Intact inks deal for The Guarantee Co of North America and Frank

The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:IFC) TORONTO — Intact Financial Corp. has signed a deal to buy The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. Ltd. from Princeton Holdings Ltd. for $1 billion in cash.The Guarantee is a specialty lines insurer in Canada and the U.S., while Frank Cowan is a managing general agent focused on specialty insurance.Intact is a provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a provider of specialty insurance in North America.The company says the acquisition will bolster its position and add new products for the high net worth customer segment.Princeton Holdings will continue to own Cowan Insurance Group, Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance.To finance the transaction, Intact says it has access to its own capital resources and bank facilities and may evaluate capital markets alternatives.“The acquisition of The Guarantee Co. of North America and Frank Cowan Co. is strongly aligned with our strategic and financial objectives,” Intact chief executive Charles Brindamour said in a statement.“We are delivering on our objectives to grow in Canada and build a leading North American specialty platform. I’m enthusiastic about what we will accomplish by leveraging the combined expertise of our teams and our expanded offering.”The deal, which is subject to regulator approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.Specialty lines insurers typically underwrite more difficult and unusual risks or higher-risk accounts, such as professional liability, marine and aviation. read more

Sudan UN concerned for 90000 displaced people after aid group asked to

Expressing his dismay at the decision against the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said it highlighted a trend of increasing constraints imposed upon humanitarian workers from the UN and NGOs, warning that the situation in Kalma camp would likely deteriorate as a result of the NRC being asked to go.“The NRC has been doing an excellent job, as acknowledged by not only its humanitarian partners and the donors but also by many local authorities. Kalma used to be a disorganized area…Thanks to the work of NRC and its UN and NGO partners, it’s now a well-managed camp where all the critical needs are being met, and tensions are managed effectively,” stated Mr. Egeland.“With no one to replace the NRC, I fear that conditions for the 90,000 people in the camp will worsen. Tensions are likely to rise among the IDPs who looked to NRC for help and to resolve problems, particularly with local authorities,” he added.“It is just one example of the rising levels of restrictions that the 14,000 aid workers in Darfur and in many other parts of Sudan face every day.”Such restrictions range from long delays in exit and re-entry visas for NGO staff, unjustified interference in the recruitment of staff, to delays clearing imported humanitarian goods and equipment.“The rise in these restrictions in recent months unfortunately reminds me of the early part of 2004. We must have the full cooperation of the Government at all levels to be able to carry out life-saving work in Darfur and other parts of Sudan. Those who will suffer the most if we don’t are the millions of Sudanese citizens who urgently need humanitarian relief,” Mr. Egeland warned.Secretary-General Kofi Annan is seeking to speak to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir after his Government refused permission for Mr. Egeland’s plane to land in the Darfur region on Sunday, at the start of what was to have been a five-day visit to Africa’s largest country, where the UN is heavily involved in trying both to ease the Darfur crisis and to promote the rehabilitation of the recently pacified South.Fighting in the Darfur region of western Sudan between the Government, pro-government militias and rebels has killed close to 200,000 people and uprooted 2 million. The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) announced today a mini-summit will be held in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Saturday to discuss ways to speed up efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.Speaking in New York, a UN spokesman said that apart from Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria would also take part in the meeting, as would the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, Taye Zerihoun, and the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission. read more