by taking clothes back they have already worn!

      A mercenary 17 per cent have even refused to contribute to a colleague’s birthday fund, while over a quarter make an effort to drive slowly in a bid to preserve petrol.

      Tim Orton, Product Director for Aviva Pensions and Investments, who commissioned the study, said: “What this research shows us is that many people are already making smart moves to cut their monthly expenditure, and this can only be seen as a good thing, especially if they are saving or investing this ‘extra’ money elsewhere.

      “What’s really important is that people have access to the best information, through product provider and financial advisers, to make the most of this money.

      “Whatever their ultimate goals, we want people to get into the habit of saving something, however small, now so that they can look after their family in the future or enjoy a comfortable retirement.”

      The poll also revealed that 25 per cent of people are so resourceful they re-use old cereal boxes and jam jars and one in ten even use teabags more than once.

      A crafty 13 per cent of thrifty Brits have snuck a bottle of wine in to a theatre or pub rather than pay sky high prices, and one in five of us would happily scrabble on the floor if we saw a one pence coin.

      More common signs of being frugal included saving wrapping paper from presents, parking further away from shops to avoid a parking charge and using coupons or vouchers.

      Not surprisingly then 56 per cent of those polled said they got ‘a buzz’ when finding a good ‘money off’ deal.

      But 36 per cent said they were happy to be called a penny-pincher and 28 per cent are frequently called tight by their friends and family. Of those, 26 per cent found the term ‘tight’ insulting, but a more laidback 35 per cent said they don’t take it seriously.

      A staggering eight in ten of the 2000 adults polled felt that if people were more conscious of their spending habits and better at watching the pennies they wouldn’t be in such a financial mess.

      A third of adults have set up a direct debit to ensure they put something away every month, with the typical saver setting aside £144 each month.

      Aviva’s Tim Orton added: “There is a significant difference between being tight and being careful with money.

      ‘’We all want to stretch our money as far as possible of course, so it’s highly advisable to keep an eye on our spending habits and make adjustments where necessary.

      ‘’But being described as tight suggests we are lacking in generosity which nobody wants to be accused of.

      ‘’Some of the things on the list are perfectly valid ways to save money. If you choose to look for good deals and money off coupons that would suggest you are savvy and not ‘tight’ or mean with your money.’’

      Tight traits

      Saving coupons / using vouchers
      Making your own lunches to take to work
      Only boiling enough water for cups of tea and coffee you’re making
      Parking on a road further away from the shops so you don’t have to pay
      Refusing to leave a tip
      Only heating rooms you use
      Using internet/phone apps to find cheapest place to buy items
      Shaking the end of a petrol pump so you don’t leave any in the hose
      Saving used wrapping paper to re-wrap presents
      Driving slower to preserve petrol
      Keeping/reusing old cartons/ jam jars etc. / cereal boxes
      Used a calculator (or phone) on my calculator in a restaurant to work out the bill
      Scrabbling on the floor for a dropped penny coin
      Sharing bath water/ having a shower rather than a bath
      Not contributing to a colleague’s birthday present
      Filling up the car with half a tank of petrol as it’s economical
      Save dish/ bath water to use on the garden
      Making birthday cards/ presents
      Sneaking your own bottle of wine into the theatre / pub
      Posting parcels/ Christmas/ Birthday cards through work
      Re-using teabags
      Returned clothes I have worn
      Demanding 5p or 10p change from the person you sent to buy your lunch
      Keeping cling-film to use again
      Buying the last round in a large group safe in the knowledge you won’t have to get a second one in.
      Asking for petrol money on a journey you would be doing anyway
      Leaving the pub before it’s your turn to buy a round
      Saying ‘ I don’t want to break into a twenty’ so someone else says I’ll get these’
      Rounding up people’s change in your favour

      0 0

      Almost half of UK consumers class themselves as ‘savers’, taking a keen interest in savings and investments, a study has revealed.

      Research commissioned by Aviva has found an encouraging 46 per cent of people consider themselves to be savers; 84 per cent say they are careful with money and 56 per cent say they get ‘a buzz’ from finding good deals on mortgages, savings and investment products.

      A third of adults have set up a direct debit to ensure they put something away regularly, with the typical saver setting aside £144 each month. This figure rises to £157 per month amongst the 45-54 year olds. One in five say they save nothing, but an equal percentage (22%) save more than £250 on a monthly basis.

      Amid the continued challenging economic environment, almost three quarters of consumers admit to having revised their spending over the last 12 months. Those aged 35-54 years old are most inclined to have tightened their belts.

      Eight in ten of the 2,000 adults polled agreed that if people were more conscious of their spending habits and better at saving, they wouldn’t be in such a financial mess.

      Tim Orton, Product Director for Aviva Pensions and Investments, said: “Advisers seeking out new opportunities to grow their businesses in the post RDR era should be encouraged by these findings.

      “Whilst clearly many people are already quite savvy with their money, taking sensible steps to cut their monthly expenditure, there are those who are actively looking for help to make the most of their cash.

      “It’s important that they have access to the best information to make the most of their money, and this is where financial advisers should be on hand to help.

      “With the right strategy in place, advisers are in a good position to promote their services, be that online or using more traditional methods.”

      There is increasing evidence of just how significant the digital world is when it comes to customers making decisions. Sixty eight per cent of people now search online when making decisions about goods and services related to money matters.

      Tools like Aviva’s New Thinking website supports advisers and helps them maximise their online presence so they are not losing out on digital opportunities. The site contains simple, practical ideas to help them target and interact with new and existing clients through social media networks.

      0 1

      Intense competition in GCC insurance markets means that some players, particularly at the lower end of the market, consistently report losses.

      Although mergers within the sector make sense, barriers exist that discourage consolidation.
      Some insurers will suffer significant capital deficiency and could even default over time, if they are unable to increase scale through

      In Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ view, a small number of well-established insurers are reaping the benefits of the fast-growing insurance markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Meanwhile, inflated valuations and a reluctance to relinquish control are preventing smaller insurers from consolidating. In trying to avoid reporting losses, we believe revenue-starved insurers could distort market pricing for all.

      Insurance in the GCC region continues to benefit from generally robust economic growth because the considerable hydrocarbon wealth of the GCC states sustains their expanding economies. Real GDP growth in the region was nearly 6% in 2012, and we expect this growth momentum to continue in 2013 and beyond. The GCC insurance sector grew to nearly $16 billion in terms of gross premium written and we observed growth rates of over 10% in the region’s largest insurance markets in 2012. Ample capital is available within the industry to back the growth in insurance premiums. Both regional and international investors are looking for a slice of the business because of the growth potential. This creates a highly competitive marketplace in which all companies are contending for profitable business. The ensuing competition puts pressure on margins.


      Although we estimate that the GCC markets are profitable as a whole, the profits tend to be concentrated at larger and more-established entities. For example, in Saudi Arabia, the three largest companies reported 80% of all profits in 2012; meanwhile, nearly a third of Saudi insurers reported losses. We observed a similar trend in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)–again, the three largest companies reported over 80% of the market’s profits in 2012. Even if we exclude takaful companies, this figure is still over 50%. Results for UAE takaful companies were significantly skewed by losses at
      Salama/Islamic Arab Insurance Co. (P.S.C.).

      Many UAE-based insurance companies established in the past few years are struggling to deliver sustainable levels of performance, despite acceptable reported loss ratios (see “Competition And Overcapacity Are Harming The UAE Takaful Sector” published on July 3, 2013, on RatingsDirect). In our view, inadequate profitability is more pronounced at the lower end of the market because smaller companies lack economies of scale. Many of them lack the critical mass–sufficient business volumes–to cover their operating expenses.

      Over time, a lack of profitability erodes capital, leaving some companies with little prospect of finding a profitable niche. In our view, it is just a matter of time before these companies start to run out of capital and face a risk of default. Therefore, for some companies, consolidation makes economic sense. If companies merge, it could improve their economies of scale and offer them cost efficiencies. Acquirers tend to be more successful entities, indicating that they are better-managed or that they have larger resources at their disposal. Consequently, an acquired entity may benefit from the resources, know-how, and technical expertise of its new management team.


      In our view, several factors prevent companies from consolidating:

      In many cases, public stock market valuations do not reflect economic fundamentals, causing a significant valuation gap.
      Existing shareholders and incumbent management teams are reluctant to relinquish control because their positions and status could be diminished or eradicated within the larger entities.
      The risk of business churn is significant.

      Valuation gaps are particularly pronounced in Saudi Arabia, where nearly all insurance companies on the Riyadh-based Tadawul exchange are trading at a significant premium to their book value (source: Bloomberg). We estimate that the average market valuation is between three and four times its book value for an insurance company in Saudi Arabia. Existing shareholders look to the market valuations when contemplating a sale of their shareholding, but buyers find such prices difficult to justify on an economic basis.

      Integrating an acquired entity carries execution risk. Because most of the risks written in the region have a relatively short claims tail, acquirers have few concerns regarding whether sufficient reserves have been set aside to cover old business. However, retaining new business post-acquisition also
      carries significant risk. Business relationships often affect who wins insurance business; there is a risk that insureds may not maintain their relationship with the acquired entity.


      The reluctance to consolidate could have credit implications. We anticipate that some smaller companies at the lower end of the market will see their creditworthiness diminished as continued losses cause their capital bases to deteriorate. This could encourage some companies to abandon sensible
      underwriting, in a last-ditch attempt to bring in much-needed revenues to cover their expenses. By doing so, they would further erode their profitability and distort pricing in the wider market, reducing profitability for other market participants. In our view, the pricing developments, exacerbated by a failure to consolidate, enhance overall insurance industry risks across the GCC region.

      0 29

      Families and pregnant women could be left without the travel cover they need if they don’t choose the right policy, or check the small print, says UK’s leading financial website for women SavvyWoman.co.uk.

      Sarah Pennells, Editor of SavyyWoman, contacted 12[i] of the UK’s leading travel insurers and found wide discrepancies between cover they offer for women travelling whilst pregnant, or for families travelling with their children.

      Some insurers[ii] don’t even mention pregnancy cover in their policy documents at all, making it difficult for women to understand what they are covered for. Combined with confusing terms and conditions relating to children travelling on their own, or what even counts as a ‘child’ on a policy document, Sarah has listed 5 top travel insurance traps for families to watch out for before they buy travel cover.

      SavvyWoman’s top 5 travel insurance traps if travelling whilst pregnant or with a family:

      1. Are you covered for travel in the late stages of pregnancy? When travelling whilst pregnant, airlines[iii]generally won’t allow women to fly after the 36th week of pregnancy, and insurers won’t cover air travel beyond this. Before 36 weeks, or if you’re not flying, most insurance policies will cover pregnant women as long as they don’t travel against medical advice. However some insurers and airlines will ask for a ‘fit to fly’ letter if travelling in the later stages of pregnancy – which can cost up to £40 and must be provided by a GP or midwife.

      2. Check the level of pregnancy cover. Normal childbirth isn’t covered by travel insurance (as it’s not an illness), but, while some policies will cover medical costs for premature birth as being before 37 weeks[iv], others only cover the costs if the birth is eight weeks before the due date[v].

      3. Find out what counts as a ‘child’ on a family policy. When travelling as a family, the age that insurers consider to be a ‘child’ on a family policy varies widely. Some policies insure children up to the age of 23[vi] or 21 if they are in full time education[vii], whereas others have a cut off age of 16[viii]. Beware; some family policies could leave children uninsured, or be more expensive, depending on the age they are no longer considered a ‘child’ by the insurer and the insurer’s approach[ix].

      4. Make sure your child is insured if they are travelling unaccompanied. Over four out of five of the travel insurers Sarah contacted refused to cover children travelling on their own at all, no matter what the circumstance, even though most airlines will let children travel alone from the age of 5[x].

      5. Check the excess levels. Whereas some insurance policies cap the excess ‘per incident’, others do this ‘per person’, which means, for example, if a family of four were to claim for lost luggage, it could amount to four lots of excess deducted from the pay-out (or £100 if the excess is £25).

      Sarah Pennells, Editor of SavvyWoman.co.uk, says:

      “Going on holiday as a family can be relaxing, or it can be a real adventure! But you don’t want to spend it worrying about your travel insurance or finding out that it won’t pay out when you need it to. It’s crucial to do your homework and find the right insurance policy that guarantees correct cover for you and your family and won’t leave you with a holiday headache.

      Normally I’d recommend checking the small print, but in some cases insurers don’t even include information such as pregnancy cover in any of their documents – it’s a case of having to ring them up. This makes it much harder to find out what you’re covered for, so be warned and don’t get caught out.”

      0 0

      Two virtually identical long term care insurance policies can have significantly different prices and benefits can vary as well notes the head of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

      “Consumers mistakenly believe that all long term care insurance policies are pretty much the same; they are not,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the long term care insurance industry trade group. “Some policies will pay for care provided by a family member, others won’t. Some will pay for care if you retire outside of the United States while others will not.”

      As an increasing number of baby boomers investigate long term care insurance, the Association director notes few have an idea of what questions to ask their insurance professional. “They focus on price and the ratings of the company both of which are important but they overlook more important factors like how and when will the policy provide benefits,” Slome notes.

      “There are also newer options that make coverage attractive for those looking to limit their immediate costs,” Slome adds. “The Guaranteed Purchase Option is a way to reduce the cost, lock in your health insurability and some coverage but not every company offers this option and even the provisions can vary significantly,” Slome adds.

      Slome was speaking to Midwest-area consumers sharing buying tips for seeking long term care insurance options. “The insurance professional you choose to work with is probably the most important decision you will make,” Slome advised. “A specialist will have helped at least 100 or more individuals with their long-term care insurance needs and probably spends 70 percent or more of their time focused on this field,” he noted. “Because costs, acceptable health conditions and policy provisions can vary so much today, you should ask how many insurance companies the insurance agent is appointed with.”

      The long term care insurance expert suggested three questions to determine the expertise of the insurance professional you are working with. “Ask how many people they have protected with a long term care insurance policy, how many insurers they are appointed with and what percentage of their business is focused on long term care,” Slome advised.

      The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance advocates for the importance of long term care planning and supports insurance professionals who market the complete range of planning products.

      0 0

      Swiss Re Group reports net income of USD 786 million for the second quarter of 2013, a period that saw high levels of natural catastrophes. Premium growth in the property and casualty businesses continued with a good renewal season in July. All business segments contributed positively to the robust results and profitable growth.

      Michel M. Liès, Group CEO, says: “Our company has delivered another robust performance. This comes against the backdrop of high claims, especially those caused by the devastating floods in Europe and Canada. Throughout our 150-year history we have used our financial strength to help people recover from such floods and other destructive events. Our strategy is key to that mission and to the delivery of our 2011–2015 financial targets. Our focus remains on executing on that strategy.”

      Group return on equity of 10.0%; Group shareholders’ equity at USD 30.1 billion
      All Business Units contributed positively to the net income of USD 786 million (vs. USD 83 million in Q2 2012) and a 10.0% annualised Group return on equity (vs. 1.1%). Group shareholders’ equity stood at USD 30.1 billion as of 30 June 2013 (vs. USD 34.8 billion at the end of Q1 2013). This reflects the second quarter payment to shareholders of USD 2.8 billion for the 2012 regular and special dividends as well as a reduction in unrealised gains caused by higher interest rates.

      Book value per common share fell to USD 84.03 (CHF 79.50) compared to USD 97.80 (CHF 92.84) at the end of Q1 2013. Earnings per share for the quarter were USD 2.28 (vs. USD –0.12).

      The annualised return on investments was 3.8% (vs. 4.5%). Net realised gains from investments for the Group were USD 309 million (vs. USD 486 million in Q2 2012). Swiss Re continued to rebalance its investment portfolio by shifting out of government bonds and mainly into corporate bonds and other credit investments and, to a smaller extent, into equities.

      George Quinn, Group CFO, says: “Our operational performance continues to be strong as is our return on investments. We have realised significant gains from the sale of government bonds as we rebalance our asset portfolio into credit and equities and from active management of the equity portfolio. As announced at our Investors’ Day this year, we have started to take the first steps to achieve our target capital structure which will contribute to the achievement of our financial targets. We are also implementing productivity measures across the Group to achieve USD 250–300 million in savings by the end of 2015, with the goal of redeploying these savings to finance profitable growth opportunities.”

      Reinsurance produces good result
      Net income in Property & Casualty Reinsurance was USD 468 million (vs. USD 717 million in Q2 2012). Mark-to-market gains on private equity, realised gains on investments and a lower tax rate helped the result. Premiums earned were USD 3.2 billion, an increase of 12% from USD 2.8 billion in Q2 2012 due primarily to the expiry of a major quota share agreement. The combined ratio was 100.7% (vs. 81.0%), reflecting flooding in Europe and Canada as well as lower reserve releases. Adjusting for expected natural catastrophes and prior year development, the underlying combined ratio for Q2 2013 was 97.9%.

      Life & Health Reinsurance delivered net income of USD 141 million (vs. USD 248 million). The result benefited from a strong performance in the Health segment and favourable one-off tax effects, offset by reserve strengthening in Australia and the adverse result from the US life business that was recaptured in the first quarter of 2013. Premium and fee income increased by 16% to USD 2.5 billion (vs. USD 2.2 billion). The benefit ratio increased to 79.6% (vs. 73.8%).

      Corporate Solutions continues to deliver on profitable growth
      Corporate Solutions posted a quarterly profit of USD 55 million (vs. USD 26 million in Q2 2012). Premiums earned rose by 28.0% to USD 686 million (vs. USD 536 million), reflecting the expiry of a major quota share agreement as well as continued growth across virtually all lines of business and markets, as a result of multiple growth initiatives and the associated ongoing increase in offices and staff. The combined ratio for the quarter was 96.9% (vs. 110.4%). Natural catastrophe losses were higher than expected. Corporate Solutions paid a dividend to the Group of USD 489 million in the quarter.

      Admin Re® with high realised gains
      Admin Re® reported net income of USD 109 million in the quarter. This compares to a net loss of USD 916 million in Q2 2012, which resulted from the sale of Admin Re® US. Realised gains on investments of USD 97 million contributed to the Q2 2013 result. Admin Re® generated USD 107 million of gross cash (vs. USD –17 million in Q2 2012) and paid a dividend to the Group of USD 357 million.

      Good renewals in Americas and Australia/New Zealand
      July is a significant month for reinsurance renewals in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. During this period Swiss Re concludes roughly 20% of the Group’s reinsurance annual treaty premiums. The July 2013 renewal premium volume was 12% higher, driven by tailored transactions. The overall price quality was 5% lower than in July 2012, but remains at attractive levels. The margin decreases were largely driven by US natural catastrophe business, where the supply of alternative capital is most significant.

      Celebrating a milestone: Swiss Re’s 150th anniversary
      Swiss Re will officially begin celebrating its 150th anniversary in August. As part of that celebration, Swiss Re has commissioned a survey of more than 20 000 respondents on the perception of risk across countries and generations. Results will be announced to the media in Zurich on 27 August.

      Michel M. Liès, Group CEO, says: “At Swiss Re we are proud of our 150-year tradition of supporting economic progress and stability. We are already looking at how we will continue that commitment. This includes strategic themes such as big data and ever more sophisticated analytics or new ways of reaching clients. This adds to our already intense focus on high growth markets and all the efforts are directed towards increasing access to insurance for the people in the world who are currently underinsured.”