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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 25th March 2022

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Insurance News

Denison and Partners Limited, a start-up Lloyd’s insurance Broker based in London, will be receiving an aggregate amount of funding worth £802,000 from specialist private equity investor B.P. Marsh and Partners Plc. In a release, B.P. Marsh said it has acquired a 40% cumulative preferred ordinary shareholding in the business set up by Chief Executive Alasdair Ritchie. Aside from the stake swoop, the investor is also providing a loan facility which is available from completion and will be drawn down in tranches.

Ardonagh has posted 28% income growth for its advisory unit and an 8.6% uplift in retail for 2021. The advisory unit grew to £354.7m with Ebitda up £37.7m year-on-year to £108.2m. The increases have included a full year’s trading from Ethos Broking and Bravo Networks which joined in the middle of 2020 as well as growth in its expanding Health, Protection and Employee Benefits propositions.

Lloyd’s has reported a pre-tax profit of £2.3bn and a combined operating ratio of 93.5% for 2021 defining the figures as its best quality result for six years. It marked a turnaround for the marketplace which made a loss of £900m in 2020 when the COR stood at 110.3%. The underwriting profit of £1.7bn reversed a loss of £2.7bn the year before. And the positive pre-tax numbers came despite net investment income dropping year-on-year to £900m from £2.3bn.

Broker technology specialist Stubben Edge is launching a network for appointed representatives to go live next week. Network Director Gemma Jarrett detailed that the business is targeting 20 to 30 general insurance ARs in its first year of trading across a blend of ARs already trading switching to the offering and new start-up businesses. It will be offering two models running over three and five years for those who come on board, she detailed.

MS Amlin Underwriting has confirmed the business will achieve net zero by 2050 for all aspects of its operations. This will include scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and apply across all investments and underwriting operations, the Lloyd’s global (re)insurer stated. The Insurer’s board has also moved to enhance its sustainability governance, with a multi-disciplinary sustainability committee to oversee the development and delivery of a broad sustainability strategy.

Sabre has teamed up with Bennetts on motorbike insurance following on from its partnership with MCE Insurance and will be pushing into flexi-cover car insurance with Brokers this year, CEO Geoff Carter said. The arrangement with MCE, announced last November, marked the Insurer’s entry into the motorcycle market. Carter detailed that the Insurer had an ongoing “strong relationship” with Lucida Group which services the firm’s direct business.

In further news...Sabre has posted a post-tax profit of £30.1m for 2021, down from £39.8m the year before. The business flagged that profit before tax of £37.2m was in line with expectations against a background of soft market conditions and Covid-related pressure on the top-line. The Insurer’s gross written premium dipped from £173.2m in 2020 to £169.3m.

Insurance professionals who have achieved the Chartered Insurance Institute’s advanced diploma in insurance can now be fast tracked on Coventry University’s master’s degree in business administration, the CII has confirmed. The professional body explained that to achieve the MBA students must complete three units examining leadership and management, global marketing and applied projects.

A report found that, collectively, people of colour pay £213m more for their car cover. Influential charity Citizens Advice has uncovered a “shocking trend of people of colour paying hundreds of pounds a year more for their car insurance than white people”. As part of a year-long investigation, the charity analysed 18,000 car insurance costs reported by people who came to Citizens Advice for debt help in 2021. It found that, on average, people of colour paid £250 a year more than white people.

Protection distributor Enduralife is now offering existing customers buildings and contents insurance. Current customers who are either homeowners or tenants can choose to purchase buildings insurance, contents insurance or a combination of the two. Insurance will be provided by Paymentshield who will cover standard cases and Ceta will cover non-standard arrangements.

Ardonagh Group (Ardonagh), the UK’s largest independent insurance distribution platform and a top 20 Broker globally, has released its financial results for the 12 months to December 31, 2021 (FY21) – and it seems the group has made progress despite navigating a challenging environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and other factors. For FY21, Ardonagh’s reported income jumped by 32.5% to £945.8 million, underpinned by 7.3% organic growth. Additionally, Ardonagh International saw eight-fold income growth during the same period – from £22 million in 2020 to £188 million pro forma income.

The world’s largest insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London has announced its full-year 2021 financials – and they’re the best quality results it has reported for six years. Among the key figures reported by Lloyd’s is a jump in profit to £2.3 billion, up from a loss of £0.9 billion in 2020, and a combined ratio of 93.5%, down from 2020’s 110.3% (97% excluding COVID). Meanwhile, its gross written premiums rose to £39.2 billion from 2020’s £35.5 billion, while its underwriting profit jumped from a loss of £2.7 billion in 2020 to a profit of £2.3 billion in 2021.

Landmark Underwriting, a specialist Managing General Agent headquartered in London, is now ready to grow further via the acquisition route after raising debt financing from BOOST&Co. “The founders of the group – Ross Lazaroo-Hood, Sitki Gelmen, and David Robinson – have spent the last two years setting out growth plans for the specialist independent MGA,” said Landmark Managing Director David Ratledge, “and I am pleased to announce that we have received investment funding from BOOST&Co, the alternative lender of growth capital for UK SMEs.”

HSB (UK and Ireland), the specialist engineering and technology Insurer, has launched two specialist engineering and technology products on their UK e-trade platforms, further extending their suite of e-trade products available to Brokers. The latest products, which are available on Acturis and HSB's own trading portal: HSB Fast Track, are aimed at making it easier for Brokers to trade engineering inspection and equipment breakdown risks. 

Insurtech innovation platform hr | equarium, which Hannover Re rolled out in 2019, is now being made openly accessible as part of its expansion. “Like a dating service for singles, hr | equarium acts as a go-between for Insurers and insurtechs and has established itself in this role as the leading innovation platform,” said Hannover Re Executive board member Claude Chèvre.

AIG Life has announced that it has made changes to its critical illness plans, particularly relating to children’s cover. “AIG Life has updated Term Assurance with Critical Illness Choices because we believe every family should have critical illness insurance that suits their needs and budget,” Neil Davies, Commercial Director at AIG Life, said. The children’s benefit amount was linked to the adult’s sum assured to broaden that availability, and children’s cover has two payment levels that parents can claim on if their child suffers a critical illness.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Aston Lark, currently backed by Goldman Sachs but soon to become part of Howden, has added specialist Broker Braddons to its portfolio. Established in 1994 by Steve and Catherine Solly, the business has focused on the Construction and Real Estate sectors, growing from the privatisation of British Rail infrastructure and expansion of private finance initiative projects into schools, universities, the NHS and local authorities. Braddons has since diversified into other niche sectors including recruitment, energy, transportation, life sciences, clinical negligence, fintech and financial institutions.

Miller is pleased to announce the acquisition of Henner Sports from the Henner Group. Miller expects the acquisition to be highly complementary to its current market leadership in sports insurance. Greg Collins, CEO, Miller, commented: “We have clear aspirations to expand Miller’s footprint in Europe through targeted expansion and are pleased to announce the acquisition of Henner Sports as part of this strategy. In Henner Sports we recognised a strong fit for Miller’s approach and culture, with its rapid growth underpinned by exceptional service from a practitioner-led team, a number of whom are former professional footballers. We look forward to welcoming the Henner Sports team to Miller and supporting their growth ambitions.”

Spinnaker Acquisitions Plc, the special purpose acquisition company, has completed the acquisition of LeakBot, a B2B Insurtech business and formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServe PLC. LeakBot is a patented water security system that helps prevent water leaks from turning into insurance claims. The business will be renamed Ondo InsurTech Plc and becomes the first InsurTech to go public in the UK.

Movers & Shakers

Global insurance brokerage Gallagher has announced the appointment of Mark H. Bloom as Global Chief Information Officer. Bloom succeeds Sean P. Connelly, who is retiring. Bloom joins Gallagher from Aegon N.V., where he has served as Chief Information Officer since 2016. Bloom also serves as a Non-Executive Board Member at Freddie Mac and is Chairman of its operations and technology subcommittee.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) has appointed Sarah Howell to the newly created role of Claims Manager – open market specialty. With over 16 years of experience, Coley most recently served as Head of Property Claims at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. She rejoins LSM after previously working with the company for seven years.

HDI Global SE – UK & Ireland (HDI) is pleased to announce several new appointments in its regional and Irish teams to support its 2022-2025 growth ambitions. In Ireland, Barry Woods has been promoted to the role of Property Manager and will be responsible for growing and steering the portfolio in the country. In the UK, Dave Hall has been promoted to the role of Head of Liability, UK Regions and will assume responsibility for the regional Liability portfolio and team. Similarly, Carley Clifton has been promoted to the role of Property Manager, UK Regions and will assume responsibility for the regional Property portfolio and team.

Pool Re, Britain’s leading Terrorism reinsurer, has announced the appointment of Tom Clementi as Chief Executive Officer, subject to regulatory approval. Clementi, who will join the mutual on 4th April, is currently a Strategic Advisor at Lane Clark & Peacock. He has many years of insurance industry experience, specifically with MS Amlin where he was most recently CEO of MS Amlin Underwriting Ltd.

Ardonagh Advisory has announced the appointment of Richard Tuplin as CEO of Towergate Insurance Brokers. Richard was previously CEO of Ethos Broking, part of Ardonagh’s Advisory platform, having joined Ethos in 2018. He has worked in independent broking for 18 years including as Managing Director of Jelf Insurance Partnership and Regional Director of Jelf Insurance Brokers.

BMS, the independent insurance and reinsurance Broker, announces the appointment of Eliot Powell as Group Chief Commercial Officer, effective 21 March. BMS, the independent insurance and reinsurance Broker, announces the appointment of Eliot Powell as Group Chief Commercial Officer, effective 21 March.

Miller announced the appointment of Sam Pye as Account Executive in its Solicitors Professional Indemnity (PI) team. Pye, who brings more than 20 years of expertise from both a legal and insurance perspective, joins from Lockton Professions.

London-based Colin Forrest is making the switch from WTW to Aon to serve as Global Chief Executive of the insurance consulting team within Aon’s reinsurance solutions unit.

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