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The Overseas Private Investment Corp., a U.S. agency that underwrites political risk in developing countries, has expanded political risk insurance services to U.S. companies and increased support to defense conversion projects. It will offer $200 million in coverage for currency inconvertibility for companies investing in Russia, up from $5 million of coverage previously offered, taking it to the same level of coverage it offers in other countries. . . .Moody's Investors Service Inc. has said it expects deregulation of the Japanese insurance sector to increase competitive pressures on the country's life and property/casualty insurers. Such pressure will come from Japan's agreement to fully deregulate insurance premium rates in 1998, profit pressures and takeover vulnerability of smaller companies, competition from banks and other financial institutions, and increased competition between Japanese insurers and from foreign insurers. As a result, Moody's has placed its A3 insurance financial strength rating of Sumitomo Mutual Life Insurance Co. under review for possible downgrade. . . .Sedgwick Group P.L.C. has become the first Lloyd's of London broker to form an insurance facility for property risks following the approval by Lloyd's of the reintroduction of cover for war risk on land. It has lined up coverage in the Lloyd's market totaling $150 million for any one location, claiming "there is significant pent-up demand for the cover amongst multinational organizations which are seeking to exploit opportunities in developing markets around the globe.". . . .Michael Eagles has resigned as chief executive of London-based Windsor Insurance Brokers Ltd. While a company statement said he left "to pursue his own business interests,"
. . . .Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Department has issued its first guarantee for a British contract with Uzbekistan. It will support an order placed with Crosrol Ltd. of northern England to install and commission machinery for Tashkent Textile Combinat, one of the country's largest spinning mills. . .
Whittington Rodney-Smith Ltd., an insurance consulting firm owned by Murray Lawrence Holdings Ltd., has changed its name to Whittington Insurance Consultants Ltd. and appointed Martin Rodney-Smith its executive chairman. Mr. Rodney-Smith, previously the consulting firm's managing director, took over the chairmanship from Chris Keeling, who will continue as a company director. . . .London-based Unionamerica Insurance Co. Ltd. has acquired a 51% stake in Jago Dedicated Ltd., which owns Jago Capital Ltd., a dedicated Lloyd's corporate capital investment vehicle. Jago Capital provides capacity for non-marine syndicate 205. . . .Newly merged AXA-UAP has announced its net losses as a result of the Eurotunnel P.L.C. fire last year came to 100 million French francs ($18.2 million) (BI, Nov. 25, 1996). The former Union des Assurances de Paris had a net 75 million franc ($13.7 million) loss, with the former AXA S.A. sustaining the rest. AXA's losses were smaller as it insured a higher excess-of-loss layer than UAP, a company spokesman in Paris said. . . .Benfield & Rea Investment Trust P.L.C. and Finsbury Underwriting Investment Trust P.L.C. have acquired 25.1% and 15% respectively of Wren Holdings Group Ltd. for 6 million pounds ($10.03 million). Wren has two main subsidiaries, Wren Syndicate Management Ltd., one of the leading managing agencies at Lloyd's of London, and Wren Underwriting Agencies Ltd., a Lloyd's members' agency. Benfield & Rea Chairman John Coldman said that the investment in Wren "marks a further step in building a first rate portfolio of insurance investments." Finsbury Chairman Robin Baillie said that his group plans to work closely with Wren to identify opportunities.