LIoyd’s shut down underwriting room over New Covid-19

Lloyd’s has pulled down the shutters on its underwriting room again as the UK enters a new lockdown.

Lloyd’s first closed the doors to its iconic One Lime Street building in March during the first wave of Covid-19.

It reopened in September by staggering markets across named days of the week. Lloyd’s then restricted access to Wednesdays when London entered Tier 4 Stay at Home measures on 20 December 2020.

But Lloyd’s has now completely shut its underwriting room

In a statement given to Reuters this week, Lloyd’s said it is unlikely to reopen the underwriting floor before mid-February 2021, in line with the UK’s six-week national lockdown.

The UK’s House of Commons is due to vote on new regulations that would allow the lockdown measures to stay in place until the end of March.

Cigna completed the sale of its group life  and disability insurance unit to New York Life Insurance for $6.3 billion in a move to focus on its healthcare businesses, the companies announced Thursday.

The acquisition of Cigna’s group life, accident, and disability insurance business, first announced a year ago first adds about 3,000 employees and more than nine million customers to New York Life’s “portfolio of strategic businesses,” the companies said.

Cigna said it expects to realize $5.3 billion in “net after-tax proceeds” and “expects to utilize the proceeds primarily for share repurchase and repayment of debt,” the company said in a filing on Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Cigna has said it will also use proceeds to pay down debt accumulated from its $67 billion acquisition of the pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts more than a year ago.

Cigna’s move is similar to what Aetna did in 2007 agreeing to sell its life and disability business to The Hartford Group for $1.45 billion in cash.

“This acquisition, the largest in our company’s history, reinforces our financial strength by generating capital that can contribute to our surplus, dividends, and earnings,” New York Life Chairman and CEO Ted Mathas said Thursday in a statement. “We are excited to welcome to New York Life our new employees and the millions of new customer relationships that we will gain through this milestone transaction. We look forward to building on our leading group benefit solutions market position in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, Cigna is focusing on its health offerings to consumers, employers and those insured by Medicaid and Medicare. Cigna is in a race with rival health insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, Humana and CVS Health’s Aetna health insurance business to grow its business administering health benefits for seniors as more flock to Medicare Advantage plans.

For its battles ahead, Cigna will need cash from the New York Life divestiture as it competes with rivals into the business of providing healthcare services.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions announces that it has received a direct insurance authorisation from the South African joint regulators Prudential Authority and Financial Sector Conduct Authority. Located in Johannesburg and fully operational, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Africa offers customers in South Africa the full range of its products, including non-traditional risk solutions, as well as its long-term capacity and underwriting expertise.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Africa will underwrite some of the largest and most complex risks in South Africa across a broad spectrum of industries. With a focus on mid- and large-sized corporate customers, the company provides commercial insurance services primarily in the Property, Engineering & Construction, Energy (Operational Power including Renewable Energy & Operational Mining), Casualty, Bank Trade & Infrastructure, Surety and Financial & Professional Liability lines of business. The company also offers Innovative Risk Solutions, which can be tailored to a customer’s unique exposures.

“This direct insurance licence helps us strengthen our presence and further expand our offerings in South Africa,” said Fred Kleiterp, CEO Europe, Middle East & Africa at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “It is evidence of our strong commitment to this important market and underlines our ambition to be a sustainable partner to our customers and brokers in the region.“

“Our market partners in South Africa will continue to benefit from our strong lead capabilities, innovative solutions and financial strength,” said Michelle Oosthuizen, Head South Africa at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “Our own licence will enable us to better support our customers and brokers and build a sustainable, long-term business in South Africa.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions established operations in South Africa in 2015. To date it has operated in the country as Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Advisors South Africa, a licenced Financial Services Provider (reference no. 45661) binding direct commercial insurance business through a binder agreement with Guardrisk Insurance Company Ltd.