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IAG seeks bids for Malaysian JV; Flipkart enters Indian insurance market

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

M&A developments

* Insurance Australia Group Ltd. and Malaysia's AMMB Holdings Bhd. are reportedly seeking bids for their joint venture AmGeneral Insurance Bhd.

* Japan's Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. acquired a stake in Financial. Life. Plan. Co. Ltd., or F.L.P., with the latter now a unit of the Japanese insurer. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

* Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. is reviewing strategic options, including a sale, for its ownership of Netherlands-based insurer VIVAT NV.

* U.K.-based Prudential PLC is eyeing acquisitions and distribution partnerships with lenders in Asia. In response to reports of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.'s interest in acquiring Prudential's Asia business, Nic Nicandrou, CEO of the company's Asia operations, said the insurer has not received any offers.

* BNP Paribas SA is reportedly considering selling part of its stake in India's SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. over the coming quarters.

* China's HNA Group Co. Ltd. received regulatory approval for its plan to divest from its 50% stake in a troubled Chinese life insurance joint venture, Shin Kong- HNA Life Insurance Co. Ltd., to Shenzhen Qianhai Heungkong Financial Holdings Group and Shanghai Guanpu Real Estate.

New ventures, expansion and more

* MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. formed a corporate venture capital company called MS&AD Ventures Inc. The company will start operations with US$40 million in capital.

* South Korea's Hanwha General Insurance Co. Ltd. plans to set up an online insurance joint venture with SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

* Berkley Insurance Asia CEO Shasi Gangadharan said the company is looking to expand in Japan, potentially taking advantage of a growing market for specialty insurance.

* Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. partnered with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd. to offer tailored insurance solutions for all mobile phones being sold on its platform.

* U.K.-based Markel International Ltd. said its Mumbai office is now open and actively writing business.

* Reliance Health Insurance, a unit of India-based Reliance Capital Ltd., received final approval from the country's insurance regulator to start operations. The unit will begin operations by end-2018.

In other news

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India reportedly favors allowing 100% foreign ownership in the country's insurance intermediaries.

* Insurance broker Aon PLC is creating one Asia-Pacific unit by combining its regional commercial risk solutions, health solutions and affinity businesses.

* Aon PLC's latest Global Catastrophe Recap report shows natural catastrophes across the globe in September, including Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines, Hong Kong and China, as well as Typhoon Jebi, which led to significant wind and flood damage in several prefectures in Japan, caused tens of billions of dollars in economic losses.

* A Swiss Re AG study shows that the so-called health protection gap in 12 Asian markets reached US$1.826 trillion in 2017, with 40 million households going without needed medical care to avoid financial stress. Among the 12 Asian markets surveyed, Thailand has the lowest health protection gap at US$6 billion, which was attributed to its subsidized universal healthcare program.

* Hong Kong-based activist shareholder Argyle Street Management Ltd. is pushing Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. to off-load its large stock portfolio and use the proceeds to buy back ¥1 trillion to ¥1.5 trillion of its own shares.

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