Saint Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. was founded March 5, 1853, in St. Paul, Minnesota, serving local customers who were having a difficult time getting claim payments in a timely manner from insurance companies on the east coast of the United States. It barely survived the Panic of 1857 by dramatically paring down its operations and later reorganizing itself into a stock company (as opposed to a mutual company). It soon spread its operations across the country. In 1998 it acquired USF&G, known formerly as United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, an insurance company based in Baltimore, Maryland, for $3.9 billion in stock and assumed debt. By buying USF&G, they went from the 13th to the eighth largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States. Through economies of scale between the two companies, and a difficult business environment, they downsized the company substantially over the coming years by selling certain business units to focus on more profitable business units.
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cultural and culinary attractions. On the West Bund riverfront, Tank Shanghai will transform disused oil tanks into a sprawling arts complex with a gallery, an education center, and parks when it’s completed later this year. Farther north, the Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick–designed Fosun Foundation, with its façade of shifting bronze cylinders, began hosting performances and art shows last fall. The North Bund is being redeveloped with a park linking it to a new lifestyle development that’s anchored by the city’s first W Hotel. In the residential Minhang district, Cordis debuted in May, and Amanyangyun will open nearby after relocating Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, as well as 10,000 ancient camphor trees, from Jiangxi province. More luxury stays are still to come in 2018, including the Middle House, the Bulgari, and the Edition. —Samantha Culp
MacLaren and Forbes stake out a criminal transaction that becomes a shootout. MacLaren's team is directed to assist an older traveler team: the incident's survivors, whose leader, Rick Hall, reveals that the deal was the assigned transfer of a device with a Russian traveler team. MacLaren is shocked by the violence between teams and by Hall's jadedness. Hall's teammates, Carter and Luca, are both dying, but Marcy saves Luca by transfusing Carter's blood; Marcy suspects Luca is her brother due to his suffering from night terrors. Hall demands that he become the leader of a merged team, and demands MacLaren kill Forbes to prevent their exposure. MacLaren and Forbes arrest Hall and Luca, and the team transfers the device. Trevor quits football to focus on his grades, but is grounded. Ray demands more gambling information from Philip. Carly rebukes Jeff, who harasses Marcy. Carly and MacLaren sleep together.
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Though decades of civil war made parts of the island unsafe, tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, where international visitors exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2016. The momentum is particularly strong along the south coast, which has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts after Colombo. The 172-room Amari resort recently opened on the beachfront in Galle (known for its UNESCO-protected Dutch fortress) with ocean views from every balcony. Water also plays a central role at Alila Koggala, a new luxury eco-resort with 36 suites and private villas, opening 20 minutes outside of Galle in June. The property sits on the serene shores of Lake Koggala and will feature an ayurvedic spa where treatments can be taken on a platform floating on the lake. Further along the south coast, Mirissa Beach is attracting travelers in need of a full mind-body reset. The laid-back surfer town — think Venice Beach minus the tech crowd — comes alive at night with bars and barbecue restaurants overlooking the turquoise bay; when you’re ready to turn in, there are earthy, low-key lodges peppered throughout the jungle, such as Surf & Yoga, which offers daily on-site yoga and private surf lessons. —Alex Schechter
Ever since Tolminc raw-milk cheeses and Slovenian marbled trout were featured on an episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table with chef Ana Roš, Slovenia’s culinary star has been on the rise. Hiša Franko, the Soca Valley inn and restaurant that Roš runs with her sommelier husband, is now one of the region’s hardest tables to get — prompting the pair to open a small brewpub, Hiša Polonka. Surging demand for Slovenia’s natural and orange wines has driven local winemakers like Burja Estate and Movia to expand. And in the capital of Ljubljana, adventurous chefs at Monstera, Atelje, and Restavracija JB are helping redefine modern Slovenian cuisine, while the experimental farm and eatery Gostišče Grič has brought in a Swedish celebrity duck farmer and full-time forager to create one of Europe’s most unexpected dining experiences. —Nicholas Gill
U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman