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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 16th April 2021

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Insurance News

Insurance risk and commercial law firmBLMhas set up a Property Damage Task Force in response to an increase in both the volume and value of Property related insurance claims across the UK. The Task Force is said to bring together Property damage claims professionals with a clear focus on identifying market trends, on generating awareness of emerging Property damage claims issues and on the formulation of claims strategies.

1st Choice Insurancehas opened a second branch in Willenhall as part of its strategy to expand across the West Midlands. The commercial Broker stated that it had implemented a strategy to grow five-fold over five years in November 2019 and added that it had tripled in size over the last 18 months. 

Alan Metzger and Steve Bellingham, Heads of Strategy atPro Global, shone a spotlight on what the insurance industry should be considering when it comes to historic books of business potentially impacted by exposures to sports injury, malpractice or abuse claims. Evaluating the current shape of the legacy market, Bellingham noted the publicity concerning abuse in sport, especially football in light of the recent Sheldon report. Pro Global has been dealing with such claims since about Q4 2016, he said, but also with similar incidents in other sporting environments, from tennis to golf to swimming. Meanwhile, the rumour circulates that the UK will soon start to see some of the claims action hitting the gymnastics field in the US, albeit claims related more to physical abuse and bullying.

New research by London-headquartered specialist insurance BrokerMcGill and Partnersand professional bodyNEDonBoardhas unveiled findings that could be cause for concern. Conducted last month among 160 board members in the UK, the study found that a mere 17% understand what happens to their Directors’ and Officers’ insurance (D&O) cover when they leave a role, while fewer than a third actually know how to make a valid claim.

Thanks to a new industry solution it has implemented in partnership with an AI developer,Zurich Insurancehas managed to reduce Property claims settlement times to under 24 hours. Zurich ran a pilot for the “Automated Policy Checking” technology from December 2020 to February 2021, in collaboration with The technology leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Knowledge Graphs to replicate a Claims Handler with 100 years of experience, a release said, able to read 10,000 words per microsecond.

AXAannounced it is collaborating withMicrosoftto build a digital healthcare platform, enabling a virtual healthcare system that is open to all. The partnership will be built on AXA’s global reach, extensive experience in healthcare and insurance, business and technology architecture skills, and Microsoft's deep expertise in cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence, and array of partnerships with clinical partners and third-party vendors. The new platform will rely on the extensive portfolio of technology in the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, including Azure API for FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), that enables patient insights without compromising patient privacy.

Avivahas published a Cyber Playbook, designed to highlight the key risks to businesses. This Cyber insurance guide, specifically produced for insurance Brokers examines industry-specific threats and the increasing need for effective risk management procedures and comprehensive Cyber cover.

AXIS Capital Holdings Limitedhas announced a preliminary first quarter net loss estimate for catastrophes and other weather-related events in the range of $105 million to $115 million, pre-tax ($95 million to $105 million, after-tax).

Ardonagh Specialty– the holding company for independent Brokers Price Forbes, Bishopsgate, and Compass London Markets (CLM) – has partnered with specialist InsurerBeazleyfor a cross-class follow capacity solution. The arrangement, which offers certainty of capacity and initially benefits Price Forbes clients, will see the Beazley Smart Tracker (Special Purpose Syndicate 5623) follow pre-approved Lloyd’s leaders across placements in Cargo, Specie, Terrorism, financial products, healthcare, and Marine. The portfolio solution will be managed within Price Forbes underwriting division Equinox.

Willis Towers Watsonhas announced the launch of Radar Workbench, a new software product that will allow frontline Underwriters to make better decisions at pace and with confidence. Underwriting has been slow to adopt new technologies. Many Insurers still rely on manual processes and spreadsheets that are not equipped to deal with the size and complexity of the data they access, Willis Towers Watson said.

By January next year, Lloyd’s will have a Manchester hub focussed on digitalisation. “We are seeking new talent who will be excited to embrace the challenge and opportunities of building the Future at Lloyd’s,” said the insurance marketplace in a release.

IDEX Consultinghave been shortlisted for the National Insurance Awards Insurance Recruiter of the Year 2021. IDEX CEO Matt Green commented "This is a great honour to be nominated again after winning last year. It’s a great testament to the hard work of our Consultants and all our fantastic clients and candidates for supporting us through the last 12 months!". 

Coronavirus News

With businesses adapting to a post-lockdown environment,Allianzis offering its commercial insurance customers access to its legal advice line until the end of the third quarter. Whether Allianz Commercial policyholders have Legal Expenses cover in place or not, they will be able to call Lawphone until 30 September 2021, which currently coincides with the end of the government’s furlough scheme.

Insurers have paid out nearly £600m in Covid-19 related Business Interruption claims since the conclusion of the test case, according to a fresh set of data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Providers had made initial payments for unsettled claims worth £247.7m and final settlements of £352.1m as of 6 April 2021.

Aon will donate all 2021 revenues from new solution to a charity dedicated to eradicating the global human and economic toll of the pandemic. Aon has introduced a new solution, through broad industry collaboration, that will provide supply chain protection for global COVID-19 vaccine shipments. The solution provides transparent Cargo insurance coverage for COVID-19 vaccines by combining sensor data and analytics.

M&A News

Credit insurance and surety specialistXenia Broking Grouphas agreed to buy the Trade Credit business ofCredit Insurance Alliance Brokers (CIA). The Nexus-owned business stated that CIA is an independent Trade Credit Broker based in the West Midlands. Xenia bought trade credit specialist Status Credit last month.

Nebraska-headquarteredApplied Underwritershas completed its swoop for Leeds-based Managing General AgentConcept Special Risks (CSR), after securing definitive regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). CSR, which also has an office in Florida, is a Lloyd’s coverholder that specialises in insurance for Motor yachts, trailer craft, sailboats, and catamarans. In the US and Caribbean, the 22-year-old business issues policies through retail agents.

Norwegian insurance group Protector Forsikring has become one of the largest shareholders in Irish Insurer FBD after acquiring a 6.3% stake in the firm. Following the investment, the share value of FBD surged by more than 10%, amid speculation that a change of hands was going to take place. However, Protector Forsikring said that it is not gearing up for a possible takeover of FBD and that it took the stake solely for investment purposes, according to a report by the Irish Independent.

Movers & Shakers

SSPhas confirmed that a number of staff have been put at risk of redundancy as part of a “simplification” programme. In addition, Chief Executive OfficerStephen Lathrope, Chief Technology OfficerKevin Gautand Chief Operating OfficerJim Sadlerhave all exited the business.

SchemeServehas expanded their team and appointed two Software Technicians,James McNabandMichelle Osgoodwere welcomed onboard the team at SchemeServe as Underwriters and are responsible for building and shaping front end responsive interfaces for the insurance schemes on the company’s cloud-based platform.

MS Amlin Underwritinghas appointedSam Geddesas Head of Property and Allied Lines division, subject to regulatory approval. Geddes will take up his role later this year and report to CUO Andrew Carrier.

Aonhas announced the appointment ofJon Wiegandas Head of Power in the UK Global Broking Centre. He will report to James MacNeal, Managing Director of Construction and Power, and will take up the role in October.

Lloyd’s EuropeCEO is set to leave in June.Sonja Rottierswill be stepping down during LIC’s General Assembly on 1 June 2021. The decision will coincide with the end of the three-year mandates of both the Non-Executive Chair Michel Flamée, and Christian Noyer.

Avivahas appointedCheryl Toneras Chief Customer and Marketing Officer. This is a new role at Aviva and Toner will join the Group Executive Committee, reporting to Amanda Blanc.

In further news...Aviva Plc, subject to regulatory approval, has namedRob Barkeras Managing Director of the group’s UK savings & retirement unit. Prior to his appointment, Barker served as MD of the health and protection business.

Home & Legacyhas announcedAndrew Reid’spromotion to Operations Director. Reid will set the strategic direction for Home & Legacy’s operations and claims functions.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has announced the appointment ofJane Warrenas Active Underwriter. Warren will be based in London and will report to Phil Hobbs, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Underwriting Officer for LSM.

Liberty Mutual Re (LM Re), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, announced the appointment ofPeter Smithto the newly created role of Executive Vice President (EVP) and Managing Director. Based in London, Smith takes up the new role with immediate effect. He reports directly to Dieter Winkel, President, LM Re. 

Gallagherhas promotedCheryl PhillipsandMelanie Birchell, who both came onboard the major Broker in 2018, to Managing Director in Exeter and Torquay, respectively.

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