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The creation of Zurich Financial Services cleared its final regulatory and legal hurdle last week, when the U.K. High Court approved the demerger of U.K-based tobacco and financial services company B.A.T Industries P.L.C. Under U.K. law, B.A.T required legal approval from the High Court to split its financial services and tobacco businesses. B.A.T's financial services business will now merge with Swiss insurer Zurich Group to create ZFS, effective Sept. 8. . . .The London Processing Centre has begun the trial phase of a new fully electronic service that tracks all premiums by providing a daily status of each premium item. The service, which will allow brokers and insurers to see what premiums are being paid for what risks, is being tested by a small group of companies. The LPC expects a full launch of the service in November. . . .The Channel Island of Guernsey says it now has 22 Protected Cell Companies operating since it became the first captive domicile to permit PCCs in February 1997. A PCC allows the creation of an umbrella company, or core cell, around which subsidiary cells operate, each with legal protection against the liabilities of another. Of the 22 PCCs, 13 have been established as vehicles for collective investment programs with umbrella structures, and nine have been created to carry out various kinds of insurance business, according to the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. . . .Peter Foreman is leaving his post as chief executive of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group P.L.C. after just 10 months. A spokesman said Mr. Foreman will leave Oct. 1 to take early
retirement. Mr. Foreman will be replaced by Paul Spencer, now group finance director. . . .An International Group of P&I Clubs proposal may end the group's long dispute with the European Union's Competition Directorate. The directorate had objected to the International Group Agreement, which prevents the protection and indemnity clubs from undercutting one another. The International Group said club boards of directors have agreed that while they will continue to operate the IGA in relation to retained claims, pooling arrangements and reinsurance costs, they will allow clubs to vary their rates by factoring internal costs into rating calculations. IG Chairman George Green said club approval of the proposal could resolve the dispute with the Competition Directorate. . . .Odyssey Re has named Jan Wangard to succeed Michael Watson as chief executive officer of Odyssey Re London as of Jan. 1, 1999. Mr. Watson has been promoted to chief operating officer of Odyssey Re Group. Mr. Wangard currently is president and CEO of Skandia International Insurance Corp., recently acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., owners of Odyssey Re. . . .Ernst & Young has made Peter Brady a partner in its expanding London-based Business Risk Consulting practice. Mr. Brady joined Ernst & Young in 1987 and currently heads the Business Risk Consulting practice's specialist technology communications and entertainment group. . . .Guardian Royal Exchange P.L.C. has completed the acquisition of the U.S. property/casualty insurance operations of Dutch financial institution ING Group and the sale of its Canadian property/casualty operations to ING. GRE Chief Executive John Robins said the transaction shows GRE's determination to focus on "those markets and sectors where we can exert significant influence and derive long-term profitable growth." . . .Hardy Underwriting Group P.L.C. has closed its offer to acquire capacity in Lloyd's of London syndicate 382, having received acceptances in respect of L20.1 million ($33.7 million) of the syndicate's capacity, representing 53.5% of the capacity subject to the offer. In addition, Hardy has acquired L750,000 ($1.3 million) of syndicate 382's capacity via the 1998 Lloyd's capacity auctions.