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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 11th February 2022

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Insurance News

SJL Insurance Services has announced that it is giving all its female staff free ‘women against violence’ self-defence workshops in order to help protect them from possible physical assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, sex trafficking or being mugged. The Broker revealed that the series of workshops will be held at SJL’s head office in Worcester, with all 33 female staff attending.

Brit Limited (Brit), a global specialty (re)insurer and a member of the Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited group of companies (Fairfax), had a strong run in 2021, despite the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory changes, and other factors – boasting solid full-year results. For the year ended December 31, 2021 (FY21), Brit displayed a strong financial performance, with profits on ordinary activities before the impact of FX and tax reaching $247.1 million (approx. £182.31 million) (2020: $235.5 million) and a combined ratio of 95.7% (2020: 112.7%), including 15.5 percentage points (pps) of significant losses (2020: 23.7pps).

Two Bermuda-headquartered insurers -Arch Capital Group and Everest Re Group- have published their respective financial results for the year ended December 31, 2021. Net income available to Arch common shareholders climbed from 2020’s US$1.36 billion to US$2.09 billion in 2021. Additionally, after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders stood at US$1.43 billion – up from US$557 million before. Fellow Bermuda-headquartered insurance group Everest, meanwhile, also reported positive figures. Everest’s net income for 2021 reached US$1.38 billion, which is higher than the previous year’s US$514.1 million. Net operating income also surged, from US$300.1 million in 2020 to US$1.15 billion this time around.

Insurance group Lancashire Holdings Limited (Lancashire)joined Arch and Everest Re and shared its results for the year ended 31 December 2021. 2021 was a mixed bag for the group which saw it report a loss before tax of $56.8 million (approx. £42.01 million) alongside a 50% year-on-year increase in gross written premiums (GWP) which rose to a record $1.2 billion. Among the published financial highlights, Lancashire noted its combined ratio in 2021 stood at 107.3%, driven by significant weather and large loss events of $306.4 million. Meanwhile, underwriting profit dipped to $69 million in 2021 from $77 million in 2020.

A concerning number of global executives lack confidence in their organisations' approach to reputational and environmental sustainability and governance (ESG) risk readiness, according to Willis Towers Watson's (WTW)latest survey. The survey sought the view of 500 Global Executives from 250 major companies across 20 countries in Retail, Manufacturing, Leisure and Hospitality, Transportation, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), and Charities. It found that 83% of Senior Executives who responded to the survey take reputational risk seriously and place it on their top five risks across their company, with 74% aware of the potential cost of damages caused by a reputational event.

In further news...WTW has its announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 31 December 2021. Carl Hess, WTW’s Chief Executive Officer said, "The fourth quarter marked the end of a solid fiscal year at WTW. For the year, we delivered revenue growth and meaningful margin expansion. While the results are in line with our expectations, they do not fully reflect the near and long-term potential of the Company.”

Beazley has posted a pre-tax profit of $369.2m (£272.1m) for the year ended 31 December 2021, up from a loss of $50.4m (£37.1m) in 2020. The provider’s gross written premium also shot up by 30%, going from $3,563.8m in 2020 to $4,618.9m for the end of 2021. Its rate increase on renewal portfolio increased by 24% in 2021, up from 15% in 2020. The Insurer’s net written premiums also jumped by 20%, reaching $3,512.4m (2020: $2,917m).

H&H Insurance Brokers is on track for growth as it goes from £10.5m to £12m GWP following the recent acquisition of Tynedale Insurance Services. Paul Graham, Managing Director of H&H, said that Tynedale’s Founder, Joanne Lee, approached him directly, as she wanted to shift her focus from running a business to servicing her clients.

Romero Insurance Brokers has reported a rise in turnover to £11m for the year ended 30 April 2021, up from £10.55m in the preceding year. According to a filing on Companies House, the Broker also posted an increase in pre-tax profit to £3.60m, compared to £2.5m in 2020. Overall profit for the financial year was £2.96m, up from £1.99m in the year to 30 April 2020.

London-headquartered parametric insurance technology company FloodFlash has raised US$15 million in Series A funding to fuel its international expansion into target markets like the US, Germany, Australia, and Japan. In a release, FloodFlash noted that the US – where inland flooding is said to have caused over US$151 billion in damages in the last four decades – represents the biggest opportunity for the UK start-up. Notably, its Series A round was led by Chicago-based Buoyant Ventures, with San Francisco fund Munich Re Ventures investing as well.

Sampo Plc, the Finland-headquartered insurance group that took full ownership of British general Insurer Hastings last December, has published its financial results for 2021. For the full year, Sampo Group enjoyed a 735% surge in profit before taxes – from €380 million in 2020 to 2021’s €3.17 billion. Of that sum, Hastings contributed €127 million; If, €1.08 billion; and Topdanmark, €346 million.

Liberty Global Transaction Solutions (GTS), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance, has announced that its capacity for the 2022 underwriting year will remain unchanged at US$200 million (approx. £147.55 million) per risk for transactional risk protection for all product lines: warranty and indemnity/representations and warranties, tax liability, and contingent legal risk.

“COP26 has refocused us all on the importance of living and working more sustainably.” Those were the words of Aviva Managing Director for general insurance Commercial Lines Nick Major when the insurance group announced a milestone within its renewable energy portfolio. Aviva, which is aiming for a top three position as a Renewable Energy Insurer in the London market by the end of the year, said its Renewable Energy insurance business has already grown to more than 150% of the size of the fossil fuel power generation book it exited in 2019.

The American Hellenic Hull Insurance Company has changed its name to American Steamship Owners Marine Insurance Company (Europe), or American Club (Europe)for short. The company is also entering a new business line by expanding its license to include Protection and Indemnity (P&I) and related business for qualified operators in the European Union and European Economic Area. American Club will begin offering P&I business on Feb. 20.

AXA UK has announced the launch of a new lower premium Motor insurance product, available this month. The Defaqto 3 Star rated product provides motorists with greater choice to meet their driving needs and is suited for those who require a different level of cover to AXA’s current Defaqto 5 Star rated policy. Many drivers have changed their driving habits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with fewer people driving to work and a reduction in miles being driven overall. The introduction of the new policy aims to meet these changing needs at a reduced cost.

Global commercial insurance prices increased 13% in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Global Insurance Market Index released by Marsh, continuing a trend of moderating rate increases that began in Q1 2021. While this is the 17th consecutive quarter of increases, the rate of increase continues to moderate in many lines of business and in most geographies.

Aon reports 10% total revenue growth in 2021 - Aon Chief Executive Officer Greg Case commented, "In the fourth quarter, our colleagues delivered 10% organic revenue growth, an outstanding finish to a very strong year, contributing to full year organic revenue growth of 9%, margin expansion of 160 basis points, and EPS growth of 22%." He added, "These results are a direct outcome of our Aon United strategy. We’re accelerating innovation, with a focus on developing and scaling proven solutions to serve new and existing clients. This gives us confidence in our ability to build even greater momentum in 2022."

Mergers & Acquisitions

Aston Lark has added Healthwise Group to its portfolio as its second healthcare acquisition of 2022. In January the business also bought Phoenix Healthcare. Founded in 1993 and based in Dudley in the West Midlands, with a dedicated team led by Paul Swanson and Bob Grindley, Healthwise provides private medical insurance and other employee benefits solutions. 

PIB Group Ltd has completed its acquisition of Cicor Internacional Correduria de Seguros y Reaseguros (‘Cicor’), an independent specialist insurance intermediary in Spain. The news follows customary regulatory approvals since the investment was first announced in October 2021. Brendan McManus, CEO for PIB Group commented: “I’m delighted that we can extend an official warm welcome to Angelo and his team at Cicor. They are a brilliant new addition to PIB, and their arrival further consolidates the Group’s strategy of building a leading pan-European commercial insurance brokerage.”

Verlingue gears for growth - The family-owned business is seeking acquisitions and organic growth as it targets income increase. The aim by 2024 is to have £22m organic total income, or, if an acquisition comes off, £35m total income. The organic growth target is an ambitious 8%. Going forward, Verlingue is set to focus on its key specialisms, which are hospitality, technology, financial technology and multinational business. And it is also working on embedding newer specialisms such as food and drink and media.

Movers & Shakers

The Jensten Group has appointed Lauren Barwell as Group People Director, a newly created role. She joins from Octopus Investments and previously held senior roles at RSA.

Prudential plc has announced that its group CEO, Mike Wells, plans to retire by the end of March. Wells has served as CEO since 2015. With his retirement, Wells said he will not stand for re-election as Director at the next annual general meeting.

PIB Group has made a number of management changes across various divisions within the business. Bernard Macgeean, who is currently CEO of Q Underwriting and PIB’s Schemes & Affinities division, will take on additional responsibility of Chairman for the two areas while continuing his CEO duties until a “natural transition to act as Chairman”. Additionally, Adrian Colosso, who is Chairman of PIB brand Citynet will assume the chairmanship of its specialty division. Staying with Citynet, Andrew Walsh has been appointed as CEO. Lastly, Tony Powis has been appointed as Non-Executive Director for PIB Employee Benefits.

Howden has appointed industry veteran Nicolas Aubert as CEO, France, as the Broker continues to expand its European platform. After holding roles in various countries, notably in the UK market, where he held leadership positions at AIG and Willis, he returns home to France to lead Howden’s operations. 

Commercial Motor Insurer Zego has appointed Catherine Barton as its first Chief Insurance Officer. Barton joins Zego from the Underwriter Talbot, where she was CFO. Most recently, she was a Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair at Sabre Insurance Company. 

Beazley has appointed Katie Hunter as Underwriter, Open Market Property. Hunter started her career at Brit before moving on to Ascot and most recently worked at MS Amlin as a Senior Property Underwriter for Commercial Property. 

Tysers has announced that James Lucas will join the firm as Associate Director as it expands its Political Violence and Terrorism team in response to increased demand from international clients. Lucas will join from Aon Benfield, where he is currently responsible for developing the Latin America and EMEA Terrorism and Political Violence solutions across Aon’s network.

CPP Group has announced a series board changes within the business, with CEO Jason Walsh set to leave the company at the end of February 2022 after almost six years in his current role and almost twenty years of service to the group. He will be succeeded by be Simon Pyper, the current Chief Financial Officer. Furthermore, CPP has appointed David Bowling, an internal candidate with ten years’ service to the Group, as CFO.

QBE has appointed Kevin Shallow as Director of Underwriting and Product Head for Marine. Shallow is currently a Portfolio Manager within the Marine division. He joined QBE in 2005 and has over 16 years’ experience in the industry, including time spent in Singapore developing QBE’s Asian Marine business.

Hazelton Mountford has appointed Ellie Jones as Senior Account Handler. Jones, who joined the business in 2013 as an Apprentice, had no background and knowledge of insurance but was able to learn and grow significantly throughout the apprenticeship scheme. On her way to becoming a Senior Account Handler, she worked in various departments, starting in Let Property, moving into a part time role in the claims department and then to a full time commercial role.

HM Treasury has announced that it has started the search for the next Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority. While the search for Charles Randell’s permanent successor concludes ,Richard Lloyd OBE will act as Interim Chair of the FCA from 1 June 2022. In addition, Aidene Walsh will act as Interim Chair of the Payment Systems Regulator from 1 April 2022. Lloyd is currently the Senior Independent Director of the FCA Board and is Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and Vice-Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Walsh is currently a Non-Executive Director of the PSR, and an Executive Director with Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR), the organisation established to implement the Alternative Remedies Package of measures agreed between the UK Government and the European Commission.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, announces changes to its London Specialty Business. Paul Beattie has been appointed Global Head of War and Terrorism. Beattie is based in London and takes up the role with immediate effect. Beattie takes up this new responsibility in addition to his existing role, Head of Underwriting – Marine Niche Products.

Marsh has announced the appointment of Matthew Latham as Alternative Risk Transfer Leader, UK & Ireland. Before joining Marsh, Mr. Latham was Head of Global Programmes and Captives at AXA XL for seven years. He has over 25 years’ specialist industry experience in underwriting and broking, including at AIG where he led the UK Alternative Risk Transfer underwriting team.

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