INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURANCE BRIEFS

PRUDENTIAL TO SELL

MALLS FOR $1 BILLION

DES MOINES, Iowa - Prudential Insurance Co. of America would sell regional mall shopping centers in six states to a partnership of investors in the United States and Australia under a $1 billion deal announced Wednesday.

The buyers are General Growth Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust based in Des Moines that owns 21 shopping centers in 15 states; Westfield Holdings Ltd., which operates 24 shopping centers in Australia and seven in the United States; and Whitehall Real Estate Limited Partnership III, a real estate investment partnership formed by Goldman Sachs & Co. investment firm in New York.

The terms call for about $500 million in cash, and the partnership will assume about $500 million in mortgage debt, said Martin Bucksbaum, chairman of General Growth.

SKANDIA EUROBOND ISSUE

GETS 'BAA3' RATING

NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service assigned a rating of "Baa3" to a five-year, $150 million senior Eurobond issue of Skandia Capital AB, guaranteed by the issuer's parent Skandia Insurance Co. of Stockholm, Sweden.

This is the first time that Moody's has rated the firm's long-term debt, the rating firm said. Moody's said the rating reflects both the strength of Skandia's insurance operations in Scandinavia as well as continuing improvement in the consolidated group balance sheet. However, Moody's said that Skandia's insurance operations are still "lackluster."

Skandia Insurance Co., which changed its name from Skandia Group Insurance Co., on July 1, is the parent of Skandia Group.

MARINE UNDERWRITERS

URGED TO SUPPORT NAFTA

Marine underwriters must be aggressive advocates for the North American free-trade agreement as part of the continuing fight to reduce trade barriers, the vice chairman of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters told a recent seminar.

"We're looking at the elimination of the longstanding restriction that requires the placement of cargo insurance in Mexico on goods traveling between there and Canada or the United States," said William Mack, in an address before the Mariner's Club of Massachusetts.