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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 8th October 2021

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Insurance News

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:

The Association of British Insurers (ABI)has released its latest fraud figures, highlighting a fall in the overall number of insurance frauds detected in 2020. However, it stated that this downward trend was mainly due to fewer Motor insurance claims, adding that both the value of the average fraud and fraud detection rates increased on 2019.

Plum Underwriting, Open GI and Verisk are to collaborate and combine underwriting, technology and enrichment expertise to bring to market an enhanced Home insurance offering for Brokers. The first development centres around flood data and by utilising data enrichment, the initiative will identify unique property specific flood risks at point of quote to provide an immediate underwriting decision and price.

Complete Cover Group has reported a pre-tax profit of £53,000 for the year ended 31 December 2020, down from £228,000 in 2019. The company saw post-tax loss of £191,000 for the financial year ended 31 December 2020, compared to the previous year, when the business saw its profits after tax hit £697,000.

Rokstone has launched a new Terrorism facility with A-rated capacity in the UK. The specialist Managing General Agent is part of the Aventum Group, previously Direct Insurance, and the business detailed that the product will be available to Brokers through iSure, the group’s digital distribution platform.

ERS has extended its cover for European drivers until the end of the year in response to the Government’s recent statement to issue temporary visas to support the current HGV driver shortage.

As part of the extension of its long-term partnership with energy and home services company British Gas, AXA Partners is relaunching its Windows, Locks, Roof, and Pest Insurance product – with additional plans to develop more insurance products through the partnership.

Direct Line Insurance Group Plc’s UK Insurance Limited (UKI)has unveiled changes to the Travel insurance policies offered by UKI brands Direct Line and Churchill. In an update, UKI stated: “The changes remove restrictions to cancellation cover put in place last year relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in much more extensive cover where the claim relates to disruption caused by COVID-19."

Aon has launched Ransomware Defence, a new product offering that seeks to address the Cyber insurability challenges of businesses in the UK and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Thomas Miller Specialty Construction have agreed a three-year partnership with Aviva to provide capacity for their latent defect offering for commercial developers operating in the Mixed Use development market in the UK.

In further news...Aviva's Danny Harmer and Chika Aghadiuno have been named on Cranfield School of Management’s Women to Watch for 2021. The annual list identifies leading female professionals suited to Non-Executive positions on the boards of FTSE 350 companies now or in the near future.

Harbour Underwriting has issued After the Event (ATE) adverse costs insurance cover of £9.9m in respect of a claim by 2.3 million BT customers that the telecoms company overcharged them for their landline telephone service between October 2015 and April 2018.

In other news...Harbour Underwriting has partnered with one of Scotland’s leading insurance Brokers GS Group to provide an After The Event (ATE) insurance service to Scottish law firms. The service will enable Scottish law firms to procure ATE insurance through Harbour Underwriting using GS Group as Broker. ATE insurance enables both claimants and defendants in commercial disputes to mitigate the risk of having to pay the other side’s costs if they lose the case and allows them to litigate from a more secure position.

Data from MORE THAN shows that insurance claims for lost items has climbed 60% since UK lockdown restrictions eased earlier this year.

ARAG has picked up another significant award, having beaten off some tough competition to scoop the Managing General Agent of the Year prize at the British Claims Awards.

Allianz Legal Protection’s Lawphone service will be made available to some 1,400 brokerages. Many of Allianz’s independent Broker Partners will now have free access to legal advice via its Lawphone service, in an industry first.

Gallagher has announced that Bollington Insurance will be rebranded as Gallagher from Monday 4th October. The rebrand completes the full integration of the firm into Gallagher, which acquired the business in February 2021. The changes will not include ChoiceQuote and Quoteline Direct which will remain as independent brands, reflecting their specific market focus.

The Reinsurance Advisory Board (RAB) of Insurance Europe has submitted a four-page response to the UK Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) consultation on proposed changes to Solvency II reporting requirements and expectations in the UK market. In its response, the RAB calls on PRA to either ‘extend or wait’.

German digital Insurer Getsafe, which launched its renters’ insurance product in the UK last year, has secured a further $63 million (around £46.3 million) – an amount the company plans to use in funding its own insurance licence by the end of 2021 and in accelerating Getsafe’s expansion in Europe.

Mergers & Acquisitions

A-Plan has bought Watkin Davies Insurance Consultants, one of South Wales’s largest independent insurance Brokers, for an undisclosed sum. Watkin Davies was established in 1978 and provides both Commercial and Personal Lines insurance. It also has a specialist national driving school business. According to a statement, the business writes approximately £10m of gross written premium and will continue under its current brand, with the management team and staff remaining in place and operating from their existing branches in South Wales.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)has launched a phase one merger inquiry intoGallagher’s$3.25bn deal to buy the treaty reinsurance brokerage operations of Willis Towers Watson/Willis Re. The deal was announced in August 2021, and at the time, Gallagher stated that the transaction was expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year. At phase one, the CMA is considering whether a transaction could be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

In further news...Global Risk Partners (GRP) has completed its acquisition of Willis Towers Watson’s (WTW) commercial risk and broking business in Northern Ireland. The £65m gross written premium (GWP) portfolio is now part of GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage ABL Group, with ABL’s CEO Maurice Boyd heading up the combined organisation.

The deal which has seen Manchester Underwriting Management (MUM)join the Gallagher stable by becoming part of Pen Underwriting was announced on the 4th of October. Pen Underwriting CEO, Tom Downey, said that the deal is part of a strong acquisitions pipeline for the organisation. The M&A focus is part of its strategy to control up to £1bn in GWP, which it revealed last year.

The adverse development cover (ADC) deal between an Enstar Group Limited subsidiary and RSA Insurance Group Limited is now complete. First announced in July, the ADC transaction spans certain UK, Irish and other business of RSA and its subsidiaries. Regulatory approval has been granted and closing conditions have also been satisfied.  Under the deal, the ADC provides £400 million of aggregate coverage in excess of a £2.595 billion retention on losses occurring on or prior to December 31 of last year within a diversified Commercial and Personal insurance lines risks portfolio.

Aston Lark has announced the acquisition of S Johnson & Company Ltd. Peter Blanc, Aston Lark Group CEO, said: “At Aston Lark we’re really proud of our Lark Music business, where we insure some of the world’s most valuable musical instruments. As soon as I met with Steve and we started talking about Johnsons’ Cover Notes scheme for musical instrument retailers, the opportunities were really clear and extremely exciting."

Movers & Shakers

Lucida hired Simon Pearce as CEO of its broking division and Insiyah Davenport as Group Chief Risk Officer. Pearce has held various leadership roles over the past two decades, most recently at Gallagher and previously with the Giles Group of Companies and Brightside Group.

Axa UK hired Sarah Mallaby as Distribution and Trading Director of its commercial business, replacing Nick Watson. Most recently, Mallaby was Director of Broker markets (Commercial and Personal) at Allianz but exited this summer following a restructure of the business. Meanwhile, Axa UK also announced that Chief Underwriting Officer, David Williams, is leaving the provider after 41 years. He is exiting the business at the end of the year to consider Non-Executive roles. David Ovenden, currently with Willis Towers Watson, is to take up the CUO position.

Markerstudy Broking appointed Simon Townsend as Trading Director, SME. Townsend has almost 30 years of experience in the insurance broking sector, his most notable positions being within Brightside, Marsh/Jelf, Towergate, and HSBC. 

NPA Insurance appointed Brendan McCafferty to its board of Directors as a Non-Executive. McCafferty has held a several senior roles across the insurance sector, most recently as CEO of Brightside.

David Bruce has been promoted to CEO at Marsh Commercial. Bruce succeeds Anthony Gruppo who is set to retire in early 2022. Bruce, currently Chief Operating Officer at the Broker formerly known as Jelf, is expected to take up the position on 1 January, 2022 and will also join Marsh’s UK & Ireland Executive Committee.

AXIS Insurance, the specialty insurance segment of AXIS Capital Holdings, has appointed three new Senior Underwriters to its Capital Risk Solutions (CRS) team, effective immediately. Jim Parker and Richard Jelf have moved to London from Bermuda and Singapore, respectively, to grow the company's project finance and aircraft financial portfolios, strengthen existing relationships and drive business growth. Shuohan Dai has also joined AXIS Insurance as a Senior Underwriter in Singapore, working closely with the existing teams to oversee CRS' underwriting activities in APAC and reporting to Silas.

Lloyd’s Insurance Company S.A. (LIC or Lloyd’s Europe), the Belgian subsidiary of the Society of Lloyd’s, has appointed Mark Cooper as Head of LIC’s UK branch.

Atrium Underwriting, the Managing Agent for Lloyd’s Syndicate 609, has appointed Michael Cusition as Marine Underwriter, reporting to David Sankey, Head of Marine.

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