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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 15th April 2022

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Insurance News

Unite the union representing staff at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced on the 12th of April, that staff at the regulator had voted in favour of industrial action. The ballot closed with over 75% voting in favour of industrial action following the dispute around changes to pay and conditions. A further 89.8% also voted to support industrial action short of strike action. Unite said that the vote for strike is a historic first for the FCA workforce.

Bruce Stevenson has opened its fifth branch. Headquartered in Edinburgh, with offices in Glasgow, the Scottish Borders, Turriff, and now Perth, Bruce Stevenson, which provides insurance broking and risk management services, was acquired by UK and Ireland insurance group Aston Lark in March 2021 and has since operated as an independent brand and separate legal entity. The expansion in Scotland follows a 7% increase in GWP for Bruce Stevenson which hit £44m in GWP last year.

The JM Glendinning-parent has moved into the Scottish market and will support a management buyout deal at Greenwood Moreland which is headquartered in Hamilton. According to JMG, Greenwood Moreland plans to continue its expansion plans under joint ownership. The investment from JMG will enable founding Director Robert Weir to retire after a long career in insurance – having originally set up the business in its current form in 2004 as part of his MBO of Greenwood Insurances.

The UK Broker Awards, which takes place on 16 September at The Brewery in London, is open for entries for 2022. Insurance Age Editor, Sian Barton, commented: “We’re really excited to bring the Broker community to the UKBA again in full after a video ceremony in 2020 and hosting the awards at our 2021 Expo. This is our chance to big up brokers and celebrate together."

Revenue from broking activities fell to £100m for the year to 31 January 2022, the AA has revealed. The business reported £113m from the unit in the previous year. The number of policies placed by the Broker ticked down to 1.92m in the year, compared to 1.94m in the prior 12 months. While the number of Motor policies fell by 25,000 to 1.03m Home policies increased to 896,000 from 889,000.

Climate protestors have used superglue, chains and bike locks to block 25 entrances into the iconic Lloyd’s building on Lime Street in London. The action involved more than 60 people from Extinction Rebellion preventing staff from entering the building in the City. According to Extinction Rebellion, it is aiming to keep the insurance and reinsurance giant closed for the day. Extinction Rebellion is demanding that Lloyd’s of London stop insuring fossil fuels projects, and has highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the marketplace.

Iprism Underwriting Agency has reported a 9.7% increase in profit for the year ended 30 June 2021. The rise from £435,635 to £477,802 came as turnover also increased at the Managing General Agent which focuses on commercial SME business and household insurance for mid and high net worth individuals. According to a filing at Companies House turnover came in at £8.18m a 2.4% uplift year-on-year from £7.99m in 2020.

Konsileo has achieved Chartered status from the Chartered Insurance Institute. Chartered status is awarded to firms that commit to the highest professional values and ethical code. Sian Fisher, Chief Executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “By achieving Chartered status Konsileo has publicly committed to a customer-first approach.”

Swiss Re’s shareholders approved all proposals put forward by the board of directors at their annual general meeting (AGM), the company has announced. This included the distribution of an ordinary dividend of CHF5.90 per share (about £4.81), the re-election of Sergio P. Ermotti as Chairman of the board, and the re-election of all other proposed board members.

Athora Holding, an insurance and reinsurance group focused on the European market, has announced its financial results for 2021 – with profits down, but progress made on its strategic objectives. Athora disposed of non-core assets in the Netherlands and Ireland, allowing Athora Ireland to focus on its growing reinsurance business and Athora Netherlands on its leadership in the Pensions market. Over the year, the group also achieved an A- Fitch Insurer financial strength rating with a positive outlook, reflecting its strong solvency capital and increased operating scale. The financial strength ratings of its subsidiaries (Athora Ireland, Athora Life Re and SRLEV N.V.) similarly improved.

​Global law firm Kennedys is leading a consortium that will be undertaking a £1.2 million project aimed at developing technology with the capability of identifying and assessing reputational risk. Part-funding the project is Innovate UK’s Smart Grants scheme, which is contributing £783,000. Kennedys and consortium members University of Manchester, University College London, Cicero/amo, and RiskCovered Limited will be shouldering the remainder.

Up-and-coming Insurtech company Insuristic will be launching in the UK this month, and it has selected the cloud platform Go-Insur by Pancentric Digital to power its services. Touting itself as an “online only insurance Broker,” Insuristic aims to make the insurance purchasing process simple by enabling customers to purchase coverage online. Customers only have to answer a short number of questions, then Insuristic will immediately produce insurance quotes.

Gallagher has been appointed as the insurance Broker for the UK operations of the Bachy Soletanche Group. The Bachy Soletanche Group in the UK has a turnover in excess of £250m. Through its group companies, Roger Bullivant Limited, Soil Engineering Geoservices Limited, Sixense Limited and Bachy Soletanche Limited it offers a range of specialisms including foundations, soil technologies, ground investigation and monitoring services.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Portadown-based BMG Insurance is to be acquired by AbbeyAutoline for an undisclosed sum. Established in 1972 by Brian McGurgan, BMG Insurance has an additional office in Newtownbutler. The Broker has a portfolio of commercial clients and also offers a wide range of personal policies and specialises in Motor and Haulage insurance.

Howden has signed-up to buy SPF Private Clients for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval. SPF will join Howden’s UK and Ireland business with Mark Harris remaining as CEO.

Athora Holding announced the acquisition of Life Insurer Amissima Vita in Italy to meet the demand for guaranteed savings products in one of Europe’s largest insurance markets, as well as NN Insurance Belgium’s €3.3 billion life insurance portfolio. Both acquisitions are expected to close in 2022.

PIB Group Ltd has snapped up Baily Garner (Health & Safety) Ltd (“Baily Garner HS” or “BGHS”), a specialist independent health and safety consultancy. Based in London and servicing customers nationally, Baily Garner HS provide a comprehensive range of solutions to a broad range of industries and blue-chip organisations. Their arrival will further strengthen the Group’s leading risk management business PIB Risk Management, by bringing with them several complementary services, as well as several new ones.

In further news...Rapidly expanding PIB Group Ltd is set to welcome an exceptional business to its portfolio of established and highly regarded brands. PIB’s investment in specialist independent Lloyd’s Broker Guest Krieger Limited (‘Guest Krieger’) will boost the Group’s London Market capability and open-up new international avenues (pending customary regulatory approval).

Movers & Shakers

Graeme Christie has joined Bruce Stevenson from Marsh Commercial as Commercial Director, and Ian H Smith has been appointed Education Sector Director.

Clive Galbraith has stepped down as Chairman of Green Insurance Group but will be staying on with the Broker on a part-time basis.

Needham Insurance Services has bought Baldersons Insurance for an undisclosed sum. The move takes Nuneaton-based Needham’s total gross written premium to £8m.

​The Clear Group has named Phil Williams as its new Chief Operating Officer. Williams joins the independent insurance broking group with a wealth of operational experience from his many roles in high-growth businesses across broking, underwriting and reinsurance. He will join the main operating board of Clear Group.

Miller has announced the appointment of Chris Hardcastle as Head of Delegated Authorities, a newly created role. With almost 30 years’ experience working in delegated authority business, Chris joins from Alesco Risk Management, where he held the role of Managing Director of Delegated Authority for 10 years.

Aon has named David Kennedy as Client Industry Sectors Leader for the UK. Kennedy brings more than 20 years of experience in corporate risk management, insurance broking and general consulting services, joining from WTW where he was GB Health and Social Care Industry Practice Leader.

QBE has appointed Fabian Desch as Head of Distribution for Continental Europe. He joined from Willis Towers Watson where he was most recently Deputy Head of Broking Western Europe. He has over 21 years’ experience as a broker in continental Europe, including Head of Broking, Germany and Head of Broking DACH & Benelux.

In further news...QBE European Operations has expanded its Financial Lines capabilities with several new hires to its Management Liability team. Paul Perry will be joining as a Senior Underwriter. He joins from Starr where he was part of the Management Liability team since 2017. He has over 20 years’ experience, having also held roles at Zurich and JLT. Tom Hunt has also joined the team as Senior Underwriter, having moved from QBE’s trade credit team. Tom previously worked at a number of large financial institutions before becoming a Trade Credit specialist with QBE. Rebecca Lowe joined the team recently as a Senior Underwriter. She joined from Marsh where she was a Client Executive. She is a fully qualified Lawyer with previous experience at Clyde and Co. In addition, the team has expanded with the appointment of three Financial Lines Underwriters: Urvi Patel has recently joined the team with over 10 years’ experience, Nic Grantham has relocated from QBE New Zealand and brings 9 years’ experience from the Australian and New Zealand retail market and Mark Pankhania has joined the team was previously Underwriter for Litigation and Civil Disputes for QBE Europe and also holds experience in Financial Lines from Markel.

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