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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 12th March 2021

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Mosaic Insurance, the specialty insurance platform that launched its operations last month, has announced its first offering. The new insurance venture has commenced underwriting war, Terrorism, and political violence risks globally out of Mosaic’s offices in London and New York. 

After 22 years, including about seven at the helm, Caroline Wayman is leaving the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). “After nearly seven years as Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive,” Wayman told ombudsman service staff, “I have decided that the time is right for me to step down from the role. It’s been an honour and a privilege to have led the service throughout this time.” According to the announcement by the FOS, Wayman’s exit takes effect on April 16.

ERS DGB Limited has announced a US$350 million (around £250 million) capital raise led by Boston-based private equity firm Abry Partners. In addition to Abry Partners, an investor group led by ERS major shareholder Aquiline Capital Partners will also participate in the capital raise. Following the capital raise, Kevin Kelley will join ERS’s senior management team as a Non-Executive Chairman.

Tokio Marine has expressed concerns over the validity of the insurance policies at the centre of Greensill Capital's collapse. The Insurer was pressed to comment after its investors demanded clarity on its remaining exposure to the London-based supply-chain finance group, which filed for administration. Tokio Marine said its exposure to Greensill is limited and most of it is covered by reinsurance. 

In further news...Discussions over Greensill Capital’s deal to sell off portions of its operating business to insurance holding company Athene have been put on hold, thanks to a sudden multi-bank financing move. Talks between the two companies were disrupted after several banks – namely JPMorgan Chase & Co., UniCredit SpA and UBS Group AG – teamed up with fintech company Taulia to bail out Greensill’s clients.

Legal & General has revealed its full year 2020 financial report, which indicated its operating profit dipped 3% to £2.22 billion from £2.29 billion in 2019, though the Insurer noted that three out of five of its businesses are delivering growth. Profit after tax, meanwhile, is down 12% to £1.607 billion from 2019’s £1.834 billion, which the business noted reflects the formulaic impact of lower interest rates on LGI and the unrealised impact of market movements. For LGI, its new business annual premiums are up 10% to £372 million, supporting £2.849 billion in gross written premiums.

Helios Underwriting Plc, at a price of £1.60 per new ordinary share, has successfully raised gross proceeds worth around £53.5 million. Of the abovementioned amount, £9.7 million came via a placing with existing and new investors while the £43.8 million was raised through a subscription for new ordinary shares.

The Channel Syndicate has reported a return to profit of £9.4 million in 2020, after it made changes to its business strategy in late 2018. In a statement, the specialty insurance arm of French reinsurer SCOR said it was “pleased” with the profitability across its business lines, especially from its Property portfolio and specialty lines. 

The international (re)insurance group, Direct Insurance has revealed a multi-million-pound investment in its group-wide operations and IT in a bid to widen its digital capabilities. The financing will further grow the group’s data, analytics and digital platform capabilities across its international operations, which hit $500 million (approx. £359.9 million) GWP last year.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)has tapped specialist Broker MercariRisk for BIBA’s new Marine insurance scheme. The appointment will see MercariRisk act as a bridge between BIBA members and the Marine insurance market, helping general Brokers place Marine insurance and maritime risks.

Domestic & General (D&G)has revealed plans to build a new flagship operations hub in Nottingham’s city centre, slated to open in the autumn of 2022. The company, which focuses on appliance warranties and support, is reorganising its UK Property portfolio while adopting a hybrid working model during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It has close to 3,000 employees across 11 international markets.

An Insurer has been ordered to pay millions after a court ruled in favour of an entertainment company which had purchased the insurance for the late manager of Maroon 5. Houston Casualty Company (HCC) has to pay Roc Nation US$12 million over the death of Jordan Feldstein.

Bromley-headquartered Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLG) has published its preliminary results for the past year, ahead of the release of the Insurer’s annual report and accounts 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2020, DLG said it posted a 12.6% decline in its profit after tax to £367.2 million. Pre-tax profit, down 11.4%, stood at £451.4 million. Underwriting profit grew 15.4% to £267.8 million, while operating profit fell 4.5% to £522.1 million. The latter figure was partly attributed to increased major weather costs worth £43 million.

Despite COVID-19 losses and an active catastrophe season, Lloyd’s Syndicate 1225, managed by AEGIS Managing Agency Ltd (AEGIS London), has seen a 94% increase in profits. According to a statement from the company, its 2020 UK GAAP profit stood at £60.3 million, up by 94% from 2019’s figure of £31.1 million. Gross written premiums totaled £707.9 million, an increase of 8% on 2019’s £653.2 million.

Global Risk Partners (GRP)has announced its latest swoop with the purchase of 100% of the share capital of Lawrence Fraser Brokers (Lawrence Fraser). The Leeds-based Broker will join GRP’s Yorkshire hub Marshall Wooldridge, making it the fourth brokerage to become part of the hub since GRP first invested in the business in 2016. The deal has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

In further news...Global Risk Partners (GRP) is at it again, as its Chesterfield brokerage DCJ Group Insurance & Risk Management Limited (DCJ), has announced its purchase of Lincoln-based commercial insurance Broker J E Sills & Sons Limited (Sills). Founded in 1928, Sills is one of the oldest Brokers in the East Midlands and writes a variety of commercial insurance including Business Insurance, Property Owners, Fleet, Business Motor, Manufacturers, Office, Retail and Wholesalers. 

The Clear Group has announced its acquisition of Coventry and Bedford-based HIA International and Amersham-based Luker Rowe Chartered Insurance Brokers, as the latest step in its strategy to acquire well-run and profitable broking firms, and attract Brokers to its Brokerbility network. Over the past five years, Clear Group has doubled in size and now handles £225 million in premiums.

Emrose Insurance Brokers is being acquired by Specialist Risk Group (SRG), in the latter’s fifth swoop so far this year. “We are thrilled for Emrose to join our group to enhance our specialist offering,” stated SRG Group Chief Executive Warren Downey, whose camp did not disclose financial terms of the transaction. “Emrose is a well-respected business in their markets, and we are looking forward to working with the team to further support and grow the business.”.

In other news...Earlier this week, Specialist Risk Group (SRG)completed its purchase of specialist Property MGA, CLS Risk Solutions (CLS RS). The deal, is subject to regulatory approval.

Howden Broking has announced its acquisition of independent superyacht insurance BrokerSturge & Taylor Associates (STA Group)– a move intended to boost its Marine insurance offering in the US pleasure craft market. In a statement, the international insurance Broker said the acquisition was “part of its drive to invest in specialisms and embed them across its global platform.” The deal has received full regulatory approval.

Insurtech Abacai Group, the newcomer set up in partnership with Sun Capital Partners, is acquiring short-term car insurance firm Dayinsure for an undisclosed sum. The latter becomes an Abacai subsidiary, with the group retaining Dayinsure as a standalone go-to-market business while Abacai continues to focus on serving the insurtech underwriting market via Abacai Capital.

JM Glendinning Insurance Brokers is on a roll, having acquired another insurance Broker following its recent swoop of Butterworth Spengler Insurance Brokers. Now, it’s the turn of Staffordshire-based tailored private and commercial insurance provider Nowell & Richards to join the Yorkshire-headquartered group. Without disclosing financial terms of the transaction, JM Glendinning said Nowell & Richards managing director Richard Nowell will continue to be in charge of the business, which came to life in 1976 and caters to corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, professional sports stars, and high-profile clients.

QBE UK Executive Director Cécile Fresneau, who has held the post for three years, is taking on a wider remit at the Insurer’s European operations come April. Succeeding insurance Managing Director Sam Harrison, Fresneau will oversee the business in Europe and international markets plus the UK. Harrison, meanwhile, is coming onboard QBE’s group executive committee as Group Chief Underwriting Officer.

Allianz Insurance has appointed Matt Pask and Chris Long as Distribution Managers for Chelmsford and Glasgow, respectively. Both are alumni of Allianz’s graduate schemes, with Pask joining the Corporate Management Trainee scheme in 2014, and Long joining the Commercial Insurance Grad Programme in 2015, a statement by Allianz outlined.

Global insurance Broker and Risk Advisor Marsh has announced the appointment of Amy Barnes to the newly created role of Head of Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, effective April 01. Barnes will relocate to London from Houston and report to Lucy Clarke, President of Marsh JLT Specialty and Global Placement.

The Worldwide Broker Network (WBN), the world’s largest independent Broker network and one of the world’s five largest broking entities, has appointed Olga Collins as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 12, 2021. She takes the helm from Francie Starnes, who will act as CEO Emeritus through 2021.

Global reinsurance Broker Gallagher Re has announced the appointment of Andrew Rothseid to the newly created role of Partner, Head of Legacy. Rothseid will be based in the US and will report to Matt FitzGerald, Managing Partner of Specialty for Gallagher Re.

Aon has brought in Ray Spreadbury and Sarah Burston as Executive Director and direct, respectively, within the offshore wind team of its Global Broking Centre (GBC). The duo is set to be based in London and report to the Power team, which is headed by James MacNeal.

MCE Insurance has named Rachel Bennett to the role of Department Manager of defendant claims, further bolstering the motorbike Insurer’s claims proposition. In her new role, Bennett will be supervising a claims caseload worth more than £100 million annually, and will lead a team of 50.

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from multiple General Insurance Media sources and individual company press releases.