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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 12th November 2021

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The first Broker Expo in two years took place this week in Coventry. Keynote speaker Anthony Gruppo kicked off the day with an inspirational speech on leadership and making things happen. This was followed by a fascinating debate on the evolution of reputation management in the insurance industry and a panel on the thorny topic of Professional Indemnity.

The best Brokers in the UK have been named at the 2021UK Broker Awards in a ceremony which capped off a successful and busy Broker Expo. Editor Sian Barton, alongside host and broadcaster, Colin Murray, handed out a series of trophies to the triumphant winners. IDEX Consulting were delighted to be headline sponsors for the awards. Congratulations to all the winners, including Partners& for the Diversity & Inclusion award and Aston Lark for the Training award.

Generali Group has posted an operating result of €4.4 billion (around £3.766 billion) in the nine months to September 30, 2021 - a 10% increase from the same period in 2020. The firm credits the “strong increase” in the operating result to the performance of its life, asset management and holding, and other businesses, as well as the “resilient contribution” of its Property and Casualty (P&C) segment, despite the higher impact of natural catastrophe claims.

More organisations are looking to attract and retain senior management roles by offering higher compensation as mass turnover looms in the post-pandemic era, according to the latest report by Arthur J. Gallagher. Based on 2,848 companies, the median compensation for the R3000 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) inched up to 3% from 2% in 2019. Meanwhile, S&P 500 CEOs saw an increase of 4.1%, compared to a 1.6% decline in 2019.

It’s Aegon’s turn to release its financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2021, and the Dutch insurance group’s numbers are a combination of positives and negatives. In Q3, Aegon posted a net loss worth €60 million. This was attributed mostly to a €470 million one-time charge, which the Insurer said was a result of management actions to release capital and increase capital generation predictability in its US variable annuity business.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI)has opened another location in Germany. BHSI already has presence in Cologne and Munich, and now the Specialty Insurer can also be found in Frankfurt. The new office is located at Oper46.

Insurance trade bodies have expressed mixed reactions to the government’s second consultation on its regulatory framework review. The Financial Services Future regulatory Framework Review consultation sets out the government’s proposals for adapting the UK regulatory framework for financial services for the future and to reflect the UK’s position outside of the EU. The review was first launched in October 2020 and the first consultation closed in February this year. The current consultation is open for feedback until 9 February 2022.

Sabre Insurance Group has signed an agreement with MCE Insurance to become the exclusive Underwriter for policies issued by MCE, effective immediately. The Motor Insurer noted that, under the terms of the agreement, Sabre will have complete control of pricing, claims handling and reserving.

RSA has announced that it is coming together with its parent company Intact to create a global Specialty offering. The Insurer’s London Market and European specialty lines teams will join forces with Intact’s global specialty team to strengthen both brands’ customer standing in the international market.

Financial results season rolls on in the insurance sector, with Aviva moving into the spotlight, revealing its Q3 2021 trading update – and for the general insurance side of the business, it was certainly something of a mixed bag. In the UK, its Personal Lines business fell from £596 million to £572 million in Q3, while its commercial business shot up 16% to £615 million, up from £531 million in the same period a year earlier. Overall, GWP was up 5% to £1,187 million but its combined ratio suffered at 94.9%, compared to 88.9% a year earlier.

In further news...Aviva's Daniel Clark-Bland, PMO Lead and Co-chair, Aviva Pride and Danny Harmer, Chief People Officer, have both been named in the 2021 OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists.

All key figures in Zurich Insurance Group’s November 11 update for the first nine months of 2021 point to growth. According to the Swiss Insurer, its gross written premium (GWP) from Zurich’s Property and Casualty (P&C) operations in the nine months ended September 30 amounted to US$31.15 billion, up from US$27.26 billion previously.

Ageas has published its financial results for the first nine months of 2021, and it’s a mixed bag for the Brussels-headquartered insurance group. The negative result under general account was mainly due to the €(123.3 million) impact of RPN(i), a financial instrument held by Ageas that results in quarterly payments being made to, or received from, Fortis Bank. Meanwhile, of the group net result, €541.1 million came from life insurance while €235.5 million was contributed by non-life. The latter saw a decline from the previous nine-month span; life, on the other hand, grew from €426 million. In the third quarter, Ageas posted a lower net result, at €161.1 million. The corresponding figure in 2020 was €202.7 million.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)is encouraging its members to start a conversation with their family and friends about later life and care funding. This is part of the CII’s involvement in Talk Money Week, which will run until Nov. 12. The week’s goal is to reduce the stigma around money matters by encouraging families, friends, neighbours, customers, colleagues and communities to engage in conversations on the topic.

A woman from Kent has been sentenced for alleging she had terminal cancer in an attempt to defraud her insurer out of over £130,000.Gemma Goodwin, 38, of Dartford, forged medical documents stating that she had breast, lung and cervical cancer and was given just one to two years remaining to live.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)has welcomed publication of the latest levy requirements from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which will see its members no longer being asked to provide a significant contribution to the retail pool for the 2021/22 financial year. Firms in the General Insurance Distribution funding class are the biggest contributors to the retail pool, when another FSCS funding class exceeds the limit that may be collected from them.

Convex Group Limited (Convex)has announced a multi-million-dollar partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), a charity dedicated to restoring the ocean to health, and the University of Exeter and its foremost researchers, with the launch of the Convex Blue Carbon Seascape Survey.

Speaking at the World Climate Foundation, part of COP26 in Glasgow on November 7, Andy Bord, Chief Executive Officer of Flood Re, told an audience of more than 600 delegates (in person and virtually): "There needs to be a continued long-term commitment to flood defences including the role of natural flood management."

Prestige Underwriting have relaunched Coverall with three core enhancements including IHP functionality, Flood Re capability and LexisNexis data enrichment. The product upgrade on CDL is the first in a series of developments across multiple software houses that will offer increased functionality, enhanced rating technology and efficient access to Flood insurance solutions. This latest offering enhances the wide-reaching non-standard underwriting footprint Prestige Underwriting is well known for and importantly delivers value to the overall Coverall proposition for the MGA’s Broker partner and their customers.

International General Insurance Holdings Ltd has announced that AM Best has affirmed its financial strength ratings at A (Excellent) with a Stable outlook. The ratings apply to IGI’s three subsidiaries International General Insurance Co. Ltd. (Bermuda), International General Insurance Company (UK) Ltd. and International General Insurance Company (Europe) SE.

Allianz Holdings plc, the holding company which comprises Allianz Commercial and Allianz Personal, has unveiled its quarterly update for the three months ended 30 September 2021. Jon Dye, CEO, Allianz Holdings, said: “This update is being released as the eyes of the world are focused on COP26. It is therefore fitting that our activity in Q3 continued Allianz’s focus on sustainability in both operational practices and product development. While revenues are down, mainly due to lower Motor pricing levels, our well-balanced business is well equipped not just to respond to the climate emergency but to accompany and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. Clients and partners can rely on our expertise and commitment.”

Cybercrime is at pandemic levels, and Cyber insurance and renewals have become increasingly difficult to price. With Insurers making losses, several have now pulled out of the Cyber market, whilst others seek to better understand and manage the risks. The CyberProfiler service gives a solution to managing risk both specifically and across an entire book, giving Insurers and Brokers a much more informed picture of risk and a direct path to helping Insurers manage and reduce exposures. QBE has collaborated with STORM Guidance to offer the CyberProfiler service as part of their risk solutions support. Cyber insurers across QBE’s books will now receive a CyberProfiler assessment, helping them to better understand any potential vulnerabilities in their online Cyber risk profiles, giving them a 360-degree approach to effective Cyber risk management.

Mergers & Acquisitions

iRevolution Group has secured an investment of up to £9m from an alternative lender and independent Asset Manager, Boost & Co. The Broker said the funding would accelerate the organisation’s growth strategy, and it would be used to support the Insurer’s recent and future acquisitions. Last month, iRevolution Group acquired Motor insurance Broker BG insurance as it furthered its plans to achieve £100m in the next five years.

HDI Global Specialty SE, the specialty lines joint venture between sister companies Hannover Re and HDI Global SE, will become fully owned by the latter at the end of the year. For an undisclosed sum and effective from December 31, HDI Global has acquired Hannover Re’s 49.8% stake in HDI Global Specialty SE. Once in effect, the deal will see HDI Global hold 100% of the shares of the Specialty Lines Insurer.

PIB Group (‘PIB’)has acquired Campion Insurance (‘Campion’), one of the country’s largest insurance Brokers (pending customary regulatory approvals). The investment reflects PIB’s continued international expansion strategy having identified Ireland as a key territory for investment. The acquisition will consolidate PIB’s position as one of the leading insurance Brokers in Ireland. This is the third retail business that PIB has brought into its stable in Ireland this year following on from Creane & Creane, and most recently Oliver Murphy, with several more acquisitions under consideration.

Movers & Shakers

Horwich Farelly, a legal adviser to the insurance and commercial sectors, has appointed Andrew Leaitherland to serve as its new Strategic Advisor. A veteran of the legal industry, Leaitherland had previously served as a Managing Partner of DWF, then as Chief Executive Officer of DWF Group plc for 16 years. Under his leadership, DWF grew from a 430-strong team in North West England into an international firm with 4,300 employees across 33 locations around the globe.

Markel International has appointed Charlie Richardson, Sarah McCarthy and Yong Ruay Heah to its renewable energy team. The hires, Markel said, deepen its expertise and strengthen its position in the global renewable energy market.

AbbeyAutoline has recently celebrated its first anniversary following the merging of Northern Ireland-based insurance brokerages Abbey and Autoline. After a busy year in which the Broker revealed a commercial retention rate of 95%, it has now announced the appointment of Jackie Elliott as the company’s new Commercial Director.

As announced in July, the Association of British Insurers (ABI)will have its first-ever independent Chair – now, that person has been identified, alongside ABI’s new Director General and independent Non-Executive Director. Taking on the newly defined role as ABI independent Chair is Baroness Nicky Morgan, who spent more than one and a half decades at City law firms prior to being elected to Parliament. Further appointments include, Hannah Gurga appointed as Director General and Baroness Dianne Hayter to join as independent Non-Executive Director.

ARAG has appointed Alastair Sambrook to the critical role of Broker Business Manager. In an insurance career already spanning more than 30 years, Alastair has held a number of Broker management, business development and leadership roles for several major insurance brands, including XL Catlin, Markel and Allianz.

Allianz Insurance has appointed Chris Varley to the newly created position of Chief Analytics Officer, effective from March 2022. Chris joins Allianz from Willis Towers Watson, where he is Senior Director, responsible for the commercial lines pricing, product, claims and underwriting consulting proposition.

Gallagher has appointed Martin Hiller as CEO of its Speciality Construction practice. He will head up Gallagher’s London based UK and international teams. Martin has been Chairman of the practice since 2017. He spent the majority of his career at JLT having initially joined as a founding member of its Construction practice and subsequently moved into roles including CEO of JLT’s Construction practice and CEO of JLT Speciality.

MNK Re Limited has launched a new business that is focused on the UK Wholesale and Retail space. The new MNK Re UK Specialty business creates a wider category of risk solutions, and will initially focus on developing “unique wholesale and high net worth lines,” a company release said. To lead this new team, MNK Re has tapped Grahame Lamb, Richard Daws and Jonathan Britton.

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