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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 19th March 2021

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Insurance News

Administrators have revealed that claims received during the administration ofStaveley Head, which went bust in 2020, total £27.7m. A progress report showed this is on top of a further £9.9m owed to unsecured creditors. Administrator Duff & Phelps noted that no formal adjudication of claims has been carried out and, therefore, no claims were currently agreed.

Zurich UKhas launched a new risk services unit to help businesses manage emerging and evolving risks more effectively.  The Provider explained that the new unit is part of a global initiative developed by Zurich Insurance Group to meet growing demand from businesses for risk prevention and mitigation services.

GrovesJohnWestrup Private Clientshas launched its new offering designed to address the growing needs of private clients with a digital platform for insurance Brokers and intermediaries. Part of Munich Re Group, the business stated it will utilise Munich Re capacity across its product suite to “ensure that clients’ claims are paid promptly and fairly”.

Romero Insurance Brokershas reported a rise in turnover to £10.55m for the year ended 30 April 2020, up from £8.67m in the preceding year. The Leeds-headquartered Broker also posted an increase in pre-tax profit to £2.50m, compared to £1.75m in 2019. Overall profit for the financial year was £1.99m, up from £1.39m in the year to 30 April 2019.

Sabrehas reported dips in gross written premium and profit for the full year 2020, with its results “heavily disrupted” by Covid-19. The Insurer posted GWP of £173.2m in 2020, down from £197.0m in the preceding year. Sabre explained that GWP for the full year had been “significantly” affected by the recurring lockdowns, particularly the initial lockdown in March last year. 

Peach Pihas launched a new product aimed at freelancers and small businesses in the wellbeing and lifestyle sector. The Provider stated that this is its first commercial e-trade product to the Broker market and that it is available via Acturis. Peach Pi was developed by NPA Insurance in order to extend its products to a wider Broker audience.

Freight Transport Liability InsurerTT Clubis highlighting significant changes to the UK’s Road Haulage Association’s (RHA) conditions of carriage that have ramifications for carriers’ liabilities. TT highlighted changes to three clauses in particular: protecting carriers’ obligations if delays in transit result from the customer’s omission; clarifying the issue of liabilities for loading and unloading Cargo from a vehicle; and providing a useful definition of “commencement of transit” with its implications for liability in case of damage or loss prior to that point.

R&Q Commercial Risk Services (R&Q CRS), the UK commercial arm of Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings, is currently not issuing documentation to its broking partners. An Insurance Business source said the back-office infrastructure of R&Q CRS remains down since last week – rendering the underwriting business unable to issue documentation, including those for renewing coverage, at present.

Lloyd’s of London third-party managing agencyAstahas unveiled a new underwriting business through its Managing General Agent platform. To be led by London Market veteran Paul Witzenfeld, the new business will begin accepting worldwide Property facultative reinsurance risks come April. The focus will be on primary and first-layer placements, with business to be written against binding authority contracts backed by company market capacity via Asta Underwriting Management Limited.

Continuing its support for thousands of churches across the UK,Ecclesiastical Insurancehas kicked off the latest iteration of its Trust 130 campaign – which aims to raise funds for places of worship. Launched in 2017 to mark Ecclesiastical Insurance’s 130th anniversary, the Trust 130 campaign allows customers to show their support for UK churches. For every home insurance policy taken out by a customer with Ecclesiastical, the Insurer donates £130 to an Anglican Church or cathedral of the policyholder’s choice.

Keychoice, the insurance distribution business owned by SSP, has just announced a new partnership withQOMPLX:UNDERWRITINGto add their multi-peril parametric product ‘WonderCover’ to the Keychoice panel via the SSP Commercial E-trading platform. Wondercover™, focused on SMEs and backed by Chaucer, the international specialty (re)insurance group, is available to Keychoice Brokers via the SSP platform as a standalone policy or as an additional cover to other lines of business. This adds even more robust flexibility to the Keychoice market-leading suite of products.

Allianz Insuranceis delighted to have been awarded the coveted Gracechurch Service Quality Marque for the fifth year in a row, for its claims service in 2020. Whilst the Gracechurch Mid Market Claims Report, based on its quarterly surveys of UK Claims Brokers/specialists, showed service ratings collapse for some Insurers, Allianz’s scores improved across all of its major lines of business – Property, Motor and Casualty.

QBE, the business insurance specialist has donated 40 laptops to a school in need in Gloucestershire following an appeal for better technology. The laptops, which were spare following QBE’s technology review, were given to The Forest High School in Cinderford.

Tim Kershaw, former AXA XL Head of UK, Middle Office has announced the launch of his new professional mentoring businessTrACK Mentoring and Consultingto help serve the needs of organisations and individuals within the insurance industry and beyond. The company has been launched to provide direct one-to-one mentoring to individuals at important times in their careers. It also has independent consulting capabilities based on his accumulated knowledge and experience of many years in the industry.

TheBritish Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)is pleased and proud to announceAvivaas Principal Sponsor of The BIBA Conference 2021. Under the theme of Strengthening Resilience, this year’s event will bring together the insurance broking community digitally on the 12 and 13 May for two unmissable days of engaging content.

TheAssociation of British Insurers (ABI), for the first time, has collected life insurance compensation data from a single event – publishing last year’s payout figures in the UK for COVID-19. According to the ABI, Insurers paid out the equivalent of £553,000 every day in 2020 to support the families of coronavirus fatalities. The £202 million total included £250,000 in payouts made the day after notification of death, as well as compensation worth £1 million for dependants.

Willis Towers Watsonhas announced thatPegasystems, a software company that focuses on reducing business complexity, has become the latest vendor to join its Radar Live Collaboration program. The program was developed to give Insurers faster and smoother integrations with Radar Live, Willis Towers Watson’s price delivery and decision engine platform, through an ecosystem of insurance software houses and system integrators.

M&A News

Credit insurance and surety specialistXenia Broking Grouphas entered into an agreement to buy the Trade Credit business ofStatus Credit Insurance Brokers. Status is a specialist Trade Credit broking business based in East Sussex and the transaction is set to complete in April 2021. Xenia stated that it will integrate Status’s trade credit business with its Credit Risk Solutions (CRS) operations.

Aston Larkhas bought Irish BrokerNorth County Brokersfor an undisclosed sum. The deal is Aston Lark’s fourth this month and follows its purchases of Brokers Venture Insurance and Bruce Stevenson and Managing General AgentMagenta Insurance.

Partners&has bought Bolton-based insurance BrokerIves & Taylorfor an undisclosed sum. The business, which was launched by ex Jelf boss Phil Barton and former Bluefin CEO Stuart Reid last April, said the move was in line with its strategy to build a hub in the North of England. It noted that Ives & Taylor brings commercial lines, Professional Indemnity and private clients business to the Partners& portfolio. The Broker was established in Bolton in 1965 and employs 13 people. 

GermanARAG Group, a global leader in legal expenses insurance (LEI) and currently active in 19 countries, has acquiredDAS Legal Protection Inc. in Canada which is part of the Munich Re / ERGO Group. Founded in 2010, the Toronto-based company is a leading Canadian Managing General Agent specializing in legal expense insurance with Premiums Under Management of around 19.5 million euros in 2019. The product portfolio comprises legal expenses insurance products for families, landlords, condominiums/stratas and small businesses in Canada. The current Canadian staff of DAS will be retained.

Global InsurerChubbis allegedly in talks with US Property & Casualty Insurer Hartford Financial Services Group (The Hartford)over a potential US$22 billion (approx. £15.79 billion) takeover. If the suggested acquisition goes ahead, it could be one of the industry’s biggest deals in years – bringing back memories of Chubb’s colossal combination with Ace Ltd. in 2016 in a nearly US$30 billion deal.

Movers & Shakers

Paul Stacy, Founder of Wunelli and serial telematics technology entrepreneur, has joinedIMSfrom LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where he held the roles of R&D Director and Director of Automotive Development, EMEA.

Specialty lines MGAEnsurancehas appointedAdrian Burgessas its new Senior Underwriter specialising in Construction and Engineering.

Rising Edge, a London-based Directors’ and Officers’ (D&O) Managing General Agent (MGA), has announced the appointment ofKelly Lylesas Non-Executive Chair to its Board, effective 22 April, 2021. Ms Lyles has extensive experience in the D&O market, beginning in the late 1980s as one of the first people to market and underwrite D&O Liability for European companies. Most recently she served as Chief Executive, Client and Country Management, at AXA XL.

Aviva bossAmanda Blanchas been appointed asHM Treasury’snew Women in Finance Champion to spearhead efforts to increase gender diversity across UK Financial Services. She succeeds Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who will continue to support the charter as an Advisor. HM Treasury detailed that signatories to the charter commit to help women progress into senior roles, to set targets for gender diversity and report on their progress towards these.

London Market Group (LMG)recently announced that its Chief Executive Clare Lebecq will be stepping down and revealed it has appointedCaroline Wagstaffto the role of Interim Chief Executive.

Millerhas recently hired Marine Hull specialistSteve Barness, who brings a wealth of experience in Marine Hull & Machinery, War and P&I risks.

Claudio Gienal, CEO, AXA UK & Ireland andAlan Rubenstein, Chairman of NHBC, joined thePool Reboard on 11 March 2021. Both will contribute their extensive expertise in commercial insurance to Pool Re at a key time for the mutual as it navigates the outcomes of the ONS classification and the HM Treasury Review. AXA UK & Ireland is a member of Pool Re.

Marshhas announced the appointment ofAmy Barnesto the newly created role of Head of Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, effective 1 April. Ms. Barnes will relocate to London later this year from Houston, U.S. and report to Lucy Clarke, President, Marsh JLT Specialty and Global Placement.

Gallagherhas announced the appointment ofCarl Oakesas Business Development Director. In his new role, Carl is responsible for developing relationships with a range of organisations, both large and small, to support them in providing insurance solutions for their customers.

Specialist Risk Grouphas announced they are welcoming a team of 16 fromAFL Insurance Brokers, led by Jonathan Bines. After a busy first quarter of acquisitions (including KBIS, GB Underwriting, The Channel Partnership, Emrose Insurance Brokers and CLS Risk Solutions) this is SRG’s first London market team move of the year and is aimed at further expansion of their specialist insurance and reinsurance broking activities, in particular beyond the UK & Ireland.

Q Underwritingintroduces new Property & Package underwriting team - Q Protect is led by Operations ManagerJoanne Holroyd, who has an extensive background in commercial underwriting, having held positions at RSA, AXA, and Cobra Underwriting Agencies. The underwriting team is spearheaded byTeresa CookeandDavid Bustilloas lead Underwriters, and they are supported by an empowered and dedicated team. Supporting Teresa and David is a team of Underwriters and support staff including two Development Underwriters,Les BennettandAshley Grainger.

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