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Shinhan Financial to buy stake in Orange Life; Foreign insurers to enter Myanmar

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.

Deals, updates and potential transactions

* Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. signed a stock purchase agreement to acquire a 59.15% stake in ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., formerly ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., from private equity firm MBK Partners Ltd. Shinhan Financial's board approved the purchase of 48.5 million common shares of Orange Life Insurance for 2.299 trillion won, or 47,400 won per share.

* Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. said that will acquire a 22.5% stake in South Africa-based Hollard Holdings (Pty) Ltd. and Hollard International for about 5 billion rand. The insurer confirmed an earlier report stating that the acquisition will take place through the subscription of new shares in cash.

* U.K. insurer Nexus Underwriting Mgmt. Ltd. completed its acquisition of Malaysia-based underwriting manager Huntington Underwriting Ltd. Following the acquisition, the underwriting manager will be re-branded and traded as Nexus Structured Solutions.

* China's Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. selected JPMorgan to arrange the sale of its Netherlands-based subsidiary, VIVAT NV. Anbang is said to have asked banks in August to pitch for a role in the planned €1.4 billion to €1.8 billion sale of the Dutch insurer, Reuters reported.

* Taiwan-based MasterLink Securities Corp. will delist from the Taiwan Stock Exchange following the completion of its acquisition by Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. Ltd. The last trading date for the Masterlink Securities' shares is Sept. 17, while the shares will be delisted Oct. 1.

* The board of IDBI Bank Ltd. approved Life Insurance Corp. of India's bid to gain an additional 7% ownership in the bank through a preferential issuance.

* South Korea's Financial Services Commission approved the change of Hyundai Life Insurance Co. Ltd.'s controlling shareholder to Taiwan's Fubon Life Insurance Co. Ltd. from Hyundai Motor Group. A shareholder meeting will be called to rename the company Fubon Hyundai Life Insurance Co. Ltd. before Fubon Life increases its stake to 62.4% from 48.6% on Sept. 14 by purchasing new shares.

* Australia's Suncorp Group Ltd. has signed a share sale deed with TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty Ltd. to sell its Australian life insurance business for about A$725 million. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31.

* Manipal Group is acquiring a 16.04% stake in India's Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co. Ltd. from TTK Group for an undisclosed amount, The Times of India reported.

Industry and regulatory news

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is condemning direct life insurance products for poor sales practices and product design, factors that the regulator in a report says are leading to poor consumer outcomes and "very high" cancellations. The regulator also intends to restrict outbound sales of life and funeral insurance.

* The Philippine Competition Commission cleared Axa's pending acquisition of Bermuda-based XL Group Ltd. The antitrust body also imposed a fine of 123,861.86 Philippine pesos for the late filing of notification about the transaction.

* Four state-run insurance companies expect to receive about 25,000 claims worth 45 billion Indian rupees due to the severe flooding in Kerala, NDTV reported.

* General insurers in India can only offer three-year third-party motor insurance for new cars and five-year coverage for new two-wheelers, effective Sept. 1, Asia Insurance Review reported.

* Foreign insurers will be allowed to conduct business in Myanmar starting Oct. 1. The country currently does not allow foreign insurers to do business, Asia Insurance Review reported.

In other news

* The board of Australia-based Freedom Insurance Group Ltd. began a review of the company's strategic options following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission report critical of direct life insurance. The board will look at the company's strategy, business structure, operating model and internal practices and procedures.

* Japan's Sompo International Holdings Ltd. has launched a Luxembourg-headquartered commercial P&C subsidiary, SI Insurance (Europe) SA. The unit will issue insurance policies and reinsurance treaties for new and renewal business in continental Europe.

* MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. has repurchased 8,714,200 of its own shares for approximately ¥29.98 billion to complete a share repurchase program.

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