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Oct 10, 2012

Battered India insurers need more than foreign funds

MUMBAI/HONG KONG, Oct 10 (Reuters) – India’s proposal to
allow more foreign investment in its $41 billion insurance
business provides a lifeline for an industry starved of capital
and squeezed by regulation – but it may not pass parliament and
it may not be enough.

India’s insurance business was full of promise when it was
thrown open to competition in 2000, but has instead been brought
to its knees by losses, regulatory change, uncertainty and a
sharp slowdown in economic growth.

Sep 10, 2012

Asia’s insurers beef up as bankers face the axe

HONG KONG, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Slowing economic growth
across much of Asia has failed to crimp expansion plans by the
region’s insurance companies, even as the rest of the financial
industry slashes jobs.

While banks and brokerages cut costs and jobs in Asia amid
falling corporate confidence and plunging deal volumes, insurers
are riding the wave of rising individual wealth across the
region.

Jul 27, 2012

AIA first-half value of new business better than expected

HONG KONG, July 27 (Reuters) – AIA Group Ltd,
Asia’s No.3 insurer, reported a bigger-than-expected increase in
the value of new business in the first half as the company
expanded sales in the region’s fast-growing developing
economies, nudging its Hong Kong shares higher.

Value of new business (VONB), a key metric in the insurance
sector that measures the future profitability of new policies,
rose 28 percent to $512 million in the first half, while margins
climbed 6.6 percentage points to 42.6 percent. AIA’s net profit
gained 10 percent to $1.44 billion.

Jul 24, 2012

China to let insurers boost PE investment-draft rules

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, July 24 (Reuters) – China plans to
double the amount insurers can invest in private equity and
allow them to trade financial derivatives both at home and
abroad as part of efforts to broaden their investment scope,
according to a set of draft regulations seen by Reuters.

Insurers will be permitted to invest up to 10 percent of
their total assets in private equity, compared with 5 percent
previously, according to rules drafted by the China Insurance
Regulatory Commission (CIRC). That would potentially unleash
about $50 billion of fresh capital into unlisted firms.

Jul 22, 2012

Insight: Flood risk rampant across Asia’s factory zones

BANGKOK/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Global insurance companies are struggling to get a grip on their flood exposure in Asia nearly a year after one of the world’s costliest disasters hit Thailand, with executives fearing an even worse event looms in the region.

Some firms learnt from the Thai floods, with new defenses built to protect multi-billion dollar industrial estates in the country. Insurance premiums have also gone up, but factory construction in flood-prone areas remains rampant across Asia.

Jul 22, 2012

Flood risk rampant across Asia’s factory zones

BANGKOK/HONG KONG July 23 (Reuters) – Global insurance
companies are struggling to get a grip on their flood exposure
in Asia nearly a year after one of the world’s costliest
disasters hit Thailand, with ex e cutives fearing an even worse
event looms in the region.

Some firms learnt from the Thai floods, with new defences
built to protect multi-billion dollar industrial estates in the
country. Insurance premiums have also gone up, but factory
construction in flood-prone areas remains rampant across Asia.

Jul 15, 2012

AIA, Manulife crunch numbers as final ING bids loom

HONG KONG, July 16 (Reuters) – A wide range of suitors, from
the son of Asia’s richest man and a former rugby player in New
Zealand to more established players including AIA Group
and Manulife Financial Corp, are expected to
submit binding bids on Monday for ING Groep’s Asia
insurance business in a deal that could top $7 billion.

ING is selling its Asian life insurance and its asset
management units in the region as it needs to repay bail-out
funds it received from the Dutch government during the 2008
financial crisis. Since the bail-out, ING has sold 15.2 billion
euros ($18.6 billion) worth of assets around the world.

Jul 4, 2012

Global insurers expanding in Southeast Asia turn to Cambodia

HONG KONG, July 4 (Reuters) – Two global life insurers are
opening offices in Cambodia, one of Southeast Asia’s few
untapped insurance markets, as they strengthen their foothold in
a region that could eventually be a key driver of revenue
growth.

Britain’s No. 1 insurer Prudential said on Monday it
won in-principle approval from the Cambodian government to open
a wholly foreign-owned life insurance operation. The
announcement came within a week of Canada’s top insurer Manulife
saying it would set up its country office in Phnom Penh.

Jun 4, 2012

Analysis: Chinese drivers pose fresh risks for foreign insurers

HONG KONG (Reuters) – “People like us who buy Ferraris don’t care too much about insurance because we buy cars for speeding,” said Li, in his twenties and the son of a Pearl River Delta factory owner, as he took delivery of a new 5 million yuan ($787,500) 458 Spider, his fourth red Ferrari. “If we crash, we just throw them away.”

Drivers like Li, who gave only his family name, illustrate the challenges that big global insurers such as Allianz (ALVG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Chartis face as they move further into China under new rules allowing foreign firms to offer a full range of insurance products in the world’s largest car market.

Jun 4, 2012

Chinese drivers pose fresh risks for foreign insurers

HONG KONG, June 5 (Reuters) – “People like us who buy
Ferraris don’t care too much about insurance because we buy cars
for speeding,” said Li, in his twenties and the son of a Pearl
River Delta factory owner, as he took delivery of a new 5
million yuan ($787,500) 458 Spider, his fourth red Ferrari. “If
we crash, we just throw them away.”

Drivers like Li, who gave only his family name, illustrate
the challenges that big global insurers such as Allianz
(ALVG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and Chartis face as they move further
into China under new rules allowing foreign firms to offer a
full range of insurance products in the world’s largest car
market.

    • About Clare

      "I am based in New York and write about IPOs and wealth management. I was formerly based in San Francisco, where I wrote about tech companies."
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