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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 18th March 2022

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Insurance News

The Financial Conduct Authority’s final monthly update on Insurer payments to settle Business Interruption claims has revealed a total bill of £1.35bn. This is up by £34.7m on the previous month’s figures. The increase has taken final payments to £1.05bn with interim payments totalling £303.1m.

The British Insurance Brokers Association has added to its commercial Flood insurance scheme and now provides cover for businesses with less than £1m in assets. The product, created alongside Mi Commercial Risks, provides Flood only cover for either a £25k or £50k limit, in the aggregate in the period of insurance. The product is designed to be bought alongside a standard commercial package policy to provide some Flood cover if there is a gap.

“In the next five years, we would like to double,” Heath Crawford and Foster Director Paul Weinberg has revealed. The business reached £20m of gross written premium and a headcount of 35 when it announced the purchases of Southend-on-Sea based Merenda & Co and Leigh-on-Sea based Essex Financial Management earlier this week. This has taken the total number of deals to five in just over a year.

Christopher Stooke, independent Non-Executive Chairman at Atrium Underwriters, has apologised after the company failed to support staff in a culture that tolerated instances of unacceptable conduct involving discrimination, harassment and bullying. The Lloyd’s Enforcement Board hit the business with a record £1.05m fine for staff misconduct and the way management addressed the problems.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has rounded on five firms for trying to sell ‘appliance insurance’ to customers via nuisance calls. Collectively the firms have been fined £405,000 for calling numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service and targeting vulnerable customers, including older people with dementia. The regulator noted that between 4 March and 8 October 2020, UK Platinum Home Care Services instigated the making of 412,556 unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes, contravening Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The company has been fined £110,000.

RSA Insurance has delivered a policy to support both trans-identified and transitioning employees, while ensuring their colleagues have the right tools and resources to be effective allies. The policy, which was recently launched internally at the insurer, aims to open-up dialogue on gender identity and to visibly demonstrate the support employees and leaders have access to when supporting trans colleagues.

Miller has developed a digital system for its private clients. According to the firm, the online system is the first Broker offering of its type in the market and will initially focus on buildings and contents insurance. The launch provides a foundation for further rollout, Miller stated adding there were plans to offer additional products on the platform throughout the year.

Allianz Insurance has joined Solar Energy UK as its first insurance member, as the UK and the rest of the world are looking to rely on renewables to fight against climate change. Solar Energy UK is an established solar and energy storage trade association working with its 256 members across the value-chain to treble the UK’s solar capacity to 40GW by 2030. In its announcement, Allianz said its partnership with Solar Energy UK will enable it to support solar power insurance customers better and help the association and its members understand the key risks facing the industry.

German-based Munich Re has added itself to the growing list of Insurers who have suspended new business and won’t be renewing existing contracts in Russia and Belarus. In a statement, Joachim Wenning, Chief Executive Officer of Munich Re, said the Insurer condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supports the sanctions that have been imposed.

Wakefield-based Personal Injury (PI) Solicitors Minster Law Ltd has published its financial results for the year ended June 2021, and Chief Executive Shirley Woolham is “extremely proud” despite suffering a loss. According to Minster Law’s latest financials, turnover fell from £34.1 million to £28.6 million while pre-tax profits slid to £505,000 from £1.1 million previously. The legal services business said it made a loss worth £4.2 million, after tax and exceptional items. 

Bravo Networks, part of Ardonagh Advisory, announces a new strategic partnership with Aviva plc across both of their networks for independent regional Brokers. This new partnership signals an exciting chapter for Bravo Networks as they continue to cultivate a strong insurer panel who are dedicated to helping members to grow in the SME and Mid-Market arena.

Liberty Specialty Markets, part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has reported that Syndicate 4472 achieved pre-tax operating income for 2021 of £89.7m (2020: £157.1m). The Syndicate achieved a combined operating ratio of 89.4% compared with 98.5% in 2020. Gross written premium was £1.42bn, up £59.1m from 2020’s £1.36bn.

WTW has announced it will withdraw from all of its businesses in Russia. Carl Hess, WTW’s CEO, said, “We continue to be dismayed by the crisis in Ukraine. WTW remains steadfast in our support for all our colleagues and their families in the region who have been affected. We wholeheartedly wish for a peaceful solution. WTW intends to transfer ownership of our Russian businesses to local management who will operate independently in the Russian market. While we strongly believe this is the right decision, it was not made in haste nor without consideration for our dedicated Russian colleagues.”

The global insurance industry could be facing billions of dollars in losses as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warns stakeholders. A Financial Times source said insurance marketplace Lloyd’s is potentially looking at overall losses worth somewhere between US$1 billion and US$4 billion. The estimate already excludes payouts from reinsurers. Lloyd’s declined to comment, according to the publication.

Oman Insurance Company (OIC) and Lloyd’s third-party managing agent Asta have announced that OIC’s syndicate 2880 has received Lloyd’s approval to commence underwriting. The syndicate, which was launched under the syndicate-in-a-box (SIAB) initiative, will operate on the Lloyd’s platform under the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has partnered with Mi Commercial Risks to extend BIBA’s flood scheme to include coverage for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Aimed at businesses with assets under £1 million, the new flood SME product provides flood-only cover for a limit of either £25,000 or £50,000. It is supported by London Market and Lloyd’s A-rated capacity.

Movers & Shakers

Peter Gregory has left software house SSP. The technology provider said the Director of Broking left to take on a new challenge. It is unclear if he is being replaced.

Zurich UK has appointed Chief Operating Officer John Keppel to the role of Chief Sustainability Officer, a new position on its executive team. Anita Fernqvist, currently Chief Data Officer, will succeed Keppel as COO joining the UK executive team with the new roles coming into effect on 1 July subject to regulatory approval. Prior to his five-year tenure as COO Keppel spent over two decades in management consultancy working with brands such as Capgemini and Accenture.

Markerstudy has appointed Mike Wall as Head of Non-Standard Insurance. Wall, the former CEO of Fresh Insurance, is now building a team to develop Markerstudy’s non-standard Home and Motor offerings, including Telematics insurance under the existing Smart Driver Club brand. He had joined Fresh in 2002 as Sales and Underwriting Manager eventually becoming Group Managing Director and stepping up to CEO when Lisa Powis left in 2018 as Vantage bought the Broker. He exited in 2020 when the business was restructured.

American International Group (AIG) has announced that its board of Directors has elected John Rice as a Company Director, effective March 17. At 65, Rice is the retired Non-Executive Chairman of General Electric (GE) Gas Power and was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of the GE Global Growth Organization for seven years. He is also currently a Director for Baker Hughes.

AXA UK has announced the appointment of Dean Witherington as Retail Claims Director. Dean has substantial claims experience, including 30 years at Zurich where he held a series of senior claims roles across operations, Management Information and Change.  He joins AXA UK’s Retail business from NFU Mutual where he was Head of Claims Change, Risk and Insight.

Marsh has announced the appointment of Simon Delchar as Head of Placement, UK & Ireland. Mr. Delchar will also join Marsh’s UK & Ireland Executive team. With over 35 years’ industry experience, primarily in international broking roles, Mr. Delchar is currently Head of Marsh Specialty in Asia, a position he has held since 2019. He has also worked in senior broking roles at Lloyd & Partners and JLT Group. As Head of Placement, UK & Ireland, Mr. Delchar will oversee the development of placement solutions that support Marsh’s clients in managing the broad-ranging risks they now face. Marsh also announced the appointment of Clarissa Franks as Placement Leader, UK & Ireland, for the Risk Management, Corporate, and Commercial businesses. Ms. Franks will oversee Marsh’s UK & Ireland retail placement strategy and the development of client solutions across a wide range of industries and product lines. She has worked with Marsh for 13 years in a variety of senior management roles and is currently UK Placement Leader, Risk Management. Winsee Cheung will continue her role as Placement Leader, UK & Ireland, Marsh Specialty.

The Board of LIIBA has announced that Alastair Swift, Head of Corporate Risk and Broking for Global Lines of Business at WTW, as well as CEO of Willis Limited, will become its new Chair. He succeeds Richard Dudley of Aon, who served a two-year term.

Specialist binding authority Alesco Delegated Authority (Alesco DA) has appointed Paul Compton and Simon Stovell as Operations Director and Executive Director of Americas, respectively.

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