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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 27 August 2021

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Insurance News

We are fast approaching the IDEX's Lands End to John O'Groats bike ride, raising money for mental health charity 'Fight for All the Feels'. We've got a team of 11 fantastic people taking part, with representatives from, Aviva, Broker Network, Mitie and Geo Underwriting. Thanks to our current corporate sponsors, Partners&, Broker Insights, Gymshark, Bloomkubes, Ardonagh, Assured Partners and Motor Point. 

If you'd like to support their efforts, follow the link where you can make a small donation, and if you'd like more information contact Rebecca Howarth -

Sponsorship link:

Vista Insurance Brokershas reported a 32.7% increase in gross written premium (GWP) for the year ended 30 June 2021. The Broker said that its GWP had increased from £15.6m in 2020 to £20.7m in 2021.  

TheFinancial Conduct Authorityhas sent a warning shot across the bow to insurance firms after a study highlighted shortcomings and found weakness in how firms design, sell and review products to ensure fair value for customers. Insurance firms also may not be ready to implement new product governance rules there to ensure insurance provides fair value, according the review published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They have also made “minor amendments” to their final rules on general insurance pricing following feedback from the market. The regulator revealed radical plans to ban dual pricing in the final report of its market study into the pricing of Home and Motor insurance, published in September 2020.

Leeds based insurance Broker,Romero Insurance Brokers, has announced the opening of it’s seventh UK office on Harrogate’s Cardale Park. The new office contributes to the national coverage offered by the Broker, which has offices across the country including Leeds, Halifax, Stockton, Manchester, Nottingham and London.

Brokers are cautiously optimistic about their trading prospects as the UK reopens from pandemic restrictions, according to research fromAviva. Aviva’s annual Broker Barometer, which surveyed 220 UK Brokers, showed that 43% of respondents expect to see growth in their business during the remainder of 2021, compared with 28% who expect to see their business decline. Meanwhile, 29% expected growth level to remain flat.

Simply Businesshas teamed up withRSA, to offer both RSA and More than branded products to its Landlord clients. This follows the announcement of their partnership earlier this year, which saw Simply Business launch More Than and RSA shop insurance products to their SME customers. The Insurer will offer its Public and Product Liability cover – including Legionellosis Liability as standard – as well as Property Damage insurance, Loss of Rent, and a broad range of extensions and extra covers.

Tysershas launched Tconnect - a cross-functional, cloud-based platform designed to consolidate processes and automate the end-to-end life cycle of a policy. The platform has been designed as part of a programme to modernise the Broker’s IT infrastructure and digitally transform the business, improve operational efficiencies and accelerate the growth of the business through the development of client-facing digital quote and bind capabilities and portals, digital placement, market integration and the modernisation of claims workflows.

PIB Group’s Cobra Networkhas welcomedBusiness Insurance Specialists Limited (BIS)to its membership roster. Headquartered in Conwy in North Wales, BIS is an independent insurance Broker specialising in SME coverage. It also has offices in Manchester, Liverpool, and Lancashire.

In further news...Cobra Network, has added independent insurance Broker Harrington Miller & Co as its latest member. Originally based in London from 1976, Harrington Miller & Co moved to Essex in the ‘80s and has been arranging insurance including Commercial, Private Motor, Household, and Travel.

As part of its commitment to attracting diverse talent and establishing an inclusive workplace culture,Brit Limitedhas entered into a new partnership withVERCIDA. VERCIDA is a careers technology platform that connects jobseekers with employers that prioritise diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. Founded in 2017, the site supports employers that are looking to attract diverse talent while giving jobseekers more information about their potential employers.

Cevian Capital, which acquires significant minority ownership positions in public companies in Europe, has increased its shareholding in British insurance giantAviva Plc. Back in June, the activist Investor snapped up nearly 195 million Aviva shares. That swoop meant Cevian Capital held 4.95% of the insurance group. Now, a new transaction sees Cevian Capital cross the 5% threshold. A notification published by the Insurer shows that the international investment firm – which has offices in Stockholm, Zürich and London – now owns a 5.017% stake in Aviva.

TheAviva Broker Community Fundwill mark its 10th year this September, with a record-high £300,000 to be distributed to local causes and community groups nominated by Brokers.

Swiss Re, which provides reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, has partnered withClimeworksto combat climate change by signing the world's first long-term purchase agreement.

Insurance professionals believe “personal skills” are the most important competency requirement for fresh entrants to the profession to possess. A social media poll of 800Chartered Insurance Institutemembers conducted in June saw 56 per cent (446 members) stating that having the right attributes for successful social interaction was the key skill that people entering the profession needs to have.

Total gross operational risk losses for Insurers doubled from 2019 to 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report byORX, the world’s largest operational risk association. The pandemic affected different insurance business lines in different ways, according to the report. More than half of 2020 COVID losses reported by Insurers were within the corporate items business line. This comprises 145 events, with a median loss size of €419,000. COVID-19 losses accounted for nearly 80% of the corporate items gross loss in 2020.

Lloyd’shas announced a two-year partnership with geospatial InsurtechMcKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS). The partnership will provide the Lloyd’s market with access to multi-source intelligence, including satellite imagery, through the Global Events Observer (GEO) platform. This will help deliver faster claims decisions and payments for customers. The agreement also furthers the strategy set out by the Future at Lloyd’s Blueprint Two to build the world’s most advanced digital and technology-led insurance marketplace, Lloyd’s said.

Argo Group International Holdings, an Underwriter of specialty insurance, has announced an agreement to sell the renewal rights of its contract binding Property and Casualty business toMesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company (MUSIC), the excess and surplus lines subsidiary of Selective Insurance Group. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Global Risk Partners (GRP)has extended its footprint in Cornwall via its South West hub Higos Insurance buying Penzance Broker - Jacksons. The business, also known as Web Shaw, has been providing insurance solutions to commercial and private clients since 1923. 

BLW Insurance Brokershas become a registeredLloyd’sBroker after its registration was confirmed by the Council of Lloyd’s. The business, which has been trading as a Lloyd’s coverholder since it was founded in 1971, noted that the move will give it direct access to underwriting expertise in the Lloyd’s global marketplace. BLW was bought byS&G Risk Solutionsin July 2020 and is owned by Chief Executive Officer, Brett Sainty, and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Greenwood. Earlier this year the wholesale Broker expanded into Scotland.

Talbot Jones has revealed plans to reach £2m in GWP by 2026 as it targets making further deals, according to Managing Director Richard Talbot-Jones. Earlier this week, the Broker announced it had expanded into Wales through its purchase ofMarch Insurance Services.

Got You Covered has revealed plans widen its proposition to customer while also expanding through acquisitions, according to CEO and Founder Robert Leigh and Commercial Director Adrian Barbrooke. Earlier this month, the Broker announced it was bringing Adrian Parry on board of its executive management team as Non-Executive Director, which Leigh said would help the company achieve its growth plans.

Movers & Shakers

Ki, the fully digital and algorithmically-driven Lloyd’s syndicate, has announced the appointment ofRichard Hodgsonto the newly created role of Chief Technology Officer. He will also sit on the Ki executive committee.

Howdenhas announced thatCaroline Birchwill join its new climate risk and resilience division as Disaster Relief Executive. She will assist the company with developing more sustainable models for funding charities’ responses to natural disasters.

Marshhas appointedStefan Farahanias Head of Specific Risks in the UK Private Equity and Mergers & Acquisitions practice. In this newly created role, Farahani will be based in London and will report to Alastair Lowry and Leo Flindall, Co-Heads, UK Transactional Risk, Marsh Specialty. 

Duncan Carterhas been appointed CEO Retail atGlobal Risk Partners (GRP). He joins GRP from Marsh UK, where he was Head of Placement and Networks, and will report to Group CEO Mike Bruce.

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich)has appointedPeter Kasaharaas its new Group Chief Data Officer following the recent appointment ofFrank Verkerkas the new Group Chief Platform Officer.

AXIS Re, the reinsurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited has announced thatAlexander Riveroshas joined AXIS Re as Senior Underwriter, Credit & Surety, effective 23 August 2021. Mr. Riveros will report directly to Camilo Rodriguez, Head of International Credit & Surety.

Constanza Gállegoshas joined the Europe leadership roster ofBerkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI)in her new capacity as the Insurer’s Country Manager in Spain.  

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