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Zurich-based Swiss Mobiliar Insurance Co. is the latest insurance company to join Eureko B.V., a European insurance and financial services network based in Amsterdam. As part of the agreement, Swiss Mobiliar has taken a 10% stake in Eureko and Eureko is taking a 22.27% stake in Providentia, Swiss Mobiliar's life insurance subsidiary. The move makes the Eureko network one of the largest insurance groups in Europe, with assets of 262 billion guilders ($144.13 billion). . . .Munich Reinsurance Co. and Zurich Financial Services Group have joined the British Aviation Insurance Group insurance pool. Both companies will become members of BAIG Underwriting Services Ltd. from the beginning of next year, along with founding members CGU P.L.C., Royal & Sun Alliance P.L.C. and British Aviation Insurance Co. Ltd., as well as the Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. and Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., which joined this year. BAIG's pool capacity will stay at the 1998 level, however, because it is assessed on market conditions rather than funds available. . . .The number of ransom demands has hit its highest level ever, according to a survey by Hiscox Group P.L.C. Of 1,407 kidnappings for ransom worldwide last year, 887 incidents took place in Colombia. Mexico proved the second most dangerous country, with 237 recorded kidnappings, according to the Hiscox Kidnap Monitor. The first half of this year has seen 784 reported kidnappings, indicating that it may be another record year. Hiscox, a kidnap & ransom insurance specialist, warned there could be a further increase in kidnap rates as economic instability around the world increases. . . .Two paintings stolen from the Cheret Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice, France, last month (BI, Sept. 28) have been recovered by police, and three men have been arrested in connection with the theft
. . . .Lloyd's of London has delayed the opening of its Lloyd's Asia venture until July of next year. The operation was due to launch in January 1999 but has been put back because of the volume of work still to be completed, said a Lloyd's spokesman. . . .U.K. professional services group Fishers Group Ltd. has revamped its operating structure and changed its name to Miller Fisher Group Ltd. The Sutton, England-based company is now organized into four main areas: loss adjusting; claims management and administration; investigation services; and inspection services. . . .U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair last week opened Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group P.L.C.'s first Chinese branch office, after Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin had said the insurer would be the first to be granted a license in a visit to the United Kingdom earlier this year. The new Shanghai office of Royal & SunAlliance will provide commercial insurance coverages to foreign-funded joint ventures. . . .Standard & Poor's Corp. has assigned an AA-rating to Gerling Credit Insurance Group. The rating encompasses Gerling-Konzern Speziale Kreditversicherungs A.G. in Germany, Gerling Namur Assurances du Credit S.A. in Belgium, Namur Re S.A. in Luxembourg and Gerling Nordic Kreditforsikring in Norway. The rating is based on Gerling Credit's strong market position in Germany, diversified book of business, very good underwriting performance and strong capitalization, according to S&P. . . .Lloyd's of London agency Cox Insurance Holdings P.L.C. has completed its acquisition of Anthony Kidd Agencies Ltd. for L13 million ($22.2 million). . . .The HM Treasury, the regulator for the U.K. insurance industry, will appoint new members of the Insurance Brokers' Registration Council when the existing members leave at the end of this month. The IBRC will remain the regulator for U.K. insurance brokers until the Insurance Brokers' Registration Act is repealed as part of a new regime that will turn regulation over to brokers.