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Topdanmark CEO resigns; Catalan insurer poised for independence fallout

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

Catalan crisis

* Insurance company Grupo Catalana Occidente SA has written to staff telling them that it will do what is necessary to protect its business from political and social strife, Spanish media reported, even as separate reports indicated that major banks were preparing to leave Catalonia before a potential secession from Spain.

Executive appointments

* CETA Insurance Ltd.'s founding shareholders David Quick, Adrian Waters and Sandie Schofield will retire from the business, after its senior management and nonexecutive directors, backed by private equity company Kester Capital, acquired the U.K. technology-enabled insurance broking business. Andrew Blowers, founder and former CEO of AXA unit SwiftCover, has been appointed chairman, while John Bibby, a former chief commercial officer of Primary Group, will become CEO of the business.

* Topdanmark A/S CEO Christian Sagild resigned from the post, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

On the deal table

* Legal & General Group Plc is investing in U.K. fintech startup SalaryFinance, subject to regulatory approval. L&G led a £40 million funding round, in which digital venture builder Blenheim Chalcot also participated.

* Direct Line Insurance Group Plc acquired a 15% equity stake in U.K.-based rental market startup Canopy, the insurer's latest investment in fintech companies.

* Aviva Plc agreed to purchase a majority stake in Wealthify Group Ltd., the holding company of Cardiff-based robo-investment service Wealthify, subject to regulatory approval. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is part of Aviva's strategy to provide customers with insurance investment services through digital hub MyAviva.

* Shareholders of Euroins Insurance Co. approved the delisting of the company from the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, SEENews reported. In August, the company's majority owner, Euroins Insurance Group AD, acquired 796,316 shares of the unit in a minority shareholder squeeze-out.

* Sampo Oyj will acquire a 19.9% stake in Saxo Bank A/S for €265 million. The Danish bank said TPG Capital Management LP and SinarMas will sell their stakes of 29.26% and 9.9%, respectively, to give way to offers from Sampo Oyj and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.

* Mandatum Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is merging Innova Service AB with Mandatum Life Service AB in a bid to simplify the Finnish life insurance group's legal structure. Mandatum Life Insurance is wholly owned by Sampo Oyj.

* The Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency authorized CROATIA osiguranje d.d. to acquire a qualifying holding of more than 50% in local insurer BNP Paribas Cardif unit BNP Paribas Cardif osiguranje. BNP Paribas Cardif is a unit of BNP Paribas SA.

In other news

* Old Mutual Plc could sell its subsidiaries in China, Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay as part of the planned breakup of its four units, Group CEO Bruce Hemphill told Reuters.

* As a part of the planned £477.6 million takeover of Novae Group Plc by AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd., the London-based insurer's shares were delisted from the premium listing segment of the U.K. Official List and their admission to trading on the London Stock Exchange was canceled.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Focus on insurer risk management as regulator moves to finalize Solvency II: Nearly two years after the introduction of Solvency II the assessment and management of risks remains a key issue for insurance companies as well as the European regulator, which is expected to finalize rules by early 2018.