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Australian bushfires insurance losses mount; Allianz opens China holding company

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.

Australia bushfires, Philippine volcano eruption woes

* The Insurance Council of Australia said insurance losses related to bushfires that have burnt huge swaths of the southeastern part of the country have reached A$1.34 billion, much higher than its prior estimate of A$939 million.

* Youi Pty. Ltd. (Australia)'s estimated gross losses, excluding potential reinsurance recoveries, from bushfires in Australia is between A$25 million and A$40 million.

* The Philippine government is set to relaunch bidding for a one-year program to insure public assets from natural catastrophes. This comes after the January 12 eruption of the Taal Volcano, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Deals, expansions and more

* Woori Financial Group Inc. did not participate in the preliminary bidding round for the South Korean unit of Prudential Financial Inc., The Korea Herald reported.

* Electronic commerce company Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. co-founder Sachin Bansal has acquired DHFL General Insurance Ltd. for 1 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times reported.

* Allianz Group officially opened its fully owned insurance holding company in China, the first one of its type in the country's market, Insurance Business reported.

In other news

* Nippon Export & Investment Insurance signed a reinsurance agreement with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. to share risk on overseas investment insurance.

* Malaysia's RHB Islamic Bank Bhd. decided to discontinue its bancatakaful agreement with Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd., effective July 31.

* Credit Suisse analyst Andrew Adams upgraded Australia's QBE Insurance Group Ltd. to "outperform" from "neutral" and raised the price target to A$15 from A$12.55.

Featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Data Dispatch: Australia's largest insurers brace for greater bushfire severity as claims grow