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London-based Sedgwick Group P.L.C. and Nikols S.r.l. Insurance Brokers, Italy's largest insurance broker, plan to merge their operations in Italy and in several countries in southern Europe and Latin America. The joint venture company, which will be involved in risk services, insurance and reinsurance brokering and employee benefit consulting, will be chaired by Letizia Moratti, chairman of Nikols. . . .London-based broker Steel Burrill Jones Group P.L.C. has recruited a team of nine international brokers from recently merged Jardine Lloyd Thompson. The team is led by David King, who will become managing director of a new SBJ special risks division. SBJ Chairman Jim Clark said he expects to announce further appointments as brokers change jobs as a result of recent broker mergers. . . .SCOR Reassurance, part of the SCOR Group of France, has sold its 7.98% stake in Coflexip Stena Offshore in order to focus on core reinsurance business. The shares were placed with French and international investors, and resulted in an aftertax capital gain to SCOR of 165 million francs ($28.2 million). . . .Lloyd's of London this month unveiled Electronic Placing System Support, or EPS-S, a more simplified electronic trading system than its original EPS. One claimed advantage is that it requires less initial data input from brokers. The brokers involved will be targeting specific types of business for initial use over the coming months, though Lloyd's says it does not expect that large volumes of risks will be placed this way until users become familiar with the system. . . .Switzerland's Winterthur Group has appointed Thomas Wellauer to take over as CEO upon the retirement of Peter Spalti at the end of 1997. Mr. Wellauer currently works in Zurich as a director of the Swiss financial services unit of consultants McKinsey & Co.