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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 20th May 2022

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Insurance News

Global reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd. has released its financial results for the first quarter of the year, a period in which the company posted a net loss attributable to common shareholders of US$539 million. According to PartnerRe’s Q1 2022 report, the Bermuda-based business widened its loss from US$66 million in the same quarter last year. The US$539 million beating was largely due to unrealised losses of US$821 million on fixed maturities and short-term investments resulting from interest rate increases.

It’s the turn of Swiss giant Zurich Insurance Group to offload its operations in Russia, selling the unit to 11 members of the local team. Subject to regulatory approval, the sale of Zurich Russia will see the business operate independently under a different brand while at the same time allowing the new entity to retain an experienced professional roster. The company, which did not disclose financial terms of the divestment, noted: “Zurich Russia is a property and casualty insurer with about 0.3% of the Russian non-life insurance market. Its main business has been supporting the activities in Russia of Zurich’s international customers."

Gallagher will rebrand Coleman Marine as Gallagher on 30 May. The specialist Retail Marine Broker was bought by Stackhouse Poland in 2017, which was then snapped-up by Gallagher in 2019. Poole-based Coleman Marine has a team of 20 with its specialisms including Yacht and Motorboat, Superyacht, Marine Trade and Cargo as well as Commercial Craft.

Ardonagh Advisory has posted a surge in income for the first three months of 2022 to £95.5m. Though the total rose by 23.5% from £77.4m in the first quarter of 2021 the acquisitive consolidator noted that on a like-for-like basis the rise came in at 10%. Ebitda for the unit jumped by £6.8m to £28.4m for the period.

Insurtech Hug Hub is to rollout an extranet service this summer in a move it said would save commercial Brokers up to 75% of the processing cost in placing e-traded SME risks. The online cloud-based application, Extranet Hub, will cut rekeying times and support placement strategies, the firm claimed. According to the business, Brokers use on average four extranets in addition to their software house for each SME risk seen.

Aviva has posted a 4% rise in UK gross written premiums for the first quarter of 2022 to £1.24bn but a deteriorating combined operating ratio of 99.4%. The breakdown showed an 11% increase in UK Commercial lines business in Q1 with GWP reaching £611m. The insurer noted this was due to continued rate momentum and new business growth and retention. The provider achieved 12% growth in SME and 9% in global Corporate and Specialty lines.

In further news...Aviva has added a net 20 new Underwriters to its underwriting team in the regions, Chief Distribution Officer Gareth Hemming said. The provider first made the commitment in January to add 40 new Underwriters boosting the headcount by 10%. “We will keep going until we get to at least 40 and potentially more,” he confirmed.

Das Legal Expenses Insurance Company made an underwriting loss of £2.1m for the full year 2021 according to its solvency and financial condition report. This compares to an underwriting profit of £50,000 in 2020. The document showed that on top of the underwriting loss the 2021 results were adversely impacted by the investment performance. Net of tax there were unrealised losses of £2.3m, compared to unrealised gains of £997,000 in 2020.

A suite of football clubs including Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham have filed a claim in the commercial court against Allianz, Aviva, CNA, Liberty, MS Amlin and Zurich. The claims are suggested to be related to covid Business Interruption.

The Chartered Insurance Institute of Burnley and Blackburn is to close its doors. The Insurance Institute of Burnley and Blackburn was founded in 1930 and the closure will affect 336 members who will be transferred to the Bolton institute or another branch of their choosing. There remain 55 local insurance institutes throughout the UK.

Global broking business Brokerslink has welcomed six technology firms to its international network as part of its new programme. The programme, which aligns with Brokerslink's goal to enter a “new era of digitalisation,” enabled BWD (digital transformation), KYND (cyber security), Innovagency (digital experience), Inovretail (data science provider), IT Power (business process and claims management), and Lightico (customer experience) to become the first non-broking or risk consulting firms to join Brokerslink's international network since its creation in 2004.

It seems the pleas of climate activists have fallen on deaf ears as brokerage giant Marsh McLennan has reportedly bid for and won the contract to find insurers for the controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). Marsh McLennan President and Chief Executive Dan Glaser refused to rule out working on the crude oil pipeline project because he and Marsh President and Chief Executive John Doyle did not have a “bright-line policy” against working with any individual company or industry.

Ardonagh company Berkeley Alexander (BA) has introduced a new service for Commercial Property Owners and mid & high net worth clients, in a move aimed at helping address the issue of under- and over-insurance. Developed in partnership with Rebuild Cost Assessment Ltd, the new offering is a rebuild cost valuation service worth £160 that will be available to BA’s Broker partners free of charge until the end of next month.

The Ardonagh Group has published its report to investors for the three months ended March 31, 2022. Ardonagh reported: “Loss for the period increased by £14.6 million to £37.4 million. The main contributors were the improvement in the operating result of £12.3 million and increase in the tax credit of £6.1 million offset by an increase in financing costs of £34.3 million.”

With the goal of making the insurance process “friction free,” MCE Insurance has introduced a new customer portal for its clients to access. The new platform, developed in partnership with policy and claims software company ICE InsureTech Limited, allows customers to log into their accounts and download their insurance documents, as well as change their contact details and communication preferences. The portal was developed to be a customer-first system that is simple to navigate.

Angel Risk Management – which specialises in underwriting products for the small to medium-sized sector on behalf of AXA XL – opened its new Chelmsford office at Marlborough House. In line with AXA’s global commitment to increased flexibility for colleagues and redefining the way the business works with clients and Brokers, the office has been designed with Smart Working in mind; it has no dedicated seating plan, sit-stand desks, lockers and collaborative and event spaces.

Mergers & Acquisitions

PIB Group has bought Spanish Broker Tractio. The transaction, consisting of TractioRisk Correduría de Seguros and Tractio Risk Solutions, is pending Spanish regulatory approvals. The cost of the deal has not been disclosed. Founded in 2011, and with a team of 28, Tractio specialises in Maritime, Land and Air Transport business as well as Energy, SME and Private Equity.

County Group, part of Global Risk Partners, has continued to ramp up its deal flow during 2022 following the announcement that it is acquiring the business and assets of Marsh & Co (Marsh), and Ginger Markets, an MGA set up by Marsh. The deal follows two recent acquisitions, PG Insurance (in March) and Archenfield (in April). Both those deals were Wales-based businesses.

Movers & Shakers

MS Amlin has appointed Rob Margetts to its strategy team. With more than two decades of industry experience in the (re)insurance market, Margetts joins from legacy specialist, Compre. He started at Compre as the Head of M&A and became Head of Lloyd’s in 2020.

Lonmar Global Risks has welcomed Robin Lucas to the board. He will be a Non-Executive Director at the Broker, which is part of Global Risk Partners. Lucas is noted for founding Broker Lucas Fettes and Partners in 1980, and eventually sold to Stackhouse Poland 2018. He began his career as a Lloyd’s Broker in 1970 at Cooper Gay before moving to Ropner, which is now part of Lonmar.

QBE Insurance has appointed David Germain as Group Chief Information Officer. Germain joined the group on 26 April, based in QBE’s London office and has been reporting to Matt Mansour, Group Executive of Operations and Technology.

Independent insurance Broker Russell Scanlan has appointed a new Account Executive to help manage growth. The 140-year-old, Nottingham-based, business has recruited Marius Conway-Jones to its Commercial team, who brings over seven years of experience in the insurance industry.

Insurance software solutions provider Genasys has introduced Gavin Peters as Vice President of Marketing. Peters will be responsible for scaling-up the brand in the UK, Europe, Africa and Latin America and has worked with major consumer brands, including O2 and the Premier League.

Hiscox has appointed Nicola Grant as the group’s new Chief of HR Officer, effective 1 September 2022. Grant has over 20 years of HR experience gained across the UK, USA and Europe. This includes 17 years at ING Group.

Zurich Insurance Group has announced the appointment of Sarah Maillet as Chief Financial Officer of its Commercial insurance business, effective June 01. She succeeds Paolo Mantero, who was appointed Group Chief Strategy Officer last year. Maillet has over 20 years of finance experience in the insurance industry, having held various management roles across multiple jurisdictions. Most recently, she was the CFO of Aviva Insurance in the UK. She also worked as AIG’s Global Commercial and Americas CFO.

Nick Kelsall has been appointed Head of Motor Claims at Allianz. He joined Allianz in the UK in 2015 as Technical Claims Manager. Kelsall has also been Fraud Manager and Head of Insurance Claims, with a secondment to Head of Motor. In 2020, he pursued an opportunity with Allianz Group in Munich.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), Allianz’s entity for large-scale Corporate and Specialty risks, has appointed Tom Major as Regional Head of Claims for its London and Nordics unit, effective June 1. He succeeds Lars Vissing and will remain based in the AGCS London office. Major first joined AGCS almost 10 years ago as a Business Strategy Analyst in the Energy and Marine teams. He has since held various roles within the company, most recently working as Head of Property, Energy and Construction claims in the UK. He also served as an Officer in the British Army for six years and has a degree in Civil Engineering from Newcastle University. 

Aviva plc has announced that Mike Craston has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Aviva plc with effect from 17 May 2022. Mike is currently Chair of the Aviva Investors’ Boards in the UK and Canada and is Director of the Aviva Investors’ Board in North America. He has also held a number of senior asset management roles including as CEO, America and Asia, at Legal and General; and at Aegon Asset Management, Scottish Equitable and Schroders.  

In further news...Following the news that Karen Jackman, Regional Distribution Director, has decided to leave Aviva, Ryan Birbeck has joined as Regional Broker Director. Ryan previously worked at Axa, where he held a number of roles across his 16 years with the Insurer, most recently as Regional Trading Director. Ryan has a great track record of building strong relationships with Brokers, and will be known to many of the Brokers we work with. We welcome Ryan to Aviva.

WTW has announced the appointment of Henry Keville as Head of FINEX GB Financial Institutions. Prior to the above role, he spent 3 years as the Lead Relationship Manager for asset management within the Financial Institutions division of FINEX having been instrumental in establishing the asset management businesses for other large insurance brokerage firms in London.

RSA has announced a restructure that will see changes to the insurer’s senior leadership team in the UK. Subject to regulatory approval, Chief Claims Officer Karl Helgesen will become Chief Operating Officer, as RSA combines Customer Operations and Claims into a new single function. Meanwhile Louisa Leonard, who currently serves as COO, will succeed Kay Martin as Personal Lines Managing Director. Helgesen, an Aviva and Zurich alumnus, has been with RSA for more than five years. He chairs the Insurance Fraud Bureau and is a board member of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and RSA’s Irish business. As for Leonard, she came on board RSA as a graduate trainee in 2000. Previous roles span the areas of Strategy, Claims, Operations, and Risk. Aside from the UK, the company stalwart has also served in overseas posts, including in Canada.

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