Blog Img

General Insurance Newsletter Friday 29th July 2022

Back to Blogs

Insurance News

Seventeen Group has deals in the pipeline and the firepower to continue to buy after completing its refinancing with Ares Management, according to CEO Paul Anscombe. Anscome said: “We are not going to just turn on the tap and buy everything that is moving. We have had a consistent acquisition strategy for many years. This gives us the ammunition to step that up if the right opportunity comes along.”

Gallagher achieved 8% organic growth in the UK in the second quarter of 2022, Simon Matson EMEA CEO at the firm has confirmed. Organic growth in the first quarter stood at 14%. The business did not provide a breakdown of the UK results but Matson stated the Q2 organic growth was “an excellent achievement with great new business growth and double digit organic in our specialty division”.

Clear Group spent £17.25m on acquisitions during its 2021 financial year as the Broker grew revenue to £45m from £28m in 2020. The figures, in a filing at Companies House for holding company Charing Cross Topco up to 31 October 2021, showed that Luker Rowe cost £10.28m, HIA International cost £4.03m and the spend on Anderson White Insurance Brokers totalled £2.97m. HR Jennings was also bought in October 2021 but did not feature as a separate cost in the report.

In further news...Clear Group is targeting doubling its gross written premium by the end of 2025 through maintaining its acquisition programme and double-digit organic growth, according to CEO Mike Edgeley. The business achieved £260m of GWP in 2021 as it reported an adjusted Ebitda of £10.4m. Revenue was up 60.7% to £45m in the financial year to the end of October as the firm struck four deals and achieved 8% organic growth.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has welcomed the decision to give firms a 12-month window to implement the requirements for the new Consumer Duty. The Financial Conduct Authority has observed that the new duty raises the bar for firms and will likely require system changes that take time to implement. According to Biba, a 12-month implementation period is therefore a more “realistic” target.

Spring Insure has launched a commercial Cyber offering tailored for small and medium sized enterprises. The Cyber product offers protection against loss from a Cyber incident and provides access to Beazley Cyber services including pre-breach and risk management services, the Managing General Agent detailed.

Seventeen Group, the parent firm of Broker James Hallam, has refinanced with Ares Management. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, replaces the previous debt funding provided by Beechbrook Capital. According to the business, which also owns Touchstone Underwriting, the arrangement will allow the group to continue its long term partnership with Virgin Money and give it increased capability to continue its long term growth plans.

Vista Insurance Brokers CEO Gavin Ruben has encouraged the industry to up its game as the firm continues along the path to carbon neutrality. Last August, Vista pledged to become carbon neutral within 12 months. Ruben updated that the firm had made “massive strides” and while it had not achieved the goal in full was well on the way with a plan to deliver. Earlier this year research by Ecclesiastical showed that only 5% of regional Brokers have set a net zero target. Just 38% of national Brokers have set the target, with the average across the pool of 250 UK Brokers surveyed coming out at one in five.

The CEO of the Worldwide Broker Network, Olga Collins, has warned of a lack of inclusion within senior roles. Collins highlighted the industry has come a long way, yet there is still a lot of work to be done. Founded in 1989, the global independent Broker has close to 130 members across 112 countries. She added that it is a “natural phenomenon” for WBN to have a background of race diversity as it stands across numerous countries, however, she insisted there is still room for improvement.

The Financial Conduct Authority has explained its decision to switch from a proposed implementation period ending 30 April 2023 to one ending 31 July 2023 as it revealed the timetable for its new Consumer Duty regulations. Some firms had asked for two years to implement the rules which the FCA decided was too long to wait. The deadline will affect all new and existing products and services currently on sale. For closed book products that are no longer on offer the Consumer Duty will come into force a further year later on 31 July 2024.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau has warned that more than 5,000 people were added to the Insurance Fraud Register in the past 12 months. The Bureau highlighted that the cost of living crisis means more people may turn to fraud and YouGov research, commissioned by the body, confirmed that one in five 18-24 year olds and one in six 25-34 year olds, would “likely” commit insurance fraud if struggling financially.

First Underwriting has added Real Estate expertise to its team and launched Real Estate product lines as it seeks to expand from its core Motor proposition. The move is part of the specialist MGA’s five-year growth strategy and adds to its Motor, Home, Surety, Travel Bonds and Tour Operator specialisms. 

Verlingue UK’s Companies House filing for last year has shown that an attempted Cyber attack in November 2021 cost the business £121,807. The cost, which was listed as an exceptional item in the document, came to £363,161 in total but was mitigated by Cyber insurance cover.

In January 2018, the headlines of the financial services press were dominated by the fall of the Construction giant Carillion, which the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considered to have breached multiple divisions between July 01, 2016 and July 10, 2017. Yesterday. the FCA has published its decision notices for Carillion plc (in liquidation) and three former Executive Directors of the firm.

To better meet the growing demands of its clients, A-One Insurance Group has created 24 new jobs since January 2020. The insurance group said that it has taken on 24 new staff since early 2020, largely as Commercial Account Handlers and in sales roles. The company’s workforce now sits at 152 experts.

The war in Ukraine could have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on business, according to a new report from Lloyd’s and Aon. The report applied five plausible scenarios to the industries and geographies most affected by the war in Ukraine. Each scenario explores the possible short, medium, and long-term effects of the war across supply chains, energy, food security, ESG, the climate transition, inflation and Cyber.

Financial results have come in from Bermuda, the base of global Insurers Everest Re Group and Arch Capital Group. In the three-month span ended June 30, Arch’s insurance segment enjoyed a 98% increase in underwriting income, while the reinsurance operations posted a 45% rise. Consolidated underwriting income for the company stood at US$535.4 million. Meanwhile Everest president and chief executive Juan C. Andrade commented: “Everest’s solid second quarter results reflect the successful execution of our strategy with strong momentum across our key performance objectives. Our focus on underwriting profitability and operational efficiency, supported by our investment portfolio delivered US$386 million in net operating income and a 15.3% operating ROE (return on equity)."

The cost of severe flooding in the UK is forecast to become much more expensive by 2050, according to JBA Risk Management. It estimated that the cost of a 200-year flood event can escalate to £5 billion, or 42% higher than at present, in case of an intermediate emissions scenario (RCP4.5).

Allianz Commercial has successfully prevented £36.8m worth of insurance fraud in the first six months of the year, with marked increases in the Property and Casualty sectors. The fraud investigators at the business insurance provider are on track to beat their record from 2021, when they busted £65.8m worth of scams over the course of a full year. The £36.8m of fraud they detected in the first half of 2022 represents a 23% increase over the same period last year.

AXA Partners UK & Ireland is to underwrite a range of mass-market Leisure Travel Insurance policies across the DOA Underwriting Ltd portfolio, as part of a new strategic multimillion-pound partnership. The collaboration with the family-owned business, who are leaders in tech & innovation, enables more customers to be able to access Travel Insurance through a quality brand, via approximately 1,500 brokers and insurance intermediaries in niche market sectors. Together, the companies will provide the best value products for DOA’s customers, including its own brand SunWorld. 

Swiss Rehas published its financial results for the first half of 2022 – and while the numbers are positive, they’re generally much lower than those in the corresponding period a year ago. Swiss Re attributed the plunge in consolidated net income to significantly lower investment results and to the US$283 million in reserves established in the first quarter for the war in Ukraine. The reserves were not increased in Q2 – a period in which Swiss Re posted a net income worth US$405 million.

Mergers & Acquisitions

GRP-owned Newstead Insurance, which is headquartered in Birmingham, has acquired Crendon Insurance Brokers Ltd (Crendon), a commercial brokerage that is based locally. Crendon specialises in providing bespoke insurance packages for Commercial, Construction, Online Retail, IP and Data Protection/Cyber Liability, and other niche markets where cover may be difficult to obtain.

GRP acquires East Anglia hub acquiring the general insurance portfolio of Woodward Markwell marks 100th acquisition since GRP founded in 2013. Global Risk Partners (GRP), part of Brown & Brown, has announced that it has acquired the general insurance portfolio of Woodward Markwell Insurance Brokers Ltd (WM Brokers Ltd). It is the 100th acquisition since 2013, when the business was founded.

Movers & Shakers

Alan Boswell Group stalwarts Tony Robinson and Sally Key have been appointed as additional board Directors of the insurance Broker’s Financial Services division Alan Boswell & Company Ltd. The duo – who have been with the group for 19 and 10 years, respectively – join Alan Boswell & Company Managing Director John Whitehead and Director John Pullin.

HDI Global Specialty SE (HDI) has announced the appointment of John Button as Head of Global Distribution and Business Development for its Global operations, effective immediately. The appointment replaces Alan Waters, who held the position for the last three and a half years and left the Company by mutual agreement last month. John, who previously reported to Waters, has worked for HDI Global SE for 8 years and has held the position of Strategic Relationship Manager at HDI Global Specialty for the past 3 years. The role will work alongside its parent company HDI Global SE to align its distribution strategy as one face to HDI’s Broker partners.

AXA XL Insurance has appointed Adrian Burgess as Senior Underwriter, Construction, UK & Lloyd’s, effective immediately. Mr. Burgess began his career at Eagle Star/Zurich Insurance in 1988, remaining with the company for 10 years, in which time he progressed into a variety of underwriting positions. Between and 1999 and 2021, he spent time at the likes of Allianz Cornhill, Royal & Sun Alliance and MS Amlin, before joining Ensurance UK, where he most recently held the position of Senior Underwriter.

Miller is pleased to announce it has hired Paul Jacobs and Steve Quick to form a Rural (Farms and Estates) team. Paul and Steve individually bring more than 20 years’ experience advising clients in the rural sector. Paul was previously Claims Director for Affinity and Private Clients at Aon Risk Solutions and has also been Head of Technical Claims for Marsh Private Clients. Steve also joins from Aon, where he was Account Director, and has worked with landed estate and high net worth clients for Robins Row, James Hallam and Marsh.

Allianz Commercial has promoted Margaret Scott as Director of Claims Strategy and Customer Experience and Lee Watts as Director of Technical Claims. As Head of Claims Strategy and Customer Experience, Margaret has led transformation in areas such as data, digital technology, agile and workforce planning to ensure that the Allianz claims proposition is well positioned to support future trading. Prior to that, she led the supply and experts team. As Head of Technical Claims, Lee remodelled the teams’ structure and approach, adapting the Allianz proposition to an increasingly complex claims environment. Over the last two years in particular, he led the Allianz response to Covid-19 Business Interruption claims.

Insurtech Ripe Thinking has appointed Laurel Powers-Freeling as new Chair of the board. Powers-Freeling has experience in financial services, business growth and tech. She led the development of M&S Money as CEO, and has held a series of senior executive, board or non-executive positions for organisations including the Prudential, Chubb, Lloyds Bank Group and the Bank of England.

Covéa Insurance has hired Fleur Lewis as Head of Application Fraud. Lewis has 20 years’ experience in fraud and crime prevention within the insurance and financial services sectors.

MCE Insurance has grown its marketing team with two Marketing Executives. Jonno Cook and Shobhit Munot will join the team and have been tasked with the expansion of current campaigns as well as development of new areas.

Former Chief Operating Officer of Open GI, Simon Hughes, has joined Create a Call as a Non-Executive Director. Hughes was at Open GI for 18 years and was responsible for solution development, customer delivery and support.

Insurtech Policy Expert has hired Kevin Chidwick as Chief Financial Officer. Chidwick has over three decades of experience at insurance companies including Admiral and Confused. His appointment follows the retirement of Paul Gildersleeves after a 40-year career in financial services.

Aviva has tapped a new Managing Director for wealth and advice under the company’s UK & Ireland life business. “I am delighted to announce Michele Golunska as our MD of wealth and advice,” said UK & Ireland Life Chief Executive Doug Brown. “Michele has considerable experience in the wealth market, most recently in her current role as CEO of Sesame Bankhall Group."

JM Glendinning Insurance Brokers, part of JMG Group, has elevated Gareth Milner to serve as Managing Director of the company’s Professional rRsks business. Succeeding founding MD Jake Fox, Milner is moving on from his position as Client Director. His predecessor became Group Managing Director of JM Glendinning late last year.  

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