This weekly articleoffers a compilation of noteworthy stories on insurance companies in theAsia-Pacific region. Some items may be linked to third-party articles.
Chinese insurers seeQ1 profit decline: Chinese insurers, ChinaPacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. and ,reported year-over-year declines in net profit for the first quarter asoperating expenses soared.
New China Life Insurance reported a 45% year-over-year decline in net profit forthe first quarter to 1.99 billion yuan from 3.63 billion yuan. EPS fell yearover year to 64 fen from 1.16 yuan. The insurer said the decline in net profitwas due to lower operating income and higher claims expense during the quarter.
China Pacific Insurance saw its net profit 55.1% year over year due tolower investment income and higher operating expenses. The company'sconsolidated net profit attributable to equity holders dropped to 2.20 billionyuan from 4.90 billion yuan in the prior-year period.
Taiwan-based Cathay Life Insurance Co. Ltd. a 79% decline in net income forthe first quarter to NT$2.68 billion from NT$12.50 billion in the prior-yearperiod. The insurer's fee income slid to NT$1.35 billion from NT$1.65 billion.
Meanwhile, SamsungFire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. a 3.2% decrease in itsfirst-quarter net profit to 284.29 billion won from 293.70 billion won in theprior-year period. Incurred losses for the quarter rose to 1.495 trillion wonfrom 1.330 trillion won in the prior-year period.
M&A updates:American International GroupInc. sold 740 million of its shares in PICC Property & Casualty Co. Ltd. at HK$13.08 pershare for a total of US$1.25 billion.
AIG had owned approximately 851 million shares in theChinese insurer at the end of December 2015.
PSC InsuranceGroup Ltd. agreed to acquire Melbourne-based insurance broker HiscockInsurance Brokers for A$3.04 million. PSC Insurance will make an initialpayment of A$2.02 million for the acquisition. The acquisition is expected tobring in revenues of A$1.5 million, PSC Insurance said.
U.K.-based Aviva Plc acquired an additional 23% stake in from joint venture partner Dabur Invest Corp. Aviva's stake in its Indian jointventure increased to 49% after the acquisition.
The following is abreakdown of articles by region, based on the geographic origins of stories.
* China's insurance regulator warned against investing ininsurance-style schemes run by unregistered online firms, the South China Morning Post reported.The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said using these online firms posessignificant risk because they lack actuary-based pricing systems, riskprovisions and strict supervision by government bodies. The regulator hasalready banned registered insurer from endorsing or cooperating with suchplatforms.
* WillisTowers Watson Plc unit Willis Capital Markets & Advisoryappointed VincentLien as its new managing director in Hong Kong. Lien will be based in Hong Kongand will report to Willis Capital Markets & Advisory co-CEOs Michael Guoand Rafal Walkiewicz.
* MAX BupaHealth Insurance Co. Ltd. was penalized by the Insurance Regulatory and DevelopmentAuthority with fines of up to 2 million rupees for committing multipleviolations, including causing delays in settling claims. The insurer receivedan additional penalty for selling two versions of the same product with thenewer version lacking necessary clearance.
* HDFCStandard Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is expected to hire Citigroup,J.P. Morgan, Kotak Investment Banking and Morgan Stanley for its proposed IPOworth up to US$500 million, IFR reported,citing "people close to the deal." The IPO is expected to take placelater this year. HDFC Standard Life Insurance is a joint venture betweenIndia's Housing DevelopmentFinance Corp. Ltd. and U.K.-based .
* In somewhat related news, India's Business Standard quotedsources as saying that an IPO of SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will happen only after March31, 2017. SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between and , will happenonly after the current financial year, sources said. Further, BNP ParibasCardif is expected to boost its stake in the joint venture to 36% from 26%.
* Fitch Ratings Indonesia affirmed PTAsuransi Adira Dinamika's national insurer financial strengthrating at AA(idn). The rating affirmation reflects the insurer's position asone of the leading motor insurers in Indonesia.
* SiamCommercial Bank PCL is considering bringing on partners to help bolster itssubsidiaries. Arthid Nanthawithaya, the bank's CEO and deputy chairman,stressed that the bank is not making any moves to sell stakes in its units,including SCB Life AssurancePCL
* ChubbLtd.'s operation in Singapore was Chubb Insurance Singapore Ltd.after the completion of the legal entity integration of legacy ACE and Federaloperations in the city state.
AUSTRALIA AND NEWZEALAND
* QBEInsurance Group Ltd. started a tender offer for its existing £325 million of fixed-ratenotes due 2041. The insurer is looking to exchange the existing notes with newpound sterling-denominated notes to be issued under its US$4 billionmedium-term note program.
* AllianzGroup unit Allianz Global Assistance Australia Craig Dalzell as CEO. Dalzellhas been acting CEO of the company since January.
* InsuranceAustralia Group Ltd. may issue NZ$250 million worth of unsecured subordinatedconvertible notes. The offering is expected to open in mid-May.
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Korean Re CEOkeeps eyes on global expansion, unfazed by industry downturn:Korean ReinsuranceCo. CEO Won Jong-gyu remains committed to his goal of growing thefirm into one of the top three global reinsurers by 2050 despite the global marketdownturn. Won believes it is the right time to drive the firm's globalexpansion push as it actually gets easier to enter new countries when theglobal reinsurance market gets softer.
AXA CFO saysChinese business improving after sharp fall in Q1 margin:AXA CFO Gérald Harlinsaid margins in the insurer's Chinese life and savings business were alreadyshowing signs of improvement after a sharp fall in new business value margin inthe first quarter. Harlin said there are massive marketing campaigns in Chinafor the first three months, which is why the company had attractive productsfor the first part of the year.