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Zurich buys $2B ANZ life insurance unit; Ageas settles with Fortis claimants

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Zurich buys $2B ANZ life insurance unit; Ageas settles with Fortis claimants

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.

Buyers and sellers

* Zurich Insurance Group AG has agreed to buy Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.'s life insurance business, OnePath Life Ltd., for US$2.14 billion. Zurich said the deal, which it expects to complete by the end of 2018, will make it the leading retail life insurer in Australia with a market share of around 19%.

* Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB agreed to sell all shares in Danish pension units SEB Pensionsforsikring A/S and SEB Administration A/S to Danica Pension Livsforsikrings A/S for 6.5 billion Danish kroner.

* An investor group headed by PFA Pension and involving PensionDanmark Pensionsforsikrings A/S, PKA, AP Pension and MP Pension as co-investors has completed the acquisition of a 16.9% stake in Nykredit A/S.

The macro view

* Sponsors of more than a quarter of Europe's occupational pensions institutions may find it difficult to meet their liability obligations, according to regulator EIOPA.

* Adapting to persistently low interest rates to protect profitability is the top priority for Western Europe's life insurers in 2018, according to S&P Global Ratings.

* Catastrophe insurance data firm PERILS estimated an initial loss from Storm Herwart at €252 million.

In other news

* Ageas SA/NV reached an amended settlement with a group of claimant organizations, connected to civil proceedings related to the former Fortis group over events that took place in 2007 and 2008. The Belgian insurer added a "final" additional amount of €100 million to raise the overall budget for the settlement to €1.3 billion from €1.20 billion.

* Generali appointed Jaime Anchustegui Melgarejo to the newly created role of group chief operations and insurance officer, effective Jan. 1, 2018. He is currently Generali's head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will report to Group CEO Philippe Donnet.

* Brit Ltd. will launch a new Bermuda-based collateralized reinsurance platform, to be known as Sussex Capital. The insurer is also relocating its Gibraltar-based reinsurer, Brit Insurance PCC Ltd., to Bermuda.

* Euroins Insurance Group AD unit Euroins Insurance Co. increased its capital by 16 million Bulgarian leva to about 32.5 million leva and now fully complies with the EU Solvency II Directive.

* Liberty Specialty Markets Ltd. will move its Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Ltd. arm to Luxembourg from the U.K. instead of setting up a new insurance subsidiary. It will establish a U.K. branch of LMIE to maintain its presence in the British market.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Analysts question rationale of Zurich's Australian push: The acquisition of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group's OnePath business fits Zurich's Australian expansion but, given the perils of the market, two analysts questioned whether the Swiss company is on the right track.

European insurance regulator: Transparency will help tackle pension deficits: More disclosure of the size of pension deficits will help spur action to reduce them, according to EIOPA Chairman Gabriel Bernardino.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.