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Weekly news through March 31

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Weekly news through March 31

This weekly article offers acompilation of noteworthy stories on insurance companies in the Asia-Pacificregion. Some items may be linked to third-party articles.

M&A updates: China's remainsactive in the global M&A space, garnering headlines for its recent move toincrease its offer price for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Aconsortium led by the Chinese firm increased its bid for Starwood to $82.75 per share incash. Starwood said the increased offer is likely to lead to a "superiorproposal" to MarriottInternational Inc.'s last offer of $79.53 per share in cash andstock.

Meanwhile,filing revealed thatAnbang Insurance lowered its initial offer to acquire toUS$26.80 per share from US$28.00 per share after conducting due diligence onthe U.S.-based company. The agreement was announced in November 2015.

Japan'sNippon Life InsuranceCo. closed the acquisition of an additional 23% stake in unitReliance Life Insurance Co.Ltd.

Theacquisition brings Nippon Life Insurance's stake in the Indian joint venture to49%. Reliance Life Insurance will be renamed Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Co.in line with the new shareholding.

Elsewhere,Ironshore International acquired Sydney-based Savannah Insurance Agency,effective March 28. The Savannah team of underwriters will join Ironshore'sAustralia offices.

Chinese insurers post strongresults:People's Insurance Co. (Group) ofChina Ltd. posted a 40% year-over-year in net profit for the full-year2015. The group's profit attributable to equity holders jumped to 19.54 billionChinese yuan from 13.11 billion yuan. The company's board also increased final dividend for 2015to 2.26 yuan per share from 94.7 fen per share in 2014.

PICCGroup unit PICC Property &Casualty Co. Ltd. reported net profit of 21.85 billion yuan for 2015, up 44.5% fromthe prior-year period.

's full-year net profit rose 34.3% year over year to 8.60 billion yuan.Subject to shareholder approval, thecompany's annual dividend rose to 28 fen per share for 2015 from 21 fen pershare for 2014.

reported a 60.4% year-over-year in 2015 profit, to 17.73 billionyuan from 11.05 billion yuan. Thecompany's board proposed a final dividend of 1 yuan per share, up from theprior-year final dividend of 50 fen per share.

Global insurance, reinsurancesector update:A recent sigma study by Swiss ReLtd. showed that global insured losses from naturalcatastrophes and man-made disasters in 2015 totaled US$37 billion, well belowthe US$62 billion average of the previous 10 years.

InAsia, explosions at the Tianjin port in China resulted in the biggestinsured-loss event of 2015 with property loss estimated to be between US$2.5billion and US$3.5 billion. It was also the biggest man-made loss event ever inAsia.

Meanwhile,Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said reinsurance pricing has continuedto soften followinganother "unusually benign" year for catastrophe losses.

Anexamination of the underlying operating results of reinsurance companies showedthat the strong year reported by the global reinsurance industry in 2015 waslargely based on the low level of catastrophe losses and high level of reservereleases.

The following is a breakdownof articles by region, based on the geographic origins of stories.

EAST ASIA

*Japan Post Insurance Co.Ltd. and Dai-ichi LifeInsurance Co. Ltd. agreedto form a strategicbusiness alliance that would, among other things, accelerate the penetration oflife insurance products in overseas markets. As part of the agreement, JapanPost Insurance will consider taking a stake in Dai-ichi Life's unit, , to strengthen their cooperative relationship in Vietnam.

*Dai-ichi Life Insurance separately said it plans to to a company with a boardwith audit committee structure. The transition is set to take place along withthe company's shift to a holding company structure on Oct. 1.

*Qiuping Lai, president and co-founder of CNinsure Inc., retired from his roles at the company and its board. Thecompany's CEO, Chunlin Wang, will take over Lai's post as executive director onthe board.

SOUTH ASIA

*Life Insurance Corp. ofIndia had increased its stake in both IDBI Bank Ltd. and Vijaya Bank to 14.37% and 14.50%, respectively.

*Indian banks have expressedinterest in selling the products of multiple insurance companiesjust as insurers look to finalize ties with niche banks. Bancassurance deal talks havebegun between insurers and specialist banks with the deals likely to befinalized in the next few weeks, said a CEO of a midsize life insurance company.

*Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, or IRDAI, applications from 10insurance and reinsurance companies looking to set up shop in the country. Theinterested companies include global reinsurers , Swiss Re Ltd., , and Excel ILSE.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

*Thailand's finance ministry plans to introduce mortgage insurance in theproperty sector to help lower credit risks for lenders, InsuranceAsia News reported.The plan would protect banks from possible loan defaults and would allow themto expand credit. The government had asked the Asian Development Bank to studythe proposal.

*Indonesia's life insurance sector is upbeat about premium growth in 2016 andexpects life premiums to growth 15% year over year, InsuranceAsia News reported,citing the Indonesian Life Insurance Association. Hendrisman Rahim, chairman ofthe association, said companies will benefit from the rising popularity ofmicro-insurance, which continues to attract customers looking for betteralternatives to time deposits. He added that sales agents will increase in2016, which should help drive premium growth.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

*Genworth Mortgage InsuranceAustralia Ltd. said it plans to undertake a capital management initiative thatinvolves returning a total of A$202 million to shareholders. As part of theinitiative, the company will distribute 34 cents per share to shareholders,amounting to about A$202 million.

*Australian Greens' leader, Richard Di Natale, has unveiled the party's proposalto phase out the A$5 billion private health insurance rebate per year andreinvest the savings in the public health system. "The private healthinsurance rebate is a public policy disaster that has completely failed toachieve its stated objective of easing pressure on public hospitals," hesaid in a newsrelease.

*New Zealand's Southern Cross will launch a new life insurance product inpartnership with Cigna, Stuff reported.The company already sells health, travel and pet insurance, among other things.

Featured on SNL

: Combinednet income at the top four listed insurers in Australia dropped in the sixmonths through Dec. 31, 2015, from a year earlier, hit by a drop in investmentgains. AMP Ltd.,Suncorp Group Ltd.,QBE Insurance GroupLtd. and InsuranceAustralia Group Ltd. posted aggregate net income of A$1.74 billion,down from A$2.11 billion in the prior-year period.

: Nippon Life Insurance, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, and Sumitomo Life InsuranceCo. saw their aggregate net income for the fiscal third quartergrow to ¥278.66 billion from ¥156.45 billion in the prior-year period,according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence calculation based onyear-to-date results reported by the companies.

S&P Ratings andGlobal Market Intelligence are owned by McGraw Hill Financial Inc.