Daily Market Update

Daily Market Update | Insurance Business America

Daily Market Update
Wesfarmers deal complete
“IAG advises that its acquisition of Wesfarmers’ insurance underwriting businesses in Australia and New Zealand was completed today.” The short and to-the-point statement has been released by Insurance Australia Group this morning.  Having gained the necessary approvals from regulatory authorities, the $1.845 billion deal for Wesfarmers WFI and Lumley businesses will boost the IAG’s client base and ‘deliver significant long-term value for shareholders.’

Mixed news for insurance firms in business report
A report published today by the Confederation of British Industry and Price Waterhouse Cooper shows some mixed news for the insurance sector. The survey shows a general rise in business volumes throughout the financial sector during the three months to June. The life insurance sector was optimistic, despite a decline in business volume. The forecast though is for profits to fall even when volumes increase due to the highly competitive market and flat income from investments. In general insurance, the picture is similar, although less optimistic, largely due to a reduction in business from overseas. For brokers, things are broadly optimistic, with profits holding steady. Brokers gave the strongest indication of increased hiring in the insurance sector. Jonathan Howe, insurance leader for PwC says "Customer acquisition is becoming a ‘zero sum game’ in the mature UK general insurance market - any wins are cancelled out by the losses. Insurers are looking for new ways of increasing market share other than reducing price.”

Is there too much risk assessment?
The American Bankers Association held their Regulatory Compliance Conference earlier this month and one of the hot topics was risk management. The key message was that assessments should be an ongoing process, revisited and reviewed whenever there is a change that could harm its effectiveness. Writing in the ABA’s journal, Lucy Griffin questions whether risk management procedures have gone too far in the banking sector, and if it’s a current ‘fad’ that is, to some degree, getting in the way of actually doing business. Could teams be so busy analysing and managing risk, that they have little time to do anything that could be risky anyway?

Europe seeks to reduce risk of stress at work
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OHSA) has named the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) as an official partner in its 2014-5 campaign to manage workplace stress. Stress is believed to be the cause of almost half of all lost working days in Europe where it is the second most reported workplace health issue.  The Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress will bring together 60 organisations with the aim of reducing a key psychological risk for staff and the resulting effects on business.

And now for something completely different…
As the surviving members of the classic comedy team Monty Python prepare to take to the stage together in their native UK for the first time in 40 years, there is an element of risk. In a new BBC documentary Imagine: Monty Python, Eric Idle reveals that as the Pythons are all past 70, and will be performing a gruelling 10 nights at London’s 02 Arena, the insurance quote was huge. They may be seniors, but the still-sharp-thinking Pythons suggested that death insurance would refund ticket costs only if two of them are declared dead…deceased…. ceased to be… expired…. Read the full story.