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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 10th June 2022

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Insurance News

Burns and Wilcox eyes £60m-£65m in GWP. The MGA and underwriting business has experienced “significant growth” since it was created in 2019 and is open to M&A as a tool for growth according to CEO, Stuart Kilpatrick. The CEO noted: “The ambition of the business is to grow that a lot more. We will hopefully be at about £60 to mid-£60m in gross written premiums this year. Our cousins in the States do $2bn. So, there’s a kind of difference in skills.”

Unite members have gone on strike at the Financial Conduct Authority for the second time in a walkout scheduled to last 48 hours. The union accused the FCA of failing to address concerns around pay, terms and conditions and lack of trade union recognition. The first strike took place on 4 May and further industrial action in London and Edinburgh is planned for 5-6 July. It is understood that 600 of the FCA’s 4000 staff are members of Unite. Sources put the level of engagement with the first strike action at around 240 staff.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has teamed-up with Travelers Europe taking its Partners total to 19. Steve White, CEO of Biba, said: “Our Broker members value the relationships that we have with our Biba Insurer Partners, with whom we work closely on cross-industry issues. We are delighted that Travelers Europe has joined Biba, and we look forward to working with its team.”

The Association of British Insurers has called on to government to do more to enable the insurance and long-term savings sector to maximise the vital role it has to play in tackling the climate change challenge. The sector needs to have the “handbrake” taken off and “turbocharge” investment in green infrastructure to meet the “greatest risk” to society, its leaders stressed. According to the trade body the General Insurance and long-term savings industry is making significant progress in setting transparent net zero targets and joining the UN’s ‘Race To Zero’ campaign.

Only 34% of schemes Brokers are satisfied with the support they receive from their Insurers in dealing with compliance matters, according to research from Ecclesiastical. The FCA introduced product governance rules in October 2021 which mean Brokers and Insurers must make sure products provide fair value for customers and that they can demonstrate this is the case.

Kentro Capital grew gross written premiums by 19% to £367.4m in 2021 generating £53.1m of turnover, up 21% on 2020. The holding company also had a 14% increase, to £16m, in Ebitda. Kentro is driven by its speciality underwriting MGA business, Nexus Underwriting, and speciality insurance broking arm Xenia. Nexus grew its GWP by 19% compared to 2020 and had an 18% increase in its income. Xenia achieved 18% growth in GWP and 17% growth in income.

Business insights firm Consumer Intelligence has struck a new partnership deal with Insurance DataLab – an insurance benchmarking platform which tracks the performance of Insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates, MGAs, and Brokers in the UK and Gibraltar. According to a release, the partnership will see both companies work together to identify opportunities where they can combine their data to “produce powerful insights and better serve client needs.” They also said that they will produce a joint special report, to be published later this year.

The Allianz Group has agreed to sell a majority stake in its Russian operations to Interholding LLC, the Owner of Russian P/C Insurer Zetta Insurance. Upon the completion of the transaction, Allianz will hold a minority stake of 49.9 percent in the combined company.

Aon plc reported a 41 percent spike in voluntary employee departures last year amid the "Great Resignation" in the United States, according to data from the firm's Salary Increase and Turnover Study. Aon reported 21.8 percent of U.S. employees left their jobs in 2021, of which 17.2 percent departed voluntarily. In 2020, 19.7 percent left employers, of which 11.9 percent departed voluntarily. 

QBE Insurance Group is now recruiting for key posts ahead of the international Insurer’s further expansion in Europe by way of a Netherlands branch. “We have been steadily building our offering in Continental Europe, providing a credible alternative to established markets,” said Cécile Fresneau, insurance Managing Director at QBE Europe. “We have the financial backing of a global enterprise but retain the agility of a smaller operation."

Mergers & Acquisitions

GRP-owned County Group has bought the business and assets of Taylor Francis in its fourth deal of the year. Taylor Francis, established in 2011 by Managing Director and Owner Tim Taylor, is primarily a Retail Commercial Broker with two offices, in Newport South Wales and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The firm will continue to trade from its current offices following the takeover. The price of the deal has not been revealed.

Both JMG and recent purchase GS Group are on the lookout for more buys, according to the businesses’ leaders. JMG bought Perth-based GS Group on 6 June for an undisclosed sum.

Greenwood Moreland has bought R C McLeish Insurance Consultants in Lanark in its first deal since joining JMG Group. JMG Group entered the Scottish market in April striking a joint-ownership arrangement with Greenwood Moreland and expanded further into Scotland this week buying GS Group.

Howden has confirmed it has struck up a deal to acquire US focused reinsurance, capital markets, advisory and technology and analytics business TigerRisk Partners, subject to regulatory approval. The combined businesses would have a global gross written premium of US$30bn (approx. £23.97 billion), and Howden has claimed it would create the “much-needed fourth global player in the reinsurance market”.

​It’s official – family business BMG Insurance is now owned by Northern Ireland brokerage AbbeyAutoline. Confirming the swoop’s completion, AbbeyAutoline Managing Director Julie Gibbons stated: “I am extremely thrilled to mark yet another significant milestone for AbbeyAutoline as we announce the acquisition of BMG Insurance."

Movers & Shakers

The Managing General Agents' Association has appointed Tim Richards to the newly created position of Technical Services Manager which has been developed to boost the trade body's growth strategy. Richards has more than 25 years’ insurance market experience and joins from Towergate Insurance Brokers, where he was a Caring Professions Underwriter.

​Liberty Mutual Insurance Chairman and CEO David H. Long has announced he will retire at the end of 2022. He will pass the CEO reins to Timothy M. Sweeney in January 2023. Long has been at Liberty Mutual for 37 years. He became President of the company in 2010, CEO in 2011, and Chairman in 2013. Following his retirement at the end of the year, he will serve as the company’s Executive Chairman of the board of Directors.

​Roberta Neri – who was selected to replace Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone following the latter’s resignation from the Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. board of Directors – has refused to take on the post. In a statement, Generali said the appointment by co-optation was declined by Neri, who was the first unelected candidate from the list presented by shareholder VM 2006 back when the Insurer held its annual general meeting (AGM) in April.

Three senior recruits have come onboard the Credit division at Bridge Insurance Brokers. Based in the London office are Nikki Salmon and Richard Miller, who made the switch from Arden insurance Brokers. Respectively, they will serve as Trade Credit & Surety Client Director and Trade Credit & Surety Director. Meanwhile, the headquarters in Manchester is joined by Euler Hermes Direct alumnus Andrew Berry, who takes on the position of Credit Insurance Specialist.

RSA Insurance has announced that Grace Campbell has been named as Global Broker & Customer Director, working across RSA’s commercial and Speciality Lines businesses. The team that Grace will be leading is responsible for external relationships, service and growth to their most complex customers and global Brokers. Grace is currently Senior Strategic Account Director, in this team, and replaces Peter Sweet who has recently retired after 40 years in the industry.

QBE Insurance Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Bannocks to the new position of Group Chief Data Officer (GCDO). Chris joined the Group on 18 May, based in QBE’s London office and reporting to Matt Mansour, Group Executive, Operations and Technology. Chris is a highly experienced technology services and data professional with expertise in managing data, analytics, operations, technology, sales, marketing and strategy across globally diverse and matrixed organisations.

Beazley’s Focus Group Leader International Management Liability, Speciality risk, Catherina MacCabe is set to retire, the Insurer has confirmed. Oliver Wheeler will succeed her as Focus Group Leader from 1 July. Emma Periera has also been promoted to Product Leader. MacCabe has led the IML team at Beazley for over five years. She will stay at Beazley over the remainder of the year to ensure a smooth transition to the new leadership team. Wheeler joined Beazley in 2021, and prior to this, he was D&O Practice Leader at Aon London. 

WTW has appointed Simon Lusher as Client Relationship Director for large and complex risks. Formerly at JLT Specialty (now Marsh), Lusher has extensive experience in the food and drink sector managing multinational accounts as well as delivering complex placement solutions for clients in this sector.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has appointed Abby Thomas as CEO and Chief Ombudsman. Thomas currently works for Virgin Media O2. Her roles at Virgin Media O2 have included leading Virgin Media consumer operations and more recently leading its B2B transformation programme.

Dan Hydleman has joined Pen Underwriting from Hiscox as a Specialist Technology Underwriter reporting to Tom Dixon, Head of Technology.

Gallagher has appointed Mike Parry as a Partner in its Renewable Energy team to focus on offshore wind risks. Parry brings 35 years of Energy insurance broking experience and has been tasked with expanding Gallagher’s offering.

Great American Insurance Group has made changes to its Specialty Property & Casualty group, promoting two divisional presidents in anticipation of planned retirements. Stephanie M. Hoboth was promoted to Divisional President within the Fidelity/Crime division. She is succeeding Frank Scheckton, who will be retiring in September after nearly 28 years at the company. Hoboth was the sixth employee of the Fidelity/Crime division when she joined Great American in 1997. She has held various leadership positions within the company, most recently serving as Divisional Senior Vice President. Great American also promoted Michael B. Mulvey to Divisional President of the FCIA – Trade Credit & Political Risk division. He is succeeding Phil Lally, who is set to retire in July after over three decades with the company. Mulvey first joined FCIA in 2012 as Divisional Vice President, handling its claim and recovery operations.

SiriusPoint has appointed Bobby Heerasing as its country Branch Manager in the UK. The appointment of Heerasing comes after SiriusPoint entered into a strategic partnership with Mosaic Insurance, where the latter would purchase the Lloyd’s Managing Agency of the former. The partnership also includes an investment by SiriusPoint in Mosaic to support its continued growth. The deal is subject to Lloyd’s and regulatory approvals.

Specialty Insurer Mosaic Insurance, which entered the market in February 2021, has named Caroline Foulger as Chair of the company’s board with immediate effect. The Bermuda-based Financial Services Executive was a Director for Hiscox and its subsidiaries for nine years until May 2022. Her credentials also include 12 years spent as a Partner at PwC Bermuda.

Apollo Group Holdings has appointed Stuart Davies as Group Non-Executive Director, effective immediately. Davies has more than 30 years’ experience in Financial Services, having held several senior insurance industry roles, including Chairman of DARAG, group CEO of Sompo Canopius, and CEO at Aegis London, which he held for 10 years. He was also previously Non-Executive Director at Oxbow Partners.

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