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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 13th May 2022

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Insurance News

​BIBA news

Huw Edwards, BBC Broadcaster and Biba Conference host, has confirmed that the trade body plans to return to Manchester Central next year for its conference and exhibition on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 May 2023. Steve White, Biba’s chief executive, said: “The overwhelming support from Brokers, exhibitors and sponsors has been incredible over the last two days here in Manchester."

Biba CEO Steve White has insisted that Brokers “must not be left paying over the odds for the failures of others”. White, speaking as he kicked off the first in-person British Insurance Brokers’ Association Conference since 2019, used his speech to call for the sector to unite against the unfairness of the funding model for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Biba awarded Francis Perkins and Young Broker trophies at the conference this week. Gallagher’s Wendy Hardman was awarded the Francis Perkins gong and Florence Dennis, of Partners&, took home the Young Broker of the Year prize. Francis Perkins, the first Chairman of British Insurance Brokers Association, instigated the award to give recognition to members of the association who give their time and energy to promote the causes of the insurance broking sector.

In further news...The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has launched a guide to support Brokers in helping their customers avoid the risks associated with being underinsured. The new guidance was created in partnership with Allianz. According to the trade body, underinsurance remains a persistent and widespread problem. It cited estimates from the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters showing underinsurance to be present on over 40% of claims and the degree of underinsurance to be around 35 to 45%

NIG launched a brand refresh at BIBA 2022. The NIG brand refresh with new logo and strapline, ‘TOGETHER WE CAN’ represents working together with their partner Brokers and clients to create the right solutions for their needs, from risk management and risk transfer to helping clients recover quickly after a loss. The NIG brand was last reviewed more than 10 years ago and NIG, Commercial insurance industry and the world has changed a lot over the years. NIG has evolved and grown, with their trading relationships more important than ever. The brand refresh, new strapline and logo reflects their focus on working with trading partners to achieve more and NIG’s successful growth and expansion of their risk appetite.

BIBA has launched a new member scheme to insure operators of drones, both Commercial and Recreational. The new scheme from Coverdrone offers BIBA members full access to their products enabling them to offer niche insurance protection to their customers. The cover is fully compliant with Aviation insurance requirements and offers high levels on Indemnity and flexible policy periods.  It has many features and benefits to meet the needs of both business and personal clients.

​Other news

Howden has announced the launch of xTrade Cargo, the first end-to-end digital trading platform dedicated to the oldest specialty class in the London market, which today has taken a significant step forward in binding its first risk in the open market. This new initiative – which cements Howden’s position as the Broker of choice for markets and clients to trade with digitally – launched as a proof of concept in 2019 for Cargo SME business and today provides 20 leading Cargo carriers with access to the largest and most complex Cargo risks in the sector. 

AXA UK&I CEO Claudio Gienal responds to Pool Re’s pricing announcement - Following announcement that they are reducing overall reinsurance pricing, Claudio Gienal, Chief Executive Officer of AXA UK & I, and Board Member of Pool Re, reacts to the news. "This is a very welcome announcement and reflects the considerable investment Pool Re has made into understanding risk. Terrorism cover is vital for building business resilience and as such, I hope this price reduction encourages businesses to consider this protection. AXA UK are working to ensure these new, lower rates are passed on to our customers in time for when the new rates come into effect."

Acrisure is forming a network and its application to the Financial Conduct Authority is “going in now”, President of UK retail Mark McIlquham, has revealed. “There is a genuine opportunity in the network space to offer something that is different to the others – much more digital and using data,” he said. McIlquham noted that Acrisure used artificial intelligence in the US to help with cross-selling and could bring that to the UK along with better data for Insurers.

Specialist legal expenses provider Coral Insurance, backed by Allianz, began trading this week with the aim of making LEI a “valued, must have” for UK consumers and targeting 15% of the market. The organisation is backed by BHL Group which also counts Minster Law and aggregator Compare the Market as part of its portfolio.

Sheldon Mills, Executive Director – Consumers and Competition at the Financial Conduct Authority, has stressed to Brokers that the watchdog does not want to be a price regulator. In his keynote speech at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s conference in Manchester, Mills told the audience: “The new consumer duty is not intended to be a price regulation mechanism."

In further news...The Financial Conduct Authority has written to Michael Gove stating that limiting Broker commissions is still under consideration as a method to reduce insurance costs for Property leaseholders as it attempts to create a fairer market for consumers. Gove, who is Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, asked the watchdog to investigate the market earlier this year to shed light on why the costs for leaseholder insurance increase year-on-year and assess the causes of the marked restriction in coverage available for multiple-occupancy buildings.

Amanda Blanc has revealed that sexism got worse as she took more senior roles. The Aviva CEO responded to a story which showed that Aviva Chairman, George Culmer, chided shareholders for inappropriate comments about Blanc and female board members at a recent AGM. A story reported, showed that Culmer was “flabbergasted” by comments levelled at Blanc during the session and called them out as inappropriate.

The Managing General Agents’ Association is approaching 350 members with plenty of scope remaining for further growth, said CEO Mike Keating. The trade body leader detailed the association now has nearly 180 full members with a further 45 insurer members and 110 supplier members. Keating took over the leadership in September 2020 after Peter Staddon retired. At that time it had 153 full members with 38 market members and 80 supplier members as Keating committed to focusing on growth and member benefits.

The Ardonagh Group is launching a new educational initiative to help empower current and future insurance professionals with leadership skills. Formed in partnership with the non-profit Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), which specialises in leadership research and development, Ardonagh’s new Ardonagh Academy will encompass six bespoke development programmes. It will utilise Ardonagh’s extensive network of offices to connect regional talent with diverse insurance career pathways, and a paid internship programme and structured graduate scheme will begin in 2023, a release said.

Munich-headquartered insurance group Allianz has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2022 – a set of numbers that Chief Executive Oliver Bäte, despite decreases, sees as an illustration of the company’s ability to weather significant pressures. Lifting the lid on the figures, Allianz noted: “Operating profit [was] €3.2 billion, down 2.9% as claims from Natural Catastrophes nearly quadrupled, leading to a decline in the underwriting result in the Property-Casualty (P&C) business segment. This was partly offset by a strong operating result in the asset management business segment due to higher average third-party Assets Under Management. In the life/health business segment, operating profit remained stable."

Allianz is exploring options for Home & Legacy which could include a sale with high net worth not being seen as a core strategy for the current owners. The process has been underway for two months and is being led by Deloitte with a trade, management buyout and private equity sale all being explored as part of the process. However, with speculation at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s conference in Manchester this week linking H&L with every potential buyer, Allianz has remained tight lipped on the precise outcome.

In firther news...Insurance giant Allianz has already stopped accepting new business in Russia amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Now, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Giulio Terzariol has said the Insurer is very likely to cut all ties with the country.

Zurich Insurance Group has released its financial results for the first three months of the year, and Group Chief Financial Officer George Quinn points to “positive operating trends” in the period. Of the P&C GWP in the period, US$6.4 billion came from Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); US$4.6 billion, North America; US$823 million, Asia-Pacific (APAC); and US$671 million from Latin America.

Results season isn’t over just yet, with Belgian insurance group Ageas taking its turn to release the company’s key figures for the first quarter of 2022. ‘Europe’ is the new segment within Ageas that combines previously separate units Continental Europe and the UK. By insurance type, Life contributed €145 million to the group’s net result. The sum represents a decrease from last year’s €227 million. Non-life, meanwhile, saw an increase from €91.4 million in Q1 2021 to €93.8 million this time around. In terms of operating performance, the firm’s combined ratio stood at 96.7%. Additionally, Ageas’ balance sheet shows a strong Solvency II ratio of 203%.

Conduit Holdings has reported a 114.9% year-on-year increase in gross written premiums for the first quarter – from US$82.6 million to US$177.5 million. According to the parent company of Conduit Re, market conditions remain strong with continuing rate increases and improvements in terms and conditions. The reinsurer also saw diversified and balanced portfolio growth, with a renewal net rate change of 4.9%.

Nearly 100 people attended this week’s annual general meeting of the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) in Warwickshire – hearing from speakers including former BBC and Sky news correspondent Mike McCarthy, whose son took his own life more than a year ago during lockdown. In McCarthy’s keynote speech, which was delivered in the middle of mental health awareness week, the journalist shared his personal lessons in loss and hope. McCarthy has been campaigning for better mental health provision in the UK since his son’s passing.

Dutch insurance group Aegon has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2022, a period described by Chief Executive Lard Friese as “unprecedented in many ways”. According to the Insurer, its €412 million net result in the period is partly attributed to the €372 million book gain from the sale of the group’s businesses in Hungary.

The Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) has terminated the membership of the All-Russian Insurance Association (ARIA). According to the trade body, which represents Insurers that account for 89% of premiums worldwide, the move reflects its condemnation of the Russian government’s military actions against Ukraine.

The latest Household Insurance Premium Tracker of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that the average premiums for buildings insurance and contents insurance alike are now at their lowest level in the UK since the ABI began collecting data a decade ago. In the first quarter of the year, the average price for buildings insurance fell 7% from the corresponding amount in the same three-month span in 2021. For contents insurance, there was an 11% decline. Both average premiums – £225 for buildings and £114 for contents – represent record lows.

UK’s leading jewellery insurance Broker TH March has partnered with insurance software solution Novidea to implement the latter’s cloud-based, data-driven insurance platform. The Novidea platform will transform TH March’s operational efficiency, managing customer journeys from end to end for both high-volume, Personal Lines and large commercial risks placed into the London market. It will feature an integrated customer self-service portal allowing March Plus customers to manage all aspects of their insurance securely online, including policy information, mid-term adjustments, claims, and renewals.

Mergers & Acquisitions

AUB Group Limited (AUB) has entered into a binding agreement to purchase Tysers, a leading Lloyd’s Wholesale Broker and is undertaking an equity capital raising to provide funding towards the acquisition. Tysers is a leading specialist international insurance Broker based in London and the 6th largest Wholesale Broker in the Lloyd’s marketplace, writing annual gross premiums of AUD3.6 billion. AUB Group entered into an agreement with sellers Odyssey Investment Partners to acquire 100% of Tysers for AUD880 million (GBP500 million).

Global Risk Partners has acquired 100% of the share capital of Castle Insurance Services (North East) Ltd (Castle). It marks the first deal for GRP in this part of the UK. GRP’s Head of M&A Stephen Ross said Castle will become GRP’s base in the North East from which to grow the UK retail business footprint further through acquisition and organic growth.

Movers & Shakers

​Twelve months from now, Canopius Group Chief Underwriting Officer Mike Duffy is retiring from the global specialty reinsurer. “Mike has had a hugely significant impact on Canopius during his time, helping to shape the thriving company it is today,” said Canopius Group Chief Executive Neil Robertson. “He has also mentored and supported the careers of many Underwriters in our market."

QBE has appointed Andy Fitzgerald as Director, UK Regions. Andy was previously QBE UK Insurance Division’s Regional Manager for the North Region, having joined QBE in 2012.

Independent insurance Broker, The Bletchley Group has reinforced its expert team by appointing one of the West Midlands’ foremost industry specialists. Angela Irvine, who is Deputy Chair of the West Midlands Region for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, has joined the Birmingham-based firm as a Sales Director.

Motorbike specialist Broker MCE Insurance has appointed Alan Atkins as an independent Non-Executive Director of its newly formed global expansion division. Atkins has previously worked at Red Apple Finance, PremFina, Omni Capital and Bexhill.

Lloyd’s global Insurer, MS Amlin, has appointed Julie Ferguson as Head of Open Market Property. Formally working for Axis, Ferguson brings more than two decades of experience in the Property market. Ferguson spent five years with Axis as part of the Global Property team.

Aon has named Charles Knight as Global Yacht Manager, specialist in Yacht and Pleasure Craft. Knight brings more than 18 years of Marine insurance experience and will aid the development of Aon’s small yacht offering for the UK, Europe, and then globally.

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