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Commonwealth Life gets bidders; China, Hong Kong see US$250M in typhoon losses

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.

Deal updates and other transactions

* Life Insurance Corp. of India made an open offer to equity shareholders to purchase a 26% stake in IDBI Bank Ltd. for a total price of 126.02 billion rupees, or 61.73 rupees per share.

* Suncorp Group Ltd. is planning to conduct an extraordinary general meeting Dec. 13 where it will hold a vote for a pro-rata return of capital to shareholders and share consolidation in connection with the sale of the company's Australian life insurance business to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty Ltd. for about A$725 million.

* Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Daiwa Securities Group Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. reached a final agreement for the planned merger of Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management and Daiwa SB Investments Ltd.

* U.K.-based Prudential PLC and Canada's Sun Life Financial Inc. are among the bidders looking to acquire Commonwealth Bank of Australia's 80% stake in its Indonesian insurance venture, PT Commonwealth Life, Reuters reported.

* Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. made a strategic investment in, and entered a business alliance with, German insurance technology company simplesurance GmbH. The Japanese insurer intends to use the Simplesurance platform in the country and elsewhere in Asia.

* Taiwan's Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. Ltd. has completed the acquisition of the remaining stake it does not own in MasterLink Securities Corp. Following the deal completion, Shin Kong Financial's paid-in capital would exceed NT$120 billion, the Taipei Times reported.

* PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk is looking to divest a stake in its life insurance unit, PT Asuransi BRI Life, to overseas insurers for as much as US$1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Courts, fines and more regulatory actions

* The High Court at Auckland has rejected CBL Insurance Ltd.'s proposed commutation with its largest creditor, Gibraltar-based Elite Insurance Co. Ltd. The hearing over the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's application to liquidate CBL Insurance is scheduled to start Nov. 12.

* A former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of taking bribes and insider trading.

* Pakistan Reinsurance Co. Ltd. has received approval from the country's capital market regulator to offer Shariah-compliant reinsurance products, Reuters reported.

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India is now allowing "micro-insurance" policies to be made available at points of sale, the Press Trust of India reported.

Typhoon aftermath in the insurance industry

* Catastrophe risk management company CoreLogic expects insurable property losses from Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong and China to be less than US$250 million, although other firms have estimated sharply higher losses once business interruption and other considerations are taken into account. Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong and Southeast China on Sept. 16, after blasting the Philippines a day earlier.

* QBE Re Chief Underwriting Officer Jonathan Parry told S&P Global Market Intelligence that a lot of aggregate cover is provided by the capital markets, often referred to as alternative capital. This is in relation to the series of powerful storms that struck in September, including Hurricane Florence in the U.S., typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan and Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines.

In other news

* Sompo Holdings Inc. has formed Sompo Health Support Inc., a Tokyo-headquartered specialist healthcare company that aims to provide various lifestyle disease prevention services.

* People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. has received an official written notification of approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission for its proposed IPO of class A shares.

* Malaysia's Pacific & Orient Bhd. cut its fifth interim dividend to 1.25 sen per share for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 from 1.50 sen per share in the prior-year period.

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