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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 20th January 2022

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Insurance News

Check out what IDEX's Head of Sales and Marketing, Richard Martin, has to say about the 'Great Resignation'- Brokers have confirmed that the ‘Great Resignation’, an economic trend that started in early 2021 primarily in the United States, has also reached the UK insurance broking sector. But the industry’s talent crisis is not a new issue and while experts have seen an increase in the amount of people moving jobs, they highlighted that the sector is also facing a skills gap. Richard Martin, Head of Sales and Marketing at IDEX Consulting, stated “There are people looking to move, but there’s an awful lot more Brokers actively recruiting at the moment”. He noted that this had been driven by Brokers looking for growth combined with people looking for a new challenge as a result of the pandemic, but accessing this talent requires a more advanced, innovative recruitment solution than the old, outdated model. 2 particular areas where Brokers are currently trying to recruit are roles that are adding value to the firm by bringing in topline income, such as Business Development roles and Account Executives. The other covers the service side of broking, including Account Handlers, Account Managers and back-office account handling. “That’s where we’ve seen some significant salary rises,” he noted. “Some parts of the UK have seen up to 25% increases in basic salaries for Account Handlers between 2021 and 2022.” He explained that normally, the increase would be around 5-10%.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more UK consumers to take out income protection insurance as many become increasingly concerned about the impact the unprecedented disruptions have on their personal finances, a new study byGlobalDatahas revealed. According to the London-based analytics and consulting firm’s 2020-21 UK Insurance Consumer Surveys, more than half, or 52%, of respondents said that the pandemic had influenced their decision to purchase income protection coverage last year, up from 37.4% in 2020. 

Law firm Edwin Coe has announced the formation of an action group to start proceedings againstRSAandQIC Europeto recover Business Interruption losses suffered as a result of Covid-19. Led by CG Restaurants & Bars Limited, the Owners of cocktail bars Dirty Martini and numerous other bars and restaurants across the UK, the group will focus on recovering an indemnity for the multiple lockdowns that have occurred as a result of the pandemic. 

Howden Grouphas reported a 48% rise in revenue to £1.15bn for the year ended 30 September 2021. The business further posted an adjusted consolidated Ebitda of £335m (2020: £223m) and stated that it had achieved a total organic growth of 19% over the year.

Former insurance BrokerChristian Wakeford MPhas resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Labour Party. Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, has also publicly called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign amid accusations that the PM had misled MPs about attending parties at Downing Street during the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown.

First Underwriting, which is part of Kingfisher, is planning to increase its gross written premium by 30% over the next year. Tom Donachie, Managing Director of First Underwriting, said that the MGA’s current GWP was £100m and is seeking £130m over the next 12 months.

Comprehensive car insurance premiums have fallen by 6% (£36) in the last 12 months, according to the latestConfused/Willis Towers Watsoncar insurance price index. However, according to the index, the average cost of car insurance has increased for the first time since the autumn of 2020, seeing a price rise of 5% (£25) in the final quarter of 2021.

Avivahas announced a series of investments aiming to support the regional Broker market. Gareth Hemming, Aviva Chief Distribution Officer, explained that the provider is initially planning to increase the size of its underwriting team in the regions by 10%.

Zego– the first Insurtech start-up in the UK to achieve unicorn status – has unveiled plans to expand its reach across European insurance market. The London-based Commercial Motor Insurer has announced that it will be rolling out its services in the Netherlands, with plans to ramp up its presence in France also in the works, according to a report by City A.M.

Conduit Reinsurance, the main subsidiary of Conduit Holdings, has reported continuing rate improvements and tightening of terms and conditions across its core classes, during the January 2022 renewal season. The new market player has posted a roughly 70% annual increase in estimated ultimate premiums bound to approximately $262.6 million (2021: $154.4 million), as well as a +5% overall portfolio year on year renewal net rate change, reflecting favourable improvement in both pricing and terms and conditions. The reinsurer also maintained a hit rate of approximately 20%.

A mother-of-two has been sentenced for attempting to defraud her Insurer, AXA, through a fraudulent Travel insurance claim worth over £3,000.Chanelle Bell, 28, of Westminster, London, claimed that her luggage had gone missing and a pushchair had been damaged after a cruise from Barbados to Southampton in 2019. AXA became suspicious of inconsistencies in Bell’s story, which led them to further investigate the documents she had provided to corroborate her claims. After contacting various retailers and a pushchair repair company, it was discovered that some of the documents had been edited by Bell, while others had been completely forged. These enquiries also revealed that many of the items Bell had reported stolen were online purchases she had already been refunded for, after informing the retailers that they had not been delivered to her.

TheIndustry and Regulators Committeepublishes a call for evidence for its new inquiry into Commercial insurance and reinsurance regulation and is inviting written evidence from interested individuals and organisations by 11th February 2022.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Private equity firmCBPE Capitalhas completed its investment intoDirect Commercial LimitedandCarraig Insurance, which will sit together under the brand Direct Commercial Group. DCL is a Commercial Motor MGA, which is based in Chelmsford but also has an office in London. The MGA provides underwriting services, offers policy administration and in-house claims handling.

Tynedale Insurance Serviceshas been bought byH&H Groupfor an undisclosed sum. According to H&H, the acquisition brings together two of the north’s leading insurance specialists to establish a flagship business.

Movers & Shakers

Lloyd’shas announced the appointment ofDawn Milleras Commercial Director. Miller joins the company from Chubb, where she currently serves as Regional Executive Officer for Chubb Central Region (Switzerland, Turkey and MENA) and Country President for Switzerland.

Chubbhas announced key leadership changes in its Central Region operations, withNathalie Meyertaking over the role of Country President for Switzerland. Meyer joined Chubb in 2008 and has held various senior roles in Switzerland, including as Financial Lines Manager. Most recently, she served as the country’s Middle Market, SME, and Industry Practices Segment Leader. The insurance giant has also appointedNikolay Dmitrievas Regional Executive Officer (REO) andChristian Graberas Commercial Lines Regional Executive Officer.

Hastings Insurancehas appointedMark Cliffas an independent Non-Executive Director, subject to regulatory approval. Hastings said that Cliff joining the company was prompted by Peter Blanc’s resignation at the end of 2021, due to a potential conflict of interest which emerged following Aston’s Lark acquisition by Howden.

Allianz Insurancehas appointedKaren Boothroydto the newly created position of Commercial Branch Manager for Leeds and Newcastle. She first joined Allianz in 2004 and has fulfilled many roles within the company, mainly within the claims team, which she serviced for 14 years. Most recently, she was a Regional Manager for Allianz’s Engineering, Construction and Power (EC&P) division.

Partners&has appointedJames Agnew, formerly Co-Owner of Stackhouse Poland, as Partner, Private Client.

Brithas expanded its Property facilities team with the appointments ofJoanne AllenandThomas Poynder. Allen joins as Flood Class Underwriter, from Argo Global, where she most recently held the position of Class Underwriter and Head of US Delegated Portfolio for Flood and Bank-related P&L for six years. Poynder has been named Underwriter for Transportation, coming from Managing Agency Partners (“MAP”), where he was Assistant Underwriter for International Transportation.

TheChartered Institute of Loss Adjusters’ (Cila) Executive DirectorMalcolm Hydehas announced his departure from the Cila. He will be stepping down in summer, after almost thirteen years of service.

Markel Internationalhas appointedLouise Foleyas Head of Marine and Energy Liability andHolley Higginsas Head of Transport and Logistics. Foley has over eight years of underwriting experience at Markel International and was previously Senior Underwriter for Liability. Higgins was previously a Senior Underwriter for Ports and Terminals, Marine Trades, and UK Marine at Markel International, where she supported the Marine Liability team. Additionally, Markel International has also hiredMichael Briggsas a Professional Indemnity (PI) Underwriter.Stephen Reillyhas also been hired as Strategic Claims Lead. Reilly has over 28 years of experience in the insurance industry, spending 20 of them within the legal profession at law firms in the UK and Australia, and the other eight at company and Lloyd’s markets.

Markel Internationalhas also appointedMatthew Brookeas a War and Terrorism Underwriter. The Insurer stated that the latest move forms part of its growth plans to strengthen its current position in the War and Terrorism market. Brooke joins Markel International from W/R/B Underwriting, where he progressed from Operations Assistant to Underwriter and was responsible for underwriting the organisation’s Political Risk and Political Violence portfolio. He has five years of underwriting experience in the Terrorism market.

Usage based insurance BrokerHubbhas appointedSonya Homewood, as its new Strategic Advisor. She is an established presence in the insurance with over 30 years’ experience in senior leadership roles.

London-headquartered insurance management system providerGenasyshas announced the appointment ofDavid Williamsas its new Chairman. He takes over the position from Founder Steve Symes, who will be taking on a new role as Non-Executive Director of the board. Williams has held key executive positions for several major industry players, most recently as Chairman of specialist software scale-up investor Frog Capital, which owns a significant stake in Genasys. He will maintain his position as Operating Partner for Frog Capital.

r10 Consulting (r10), the management consultancy for the insurance industry, has appointedHélène StanwayandPaul Willoughbyas Strategic Advisors, completing a new executive strategic advisory team for the firm. The combined experience of Stanway and Willoughby – both highly effective, well-known market leaders – covers digital transformation across emerging technologies, innovation, operations, data, business strategy and planning. This will strengthen r10’s capability to understand, address and advise clients on their strategic direction and tackle market challenges head on.

Insurance Broker and Risk AdvisorMarshhas announced thatMark Drummond-Brady, who currently serves as Vice Chairman, will retire in March. Drummond-Brady joined Marsh in 2019 following Marsh McLennan’s acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT).

AXA UK&Ihas announced the appointment ofSuzanne Scottas its new Chief People and Corporate Responsibility Officer for AXA UK & Ireland. Suzanne will succeedLucinda Charles-Joneswho has decided to step away from executive life at the end of April to pursue a non-executive portfolio career. Suzanne is currently HR Director for AXA Health and has held senior HR roles at AXA for 7 years, both at AXA Health and previously at AXA Wealth. 

Gallagherhas appointedElliot Milleras Regional Managing Director for Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East of England. Bringing over 35 years’ insurance experience, Elliot joins Gallagher from CNA Hardy, where he held the position of Head of UK Regions for over four years.

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