Daily Willis Review | 14th March 2018

Prudential spins off European and UK business
UK-based insurer Prudential is to spin-off its UK and European division from its international business in what the Reuters news agency described as “a radical break-up of the 170-year-old company”.

Prudential said on Wednesday it planned to demerge London-based M&G Prudential into a separate company with a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

This will result in Prudential – which will remain headquartered and listed in London and led by current Chief Executive Officer Mike Wells – being focused on Asia, the United States and Africa, according to the report.

“The decision to demerge M&G Prudential follows a rigorous review by the board which considered all options, including the status quo, and concluded that it is in the best interest of the group to operate as two separately-listed companies, able to focus on their distinct strategic priorities in their chosen geographies,” Paul Manduca, Prudential’s chairman, said.

Hannover Re posts next income of $1.1million for 2017
Hannover Re has reported a group net income for 2017 of €958.6 million ($1.1million), compared to €1.17 billion ($1.4 billion) for 2016, despite heavy losses for the year.

Following the natural catastrophes of 2017, Hannover Re posted a loss expenditure of €1,127.3million ($1,397million) from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the California wildfires.

The company posted a combined ratio of 99.8% for 2017, an increase from the 93.7% reported in 2016.

Gross premium written increased in 2017 by 8.8% to €17.8 billion ($22 billion) from €16.4 billion ($20.3 billion) for the same period in 2016.

Ordinary investment income for the year increased by 10.9% to €1,289million ($1,579million) in 2017 from €1,162million ($1,440million) in 2016.

Ulrich Wallin, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The 2017 financial year was a challenging one; it was the year with the heaviest burden of large losses in our company’s history.

“While the generated Group profit fell short of the previous year’s good result, it is still pleasing at €959 million ($1.1million).”

M&A activity to maintain momentum: Clyde & Co
According to the international law firm, Clyde & Co, the volume of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Europe will increase once insurance and reinsurance companies’ Brexit preparations are finalized, Reinsurance News has reported.

Currently, M&A transactions have been put on hold due to uncertainty around the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

As a response to Brexit, insurers and reinsurers are restructuring their operations, such as setting up subsidiaries and branches to ensure that they can continue to operate across Europe.

Clyde & Co said it expects “transactions to move further back up the management agenda and, with some of the uncertainty removed around the structure of possible European targets, an increase in deals is likely.”

Analysts also anticipate that the volume of deals in Asia could increase, due to less market uncertainty potentially making deals easier to complete, the report said.

Argo Group acquires Ariscom
Argo Group has finalized its acquisition of Italian specialty insurer Ariscom.

Matt Harris, currently head of ArgoGlobal’s European and Asian operations, will become Ariscom Managing Director, effective immediately.

According to the release, over the next few months, ArgoGlobal will rebrand Ariscom with the aim of highlighting the strength of the newly-combined organization.

Mark E. Watson III, Argo Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Ariscom provides an established platform that we can use to efficiently expand our presence in continental Europe.

“Italy is one of Europe’s largest and best-performing P&C insurance markets.

We’re also eager to tap into Ariscom’s existing broker and client network throughout Italy, with longer-term opportunities to develop capabilities across Europe – particularly in Spain and Portugal.”

The acquisition of Ariscom follows a series of recent senior leadership appointments within Argo Group’s International segment, and follows last year’s acquisition of Bermuda-based reinsurer Ariel Re.