INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURED ERIN LOSSES PUT

AT $130 MILLION SO FARThe insurance industry will pay an estimated $130 million in claims to people whose property was damaged so far by Hurricane Erin, the Insurance Information Institute said Thursday.

The preliminary estimate was prepared by Applied Insurance Research Inc. of Boston, which uses a computer software program to estimate insured losses from catastrophes.

Karen Clark, AIR's president, said damage will be relatively light from the hurricane's first landfall in Florida, with claims likely from damaged roofs, automobiles, downed trees and flooding.

Wind damage is covered by standard homeowners policies, but flooding is covered under policies written by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Property Claim Services Inc., meanwhile, has assigned Erin a catastrophe number but has not released an estimate on the extent of damage, said Assistant Vice President Gary Kerney. At least $5 million in damage had to have occurred to receive a catastrophe number.

HANG SENG, HSBC PLAN

LIFE-INSURANCE VENTURE

HONG KONG - Hang Seng Bank and HSBC Asset Management signed an agreement Thursday to set up a joint venture, Hang Seng Life Ltd., to provide life- insurance services in Hong Kong by the end of the year, Hang Seng Bank said in a statement.

Hang Seng Life will be equally owned by Hang Seng Bank, the second- largest bank listed in Hong Kong, and HSBC Asset Management, the investment arm of HSBC Holdings.

The statement said Hang Seng Bank will pay HK$47.5 million (US$6.1 million) to acquire a 50 percent stake in the HSBC Life Ltd., an existing life-insurance company in the HSBC group. The company will be renamed Hang Seng Life.

CONTINENTAL TO CLOSE

ITS SIOUX CITY OFFICE

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Officials of Continental Life & Accident Co. said they will close the insurer's Sioux City office next month, which means a loss of 60 jobs in the area.

The company will consolidate operations in Rock Island, Ill., in September, said Nancy Zalud, spokeswoman for Schaumburg, Ill.-based Pioneer Financial Services Inc., which bought Continental Life in August 1993.

"It is not a matter of one operation being better than the other. It is a decision based on consolidation providing cost savings and greater efficiency," Mr. Zalud said.

SINGAPORE LIFE INSURERS

URGED TO DEAL ABROAD

SINGAPORE - A Singapore Cabinet minister on Thursday urged life insurers to venture abroad to take advantage of underdeveloped markets in booming Asian economies.

"Looking to the future, I urge the industry to look beyond Singapore's

shores," the acting minister for community development, Abdullah Tarmugi, told the 17th Life Underwriters' Association Congress.

"Whilst there is still room for the Singapore market to grow, this is the time for insurance companies to venture into the region, capitalizing on the fact that many countries in South and East Asia are opening up or expanding their economies."

Mr. Abdullah said that according to a 1993 report, 63 percent of Singapore's 3 million population was covered by private life insurance, up

from 59 percent in 1992.

The country's insurance industry grew by 15 percent in 1994 and insurance premiums amounted to Singapore $5.7 billion (US$4.1 billion).