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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 15th October 2021

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We are incredibly proud of the IDEX Lands End to John O'Groats bike ride team, who completed their 980 mile charity ride last month.

Raising over £28,000, the ride was in support of the mental health campaign, 'Fight For All The Feels' who help children and young people battling mental health issues. 

If you'd like to support this incredible campaign, follow the link where you can make a small donation:

Comprehensive car insurance premiums have fallen by 16% (£97) since the third quarter of 2020, according to the latestConfused/Willis Towers WatsonCar insurance price index. This is the biggest annual drop since 2014 and UK Motorists are now paying £514 on average.

TheManaging General Agents’ Association (MGAA)has announced its first new member from the Republic of Ireland following an initiative to extend its footprint to the country. Specialist Irish Liability and Property MGABlackrock Insurance Solutionshas been confirmed as a full member. Blackrock is based in Dublin and is a coverholder at Lloyd’s. Blackrock was bought by broking business Specialist Risk Group (SRG) in May this year, adding it to its underwriting arm which includes specialist Motor MGA, Lime, and UK businesses GB Underwriting and CLS RS.

Close Brothers Premium FinanceMD Sean Kemple believes stability has once again returned to the finance provider. Kemple became MD following a management reshuffle, prompted by Paul Trail stepping down from his role earlier this year. Trail had replaced Sharon Bishop, who exited in July 2020, but left after just eight months in post. Kemple commented: “I’d like to think that the appointments we’ve made, the teams we have, and the depth of talent we have in place helps that stability.”

A man from Cambridge has been jailed for offering fraudulent insurance broking services to Polish nationals living in the UK. Marek Complak, 51, of Almond Grove, Bar Hill, Cambridge, set up false or invalid car insurance policies by posing as a Broker for various well-known insurers, also known as ‘ghost broking’.

Markerstudy Brokingis seeking to grow its gross written premium to more than £600m in the next 12 months. The business is also planning to grow by acquisition and build on the Brightside deal which was announced in March this year. A key aim for 2022 is to increase the organisation’s GWP to £600m, it is currently at around £500m.

Bollington Insurance Brokershas reported a 38% rise in turnover to £32.48m in the year ended 31 December 2020, up from £23.56m in 2019. The business, which was bought by Gallagher at the beginning of this year, also posted an increase in pre-tax profit to £5.97m in 2020, compared to £4.60m in the preceding year.

Seventeen Grouphas reported an increase in turnover of 8.3%, rising from £22.6m in the preceding year to £24.5m. According to a filing on Companies House, its operating profit also saw a slight rise, reaching £1.1m in 2020 compared to £1.08m in 2019. However, the group’s pre-tax profit plummeted from £500,900 in 2019 to £95,865, which resulted in the brokerage experiencing a loss for the financial year of £236,632. Its tax on profit also went down from £498,542 to £332,487.

Lockton Companies, the world’s largest independent insurance brokerage, has announced the launch of Lockton’s Emerging Asset Protection (LEAP) team. The team focuses on providing customised risk transfer services for companies in the digital asset space and providing education and expertise about the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Sedgwickhas announced a multi-year partnership withCCC Intelligent Solutions, a SaaS platform for the Property and Casualty insurance economy. Under the agreement, CCC’s mobile and artificial intelligence claims capabilities will power Sedgwick’s auto appraisal offering and related workflows. The agreement will enable Sedgwick to offer clients the next steps toward a digital end-to-end auto physical damage evaluation experience, streamlining their policyholder experiences, the company said.

British Reserve Insurance Company Limited (BRIC)has sealed a Property and Casualty (P&C) legacy deal with its previous Owner,Allianz. The new transaction with BRIC – which was acquired last year by Malta-headquartered European P&C insurance run-off group Marco Capital Holdings Limited – relates to the transfer of the remaining risks in Allianz Suisse’s UK branch underwritten by Mr R.W. Gibbon.

LV= General Insurance (LV= GI)has partnered withLexisNexis Risk Solutionsto incorporate LexisNexis’ Emailage Rapid fraud risk scoring system into the Insurer’s application process. Emailage Rapid uses the email address and other personal information provided during the insurance application process to verify the applicant’s identity and check if they are linked to any fraudulent activity. It is built from billions of transactions from global payment processors and other online industries, including an average of 82,200 fraud events shared daily. An instant risk score is generated at the point of quote, indicating whether the identity is genuine and whether it has previously been linked to fraud.

AXA UKhas published its recommendations for a future-fit planning system, focused on ensuring safety and sustainability are at the heart of building regulations and the planning process. Following events such as the recent floods throughout Europe and the continued occurrence of major tower block fires, it is paramount that Government places more emphasis on the insurability and resilience of the UK's built environment. Unless Government follows a joined-up approach which addresses building safety, increasing flood risks and the growing skills shortage in the construction sector, the UK risks repeating previous mistakes by delivering housing and infrastructure that is unfit for those living in them.

Avivais expanding its relationship withRight Choice Insurance Brokers, the Motor insurance specialist within Lucida Group. The new 12-month deal builds on a long-standing relationship with the Romford-based business by adding an arrangement to provide non-standard Motor cover for its Personal Lines customers.

Marsh McLennanhas announced the launch of its Cyber Risk Analytics Center, an enterprise-wide resource that combines the Cyber risk data, analytics and mitigation expertise of its Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer and Oliver Wyman businesses to provide clients with a comprehensive view of their Cyber threats, the effectiveness of their existing and future controls and the economic impact of their risk.

AXAis making new environmental commitments in order to combat the threat of deforestation. To protect the world’s forests, AXA will invest €1.5 billion (approximately £1.27 billion) to support sustainable forest management – which includes €500 million in reforestation projects in emerging countries. These efforts will enable a total of 25 megatons of CO2 to be captured each year.

TheFinancial Conduct Authority (FCA)has published its October update on the claims data from insurers affected by the ruling in the Business Interruption (BI) test case in the UK. According to the FCA, there are still 4,403 claims being settled, for which an aggregate value of £329,368,933 in interim or initial payments have been made. Final settlements, meanwhile, have been agreed and paid in 24,463 claims, to the tune of £766,598,035.

A new flood insurance directory – to be hosted on theBritish Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)website as part of the wider BIBA Find Insurance Service – is slated to be launched later this year.

Tech-focused Home insurance providerHirowill now be known as Locket. “This isn’t just a rebrand of our company – we’re looking to change people’s perception of the entire insurance industry,” said Locket Co-Founder and Chief Executive Krystian Zajac. “Consumers don’t trust Insurers, but we’re giving Locket members reasons to brag about us.”

Sabre Insurance Group Plchas revealed how it fared in the first nine months of 2021, and it looks like full-year numbers are set to fall short of analyst expectations. For the nine months ended September 30, the UK Motor insurance Underwriter’s gross written premium (GWP) stood at £126.7 million. The sum represents a decline from the £139.2 million in GWP posted in the same nine-month span last year. Net earned premium in the period, meanwhile, amounted to £108.8 million. In 2020, the corresponding figure was £127.3 million.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Peter Blanc, group CEO ofAston Lark, has lifted the lid on the sale of the business toHowden. The move, announced yesterday on 13th October, sees Aston Lark become part of Howden and join forces with Personal Lines specialistA-Plan. The deal creates a £6bn GWP giant. “It will make us an incredible force to be reckoned with and we think it makes us the second biggest Broker in the UK after Marsh,” Blanc noted.

Radius Insurance Solutionshas acquired Leeds-basedMilestone Insurance ConsultantsandSignature Underwriting, specialists in business Motor insurance. The combined companies now have a gross written premium of £50 million and offices across the UK from Scotland to Essex. Milestone, which has been present in Leeds since 1979, remains primarily a wheels-based Broker focused on taxis and couriers, with Signature as its underwriting brand.

Occam Underwriting, the specialist lines focused Managing General Agency (MGA), has announced it is acquiringBeech Underwriting Agencies Ltd., subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval. Beech Underwriting is an approved Lloyd’s coverholder led by Geoff Stillwell, which has been a market leader in the placement of Terrorism and other specialist related insurance for over 20 years.

Movers & Shakers

Generation Underwriting, the specialist regional MGA, which is part of WF Risk Group, has appointedSteven Robertsonto take up the role of Underwriting Manager for Scotland. Robertson brings over 25 years of experience in the industry and will be based in Glasgow.

CPP Grouphas appointedAnna Santas its new Commercial Development Manager for its Parametrics insurance offerings. She will work closely with the sales, business development and CPP Blink Parametric teams, as well as CPP UK’s parent business CPP Group. Previously, she spent seventeen years at Moneysupermarket Group, where she rose to the senior management team responsible for the Travel insurance distribution and Partners.

Momentumhas appointedMatthew Bruntonto its board of Directors as the company says it is looking into expanding its broking operation. In his role as Broking Director, Brunton will oversee the placement and market relationships for the whole network. He joined the company in 2010 from Ten Insurance Services and has since advanced to senior broking roles. 

Broadway Insurance Brokershas appointedMartin Lilleyas Director of Corporate Services. Lilley brings 25 years of experience to the Broker and has previously worked in senior positions at Marsh and Aon. 

Clear Grouphas announced senior management promotions across the business as it seeks to promote growth and development. The Broker has addedJulie Walker, Managing Director of BHIB, to the BHIB Board.Julie Rayson-Flynnhas also joined the main board of Brokerbility as Director with day-to-day responsibility for the network. Meanwhile, at group level,Victoria Canton, Group HR Director has been appointed to the group operating board.Jitendra Patelhas also been appointed as Group General Counsel and will assume responsibilities for a range of legal and regulatory duties across the Clear Group.

Tony Coramis currently Chief Customer Officer at the legal expenses Insurer,DAS, and will take on his new role in January 2022, subject to regulatory approval. He joined Das in 2016, initially as Director of IT and customer operations, before becoming Chief Customer Officer in 2019. 

HDI Global SE – UK and Ireland (HDI)is pleased to announce thatStephanie Ogdenhas been promoted to the role of Director of Underwriting and Distribution, effective immediately. Ogden has spent two years building the Distribution function at HDI, responsible for the distribution strategy, Broker and client relationships, amplifying HDI’s presence in these key markets as a result.

Besso Insurance Services, the independent Lloyd’s broking group, has announced the formation of a new Property and Speciality team, with the appointments ofMatthew SinclairandDavid Pratt-Sinclair, who join as Director and Executive Producer respectively based in London.Gemma BarnesandJoe Marstonalso join the team as Senior Broker and Broker respectively. The team will specialise in Property and Liability risks.  Within Property, the focus will be on open market facultative Property risks in the US, Caribbean and international markets, while Liability will focus on open market and facility based smaller risks globally excluding mainland US.

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