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Profits rise at Prudential PLC, Generali; Mapfre turns away from coal

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Profits rise at Prudential PLC, Generali; Mapfre turns away from coal

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

Profits rise

* U.K.-based Prudential PLC reported operating profit of £4.83 billion in 2018, up from £4.70 billion in 2017, driven by a 14% increase in operating profit from Asia life insurance and asset management businesses.

* Italy's Generali posted full-year 2018 consolidated result attributable to the group of €2.31 billion, up from the year-ago €2.11 billion. The insurer's group operating result increased by 3% to €4.86 billion as a result of the contribution of all its business segments.

Deal talk

* British insurance and travel company Saga PLC is reportedly weighing the sale of two of its leisure travel brands that could potentially fetch a combined price of £100 million.

* Adler Insurance Group will acquire the general insurance assets of fellow U.K. broker Corrigans for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval.

* U.S.-based Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. is selling London-based Pembroke Managing Agency Ltd., Dublin-based Ironshore Europe DAC and Dubai-based Visionary Underwriters to Hamilton Insurance Group Hamilton Insurance Group . The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close later in 2019.

* U.K. insurance broker Greenwood Moreland agreed to acquire family-owned peer Campbell Smith Insurance Services, which will continue operating under the same name.

* Willis Re Corporate Solutions is reportedly advising Charles Taylor PLC and The Standard Club on a possible sale of Charles Taylor Managing Agency and certain liabilities of Lloyd's Syndicate - 1884 (Charles Taylor Managing Agency Ltd.). Potential acquirers in the deal, which could materialize as a strategic partnership, include Armour Holdings, Catalina and Darag.

* RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. secured all regulatory approvals for its affiliate's acquisition of Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.'s reinsurance platform, which comprises Zurich-based Tokio Millennium Re AG and London-based Tokio Millennium Re (UK) Ltd.

Appointments

* Coface SA named Oscar Villalonga CEO of the North America region, replacing Fredrik Murer.

* Aon PLC appointed Brian Cochrane chief commercial officer of the new ventures group that was created in the fourth quarter of 2018.

* French reinsurer Scor SE's Lloyd's of London Syndicate 2015 named Matt Ackland chief commercial officer.

In other news

* Spain's Mapfre SA will no longer underwrite construction of coal mines and coal-fired power plants or invest in electric utilities that derive at least 30% of their revenue from coal-produced energy.

* Swiss Re AG's board of directors will seek shareholders approval for up to CHF2.0 billion in share repurchases, which would be about double the size of the reinsurer's recently completed share buyback program.

* Just Group PLC will cancel its 2018 dividend and issue new shares and debt to strengthen its balance sheet in response to the U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority's proposed changes to rules for so-called lifetime mortgages.

* Catastrophe risk modeler AIR Worldwide pegged insured losses due to wind from a recent winter storm in Europe in the range of €900 million to €1.5 billion, with Germany bearing the brunt. AIR's estimates included insured physical damage from wind to property, including structures and their contents, as well as business interruption and additional living expenses.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Generali wants to bolster position in Europe with bolt-on M&A, says CEO: The Italian insurer's general manager, Frédéric de Courtois, said the company would remain "extremely disciplined" about what it buys.

Favorable prospects justify investor support, Just Group CEO says as shares drop: Rodney Cook told analysts that the life insurer is taking steps to become capital self-sufficient by 2022, including hedges for no negative equity guarantees in equity release mortgages. Just's shares fell over 12% as it sought fresh debt and equity.