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Ron Forrest will succeed Dennis Mahoney as chairman of the World Insurance Network. Mr. Forrest, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Aon Risk Services Cos. Inc., with responsibility for operations in North and South America, takes up the post July 1, the same day that WINconnect, WIN's global online communications services for the commercial insurance industry, goes live. WIN is owned by five of the world's major insurance brokers. . . .David Griffiths is resigning from the board of Lambert Fenchurch Group P.L.C. as of June 30. He was finance director of Fenchurch P.L.C. prior to its merger with Lowndes Lambert Holdings P.L.C. in February 1997. His successor to the board has not been named. . . . Zurich Insurance Co.'s shareholders last week approved its plan to increase its share capital by up to 25 million Swiss francs ($17.4 million). Zurich said it will give it "the necessary flexibility to issue shares or raise equity in order to take timely advantage of opportunities for business expansion as and when they should arise". . . .Standard & Poor's has assigned a BBB- claims-paying ability rating to Hiscox Insurance Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary since July 1996 of Hiscox P.L.C. It said the rating reflects the insurer's "good capital position offset by a very modest business position and disappointing operating performance in the past six years when trading under the name of Economic Insurance." S&P said the acquisition by Hiscox has given the insurance company the advantages of new capital, a "well-respected" trading name and access to Lloyd's of London. . . .Aon Group Ltd., a London-based unit of Aon Group Inc., has centralized its global captive management operations under a new unit, Aon Insurance Managers. AIM will have more than 450 captives under management writing annual premiums of more than $2 billion. Philip Stamp, AIM's chief executive, will be based in the Isle of Man. . . .French reinsurers have reported strong earnings for 1996, with profits up 37.5% to 2.399 billion French francs ($461.3 million) last year, according to figures released by the Assn. des Reassureurs Francais. . . .European insurance and reinsurance brokers hope a European Union directive expected to be proposed later this year will remove restrictions that prevent intermediaries from freely transacting business within all member countries. In the meantime, the European Union has said it will use infringement proceedings against member states that try to place obstacles to brokers seeking to service clients across borders. Those proceedings would include a request to a member country to comply and could be followed by court action. . . .Bermuda-based EXEL Ltd. now owns more than 90% of property catastrophe reinsurer GCR Holdings Ltd. after its offer to buy GCR shares expired June 11. EXEL announced its intention to buy GCR for $637 million in May (BI, May 12).