Academic study will provide “world first” resource for insurers
An academic study being undertaken in New Zealand is promising to deliver a world-first for the insurance industry which will be a “global resource” for years to come. The research, funded by Massey University, will assess the industry’s response to the country’s Canterbury earthquakes. It will ask around 50,000 local residents for their views on their experiences with the Earthquake Commission and insurance companies since the quakes hit the country in 2010. The plan is to provide video interviews and survey responses from homeowners, commercial property owners and insurance workers as an online library for insurers worldwide. Research leader Dr Michael Naylor said that there will be a broad range of experiences: "If we expect the insurance industry to take this research seriously we must get a balanced response, and that means hearing about the good as well as the bad.”
Insurers criticized over improper rate hikes
Two insurance companies in Massachusetts have been criticized by the Attorney General for increasing rates based on recent weather conditions rather than a longer-term trend. The Boston Globe reports that the filings of Mapfre USA Corp. and Safety Insurance Co. were analysed by the AG’s office which found that too much emphasis was placed on last winter’s storms to calculate rate increases. Homeowners’ policies were increased by around 9 per cent based on the insurers’ data. AG Maura Healey alleges that the companies had requested rates to meet higher profit targets. No comments have been reported by the insurers. The findings could mean that Insurance Commissioners will be pressured to toughen their scrutiny of insurance rate increase requests.
AXA increases stake in Indian ventures
French-based global insurer AXA has increased its stake in its joint ventures in India. The firm currently holds a 26 per cent stake in Bharti AXA Life Insurance Co and Bharti AXA General Insurance Co. but government rule changes mean that AXA can now increase that to the maximum 49 per cent. CityAM reports that both ventures have reported strong growth with the life unit increasing by 28 per cent per year on average over the past three years and the general unit growing by 18 per cent.