S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picksof insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.
* Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects continuedconsolidation in the globalinsurance industry in 2016, albeit at a slower rate compared to 2015.
* Total global reinsurer capital, comprising capital fromboth traditional and alternative markets, stood at $565 billion at the end of2015, down 2% from ayear earlier, according to an industry report by Aon Benfield. Traditionalreinsurance capital fell year over year to $493 billion at 2015-end.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority expects to launch inthe second or third quarter a review on retirement outcomes in the 2016-2017financial year to assess the impact of pension reforms on competition andswitching in the pensions market.
* Chris Moulder, director of general insurance at the Bankof England's Prudential Regulation Authority, that the regulator expects lowprices and other soft market conditions in the U.K.'s general insurance tocontinue through 2016. Premium rates are continuing to decline in severallines, while extended terms and conditions are still being accepted, Mouldernoted.
On the deal table
* JustRetirement Group Plc and Partnership Assurance Group Plc completed theirmerger. Subsequently,Just Retirement Group changed its name to JRP Group Plc.
* MunichRe unit ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG obtained from the Romanian FSA toacquire 100% of Credit EuropeAsigurari Reasigurari SA through ERGO Austria International AG.
* GrupoCatalana Occidente SA agreed to acquire Grupo Previsora Bilbaína, including itsinsurance business for €74 million, insurance mediation company Azkaran for €18million and Bilbaína's funeral business for €33 million.
* LloydsBanking Group Plc has engaged with investment banks to on potential acquisitiontargets for its insurance unit, Scottish Widows Group Ltd., Sky News reported. Lenderswill work with management consultant firm McKinsey to identify assets in thecorporate pensions and bulk annuities sectors.
* The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protectionapproved 's acquisition of LibertyMutual Insurance Group's unit Liberty Ubezpieczenia. The French firm willacquire the unit from Liberty Seguros Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros via itsPolish subsidiary AXA Towarzystwo Ubezpieczen i Reasekuracji SA.
* 1825, Standard Life Plc's wholly owned financial planningunit, agreed to acquire Baigrie Davies. The deal is expected to becompleted in the third quarter.
* B&N Bank(PJSC) is close to acquiring a 49% in Russian insurer VSK, accordingto Interfax. The value of the deal, which could be closed April 10, amounts to7 billion Russian rubles.
* AgeasSA/NV completed the acquisition of AXA's insurance operations in Portugal.The transaction positions Ageas as the country's second-largest insurer bypremiums.
* Caerphilly, Wales-based Thomas Carroll Group Ltd.acquired unit Monmouthshire Insurance Services Ltd.
Partnerships and newventures
* Swiss ReLtd. is in advancedtalks with BancoBradesco SA's Bradesco Seguros S.A. to launch a large-risk insurancejoint venture, Agência Estado reported. Swiss Re would hold a 60% stake in theventure, while Bradesco Seguros would have the remaining 40% stake.
* Reale MutuaAssicurazioni met with Chilean insurance sector executives andauthorities in early March to discuss its possible in the country's general insurancemarket, Pulso reported. FormerLiberty Seguros Chile CEO Oscar Huerta and former CEO Eduardo Couyoumdjian are said to be among the executivesinterested in partnering with the insurer.
* Arial CNP Assurances, the private pensions joint ventureof CNP Assurances SAand SGAM AG2R LaMondiale, has begun operations after obtaining regulatory approval.
Featured during the week on S&P Global MarketIntelligence
* : David Williams, technical director at AXAInsurance, spoke to S&P Global Market Intelligence about the outlook forself-driving cars, regulation and why he's likely to know if you're readingGardeners' World.
* LV='s JohnO'Roarke on the impact of new tech on UK motor insurance: Themanaging director of LV='s general insurance division explains why he thinksthe U.K. motor insurance industry could shrink to a third of its current size,where liability will lie in the age of self-driving cars, and what this couldmean for traditional motor insurers.
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