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Rating agency Standard & Poor's has assessed the Japanese non-life insurance industry as "financially strong." It has restored its catastrophe reserves after the "climatic losses" in 1991 and has high-quality assets and sound capitalization, says S&P. As a result, S&P has affirmed its AA+ ratings on Chiyoda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd., Dai-Tokyo Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. and Nichido Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. In addition, it has affirmed AAA ratings for Tokio Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. and Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. Nevertheless, S&P warns of pressure on premium rates, partly because of competition from low-premium-rate products in the short term, due to the ongoing liberalization of the Japanese insurance market. . . .Lloyd's of London has brought regulatory and disciplinary sanctions against four people and seven organizations, imposing fines ranging from (British pounds) 300 to (British pounds) 20,000 ($487 to $32,490). The largest fine and a notice of censure went to Derek Walker, formerly the active underwriter for syndicate 290 and deputy chairman of its managing agent Gooda Walker Ltd. Lloyd's castigated Mr. Walker for approving three documents, including the syndicate accounts, without providing relevant information about certain syndicate transactions. Lloyd's reprimanded his former colleague, Hugo Pilch, who had been finance director of Gooda Walker Ltd., for "conduct detrimental to the interests of policyholders, the Society and others doing business at Lloyd's" and ordered him to pay (British pounds) 25,000 ($41,425) in costs. . . .Unveiling six-month worldwide profits of (British pounds) 442 million ($718 million), U.K. insurer Prudential Corp. P.L.C. also announced it will speed up its internal pension mis-selling review by not arguing the onus of proof in each case. This should help Prudential meet its deadline of March 1998, and as a result, it has increased its provisions for compensation to victims of pensions mis-selling to (British pounds) 450 million from (British pounds) 240 million (to $731 million from $387 million). . . .In the meantime, the Personal Investment Authority has criticized Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group P.L.C. for failing to meet its required timetable for resolving pension mis-selling cases. RSA responded that it has "taken all reasonable steps to carry out this review expeditiously," adding that previously it had made clear that certain cases would be too complex to solve within the time frame permitted. . . .Lloyd's corporate capital pro-vider Angerstein Underwriting Trust P.L.C. next year will reduce the number of syndicates to which it provides capacity in response to the "more difficult underwriting climate" at Lloyd's. In addition, it will continue to look at acquiring new businesses-it bought three Lloyd's agencies earlier this year-and placing more capacity with the agencies it owns. . . .Reserves at The United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Assurance Assn. (Bermuda) Ltd., better known as the U.K. P&I Club, have increased 14% to $332 million over the past year. In its accounts for the year to Feb. 20, 1997, the U.K. P&I Club attributes the increase to a reduction in estimated claims for 1995, to $874 million from $921 million and a marginal increase in total funds to $1.12 billion from $1.117 billion. . . .Telemarketing of commercial insurance has been taken up by a new company, PI Direct Ltd., launched last week. PI Direct aims to sell professional indemnity cover to small to medium-sized firms-those with one to nine partners-of accountants, engineers, surveyors, architects and insurance brokers. It will take business placed through insurance brokers and will provide a quotation within 48 hours.