Dutch art sleuth recovers Picasso stolen 20 years ago

By Mike Corder

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

AMSTERDAM _ A Dutch art detective said Tuesday that he has recovered a valuable painting by Pablo Picasso 20 years after it was stolen from a wealthy Saudi’s yacht in France.

Arthur Brand told The Associated Press that he took possession two weeks ago of the 1938 painting “Buste de Femme” after trailing it for years in Amsterdam.

Brand, a renowned sleuth whose previous finds include a pair of bronze horses sculpted for Adolf Hitler, has since handed over the painting, which he estimates to be worth around 25 million euros ($28 million), to an insurance company. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the painting.

Brand said he knew it was the real thing as soon as he got his hands on it and peeled away two plastic bags covering the canvas.

“You know it’s a Picasso because there is some magic coming off it,” he said.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was convinced of its authenticity.

In cases of stolen art, he said, the back of a painting can tell experts more than the front.

He said that since the theft from a yacht moored in the swanky French Riviera port of Antibes, a number of forgeries had been offered to insurers and rejected.

“But a forger never knows how the back looks,” Brand said, without specifying what was there. “When I saw the back of the painting, I knew it was the real one.”

Brand began his latest hunt after hearing rumours about a Picasso stolen from a boat.

“Finally, I tracked somebody down who had had it in his possession 10 years ago and he told me which one it was,” he said.  “And then it still took me three years to get near it.”

Brand said the painting had circulated in the criminal underworld of the Dutch capital.

“It was used as some kind of money as payment for drug and arm deals,” he said.

Eventually a person who had the painting in their possession decided to turn it in and reached out to Brand.

Martin Finkelnberg, head of the Dutch national police’s art and antique criminality team, welcomed the recovery. No arrests have been made.

Finkelnberg told Dutch national daily De Volkskrant that having such a painting can be a burden and taking it to Brand is a way out.

“Done. Everybody happy,” Finkelnberg said. “The most important thing is that the artwork is back.”

Lloyd’s of London Will Name and Shame Sexual Harassment Culprits

By and 

Bloomberg

Lloyd’s of London will publicly name and shame anyone it bans from its insurance market for sexual harassment, according to Chief Executive Officer John Neal.

“When we do see instances of bad behavior, and let’s hope they are infrequent, we have got to be public and decisive about the action that we take,” Neal said in an interview on Wednesday. “People have got to be really clear that you cannot behave that way. Where we ban someone we should be very public about it.”

Neal was responding to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, published last week, which found a deep-seated culture of sexual misconduct in the London insurance market. Drawing on the experiences of 18 women, the report detailed an atmosphere of near-persistent harassment, ranging from lewd and suggestive comments to unwanted touching to sexual assault.

“This is not the Lloyd’s that I want to be part of,” Neal said. “We have got to ensure that everybody, whether it’s a woman or a man, should feel safe at any time of day doing anything that’s associated with the Lloyd’s market. I’m determined that will be the case.”

One of the women in the Bloomberg article described an experience in which a senior manager drunkenly attacked her in a pub right around the corner from Lloyd’s. Her employer convinced her it would be bad for her career to pursue a complaint. Other women who experienced similar abuse and had lodged formal complaints said their careers had suffered as a consequence.

Neal said it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of Lloyd’s to ban alcohol outside of its buildings, but added that he would no longer tolerate it on the premises and would eject anyone who was drunk.

Lloyd’s of London outlined a plan on Tuesday to address the allegations of harassment by setting up an independent whistleblower hotline and laying out potential lifetime bans for anyone found guilty of sexual harassment. The proposals were agreed upon at an emergency meeting of industry executives convened on Monday evening by Neal. Lloyd’s also committed to having an independent culture survey taken to identify the scale of the issue.

“While it’s an incredibly negative position to come from, you’ve written a story that has galvanized us into more action,” Neal said. “I think we have to use that as a rallying call.”

Woman cuts off own hand with circular saw in brutal insurance scam

A 21-year-old Slovenian woman deliberately cut off her own hand with a circular saw in an effort to cash in on an insurance claim, authorities say.

According to police, the unidentified woman’s family claimed she lost her hand as a result of an accident on their property, saying it happened when the woman was attempting to saw off tree branches. The family said the woman slipped while using the saw, severing her left hand.

Authorities told ABC News the woman had taken out five different insurance policies months before suffering the injury in January and had only made a few payments on each of the contracts. The woman would have allegedly stood to gain 400,000 euros (about CAD$602,000).

The woman was unemployed at the time and had no other source of income, ABC reported. A 29-year-old relative was also detained in the investigation.

“With one of her accomplices, she intentionally amputated her left hand, hoping to stage it as an accident,” Ljubljana police spokesman Valter Zrinski told ABC News.

Family members left the severed hand behind rather than bring it to the hospital to ensure the disability was permanent. However, the hand was recovered and doctors were able to sew it back on.

“Her hand is recovering well,” Zrinski said.

The woman faces up to eight years in prison.

–with a file from the Associated Press

Source: Global News

 

 

Tribal First Acquires Canada’s AFN Insurance Brokers

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar 7, 2019–Tribal First, a division of Alliant Underwriting Solutions, has acquired AFN Insurance Brokerage. The acquisition pairs Canada’s First Nations insurance leader with the largest provider of insurance solutions to Tribal Nations in the U.S., expanding Tribal First’s geographical reach and service profile.

 

“Tribal First is dedicated to providing customized insurance solutions to Native governments across North America,” said Sean McConlogue, President of Alliant Underwriting Solutions. “AFN brings a longstanding legacy of integrity and strength to our platform, and this alliance will enable us to provide powerful services and solutions that are new to the Canadian market.”

 

“The AFN name is synonymous with strength, customization, and a careful attention to addressing the needs of Canada’s First Nations and stands in direct alignment with Tribal First’s longstanding mission in the U.S.,” said Robert Shearer, Executive Vice President and leader of Tribal First.

Founded in 1998, AFN is a nationally incorporated insurance brokerage dedicated exclusively to serving First Nations across Canada. The Ottawa-based brokerage provides a full suite of products and services that include insurance, risk management, consulting, and employee benefits. AFN has access to leading international carriers and works directly with a large base of retail broker partners.

 

“This is a powerful strategic alliance that will add considerable strength to the AFN team,” said Gil Saunders, Principal at AFN. “Tribal First’s large platform, strong market relationships, and dedicated team of specialists will enable us to provide significant value and results to both our broker partners and First Nations clients. Most importantly, Tribal First shares our core objective of designing and delivering customized solutions that are in the best interest of Canada’s First Nations.”

 

The acquisition continues the Northern expansion of Tribal First. In 2017, the firm acquired American Indian Health Services, an American Indian-owned organization dedicated to addressing the distinct healthcare needs of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and related enterprises.

 

Saunders and the AFN team will join Alliant and continue to service clients from AFN’s Ottawa location. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

 

About Tribal First

Tribal First, a specialized program of Alliant Underwriting Solutions, has focused exclusively on meeting the insurance and risk management needs of Native governments and enterprises since 1993. Tribal First is the largest provider of insurance solutions to Native America and a leader in the specialty areas of tribal business enterprises, including gaming, alternative energy, construction, and housing authorities. Tribal First’s TribalCare division provides a full range of health services customized for the needs of Tribal Nations.

 

About Alliant Insurance Services

Headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. provides property and casualty, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, surety, and financial products and services to clients nationwide, including public entities, tribal nations, healthcare, energy, law firms, real estate, construction, and other industry groups. More information is available on the company’s website at www.alliant.com.

 

Aon Says It’s No Longer Pursuing Willis Towers Acquisition

Aon Plc said it’s no longer pursuing a combination with rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson Plc, a day after confirming that it was considering a tie-up.

The company said on Tuesday that it was in the early stages of exploring an all-share tie-up with Willis Towers after Bloomberg reported the potential plans. The companies held preliminary talks and Aon was preparing to submit a bid in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter had said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

Aon shares fell 7.8 percent in New York on Tuesday, its biggest decline since 2009. A potential combination with Willis — which gained 5.2 percent and had a market value of $23.5 billion at the close of trading — could have been the industry’s largest-ever merger. Willis’s shares declined about 4 percent in early trading Wednesday.

Source Bloomberg | By Nick Lichtenberg and Amy Thomson

Read more here: 

 

Gallagher & Co. To Acquire Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group’s Global Aerospace Operations

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.March 4, 2019 /CNW/ — Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG) announced the signing of an agreement to acquire the global aerospace operations of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc (JLT). The acquisition, subject to European Commission approval, is scheduled to close this spring in connection with the closing of the JLT purchase by Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

The agreement provides for the acquisition of all assets within JLT’s global aerospace retail and wholesale insurance broking division, which includes operations in the UK, US, CanadaAustraliaNew Zealand and 10 other countries spanning EuropeLatin America and Asia. The agreement also includes the assets of Hayward Aviation, a UK insurance broker that specializes in aviation for high-net worth individuals and smaller airlines.

Approximately 250 employees from JLT’s global aerospace division will join Gallagher as part of the agreement. This includes around 100 employees within JLT’s London Market operations who will become part of Gallagher’s existing aviation division, which most recently added independent aviation insurance and reinsurance broker, Boston Marks, to its growing London-based aviation operations.

“The addition of JLT’s global aerospace broking operations will firmly position Gallagher as a leading broker in the extremely attractive and dynamic aviation and aerospace sector,” said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO. “The business portfolio is a highly complementary geographic fit with Gallagher’s existing footprint and will provide significant growth opportunities for our international businesses. We look forward to welcoming the team to Gallagher later this spring.”

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG), a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The company has operations in 35 countries and offers client service capabilities in more than 150 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

SOURCE Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

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