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Rothesay eyes £3.5B buy of Swiss Re unit; natcat losses in 2018 were $160B

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

Closed transactions

* Aegon NV concluded the sale of its life insurance business in the Czech Republic and life insurance and pension businesses in Slovakia to NN Group NV.

* U.K.-based specialist insurance services provider Kingsbridge Group bought insurtech company Dinghy UK Ltd.

* Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd. completed the purchase of U.K.-based MPS Risk Solutions Ltd., which ceased active underwriting in October 2012, from The Medical Protection Society Ltd. on Dec. 31, 2018.

Deals on the table

* Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. agreed to buy U.K.-based insurance broker Stackhouse Poland Group Ltd. from Synova Capital, with the deal expected to close in the first quarter. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

* Rothesay Life PLC is considering making an offer to acquire Swiss Re AG's U.K. closed life book consolidator, ReAssure Ltd., for £3.5 billion. A formal offer from Rothesay Life is reportedly expected to come in the next few months and could pre-empt Swiss Re's plan to list the unit.

* U.K. insurance broker Aston Lark Ltd. intends to launch a sale process in 2019 and has tapped investment bank Macquarie and advisory firm Livingstone to run it.

Investment strategies

* Brit Ltd., a unit of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., made a "significant" strategic investment in Toronto-based Sutton Special Risk Inc., a managing general underwriter specializing in accident and health business.

* U.K.-based Prudential PLC will pay Singapore's United Overseas Bank Ltd. a fee of S$1.15 billion over the period of their new bancassurance agreement in Asia-Pacific. The period runs up to 15 years.

Staff moves

* Hamilton Underwriting Ltd., the managing agency of Lloyd's of London and the Lloyd's operations of Hamilton Insurance Group, appointed Robert Vetch as CFO.

* Jonathan Webber joined as CFO of London-based Tasker Insurance Group Ltd.

* France's Axa is set to move employees to Ireland from the U.K. and France as Brexit inches closer to realization in March. The number of staff to be shifted has not been revealed.

In other news

* Total economic losses from natural disasters in 2018 amounted to $160 billion, with insured losses of $80 billion, according to a report by Munich Re Co.

* Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd. established a new unit in Ireland, which will also compete for new life insurance business in the country.

* HDI Global Specialty SE, Hannover Re and HDI Global SE launched underwriting at the start of 2019 with premium volumes of more than €1 billion.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Rothesay interest could grant Swiss Re full exit from UK closed life unit: But one analyst questions whether Swiss Re would be happy to sell all of its stake in ReAssure at the reported valuation instead of pushing ahead with the planned initial public offering.

Growth of alternative reinsurance capital slows but will bounce back soon: Aon: Growth in reinsurance capacity provided by capital markets is slowing, but Aon said longer-term investors will remain committed. Alternative capital grew by $10 billion in the nine months to September 2018, even as traditional capital fell by $20 billion.