The week's winners

The week's winners
Domestic & General up 9.1%
Chaucer up 4.3%

The week's losers
Zurich Financial Services down 14.1%
Allianz down 10%

Jeremy Cooke, president of Markel International, believes now is a good time to buy shares.

Markel has made a five- year equity return of some- thing like 10%,so its track record is worth noting. But how to spot the opportunities? Could now be the time to take a chance on The Innovation Group (TiG)?

Several industry watchers think it's undervalued after last week's disastrous profit warning which sent it tumbling by more than 100 percentage points.

TiG has some strong assets - a Huon application stands out and generates good revenues. But it now looks vulnerable to a takeover.

Misys has been mentioned as a contender but Stockwatch sees a better fit with one of the systems integrators or software companies.

Reports of a capital raising plan at Zurich Financial Services sent the beleaguered stock falling 17%in London on Monday and another 8.7%on Tuesday, continuing its dismal summer.

Its balance sheet could certainly do with the $2.5bn (£1.6bn)injection being talked about and expectations will be high when it reveals first half results today.

Former chief executive Rolf Huppi was warned the company needed more money before he quit back in May.

If a contraction is planned, the UK could be in the firing line.

Having been the bane of the industry for its short and troubled life, insurers are now turning to Claims Direct in the hope of making a penny or two.

A number of industry figures are known to have shown interest in snapping up the ambulance chaser's uninsured case book - cases it took on, but for one reason or another no insurance was issued.

The attraction for insurers would be the chance of a reliable income stream for the next few years. A price tag of £10m has been mentioned.

The extent to which property and casualty (P&C) business is being used to shore up struggling life divisions in the big composites was made clear yet again this week when AXA published its first half earnings figures.

The French company brought its P&C combined ratio down by 5%and operating earnings from the sec- tor nearly doubled from their level at the same point last year - compared to a decline on the life side.