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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 17th June 2022

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Insurance News

Covéa Insurance has reported post-tax profit of £7.9m in 2021 reversing the loss of £30.8m the previous year. The underwriting result swung back to profit with a positive £6.8m result versus a £50.8m deficit in 2020. The insurer’s return to the black came as gross written premium grew 16% year-on-year to £839.3m. Its combined operating ratio improved markedly from 109.6% in 2020 to 98.8% last year.

Beazley has unveiled CryptoGuard, Directors’ & Officers’ Liability insurance tailored specifically for crypto companies. According to the specialist Insurer the product is the first of its kind in the London and US markets. The provider detailed that the cover is designed to address the risks faced by all types of companies operating in this developing industry through all stages of their life cycle; from emerging start-ups, high growth businesses and established private and public organisations.

Fidelis-backed Pine Walk has launched its seventh MGA Pernix which will be led by CEO Kade Spears and Chief Underwriting Officer Caroline Coulson. The MGA will specialise in Political Risk and Non-Payment Risks and will trade with the UK Broker market.

SEIB Insurance Brokers has reported increases in revenue, operating profit and profit before tax for 2021. The Broker achieved a 14% increase in revenue to £12.23m with operating profit rising 12% year on year to £2.38m. Profit before tax was also up, by 8% from £2.92m in 2020 to £3.14m. However, an increased tax bill meant profit after tax fell by £329,055 to £2.54m. In 2020 the Broker had benefited from a prior year corporation tax credit.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau has detailed the top 10 new areas targeted by ‘crash for cash’ gangs as it warned drivers to be vigilant of the scam. The list, based on frequency over the past 12 months, is headed by Frome in Somerset with Worksop in Nottinghamshire and Cirencester in Gloucestershire making up the top three. It has followed on from a ranking in 2021 when IFB analysis showed Birmingham was the most prevalent area in the UK for the scam, followed by postcodes in Bradford, Manchester, London and Luton.

The Financial Conduct Authority has zoned in on Wholesalers, MGAs, the London Market and Consolidators and warned that firms have “not fully embraced its key messages” around product oversight or firm culture and purpose. The letter, written by FCA Director Matt Brewis, noted that firms had made some “good progress” but also pointed out that, in some cases, the regulator’s messages around product oversight, culture and purpose had not been fully embraced. He also flagged “disappointment” in the market for its work on diversity and inclusion.

Broker Somerset Bridge has selected Premium Credit as its new, insurance premium finance provider in a multi-year deal. The Broker’s 300,000 existing premium finance customers will be transferred to Premium Credit’s multi-award winning offering as they renew. The business has moved across from BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

Horwich Farrelly, one of the leading legal advisers to the insurance and commercial sectors in the UK, has announced the opening of a new office in York. This is the firm’s seventh office, signalling its continued expansion in commercial legal services.

To ensure self-driving vehicles improve road safety, increase community connectivity, and make roads cleaner and more efficient, experts have set out what they call “red lines” to the government. “Self-driving technology could pave the way for safer roads, increased mobility and productivity, and cleaner transport,” said AXA UK Customer Risk Management Director Dougie Barnett. According to the Insurer, the ‘red lines’ recommended by industry experts include establishing a statutory definition of “self-driving” to distinguish it from assisted driving tech; having a non-prescriptive and flexible regulatory framework that allows use cases; and setting up clear lines of liability, accountability, and responsibility for road safety.

In further news...AXA has announced the launch of a strategic program to build a Digital Commercial Platform. This platform will aggregate different services to transform AXA’s value proposition to better serve its commercial customers, in line with AXA’s Driving Progress 2023 strategic plan. The ambition of the Digital Commercial Platform is to fully leverage the combination of real time data and analytics collected through satellites, drones, sensors, with AXA’s expertise in risk prevention services and the Group’s underwriting and claims capabilities. We aim to build an ecosystem of new services to tackle evolving protection needs of corporate clients.

Small business insurance provider Simply Business is kicking off the third year of its annual grant program, to help businesses struggling with the current economic climate. The Insurer’s yearly “Business Boost” program will award one business a £25,000 grant; the winner will be selected by a panel of expert judges. During the contest’s iteration last year, the judges included British businessman, investor and former Dragon’s Den personality Piers Linney, as well as The Apprentice winner Carina Lepore.

Aviva has announced that it has agreed with TSB to extend their partnership to offer Home and Travel insurance to TSB’s five million UK-based customers. The agreement follows a competitive tender process and reflects the success of Aviva and TSB’s existing partnership, announced in 2015.

QBE to set up branch in Netherlands as part of its European expansion. 'Recruitment is underway to fill a number of key roles for the Netherlands branch, across underwriting, claims, operations and finance, with a view to writing business incepting from January 2023, subject to regulatory approval in the meantime. Working solely through intermediaries, QBE initially intends to offer core Commercial Liability, Financial Lines and Property coverage for mid-market to large corporates' said Senior Media Relations Manager Sandra Villanueva.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Totnes-based Naturesave Policies, a Broker with a focus on green and ethical insurance, has been acquired by Lloyd & Whyte for an undisclosed sum. The Broker was founded 28-years ago and has a registered charity, The Naturesave Trust, which was set up in 1995. Since then, it has donated more than £1m to the Trust.

PIB Group Ltd has extended its footprint in Ireland again through the acquisition of Fingal Insurance Group (‘Fingal’). The leading commercial insurance Broker which boasts a 40-year history and services customers nationally, are well known as specialists in the Construction and Transport sectors. The newcomers join PIB’s growing portfolio of businesses in Ireland, as part of the Group’s ambitious international expansion plans in the country and across Europe.

Bromsgrove-based Jukes Insurance Brokers has expanded its reach across the Midlands with its purchase of North Warwick Insurance Services. Established in 1972, North Warwick Insurance Services serves Personal and Commercial Lines clients in the region and across the UK handling around £1m of gross written premium. The team of six will remain with the business at their Warwick office and the firm will keep its name and branding upon completion of the deal.

Movers & Shakers

Former Bluefin and Gallagher boss Stuart Reid has joined commercial dispute insurance specialist Harbour Underwriting as a Non-Executive Director. Reid stepped up to the board position in April having worked for the Managing General Agent as a Consultant since January.

Ex-AXA Leader,David Williams has joined Commercial Motor Insurtech Humn as a Non-Executive Director. Humn, which was launched in 2018 and raised £10.1m in a series A round last year, has built a data-driven insurance platform and uses artificial intelligence and IOT streaming data to enable customers to manage the exposure of their vehicles on a daily basis.

Motor damage expert Nick Rossiter and Recoveries Specialist Lee Crouch are joining the Allianz Commercial Motor Claims team as Technical Managers. Previously Motor Damage Strategy Manager, Rossiter brings a wealth of expertise in vehicle technology, repair and supply chain. Crouch, who joined Allianz five years ago via the claims graduate scheme, has a track record in handling major loss claims in Motor and Casualty and most recently as Recoveries Controller.

CDL has appointed Rob Trueman to the post of Chief Technology Officer. Previously Head of Software Engineering, Trueman’s promotion to the Executive team widens his remit to include Cyber Security.

Alison Platt has been appointed as Chair of the Ageas UK board, effective from 1 October 2022, replacing Mark Winlow whose 10-year tenure with the business comes to an end in September. Platt is a current FTSE Chair and has served as CEO at Countrywide PLC and held several senior roles at Bupa.

At the end of September, HDI Global board member Jens Wohlthat will retire and hand over his functions to David Hullin, the Insurer has confirmed. Previously, Hullin was responsible for Continental Europe, North and South America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, while Wohlthat’s area of responsibility covered the regions Asia-Pacific, Africa and the global network. Hullin has been a member of the management board of HDI Global since May 2019.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown has been appointed for a third term as Lloyd’s Chairman, effective June 2022 and running to June 2025. He was first appointed in 2017.

​Gallagher has appointed Dan O’Connell to its Mergers and Acquisition team in the North of England. A qualified Lawyer, O’Connell joins from Walker Morris, where he was a Corporate Associate. O’Connell has more than 10 years’ experience in the legal sector and has worked at several law firms, including Walker Morris, Irwin Mitchell and DWF. He has experience advising on a range of corporate transactions including corporate M&A, PLC activity – such as floats, regulatory work and fundraises – and advising private equity clients on acquisitions, investments and disposals.

WTW has announced the appointment of 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 Managing General Agents’ Association has appointed Tim Richards Dip CII to the newly created role of Technical Services Manager as part of its wider growth and development strategy. Tim has over 25 years’ insurance market experience and joins from Towergate Insurance Brokers, where he was a Caring Professions Underwriter. He was previously High Net Worth Underwriter at MS Amlin, having also held household underwriting roles at Canopius Managing Agents and Equity Red Star. Prior to that he worked for Willis and Marsh.

Sima Ruparelia is joining PartnerRe in London to serve as Chief Actuarial and Risk Officer from June 27. A fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and an EY alumnus, Ruparelia was previously Chief Actuary and Portfolio Manager for UK, Europe, global specialty, and Talbot at AIG. Credentials of the incoming PartnerRe executive leadership team member also include time spent at Equitas and Pinnacle Insurance, as well as Catlin and later XL Catlin.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has announced the appointment of Charles-Henri Pavie as Commercial Director. Prior to joining LSM, Pavie was a Development Director at the specialist Broker Add Value.

After serving as Managing Director of QBE Re from April 2020, Stephen Postlewhite has decided to leave for undisclosed reasons. Postlewhite, who joined QBE Re as Deputy Global Chief Underwriting Officer in 2018, will be replaced as MD in an interim capacity by recently appointed Chief Underwriting Officer Peter Wilkins. The latter was named CUO in May, prior to Postlewhite’s decision to exit.

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