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LIC asked to trim IDBI Bank stake; Australia to review travel insurance industry

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 corner

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has asked Life Insurance Corp. of India to submit a proposal to cut down its shareholding in IDBI Bank Ltd., The (India) Financial Express reported.

* U.S.-based Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. has increased its shareholding in Marsh India Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd. to 49% from 26%, following the approval from India's insurance regulator, The Economic Times reported.

* Standard Life (Mauritius Holdings) 2006 Ltd., a unit of U.K.'s Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, intends to sell up to 99.5 million shares in India-based HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. for 357.5 rupees per share.

* South Korea's Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is in talks to acquire shares in Baoviet Life Corp., The Korea Times reported, citing industry sources.

Earnings, repurchases and more

* Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. reported a 20.6% year-over-year increase in 2018 full-year net profit to 107.40 billion yuan from 89.08 billion yuan.

* The Chinese insurer also said that it is open to share buybacks in the Hong Kong stock market.

* AIA Group Ltd.'s consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders for the 2018 full year fell to US$2.60 billion, or 22 cents per share, from US$6.50 billion, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

* The board of Fanhua Inc. approved a new share repurchase program that will launch March 13, allowing the company's management to buy back up to US$200 million of its American depositary shares.

In other news

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is looking to scrutinize the country's travel insurance industry to find out how travel insurers handle claims and determine whether contracts are fair to customers, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* Approximately US$174.3 million of fixed-rate senior notes due 2022 were validly tendered by the early invitation deadline under QBE Insurance Group Ltd.'s tender offer.

* India-based online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Ltd. raised US$65 million from Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, RPS Ventures Inc. and Intact Ventures Inc. in a series C financing round.

* Zurich Australian Insurance Ltd. is delegating underwriting authority for warranties and indemnities insurance policies to Fusion Specialty Insurance Pty. Ltd. as part of an underwriting agency partnership.

* PartnerRe Ltd. will reorganize its property and casualty business into three regional units: Americas; Europe, Middle-East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. James Beedle will continue to lead the Asia-Pacific unit as head of P&C in the region and CEO of Partner Reinsurance Asia Pte. Ltd. He will also assume executive responsibility for the global clients and broker management unit.