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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 6th May 2022

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Insurance News

Major insurer AXAhas released its revenue figures for the first quarter of 2022, which Chief Financial Officer Alban de Mailly Nesle sees as an “excellent” mix. Of P&C’s revenues, €12.2 billion came from Commercial Lines; the remaining €5.8 billion from Personal Lines. Both units posted increases. The insurance group’s Solvency II ratio in the quarter, meanwhile, stood at 224% – an improvement from 217% for the whole of 2021.

QBE Insurance Group has revealed how it fared in the first quarter of the year, and group boss Andrew Horton is pleased with the company’s resilience. According to the Australia-headquartered global Insurer, its gross written premium (GWP) in the period grew 19% from US$5.8 billion in Q1 2021 to US$6.9 billion in the latest three-month span. Renewal rate increases across the group, meanwhile, averaged 7.9%.

In further news...QBE Re, the reinsurance division of QBE Insurance Group, has made significant changes to its organisational structure. The overhaul aims to further align and unify the business's global structure under Managing Director Steve Postlewhite. As part of the strategy, QBE Re will coordinate the underwriting of its products – Property, Casualty, Accident & Health, Specialty, and Life Insurance – across all locations in which it operates.

Think Insurance is currently looking at two more Broker buys and has set a target of £30m gross written premium by 2025, Commercial Director Russell Bence said. Bence joined the West Midlands-based Broker last summer and it announced its first ever buy this April. Snapping up Sovereign Insurance Services (Langley) took Think’s GWP to around £18m with the target at the time being £20m by the end of the year.

Prestige Insurance Holdings has rolled out its new digital Broker Stroll Insurance offering Motor insurance to customers in Northern Ireland. The new brand was first revealed in December at which time the business planned to invest £3m however this has now been upped to £5m. “It is a reflection of our increased ambition,” Brian Allen, Managing Director of Stroll said.

Motor specialist iRevolution has developed a claims proposition and an operation to enable partner Brokers to sell add on products directly. Of the two businesses, iRevolution Extra will be add-ons focused and iRevolution Claims will offer the first notification of loss claims services. The add-ons and claims businesses were launched by iRevolution Business Head David Muirhead.

Members of Unite went on strike at the Financial Conduct Authority in a move the union said was the first industrial action taken since the regulator was created. Unite detailed that there will be 48 hours of continuous strike action by workers across the financial regulator in London and Edinburgh followed by “a continuous ‘work to rule’ by the workforce who will withdraw the regular overtime and additional work they currently do outside of their contractual duties”.

SchemeServe research shows that Cyber has outpaced other insurance schemes with an 87% increase in commission earnings over the past six months. In Cyber overall volumes rose 32% in the last six months and nearly 500% since the start of the pandemic. Commission earnings were also up 82% in six months. SchemeServe also flagged Cyber as the scheme with by far the highest commission earnings increase over the period.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has joined the Group for Autism, Insurance and Diversity as its most recent founding member. The trade body now sits alongside industry Founders including Aviva, the Association of British Insurers, Marsh UK & Ireland, Principal, Swiss Re, UnderwriteMe and Zurich. GAIN also has founding Partners ArcQ, Ambitious about Autism, Expand the Circle and ISC Group. GAIN, the not for profit industry hub, was formed in 2021 with a commitment to champion neurodiversity and positively impact lives and improve workplaces, for the benefit of all.

Landmark Underwriting has revealed its first two deals after raising debt financing through SME lender BOOST&Co. The London-based Managing General Agent detailed that it had snapped up a specialty Teacher Replacement scheme that will expand the company’s national footprint with a base in Leeds and a specialist Commercial Property underwriting team which has also added a further UK base. The chartered firm stated that buying the direct intermediaries bolstered its strategic reach and product range by giving it direct access to policyholders.

Manchester Underwriting Management has grown to just south of £70m gross written premium since being bought by Gallagher-owned Pen Underwriting, CEO Charles Manchester said. When the Managing General Agent was snapped up last October it had £60m of GWP and 50 staff. The rise was not purely due to increases in rates, Manchester reported suggesting that in the last six months Professional Indemnity pricing had not “particularly grown” in the UK.

Hastings parent Sampo Plc is among the latest to reveal how its businesses stacked up in the first quarter of 2022, and Group Chief Executive and President Torbjörn Magnusson is positive about their performance for the rest of the year. Sampo Group’s profit for the period, meanwhile, amounted to €483 million, a decline from last year’s €526 million. Underwriting profit, from the company’s core business of Property and Casualty insurance, was down from €317 million previously to €290 million in Q1 2022.

AXIS Capital Holdings has announced the launch of a Portfolio Risk Underwriting unit. The unit targets multi-class portfolio business that is placed in the London specialty insurance market. The AXIS portfolio team is now actively underwriting portfolios of multi-class risks on a follow-line basis, the company said.

In further news...AXIS Capital Holdings Limited has announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.43 per common share payable on July 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 30, 2022. In addition, the Board declared a dividend of $34.375 per Series E 5.50% preferred share (equivalent to $0.34375 per depositary share) payable on July 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 30, 2022.

International specialist Insurer Hiscox Ltd has become the latest insurance company to issue its trading statement for the first three months of the year, ended March 31, 2022. Among the key highlights of the period, Hiscox highlighted that its group GWP jumped 10.3% to US$1,386.3 million (about £1105.56 million) which is credited to strong growth in Hiscox Re & ILS and good performance in retail digital partnerships and direct (DPD) offsetting a planned slow-down in Hiscox USA.

While others often sway you away from the less-than-stellar aspects of their financial reports, Swiss Re has not been shy to highlight a negative mark on its performance card – releasing its results announcement with a title featuring the reinsurer’s US$248 million net loss in the first quarter. Swiss Re attributed the loss to three headwinds: the war in Ukraine, heightened financial market volatility, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The latter impacted the life and health reinsurance segment (L&H Re), which posted a net loss of US$230 million in the period. The loss in 2021 was smaller, at US$193 million.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has launched its biennial insurance stress test (IST) exercise, expecting full engagement from participating companies. Under IST 2022, the watchdog is reaching out to the biggest PRA-regulated life and general Insurers and asking them to provide comprehensive information about the impact of stress scenarios on their business.

Covéa Insurance is pleased to announce it has been awarded Chartered Insurer status by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) for a seventh consecutive year. Chartered Status is a rigorous assessment of a firm’s capability and commitment to meeting the highest professional standards. In addition to being a public declaration of intent, firms acquiring Chartered Status must also meet robust and clearly defined measures relating to training, competence, and technical skills.

For the fifth consecutive year, American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) has been named one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, the leading assessment of diversity management in corporate America. AIG has elevated its rank every year since first reaching the Top 50 in 2018 and improved from 37th to 32nd place in 2022.

AIG reports first quarter 2022 results - AIG Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Peter Zaffino said: “In the first quarter of 2022, AIG delivered excellent results, while simultaneously advancing a number of strategic, operational and financial priorities. I am very pleased with the progress we achieved, including meaningful improvement in underwriting profitability in General Insurance, continued solid performance from Life and Retirement, significant progress on the separation of Life and Retirement from AIG, along with accelerated capital management actions."

Aon reports first quarter 2022 results - Greg Case, Aon, Chief Executive Officer commented: "In the first quarter, our team delivered strong financial results with 8% organic revenue growth, operating margin expansion of 60 basis points to 38.0%, and EPS growth of 13%".

Mergers & Acquisitions

Seventeen Group has added the Torbay Insurance Services to its portfolio for an undisclosed sum in a move that completed at the end of April. According to Seventeen Group, the Torquay-based Broker led by John Stott brings £1.4m in gross written premium to the business via its offering of Commercial and Property insurance as well as Personal Lines.

Aston Lark Ireland has announced specialist insurance Broker J F Dunne Insurances Ltd as its latest acquisition. Based in Kildare, J F Dunne Insurances was established in 1977 by John Dunne alongside his wife Anita, with their son Carlos joining in 2000 and taking over as CEO in 2014 and daughter Arianne joining in 2010, becoming COO in 2021. The J F Dunne Insurances name and brand will continue, and all employees will also remain under the leadership of the existing management team.

In a momentous month for Aston Lark, the company has announced UKGlobal as its 50th acquisition since formation in 2018, less than two weeks after officially becoming part of the Howden Broking Group. UKGlobal Broking Group arranges insurance for a broad range of commercial sectors, including via a number of specialist schemes and association partnerships, and also private clients.

Movers & Shakers

Insurindex has appointed Nick Grazier as Chief Commercial Officer, effective immediately. The business launched last month to research and rank commercial insurance brands in the specialty market. Grazier brings with him more than 28 years of experience working in the London, UK regional and international insurance markets.

UK MGA Castel Underwriting Agencies has launched a contingency underwriting cell, focusing on the Sports, Leisure and Entertainment industries led by Yaël Mimran, who joins from Liberty Specialty Markets, and Nick Carragher from Tysers. Mimran brings over 25 years’ underwriting experience to Castel. As Contingency Class Underwriter at Liberty, she started in Paris before moving to London in 2015 to take on a more global oversight role. Prior to this, she spent 12 years at Axa in various underwriting positions. Carragher brings 10 years’ contingency experience, most recently at Tysers.

Zurich Insurance Group has named Stephanie Lloyd CEO of LiveWell by Zurich, Zurich’s health and wellbeing business. Lloyd comes to Zurich from Toggle, where she was the Founder and President as well as Head of New Ventures for Farmers.

Global holding company, Markel Corporation, has announced Whitt will retire by March 31, 2023. After stepping down, Whitt will remain with the company in a consulting role to ensure a seamless transition. Upon his retirement, Thomas Gayner, who was previously Chief Financial Officer and then Co-Chief Executive Officer, will become the new CEO alone.

Lloyd’s coverholder and digital insurance for Brokers, Loadsure, has announced the promotions are effective immediately. Nathan Trimble, who joined Loadsure in 2021 as Executive Vice President, has been appointed the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kate Lawson, with over 20 years of administrative experience, has been promoted to Head of People and Culture.

The FCA has added to senior leadership team - the regulator has made two promotions and hired a fresh Senior Advisor as it bolsters the leadership team amid the threat of strike action. Mel Gunewardena is joining the authority as Senior Advisor from the Commodities and Future Trading Commission based in Washington DC. The watchdog has appointed Graeme Reynolds as Director of Competition - he already works for the regulator as one of the Deputy Chief Economists. Additionally, Simon Walls has been promoted to Interim Wholesale Director. Walls has been Head of Wholesale Markets since 2016 and has been with FCA since 2006 in a mixture of roles.

AXIS Capital Holdings has appointed Christine Cook to lead their new Portfolio Risk Underwriting unit. Cook joined AXIS in the newly created role of Head of Portfolio Underwriting in the international insurance division. Cook has more than 20 years of underwriting experience in the London market. She joins AXIS from AXA XL, where she most recently served as Head of Alternative Distribution for the UK and Lloyd’s.

​Leading legal expenses and assistance provider ARAG has appointed two experienced legal protection professionals to its Corporate Sales team, which serves Insurers, Banks, Building Societies and other MGAs. Joining as Corporate Account Manager, Jay Curtis is approaching 25 years in the insurance industry, of which more than half has been spent in the legal expenses market. Kevin Stoker also brings specific legal expenses experience to his new role, as Corporate Account Handler. Over more than 15 years working in the Financial Services sector, Kevin has enjoyed a similarly diverse career and has spent the past 5 years within the legal protection market.

Special Contingency Risks (SCR), a trading division of WTW has hired Contingency specialist Ed Harwood to drive strategic growth of WTW’s capabilities globally. Harwood will report to Ian Tomlin, who is Head of Accident & Health and was recently appointed as Sports & Entertainment Practice Leader.

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