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A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit ratings of “a-” of Agrinational Insurance Company (Agrinational) (Burlington, VT) and its wholly owned subsidiary, ADM Insurance Company (ADMIC) (Phoenix, AZ). The outlook for all ratings is stable.

The ratings of Agrinational are based on its adequate capitalization level, overall favorable operating performance and its strategic role as a captive insurer of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) (NYSE:ADM).

Partially offsetting these favorable rating factors is the high net retention on Agrinational’s property exposures, which has produced some variability in operating results. Also, as a single-parent captive, Agrinational is exposed to concentration risk since its primary source of business is from ADM. Additionally, Agrinational provides insurance for a limited amount of quasi third-party businesses sourced through an industry pooling arrangement.

As a means of diversifying its investment portfolio, Agrinational has invested in the leasing of railcars and barges that are production assets of ADM. Agrinational’s management considers these investments as long term and a better alignment of Agrinational’s capital structure while providing stability in cash flows and investment returns.

ADMIC’s ratings are based on its role and strategic importance to ADM, as demonstrated by the inter-company reinsurance arrangement between the affiliated members.

Key rating drivers that could lead to an upgrading of Agrinational’s ratings are a stable underwriting performance, as well as reduced overall net exposure over the next few years.

Factors that could lead to a negative outlook and/or a downgrading of Agrinational’s ratings are material loss of capital from either claims or investments, a reduced level of capital that does not support the ratings, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, or an increase in net retention. The ratings are somewhat linked to ADM; therefore, any unfavorable operating performance or material loss of capital could result in changes to the captive’s ratings.

A.M. Best remains the leading rating agency of alternative risk transfer entities, with more than 200 such vehicles rated in the United States and throughout the world. For current Best’s Credit Ratings and independent data on the captive and alternative risk transfer insurance market, please visit www.ambest.com/captive.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

Key insurance criteria reports utilized:

• Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings

• Rating Members of Insurance Groups

• Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies

• Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers

• Alternative Risk Transfer

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Lowrateautoinsurances.com has released a new blog post announcing that clients can find affordable Christmas car insurance plans online!

Christmas sales are a good opportunity for drivers who need car insurance to buy a policy that is both affordable and provides good financial protection. Some agencies will offer special discounts and sell good policies.

It is now possible to analyze the insurance market in a fast and convenient way. By visiting an insurance brokerage website like http://lowrateautoinsurances.com, clients can search and compare multiple quotes from different agencies.

In order to get a quote, a visitor will have to enter a few details about his or her car. The search engine will then select plans from reliable agencies. The results are displayed on a single web page.

Lowrateautoinsurances.com is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc.

Lowrateautoinsurances.com is owned by Internet Marketing Company.

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Leading insurer and platform provider Zurich is extending the range of funds available on its intermediary platform by increasing the number of ‘super clean’ share classes with preferential terms to advisers and their clients.

The range from Schroder adds a further 23 funds including their popular Schroder Tokyo and US Mid Cap funds.

This brings the number of funds available with ‘super clean’ or preferentially priced terms on the platform to over 100, adding to those already available from leading fund managers such as Blackrock and Old Mutual Global Investors.

Alistair Wilson, Head of Retail Platform Strategy said “Price continues to be a focus for advisers and their clients and we are delighted to be able use our position as a global player to reduce the total cost of ownership further for clients.

“We recognise that offering ‘super clean’ can sometimes have an impact on the speed and complexity of re-registration between platforms, and so we will continue to ensure that all super clean share classes on our platform have an equivalent ‘standard’ clean share class available for everyone to access.”

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Fitch Ratings-London-21 November 2014: Fitch Ratings has affirmed Germany-based Allianz SE’s Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating and Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AA-‘. At the same time, the agency has affirmed Allianz’s main subsidiaries’ IFS rating at ‘AA’. The Outlook on all ratings is Stable. A full list of rating actions is provided at the end of this commentary.


The affirmation reflects Allianz’s strong technical profitability, very strong consolidated group capital position, broad diversification by geography and product, and solid business position in its key markets. In addition, the group’s ratings also benefit from an investment mix of sound credit quality. Partially offsetting these rating factors are currently suppressed profitability in its asset management subsidiary, PIMCO, and a challenging medium-term outlook for some of Allianz’s life markets.

Allianz scores “Very Strong” in the agency’s Prism factor-based capital model (FBM) based on end-2013 data that is supportive for the rating level. The group’s strong core capitalisation remained comfortable at end-9M14 with shareholders’ funds of EUR58.2bn (end-2013: EUR50.1bn) and the consolidated regulatory solvency ratio improving to 184% (end-2013: 182%, when adjusted for accounting changes).

For 9M14 Allianz reported an operating profit of EUR8.1bn (+6.0% versus 9M13), composed of EUR4.3bn (+14.0%) from property/casualty insurance, EUR2.7bn (+15.8%) from life/health insurance, and EUR2.0bn (-18.0%) from asset management. Asset management suffered from large net asset outflows at PIMCO, which appear to have reached their peak by mid-October 2014. The combined ratio improved to 93.6% (95.0%). For 9M14, net profit attributable to shareholders increased by 5.5% (EUR5bn).

The subdued outlook for economic growth in the eurozone, low interest rates, and a possible re-intensification of the peripheral eurozone debt crisis creates a challenging operating environment. For the remainder of 2014 and for 2015 Fitch expects that sound underwriting profitability from the non-life business will help Allianz offset earnings from asset management, which are likely to remain under pressure.

Based on 2013 data, Allianz is one of the largest insurance groups in Europe. IFRS gross written premiums were EUR72.1bn and total assets stood at EUR712bn at end-2013. The group is active in both the non-life and life/health businesses as well as in asset management and has a strong business position and franchise.


Key rating triggers that could lead to a downgrade include a deterioration within the peripheral eurozone countries leading to a decline in bond and other asset prices. If Allianz’s Prism FBM score were to fall below ‘Very Strong’ for a prolonged period of time, the company could also be downgraded.

An upgrade is viewed as unlikely by Fitch over the medium term, but upgrade triggers include a sustained significant increase in the Prism FBM score to “Extremely Strong”, a decline of the FLR to below 15%, and a sustained strong improvement in profitability with a return on equity above 15%.

The rating actions are as follows:

Allianz SE: Long-term IDR affirmed at ‘AA-‘; Outlook Stable

Allianz SE: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA-‘; Outlook Stable

Allianz core subsidiaries and their ratings:

Allianz Versicherungs-AG: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Lebensversicherungs-AG: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Private Krankenversicherungs-AG: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Elementar Versicherungs-AG: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Insurance Plc: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Vie S.A.: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz IARD S.A.: IFS rating affirmed at ‘AA’; Outlook Stable

Allianz Finance II B.V.

All outstanding senior notes affirmed at ‘AA-‘

All subordinated notes affirmed at ‘A’

Allianz Finance’s bonds are guaranteed by Allianz SE

Allianz SE

All outstanding senior notes affirmed at ‘AA-‘

All subordinated notes affirmed at ‘A’

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Already present in Serbia since 2007 segments of debt collection and company information, Coface now wants to tackle market credit insurance in the country.

Coface since July 1, 2014 to Serbian companies offers its offer credit insurance, in addition to collection services and information it already provides for 7 years in the country. The company has signed a technical partnership agreement with Axa Nezivotno Osiguranje teen to locally sell its blankets (Prevention and Protection of credit risk related to commercial transactions, comprehensive analysis and macro and micro-economic research).

“As a candidate for European Union countries, Serbia is a strategic growth market for Coface,” says Katarzyna Kompowska, Director of Coface Central Europe region. “Every year, the Group strengthened its position in Central Europe, a region with a particularly strong sales and offering attractive growth prospects. Today, the availability of credit insurance Coface is available, directly or indirectly, in 14 countries of Central Europe, “concludes the latter.

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Aviva’s report, ‘Road to Reform: Tackling the UK’s Compensation Culture’ calls for three key reforms which will reduce cost and improve service for Britain’s insured drivers:

Compensate minor, short-term personal injuries in road accidents with rehabilitation only. Insurers would arrange and pay for the customer’s rehabilitation, regardless of whether the customer is at fault or not. Cutting cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries could save an estimated £900m from the current annual £2 billion* cost of whiplash claims in the UK
Restrict personal injury lawyers to cases where their expertise is needed. Raising the threshold at which legal costs can be recovered by a lawyer could save £300m in straight-forward cases for minor injuries where lawyers are not necessary
Ban referral fees. A further £200m can be saved annually by banning referral fees for vehicle recovery, car repairs and car hire
Maurice Tulloch, Chairman, Global General Insurance and CEO UK & Ireland General Insurance, Aviva said: “Motor insurance premiums are at the heart of the focus on the cost of living. If the UK is serious about reducing the cost of motor insurance for the long term, then it is clear we have to address the way we compensate minor whiplash, using rehabilitation only to treat genuine, minor injuries.

“We believe that the current system offers financial incentives for personal injury lawyers, claims management companies and fraudsters, which inflates the cost of motor insurance. Aviva’s recommendations for reform would ensure that genuine, minor injuries are treated while further reducing motor insurance costs and combating fraud for the long term.”

Care rather than cash to tackle the volume of whiplash claims

Whiplash claims continue to inflate motor insurance premiums – more than 475,000 whiplash claims were made in 2013 costing around £90 on the average motor insurance premium (ABI).

Analysis from Aviva’s claims data for 2013 shows that 94% of all personal injury claims from a motor accident are for minor whiplash-type injury claims. In France, it is estimated that whiplash accounts for just 3%** of personal injury claims.

Aviva’s report shows that the cost of whiplash claims could be almost halved if short-term, minor whiplash is treated with rehabilitation, not cash payments. For example, Aviva has operated a Whiplash Treatment Scheme which has successfully treated nearly 7,000 people since 2011. Extending such a service – paid for by insurers – to treat all minor whiplash injuries across the UK would remove £900m from claims costs, saving motorists around £32 on the average annual premium.

Maurice said, “Aviva does not believe that the UK has the weakest necks in Europe. The stark difference between the number of whiplash claims made in UK compared with the rest of Europe shows that it is not British necks, but its law and regulation that is weak.

“We are asking the Government to look into our proposed ‘care, not cash’ approach for minor whiplash claims to help minor injury victims get the support and treatment they need, while cutting the cost of motor insurance for all of us.”

Raise the Small Claims Track Limit to £5,000

Aviva is calling for the Ministry of Justice to implement a long overdue increase in the small claims track limit to £5,000, from the current £1,000 level it has remained at since 1999. This would mean that legal costs for claims below £5,000 would not be recoverable by a lawyer, which would save an estimated £11 on the average premium. For every £1 Aviva pays out in personal injury compensation, another 77p in legal fees goes to lawyers.

Claimants who come direct to Aviva to settle a minor injury claim are better off than if represented by a lawyer, although last year only 6% of minor injury claimants who were not at fault settled with Aviva directly. Of these, Aviva paid at least as much in compensation as when the claimant was represented by a third party. However, claimant lawyers can take up to 25% of their client’s damages if they are successful. Claimants who go to the insurer directly keep 100%.

Ban referral fees and curb text pests

Aviva believes that referral fees – paid in exchange for details about accidents so that the garage or replacement vehicle company can pick up billable work – should be banned completely. Doing so will save around £7 on the average policy.

This practice has also led to the unsolicited text messages and phone calls encouraging claims, even for accidents that happened up to three years ago. Aviva’s consumer research highlights that motorists are fed up with this practice: 95% would like to see tighter regulations on how marketing and claims management companies market their services.

Maurice Tulloch continued, “It’s time to put the brake on the UK’s compensation culture: should we continue to compensate minor, short-term injuries with cash, which drives up the cost of insurance for all of us? Or should we help accident victims get better by providing care, such as rehabilitation, while keeping motor insurance affordable for the UK’s 23m*** insured motorists?

“Although premiums have dropped since last year’s civil litigation reforms were introduced, it is clear that if we do not address the excessive numbers of minor injury claims and the escalating costs surrounding these, then premiums will have nowhere to go but up.

“Introducing the reforms proposed by Aviva is a significant challenge but such change brings its own rewards for the UK’s motorists – even more affordable motor insurance.”

Download the Aviva Road to Reform Report July 201 PDF (4.8 MB)

– Ends –

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office: Erik Nelson; 01603 682264; 07989 427086; erik.nelson@aviva.co.uk

Notes to editors:

*Source: Association of British Insurers

**Source: Comité Europeen des Assurances, a pan-European trade body, now Insurance Europe

***Source: Association of British Insurers ‘UK Insurance Key Facts’, September 2013

What drivers think

Aviva’s research of 2,000 UK motorists shows they support reforms to tackle the compensation culture and reduce cost. Survey conducted in May 2014 by Opinion Matters among 2,009 adults who drive, including 204 who have made a personal injury claim.

The changes backed by the majority are:

98% support reforms to take further costs out of the system – 44% said definitely and 54% said possibly depending on what the reforms were.
Two-thirds (64%) expressed a preference for care (rehabilitation) above cash – insurers should provide access to rehabilitation for their injuries, not cash compensation
95% support tighter regulation on how claims management companies and personal injury lawyers market their services

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The company should send actioncivile.com Monday 46,208 enforcement notices from individuals borrowers who claim to their bank account of profits generated by their loan insurance contract, totaling more than € 120 million.

Dozens of boxes containing the remains were carried in transit offices actioncivile. Com to the office of the nearest post, said a journalist from AFP. The approach is mainly based on a decision of the State Council issued April 23, 2012, which devoted, at the request of the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, the principle of restitution to policyholders of at least part profits on the loan insurance contracts.

Loan insurance is contracted along with the purchase of a home loan or a consumer credit. It covers non-repayment of the loan in case of death, disability or incapacity. This insurance is not required legally, unlike auto insurance, for example, but the banks are a prerequisite for the validation of a loan. Today, banks are giving nothing back to insured contributions they make to this title.

Mediation or legal action
Launched in May, the site offers actioncivile.com these individuals constitute, an online dossier supporting the notice, with a form letter generated automatically using the information provided.

In the letter sent Monday, the special offer to the bank mediation. If one or more establishments accept the principle, it will be done by actioncivile.com on behalf of these individuals through a prior agreement.

If one or more banks refuse mediation, individual borrowers will assign their lender before the district court attached to their home. The standard form generated by actioncivile.com, and all the documents will be forwarded to the registry of the district court by the site. It is therefore not strictly speaking an action group, because in case of judicial proceedings, each individual borrower would individually assert his rights.

More than 114,000 people registered on the site
The period covered is from 1996 to 2012. Anyone who has held a borrower on all or part of this period is eligible for this insurance policy approach, said Jeremy Oinino, president of actioncivile. Com.

The site does not charge for all of these approaches, but will charge 15% of any amount refunded to the outcome of the mediation or the district court (the borrower contractually accepts this principle from the outset).

Monday, 114,112 people were registered on the site to request an accounting of profits made ​​through the premiums for credit insurance contract.

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For the fifth consecutive year, Combined Insurance, a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health and life insurance products, and an ACE Group company, has been named to Ward’s 50, a list of top performing insurance companies that have achieved outstanding results in the areas of safety, consistency and financial performance over a five year period. Since 2000, Combined Insurance has made the list 14 times.

Each year, the Ward Group, a leading provider of benchmarking and best practices studies for insurance companies, analyzes nearly 800 U.S.-based life-health insurance companies to identify the top performers. Each company must pass all safety and consistency tests and achieve superior performance over the five years analyzed to be awarded the Ward’s 50 Seal and be named to the top 50 list.

“As a company, we are focused on building, which means continually building on the respect, trust, and satisfaction we earn from our policyholders each day,” said Brad Bennett, president of Combined Insurance. “Being recognized as a top performing life-health insurance company on Ward’s 50 again this year underscores our commitment to meet the growing coverage needs of our customers.”

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Amerisure’s Board of Directors announced Gregory J. Crabb succeeds Richard F. Russell as President and CEO of Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company effective today. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company represents the insurance operations of Amerisure Mutual Holdings, Inc. Russell will remain as President and CEO of Amerisure Holding Companies until his planned retirement by year end. At that time, it is anticipated that Crabb will assume Russell’s remaining leadership responsibilities.

Crabb joined Amerisure in 2008 as Chief Administrative Officer with accountability for Business Process, Claims, Human Resources, Information Technology, Internal Audit and Legal. In addition, for the past three years, Crabb has served as Chair of Amerisure’s Operational Governance Committee which is responsible for Amerisure’s day to day operations.

“Through the years, Greg has demonstrated his understanding and commitment to Amerisure’s strategy and culture. His ability to work with the Board and his peers is exceptional,” said James B. Nicholson, Chairman of the Board, Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company and the Amerisure Companies. Russell added that Crabb “has proven his leadership capabilities in his role as CAO and has developed a highly talented leadership team that has made significant improvement in our operations.”

“I am truly excited about this opportunity and it is a privilege to lead our more than 700 dedicated employees,” said Crabb. “Looking ahead, the Amerisure team will stay true to who we are while also continuing to enhance the exceptional value we provide to our Partners for Success® agencies and policyholders.”

Prior to joining Amerisure, Crabb was a Vice President in the Middle Market & Specialty Commercial division of The Hartford based in Hartford, Conn. During his tenure, he also served as a Vice President in the Claims department. Before joining The Hartford in 1997, he was a practicing attorney.

Crabb received a BA (Honors) from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, and a Juris Doctorate from Emory University, Atlanta.

Crabb and his wife, Cheryl, have three daughters and reside in metro Detroit. In addition, he currently serves as a Board Member of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in Lansing, Mich.

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An unprecedented grouping of leaders from across the UK financial services industry are warning of an impending consumer finance crisis unless action is taken to change people’s attitudes to saving.

The industry grouping, which has created the Savings and Investment Policy project1, (‘TSIP’, ‘the Project’), has this week published a review entitled, ‘Our Financial Future’, setting out how the UK is not only failing to save enough for day-to-day needs, but that it will reach a tipping point in 2035 when those entering retirement will be increasingly less-well-off than earlier generations. As a result, people will face substantially reduced living standards for the remainder of their retired lives.

However, the Savings and Investment Policy project believes there is a once in a generation opportunity to change people’s attitudes to saving and develop long-term policies to avert this looming social and economic crisis. The changes in the recent Budget give savers greater flexibility and choice. Those freedoms are very welcome but they do not address the fundamental issue that people are not saving enough money, early enough to fund their future.

This is the first time that the financial services industry has spoken with a single voice and worked with organisations that represent the consumers’ interests to create solutions that meet their needs and aspirations for the future. It highlights the significance of the issue and the belief that urgent action is required.
The Project, which is being managed by TISA2 (the financial services industry membership association), wants to stimulate discussion and debate about the role saving plays in securing people’s financial future and also to underline how saving ensures growth, stability and prosperity for the UK as a whole. It will develop strategic proposals for new savings and investments policies to help rebuild consumer confidence and trust in long term savings. Its findings, conclusions and recommendations will be used to work with Government, key political parties, consumer groups and regulators to present a consistent view.

The Project seeks to develop strategic proposals on how to enhance consumer financial well-being and will be ready to share these across the political parties by September 2014. It will then start looking at how to help people change their financial behaviours so they can achieve greater financial security.

Tony Stenning, Chairman of the Savings and Investment Policy project and Head of UK Retail at BlackRock says: “Fear, confusion and a lack of understanding is exacerbating this problem through inactivity, apathy and disengagement. Today’s pensioners are benefiting from the ingrained savings habits and more generous pensions of the past – but the future is going to be different.

“Over the past 25 years both the State and employers have had to significantly reduce the levels of income that people can expect in retirement. This means people need to save more just to maintain the same standard of living as their parents, meanwhile given increasing longevity their retirement pot will also have to work much harder to support their longer lives. The generations impacted most are those aged 35 or younger as they face rising housing costs, less generous pensions and are saving less. If nothing changes are they destined to benefit from longer, healthier lives, yet suffer financial hardship in old age?”

The Project group believes that the UK is facing a savings dilemma that will have a profound impact on people who have failed to provide adequately for their own financial well-being. Indeed, the so-called ‘baby boomers’ will be the last generation to enjoy financial security during their lifetime, especially in retirement, unless behaviours change and action is taken. People under 35 will have only two-thirds of the time to save twice as much money with which to provide the retirement income their grandparents enjoyed.

It is often assumed that people will simply work until they are 75 years of age, but this carries significant social consequences with younger people competing against an older, more experienced workforce unless there was meaningful economic expansion. People can take steps now to save more, accept a more modest retirement or indeed work longer. Longevity is a blessing; it should not become a burden.

Project members want to demonstrate that saving makes it possible to buy a house, go on holiday, plan for retirement and buy that luxury item. The UK’s debt culture must be turned into a savings culture – it must be higher up the social, economic and political agenda. This is an issue that impacts society as whole, which is why there must be a unified response from the financial services industry, politicians from all the major parties and consumer groups to demystify savings and develop truly long-term policies for generations to come.

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The French savings rate fell slightly in late 2013 , according to the barometer of household savings released this morning by the Banque de France . Estimates of the institution on the 1st quarter of 2014 show an improvement but it primarily benefits the life insurance euros or PEL . Collection passbooks and CEL is almost zero in the first three months of the year .

Radius investments, the product of the moment is life insurance as confirmed by statistics on household savings (1) in the fourth quarter 2013 and first quarter of 2014 published by the Bank of France this morning. Statistics come early 2014 and late 2013 initiated confirm movement : a sharp decline in flows to savings accounts (including Booklet A and LDD ) and Housing Savings Account ( CEL ) for a collection of life insurance generally stable despite the inevitable yo-yo effect .

1st quarter 2014 ( 2 ), the Bank of France reported a net inflow of € 13.2 billion to life insurance carriers euros, by far the largest collection all investments combined. For comparison , in 2012 , the year of raising the ceiling of Booklet A, passbooks and CEL have drained collection ( 46400000000 ) twice that of life insurance in euros (23, 9 ) . A trend that was clearly reversed in 2013 , the same flow being negative for books on the second half of 2013 according to the Bank of France . The year 2014 registered for time in continuity since 2013 the Bank of France estimated collection booklets and CEL only 0.4 billion over three months.
PEL and current accounts increased

The Q1 figures also show a strong resurgence of interest in what the Bank of France categorizes as ” contractual savings ” which brings savings plan (PEL ) and popular savings plan ( PEP) ( 3). The collection is estimated 3.9 billion in 2014, against 2.9 in the fourth quarter of 2013 or 2.7 to 3 .

More surprisingly, after the life insurance, the most important in the first quarter of 2014 flows were recorded for deposits, that is to say mainly current accounts. Flows are positive with inflows of € 6.1 billion, a sharp increase over the last three months of 2013 ( 1.7 billion).
French savings rate fell slightly in late 2013

In terms of stocks , in the last quarter of 2013 , life insurance euro remains fairly far the preferred placement of French ( 1294000000 ) to booklets and CEL (616 billion) and ” unquoted shares and other equity “( 610000000000 ) .

More generally, the Bank of France confirms a decline in savings French end of 2013, but was not himself a fall. Thus, the household savings rate has fallen by 0.5 percentage points in the last three months of 2013 , to 15.2% , against 15.7 % in the previous quarter. The French average is also significantly above the rate in the UK (about 5% ), Spain ( 10%) and in Italy , dating back to 13%. In major European countries , the Germans are the most efficient , with a stable average of 16 %. Savings rates Q1 2014 have not yet been disclosed.

(1) The Bank of France means households particular and individual entrepreneurs. It also takes into account these statistics non-profit institutions serving households .

(2) The figures given for 2014 are provisional.

(3 ) Reading statistics Banque de France in January and February on the ELP and the PEP shows that the outstanding PEL is up for several months and that PEP has increased from November to December 2013, down slightly in January and February. This increase in contractual savings in the first quarter of 2014 is probably primarily due to the ELP , which also has an outstanding almost 9 times that of PEP .

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The life events have an impact on the behavior of insurance consumers. Insurers to capture these moments to take stock of current contracts.

A number of events, including family-related , promote contact between the client and the insurer. These are key moments anniversary, birth of a child , a move, a change of occupation , vehicle creates new needs among the insured.

To express closeness , the insurer or intermediary must anticipate these moments and do not hesitate to make regular contact with the client. It will appreciate this proactive approach intended to provide him the answers he needs .

Suffice to say that the sinews of war is customer knowledge .
For Maif , which received for the tenth time the 1st prize of the customer relationship in the insurance sector, it is important to develop this pro- activity. “Our corporate culture is based on the quality of service to our members ,” says Jean- Marc Willmann , a Managing Director in the Directorate of Operations and Relationship Maif members . “We want to take the initiative to contact our members when family circumstances change , to achieve a balance of their contracts. We train our employees to adopt a clear position in relation to the shareholder, based on listening , words, intonation, behavior … For example the phone, we insist on the collection of accurate information so that if relay to another counselor , a member does not have to repeat history. In addition to daily managerial animation is centered on this relationship. ”

This pro- activity, increasingly adopted by insurers can anticipate contact with the insured before the disaster, and limits the rate of departure.

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Social networks disrupt relations between insured and insurers , forcing them to rethink their organization and dedicated teams before, making them into the era of immediacy.

Insurers have realized that they had any interest in being present on social networks (Twitter , Facebook, Blogs, Forums … ) , which can engage a speech live . ” Insurers must be present where customers who spend more time on social networks . However, they must manage ‘ inconcordances ‘ time : the insurer is in a long time validation process , so that the customer requires immediate response time . Insurers will have to find a compromise to adapt their processes , under penalty of discontent ” , says Jean -Luc Gambey , Partner, Molitor Consult.

This reactivity at any time impacts the internal organization of companies. ” The issue is not yet fully perceived by the entire profession. Insurance companies will have to provide a work environment in line with demand, perhaps with extended time slots . To do this they need to recruit sales force , “said Eric Veron , director of insurance business in France , at Accenture .

Today, organizations are beginning to fall into place in order to understand customer knowledge through social networks. Thus, Maif as in many insurers , a team is responsible for ensuring that what happens on social networks . ” This mission saver allows us to gain experience and responsiveness to these new modes of communication ,” says Jean- Marc Willmann , Deputy Director Operations and Relationship Maif members . Patrick Durand, Senior Manager at Solucom , ” insurers must ensure their e -reputation , to react in a crisis or conveyed on social networks negative image .” The speed and magnitude of the resonance effect have nothing to do with the standards of recent years.

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The banking industry does like to obsess about itself.

Perhaps in recent times, it has had every reason to do so. One of many current obsessions is the performance of investment banks’ market businesses, generally known as FICC or fixed income, currencies and commodities.

The reason for this particular obsession is clear. The segment is not performing well at a time when regulatory pressures, particularly higher capital ratios, are making it ever more difficult to achieve satisfactory returns.

According to a March 28 note from Christian Bolu, a bank analyst at Credit Suisse, FICC revenues “are now down 45% from 2009 levels, primarily led by weaker G10 rates and commodities revenues (both down some 65% from 2009 levels).”

That trend has broadly continued into the first quarter of 2014 as SNL Financial’s survey of published results shows. Income from FICC in the prior-year quarter was higher and the great white hope — equities — has not surged overall to compensate. Morgan Stanley analysts reported April 16 that FICC trading revenues in the first quarter were down between 15% and 21% year over year; the former figure was treated as encouraging because it showed a market share gain. Even within typically volatile markets, these are not great figures and as our charts show, very few banks are coming through the FICC experience unscathed.

Yet as Andreas Venditti, a bank analyst at Vontobel, pointed out to SNL, the FICC segment embraces a number of often completely unrelated businesses. Some are faring distinctly better than others.

This results in the strikingly different individual income performances of the banks that have reported first-quarter results. According to SNL figures, Credit Suisse Group AG clearly lagged its U.S. peers, and Venditti expected that UBS AG would do the same. He said: “In the first quarter, the commodities business was relatively good compared to others. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are strong there, for example, and they were somewhat better than others. For the Swiss banks, commodities is just not an important business.”

“FICC is not just one business,” Bolu said. “In the first quarter, those banks which are more heavily weighted towards the rates business, emerging markets and forex did worse.” Here he named JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. as suffering. He also emphasized the current strength of commodities and credit businesses, highlighting the performance of Morgan Stanley with “Goldman Sachs coming in somewhere between the two groups.”

To complicate things further, each individual house has its own characteristics within FICC. For example, Morgan Stanley is “recovering from a lower base,” Bolu said. As SNL’s figures show, its FICC results have been very volatile in recent years.

The upshot is a complex picture. Yet at its most basic, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. look to have outperformed the FICC competition year over year and quarter over quarter in terms of income from equities and fixed income — or at least, to have improved on previous figures when others were seeing significant declines.

Nevertheless, the outlook is poor for 2014 as a whole. The first quarter, traditionally the strongest because companies seek to transact and refinance, tends to set the tenor for the year, hence investment bankers like to insist at the start of the year on the strength of their forthcoming or pending or possible M&A deals — the so-called pipeline. Enthusiasm is thought to engender enthusiasm. Investment banking fees in the first quarter did offer some hope to support this tack, notably at Goldman Sachs.

A key question is whether the FICC business is undergoing secular change and, if so, whether the market is profitable enough to support the number of players and the capital committed. Returns are the critical issue, and they depend upon FICC revenues that continue to decline. Bolu pointed out that G10 rates (down 65% in 2013 compared to 2009), G10 credit (down 38% over the period) and commodities (down 64%) are driving the shrinkage.

Received wisdom says the best place to be in such circumstances is in strong market positions — to rank No. 1, 2 or 3 in rates or foreign exchange, for example. Yet even market leaders suffer if their key markets turn against them, as the first-quarter experience of JPMorgan and Citi shows.

“In general it feels like the market consensus at the quarter beginning was for a growth story which didn’t transpire,” Marianne Lake, JPMorgan Chase CFO, told analysts April 11 pointing to a “challenging environment and lower client volumes.”

A turning point for FICC in general could be at hand. Questions have been raised in particular about the European investment banks’ ability to sustain their competitive position in FICC given market, capital and regulatory pressures.

As remarked, Credit Suisse is unlikely to be the worst first-quarter performer. Barclays Plc admitted April 24 that its FICC business saw “a significant year on year reduction” in income “reflecting difficult market conditions,” and it promised “further actions” to improve returns. It is expected to reduce significantly its commodities business — an area where Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have also announced cuts.

European banks’ market share had fallen to 36% at the end of 2013 from 43% at 2010-end. All banks are cutting back on resources committed to FICC, but European banks are of necessity reducing more strongly.

“Resource allocation to FICC has fallen sharply — both headcount and FICC trading assets are down by between 20% and 25% from post-crisis peak levels. With respect to the competitive landscape, the U.S. commercial banks now dominate the industry and hold the top 3 market shares,” Bolu said.

All banks will surely look to reduce assets and capital committed to FICC. This might involve “capital light” models whereby banks aim to serve their clients first and foremost, as Credit Suisse has hinted. Probably, it means that there will be less liquidity available for market-makers and that investors will thus face higher trading risk.

Something surely has to give. Yet it does look as if the European investment banks are destined to cut further and faster now.

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The reinsurer Scor French recorded a 8.5% increase in the amount of premiums up for renewal on April 1. These relate to 318M euros, or about 10% of P & C premiums

April 1 renewals allow Scor Global P & C 8.5% gain in gross written premiums. Renewals in property and liability account for 10 % of the portfolio of Scor , and are mainly on the United States, Japan and India. The latter two markets, Scor announcement ” a significant premium growth , coupled with an early overall profitability in line with objectives .”

However, there are disparities between areas. Thus, Japan and India are two very different paths. Japan begins to digest the impact of disasters in 2011 and ” non-proportional in Cat damage rates have returned to pre- Tohoku (2011) levels,” said the statement the group. While India is experiencing a revival with a sharp rise in processed agricultural specialties and credit risks that open . This is also the case in the Chinese market , according to Scor .
In the lines of ” Optimal Dynamics ”

Question profitability , the reinsurer is based on the rate increases to increases in direct insurers. 72 % of renewed being proportional reinsurance portfolio , the effect of increase is mechanical. “Thus, a slight increase in rates proportional reinsurance (+0.3%) partially offset the 8.3% decline rate in non-proportional reinsurance , including Cat damage ,” explains the press release.

With these renewals, Scor be announced in the lines of his plan “Optimal Dynamics ” . The next renewal will take place in July and concern specifically North American markets. Finally, Scor will hold its general meeting on May 6 .

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Despite these losses, many UK businesses are still failing to identify the link between climatic conditions and their own revenue streams. Yet, the weather does not even have to be extreme in order to have a negative impact on a company’s cash flow. Sometimes it is enough for it to be uncommon, unseasonal or merely unexpected to generate a decline in revenue.

In the past, many businesses did not know how to protect their profits from unfavorable weather conditions. However, there is now an increasing awareness and interest in weather risk management tools, as provided by AGCS subsidiary Allianz Risk Transfer (ART), which enable companies to hedge this risk, similar to the way they might do with interest rate movements and foreign currency exchange rates.

Weather risk management offers a new avenue for companies to create customized responses to the specific weather variables which can affect their business. Using independent weather data, these products are linked to actual fluctuations against pre-agreed weather indices which, when certain criteria are met, can trigger a payment. Crucially, unlike with traditional insurance products, no physical damage is required for a payment to be made to the affected policyholder. Measurable variables such as temperature, rainfall, sunshine, snowfall and wind form the basis for these risk indices, so a quick payment is triggered automatically when measurements prove certain pre-defined levels for the selected weather variable(s) have been reached.

“However ‘bad’ the weather is, it is no longer a good excuse for disappointing earnings,” explains Karsten Berlage, Global Head of Weather Risk Management at ART. “Stakeholders are increasingly aware of this. While companies cannot be expected to control the weather they are now expected to better control the risk of its financial impact. This can be achieved through weather risk management solutions.”

Availability and access to weather data have improved dramatically over the past decade, further strengthening the argument for strategic weather risk management and enabling protection to be structured even in remote locations around the globe.

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Strong links between unexpected weather patterns and company performance.
Bad weather “no longer a good excuse” for missed sales targets.
Pre-Christmas retail season one of many examples of key weather risk.
Annual costs from routine weather variance1 can triple those from the headline-grabbing global nat cat losses.
Growing demand in specialist products to offset losses from unexpected weather, but many businesses still unaware of options for tackling the challenge

Volatile weather activity is increasing around the world as evidenced by recent major events, such as typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or flood Cleopatra in Sardinia. Yet, while extreme events may capture the headlines, minor fluctuations in expected weather can have big impacts on business performance across a wide range of industries.

In its new report ‘The Weather Business – How companies can protect against increasing weather volatility’ which focuses on the growing importance of weather risks for businesses, industrial insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS) highlights the economic impact of fluctuating weather conditions and how companies can protect themselves, using new approaches to ‘weather risk management’.

According to the report, the economic impact of increasing everyday weather volatility far exceeds the already huge sums annually associated with natural catastrophes. AGCS estimates that the impact of routine weather variation on the European Union’s economy could total as much as €406 billion (£346 billion /$561 billion) a year. As a comparison, during 2012, there were 905 natural catastrophes worldwide, 93 percent of which were weather-related disasters, costing US$170 billion2. And what’s more, the direct cost of weather volatility around the world is increasing significantly. According to Allianz, insurers have paid out US$70 billion globally for damages from extreme weather events every year for the last three years alone. Back in the 1980s, “only” US$15 billion a year was paid out for such claims.

In many countries, retail is one sector which is heavily exposed to poor weather, especially in the all-important pre-Christmas period when retail footfall traditionally increases significantly. Other sectors which can be badly affected include the agri-food industry, construction, distribution, energy, tourism and transport.

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Allianz and IBM concluded an agreement in Munich regarding support for the operation of Allianz’s data centers. IBM will be acting as the global provider of IT operations services for Allianz with effect from April 1, 2014, supporting the transformation of the company’s global IT infrastructure.

Allianz currently has 140 data centers worldwide and plans to consolidate and reduce these to six data centers. The global partnership with IBM covers IT-related infrastructure processes relating to technical operations. The aim is to create a global IT infrastructure that is robust in its ability to withstand natural catastrophes and disasters and that meets the very highest requirements in terms of quality and ease of use. The program also aims to further increase data security levels. Allianz expects to have completed the transfer to the new IT infrastructure and its operation in full by the end of 2017.

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• Following a review of Catlin Underwriting Agencies – Syndicate 2003 under our revised Lloyd’s Syndicate Assessment criteria, we are raising our assessment to ‘4+’ from ‘4’.
• The revision predominantly reflects our view of the syndicate’s very strong business risk profile and very strong enterprise risk management (ERM) framework, offset by its high risk position.
• The stable outlook on Catlin reflects our expectation that the syndicate will maintain its very strong competitive position, supported by its leadership position at Lloyd’s, and strong profitability to support an upper adequate financial risk profile.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it revised upward its Lloyd’s Syndicate Assessment (LSA) on Catlin Underwriting Agencies – Syndicate 2003 (Catlin) to ‘4+’ from ‘4’. The outlook is stable.

We revised the assessment upward as we consider Catlin to have one of the strongest franchises within the Lloyd’s Market. In addition, we have a very strong opinion of Catlin’s strategic and enterprise risk management. Under the new criteria, this provides a one-notch uplift to the ‘4’ anchor.

We attribute no additional notches beyond Syndicate 2003’s stand-alone credit assessment for its core status within the Catlin Group. The syndicate is the cornerstone of Catlin’s global operating structure and still contributes 60% of the group’s total premium.

Our assessment of Catlin’s very strong business risk profile is based on its intermediate industry and country risk assessment and a very strong competitive position. Catlin’s industry and country risk exposure is well-diversified across the global property/casualty (P/C) reinsurance sector. It also operates in a number of primary insurance markets, of which the most material are the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. For the purposes of our industry and country risk analysis, we view the syndicate’s subscription business written at Lloyd’s as reinsurance. In our opinion, the risk profiles are similar.

We view Catlin’s competitive position as very strong, based on its long history of success in the Lloyd’s market, the variety of products it offers to its clients, and its international platform. The latter should help the syndicate to continue to manage the cycle effectively and provides strong access to new business. Catlin Syndicate 2003 produces about 60% of the group’s premium income and is the largest syndicate at Lloyd’s. Catlin is a recognized leader in numerous business classes in the Lloyd’s market, generating a significant market share in several classes. The syndicate has consistently written over 7% of total market premium in recent years. We forecast that overall gross premium at the syndicate will grow by about 5% annually in 2013-2015.

We assess Catlin’s capital and earnings as strong, based on the capital requirements Lloyd’s imposes on the syndicate. Catlin has delivered strong results historically that have been broadly in line with the Lloyd’s Market average. The syndicate’s five-year (2008-2012) weighted-average combined (loss and expense) ratio is 95.8% and its return on revenue (ROR) is 9%. Reserves have been stable or have exceeded the amount required (enabling the syndicate to release the excess) in each of the past nine years.

Our base-case scenario anticipates combined ratios of less than 95% in 2013-2015, assuming average historical catastrophe loss experience. We also expect the underlying underwriting performance, measured by the attritional loss ratio, to remain strong in the low 50% range. In the same period, we expect annual ROR to be about 10%.

In our opinion, Catlin exhibits a high risk profile, primarily based on its catastrophe risk exposure, which could lead to high capital and earnings volatility. Risks to capital are heightened as Catlin’s capital requirements tend to increase every year because of business growth. Catastrophe losses represent an average 9% of annual net premium earned. Although catastrophe exposure is still a material risk, Catlin has exhibited less earnings volatility from catastrophe losses than most of its peers.

Financial flexibility is viewed as adequate. Catlin Group’s financial leverage (23%) and coverage (5x) levels support the current assessment. We expect this to continue through 2015.

We regard Catlin’s enterprise risk management (ERM) and management and governance practices as very strong, and therefore assess its stand-alone credit profile (SACP) as one notch higher than the anchor. Our assessment of ERM as very strong reflects our positive view of the risk management culture, risk controls, and strategic and emerging risk management of the group, including the syndicate. Our assessment of the group’s economic capital model, which we consider to be good, also supports our assessment of its ERM. We anticipate that the syndicate’s ERM capabilities will enable it to continue to optimize capital allocation and earnings and enhance its risk-return profile.

Catlin’s management and governance is satisfactory, in our opinion. We attribute this to Catlin management’s substantial expertise and experience, conservative risk tolerances, and consistency of strategy across the group. Catlin has successfully built on its strong trading history in new markets, while optimizing cycle management and managing earnings volatility.

The stable outlook balances Catlin’s high risk position against its very strong competitive position, which we expect to be sustained by its leadership position, active cycle management, and diversification strategy.

We might lower the assessment if Catlin underperforms the Lloyd’s Market, if there is a significant shortfall in capital adequacy at the group, or if we have a less positive view of Catlin’s leadership position at Lloyd’s. Failures in the ERM framework could also lead to a downward revision in our assessment of ERM, and hence the LSA.

Analysing and mitigating the effects of climate change, such as floods and windstorms, have become pressing issues for risk managers, according to Gaëtan Lefèvre, chairman of the Belgian risk management association BELRIM.

Gaëtan is the moderator of a workshop on climate change at the Risk Management Forum of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA), which will begin on 29 September in Maastricht.

He says, “We see how natural catastrophes are changing, becoming more severe. The problem is moving from the scientific understanding of what is happening to the climate and translating it into a risk management application in business. But it is a pressing issue for risk managers to analyse their company’s exposures and what mitigation measures are possible.”

In Europe, the main climate related risks are from floods and windstorms, Gaëtan explains. Flood is especially relevant in Belgium, and in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands even some companies find it very difficult to get flood insurance.

For most companies, the business interruption consequences of these perils are likely to be more serious financially than physical damage, but highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals can have major losses to their property or from pollution.

Even without the influence of climate change, the floods in Thailand and earthquake and tsunami in Japan, both in 2011, really made businesses aware of interdependences, how complex the links are between businesses, and how widespread the losses can be when something like this happens, Gaëtan comments.

The workshop at the Forum will begin with a presentation of climate change science by Professor Lucka Kajfez Bogata, Climatology Professor at the University of Ljubljana. Professor Bogata has been a member of working groups in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

There will then be an introduction to ‘cindynics’, known as the science of danger, as a method for approaching the multiple interactions that create the climate and its relationship with human activity.

Insurers will consider two aspects of climate change: first, how they see it as a risk and how as an opportunity and integrate that into their policies, and second, how it affects their views on insurability.