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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 4th March 2022

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Insurance News

Market experts have been paying close attention to the development of the AXA v Corbin & King case and explained the ramifications the court judgement will cast upon the insurance space. The court ruling revealed that AXA was to pay for each property the restaurant group was forced to close rather than just one payment. The legal battle is already leading to policyholders reaching out to Brokers. Paul Anscombe, CEO of Seventeen Group, said that as several of his clients had more than one premises, and he expects that some claims will be reopened following the Business Interruption ruling.

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, the UK can expect a heightened level of Cyber risk and more frequent attacks against western countries and their allies, according to cybersecurity firm CyberCX. Russian state-sponsored actors are currently launching Cyber attacks against Ukraine and members of NATO. CyberCX said that these are mostly low-sophistication attacks such as website defacements and DDoS attacks, but some are more advanced, such as wiper-malware masquerading as ransomware.

In further news...Russian companies in the Aviation or Space industry will be prevented from making use of UK-based insurance or reinsurance services directly or indirectly, the UK government has announced. In a statement released by HM Treasury today, the government said the move was in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The economic sanctions have been designed to limit the benefit of access to the global insurance and reinsurance market, HM Treasury reported.

SSP has partnered with Percayso Inform on a data intelligence service that will initially be available to its Brokers for Private Motor and Commercial Vehicles. It is anticipated that the service will be extended into home business later in 2022. SSP explained that Percayso Inform provides data enrichment, sourcing data relevant to the client’s needs and said the platform was capable of handling tens of millions of hits per day.

Admiral Group reported growth across the board for 2021 as it moved to recover from Covid-hit numbers reported in 2020. The Motor-specialist reported profit before tax on continuing operations of £769m (2020: £608.2m) as group turnover also increased to £3.51bn from £3.37bn in the previous year.

Pool Re, Britain’s leading Terrorism reinsurer, has completed placement of its retrocession programme with more than 50 international reinsurers. The placement provides £2.5bn of cover, increased from £2.475bn, and is led by Munich Re with Hannover Re and Fidelis among those providing significant capacity.

Aviva UK GI CEO has hailed the performance of the division as the Insurer posted its results for the full year 2021. The numbers showed UKGI increased profits and GWP as noted above. Winslow said: “Viewed through a financial lens, we feel very positive about profitable growth we were able to drive.” In the UK Personal Lines, GWP slipped to £2.3bn from £2.4bn while commercial grew to £2.6bn (2020: £2.3bn).

In further news...Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc said she was confident in the outlook for the business and hailed “tremendous progress” for the Insurer as it reported its full year results for 2021. On a results call with journalists, Blanc confirmed that the organisation, which had set itself a target of reducing its Property footprint by 30%, would be moving its London HQ from 1 Undershaft, opposite the Lloyd’s building, to 80 Fenchurch St.

Hiscox UK delivered $831.1m (£624.9m) of gross written premium in 2021, up 9.9% on the $756.1m achieved the year before. The Insurer’s annual results revealed an increase in Commercial Lines business in the unit but a fall in Personal Lines over the year. According to the provider, Hiscox UK Commercial Lines was up 9.9% year-on-year due to rate improvements, strong retention and adding a net 45,000 customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s rules on the maximum consumers can be charged by claims management companies came into force on 1 March. According to the regulator, the restrictions will prevent CMCs from charging excessive fees to consumers owed compensation from financial services firms saving them £9.6m a year and thousands of pounds on some individual claims.

Results season isn’t over just yet, with global reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd. taking its turn to reveal how the Bermuda-based group fared in 2021.“In an active year of catastrophic losses for the industry,” noted PartnerRe President and Chief Executive Jacques Bonneau, “we were able to achieve strong performance in 2021. We grew gross written premiums by 19%, driven by meaningful rate increases in lines like Casualty and Professional Lines, and we also benefited from improved economic activity in other lines of business.

Property & Casualty Underwriter Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. has again failed to timely file its annual report on Form 10-K, for a different reason this time around. In a US Securities and Exchange Commission notification, Argo explained: “Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. is unable to file its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, within the prescribed time period without unreasonable effort or expense."

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has been awarded the 2022 Outstanding Service Quality Marque (SQM) by Gracechurch, the independent insurance research consultancy, for the fifth year running. The SQM is awarded annually to the claims teams of London Market Insurers who have been rated as having consistently delivered outstanding claims service. The winners have the highest ratings from the results of independent robust evidence gathered from specialist claims Brokers. 

American International Group, Inc. has announced a commitment to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its global underwriting and investment portfolios by 2050, or sooner. This new commitment complements AIG’s already announced commitment to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050, or sooner, within its own operations.

Ayrshire based independent insurance Brokers, Blue Rock Insurance Brokers, have opened new premises to accommodate a new client base and future proof their growing business. With headquarters in Ayrshire where the Blue Rock brand was launched in 2018, the leadership team made the strategic decision to expand into Bellshill in order to continue to serve their growing client base. The new office will be based at Phoenix House within the well-known, buzzing Strathclyde Business Park development.

James Hallam Limited (the insurance broking arm of Seventeen Group) are delighted to announce Trelawney Insurance Solutions (TIS) as the latest addition to their Appointed Representative Partnership Programme. TIS will continue to provide bespoke solutions to a variety of clients in a number of business sectors from across the South West and beyond, accessing a wide range of insurance companies and Managing General Agencies as well as specialist insurance products via Lloyds of London.

Aon has reported a ‘Cyber incident’- "The incident has not had a significant impact on the Company’s operations. Although the Company is in the early stages of assessing the incident, based on the information currently known, the Company does not expect the incident to have a material impact on its business, operations or financial condition." (AON official statement).

Mergers & Acquisitions

Joseph G Brady Insurance, part owned by Coverys European Holdings (CEH) and Lloyd’s coverholder since 2013, has announced the acquisition of Loftus Insurance Brokers. Loftus Insurance is the consolidation of three existing brokerages. Set up in 2000, it has since built a reputation for excellent customer services from its base in Carrick-on Shannon, County Leitrim.

Specialist Risk Group (SRG)has announced the acquisition of Commercial & Motor Trade Broker, Hamilton Leigh, subject to regulatory approval. This latest acquisition further demonstrates SRG’s commitment to be the natural home for specialists. Hamilton Leigh is a commercial broker dating back to 1987 with particular expertise in the Motor Trade and Technology sectors. Under the continued leadership of Managing Director Lee Cohen and Operations Director Jill Hamilton, the Hamilton Leigh team will join SRG’s Retail division, Specialist Risk Insurance Solutions (SRIS), which last year doubled in size.

GRP-owned Premier Choice Healthcare (PCH)has continued to build its presence in the UK healthcare sector after agreeing to acquire the business and assets of Amba Care and Wellbeing (Amba C&W). Amba C&W is part of the Amba People Group, a technology business that provides clients with an eco-friendly, ethical employee benefits platform. PCH is acquiring the assets of the broking division, based in Bristol, which distributes Employee Benefits, including healthcare insurance, group life and group income protection to corporate clients.

PIB Group has made its second Polish acquisition of 2022. The increasingly international Group has extended its presence in Poland for the second time this year through the acquisition of Exito Consulting Sp. z o. o, who are based in Warsaw. It also represents PIB’s 50th investment since 2016. The transaction includes the entire group of businesses under Exito Consulting which offer advisory and brokerage services for both life and non-life insurance.

In further news...PIB Group has finalised its acquisition of Alan Tierney & Partners (Tierneys) in Ireland. Tierneys joins Irish peers Campion Insurance, Oliver Murphy, and Creane & Creane – all of which were snapped up by PIB less than a year ago.

Howden Group Holdings has signed a definitive share sale and purchase agreement with Lucca's S.r.l. a company 100%-controlled by Assiteca’s Founder, Luciano Lucca, and Chaise S.p.A., a company 100%-owned indirectly by Tikehau Growth Equity II, whereby, subject to the satisfaction of the Conditions referred below, Howden Group, through the wholly-owned entity Howden Broking Group Limited will acquire a total holding of 86.965% of the outstanding share capital of Assiteca S.p.A..

Movers & Shakers

Insurance claims and technology solutions provider Charles Taylorhas named Jennifer Hurst as EMEA Sales Director. Hurst has over 20 years of experience leading high growth sales teams and delivering value to clients through technology transformation, Charles Taylor said. She joins the company from Majesco, where she was Sales Director for EMEA. She has also worked for specialist technology brands such as Oracle and Symantec.

Lloyd’s has announced the appointment of Sara Gomez as Chief People Officer (CPO), effective immediately. Gomez has broad experience as a CPO, including leadership roles in the retail, commercial and financial sectors. Most recently, she served at Greensill, where she created the people function during a period of high global growth. Prior to that, Gomez served as People Director at Moss Bros. she also served for seven years at Direct Line Group.

RSA is pleased to announce that Cath Frost has been appointed as Regions Managing Director, a major part of the Insurer’s UK Domestic Commercial Lines business. She joins Regions from RSA Motability and replaces Lee Mooney who was promoted to Managing Director of RSA Commercial Lines in November. Cath has over 20 years industry experience, having joined RSA as a Finance Graduate in 2001. 

Clare Davies is appointed as Supply Chain and Engineering Director for the newly formed Claims Technical and Central Services function at AXA UK. Clare takes on this new role having been promoted from Head of Motor, Legal and Lifestyle Claims Supply Chain within AXA. During Clare’s 20 years with the business, she has gained a broad experience across claims including leading business transformation programmes, along with various leadership roles in sales and service, customer operations and business change.

Marsh has announced the expansion of its UK & Ireland Industry Practices with the appointment of Kasia Lipinska as Manufacturing & Automotive Industry Leader and Rory Cobb as Professional & Business Services Industry Leader. Ms. Lipinska joins Marsh from Aviva, where most recently she oversaw the development of insurance solutions for leading clients, specialising in Marine, Cargo, and Logistics Risks. Mr. Cobb joins Marsh from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) where for the last three years he was UK Head of Business Development and Sales Enablement and led a team of senior professionals focused on delivering exceptional client experiences across the UK. 

Harbour Underwriting is delighted to announce Sharon Brown’s election to the Managing General Agent’s Association’s board of Directors at its annual general meeting. Alongside Sharon and Will’s election, Marco Del Carlo, Founder and CEO at XS Assure, and Lyndsey Thompson, Founder and Operations Director at Incorporated Insurance Group (IIGL), were re-elected to the board for further four-year terms.

Ecclesiastical has recruited Simon McGill to take up the position of UK Schemes Development Manager. McGill began his career with Ecclesiastical in 1987 as a Commercial Underwriter before leaving to work in corporate broking and then insurance recruitment. He returned to Ecclesiastical in November 2019 to take up the position of Account Manager for the northern region. He was also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, where he held the position of President for the Cheltenham and Gloucester branch and is currently serving as Education Lead.

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