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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 12th August 2022

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Insurance News

Zurich Insurance Group has reported that its business operating profit (BOP) surged 25% to $3.393 million in the first half of 2022, its highest in 14 years and second highest ever. All regions and business lines contributed to the stellar results. Property and casualty operating profit rose 32% to $2.055 million for the first six months ending June 30, with a record-low combined ratio of 91.9%. Life operating profit rose 13% to $903 million.

In a media briefing discussing Aviva H1 2022’s trading statement, group CEO Amanda Blanc credited the “excellent” results as a testament to the progress the UK insurance giant has made over the past two years in simplifying the business and building its resilience. “Aviva is growing and growing profitably,” she said. “The value of new business in the UK and Ireland life company is up 13% and gross written premiums in the general insurance business are up 6%. Profitability is improving and our operating profit is up 14%, significantly ahead of consensus. We’ve delivered an excellent overall combined operating ratio of 94% despite the impact of inflation, demonstrating the scale and diversification of our general insurance business.”

In other news...“This has been an excellent six months for Aviva.” That was how Aviva Plc group chief executive Amanda Blanc described the first half of 2022 when the UK-headquartered insurer revealed its operating results for the period, which saw a 14% increase in operating profit to £829 million.In the six months ended June 30, Aviva posted a 6% rise in general insurance gross written premium (GWP) to £4.7 billion. UK commercial lines GWP went up 12%; UK personal lines, down 1%; Canada commercial lines, up 17%; and Canada personal lines, up 9%.

Insurtech may not be witnessing a bubble bursting, but it is facing up to difficulties that could change the face of the market, according to Gallagher Re global head of insurtech Andrew Johnston. “I wouldn’t categorise this as a bubble – rather a hot air balloon with a tear in its canopy that is bringing it back down to earth, but not at a startling pace,” Johnston told Insurance Business.

Tokio Marine HCC International (TMHCCI) has revealed that its London Market operations, including GCube, will relocate from their current, separate offices into one consolidated location – on floor six of 20 Fenchurch Street, commonly known as the Walkie Talkie. The move will take place in three stages. The first part, which is already underway, will see GCube, Marine Liability, Marine Hull, Marine Cargo and Energy make the move to their new premises. The second shift is scheduled for Q4 2022 and will see all other London Market teams, US credit and underwriting performance move to the new location.

European insurance group Talanx has outlined its financial results for the first half of 2022, a day after announcing the renewal of chief executive Torsten Leue’s contract. For the six months ended June 30, Talanx saw a 2.6% increase in group net income attributable to shareholders to €560 million. Operating profit, meanwhile, grew 1.9% to €1.4 billion. Other metrics included €1.9 billion in net investment income, which was a slide from last year’s €2.4 billion. As for gross written premium (GWP), the insurer enjoyed a 17.7% lift to €28.3 billion.

Digital managing general agent C-Quence has announced that it is adding an excess D&O product to its range of financial lines offerings. The new product will be traded on C-Quence’s proprietary cloud-based platform, CQ Elements. According to the MGA, the excess D&O product will have a cover limit of up to £10 million on an any one claim (AOC) basis, backed by A-rated capacity. C-Quence added that the product is aimed at brokers that require higher limits of indemnity and protection for clients within the MGA’s target market.

To allow brokers to quote and bind more new and renewal business with higher limits of indemnity, CNA Hardy has increased the maximum attachment point capability from its online excess of loss platform. The attachment points have been raised from £25 million to £150 million.

UK insurance giant Admiral Group unveiled what group CEO Milena Mondini de Focatiis has described as a “solid set of results” for the six months ended June 30, 2022. Perhaps the most eye-catching figure among the key financial takeaways of the period was Admiral’s 48% drop in profit, which fell from £482.2 million in H1 2021 to £251.3 million in H1 2022. The group’s net revenue dipped 9% to 0.72 billion, however, its group turnover rose 6% to £1.85 billion while group customers rose 12% year-on-year, with 6.94 million in the UK insurance market (up 12%).

Birmingham-headquartered Newstead Insurance Brokers, which last month completed its swoop for Crendon Insurance Brokers, has a new management line-up. Company stalwart Sarah Giles has been appointed as managing director, taking over from Paul O’Donnell who will remain as a director. Meanwhile assuming the role of commercial director is Julian Simon. “This is a really exciting time for Newstead,” said Giles, who has been with the now £18 million GWP (gross written premium) business for nearly 12 years. “We are bringing together some great local businesses to create a fantastic new team, and there is a massive opportunity for us to build on our growth trajectory to become one of the dominant brokers in the Birmingham and West Midlands market.

British multinational financial services provider Legal & General has reported strong financial performance for the first half of 2022, with profits after tax, earnings per share, and operating profits all up by 8% year-on-year. Profit after tax rose to £1.15 billion in H1 2022 from £1.07 billion in H1 2021, earnings per share grew to 19.28p from 17.78p, while operating profit increased to £1.16 billion from £1.08 billion a year ago. Its interim dividend was also up 5% to 5.44p from 5.18p. Legal & General also reported a surge in cash flow, up 22% to £1.0 billion, and hit its strongest ever capital position, with a solvency ratio of 212%.

FM Global has announced it will allocate US$300 million to a first-of-its-kind ‘resilience credit’ to help policyholders invest in climate resilience solutions. The resilience credit has the potential to help its policyholders reduce total loss expectancies related to wind, flood, and wildfire exposure by over US$120 billion, which, in turn, can magnify their positive impact on customers, colleagues, and communities.

It’s the turn of reinsurance giant Munich Re to unveil its financial report card for the second quarter of 2022, and the company calls its quarterly performance “resilient”. Munich Re, which emerged profitable in Q2, posted a €768 million profit in the three months ended June 30. The corresponding amount in 2021, however, was higher at €1.1 billion. Similarly, the group’s profit in the first half dipped from last year’s €1.7 billion to €1.4 billion this time around. In terms of its operating result in the quarter, Munich Re remained in the black with €763 million. A year ago, the figure stood at €1.6 billion. The company’s investment result, meanwhile, went down from €1.9 billion in Q2 2021 to €971 million in the latest set of numbers.

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd. has shared its latest set of financial results, revealing losses in both the second quarter and first half of 2022. For the three months ended June 30, Argo’s net loss attributable to common shareholders amounted to US$18.9 million. In the same period last year, the company enjoyed a US$67.1 million net income attributable to common shareholders.

R&Q Insurance Holdings has announced its financial results for the first half of 2022, with strong growth in gross written premium (GWP) and program fee income. The company, which focuses on program management and legacy insurance businesses, recorded a GWP of US$807 million, an 82% increase from US$445 million for the first half of 2021. R&Q’s program fee income of US$39 million grew by 105% year on year from US$19 million. The number of its programs grew to 75, up from 69 during the same period last year.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the name behind global insurer BHSI (Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance), has revealed its financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2022. According to the Omaha-based conglomerate, its net loss attributable to Berkshire shareholders amounted to US$43.8 billion in the quarter ended June 30, while the group’s attributable net loss in the first six months of the year totalled US$38.3 billion.

PIB Group has released its financial results for 2021, with a 52% year-on-year increase in revenue to £230.9 million. The group’s adjusted EBITDA grew 78% from 2020 to £67 million.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Another day, another acquisition. Global brokerage Gallagher has acquired UK-based risk management consultancy Another Day Limited (AnotherDay). Founded in 2016, AnotherDay helps organisations identify and prepare for complex threats, react to crises, and investigate criminality using intelligence and technology. It has around 20 risk, investigations and crisis response specialists and has supported clients across 90 countries.

It’s a done deal for Aviva and Succession Wealth. The £385 million transaction, which was first announced in March, has now been finalised. A national independent financial advice firm that has around 200 planners, Succession Wealth will retain its branding and continue to operate as a separately regulated business.

Movers & Shakers

RSA Insurance Group (RSA), one of the world’s oldest general insurers, has appointed Peter Townsend as its new chief compliance officer (CCO) for its UK and international businesses. Townsend has been with RSA for 10 years, joining as a legal counsel in 2012. He also held the roles of group head of financial crime and group data protection officer. Before joining RSA, he was a solicitor at Berwin Leighton Paisner and Clifford Chance.

Aqueous Underwriting has announced the appointment of William Hall as senior development underwriter. Hall joins the MGA specialist after working as an associate director at professional indemnity (PI) and liability broker Brunel Professions. He has over three decades of experience in the PI and financial lines sector, having started his career at Royal Sun Alliance. He also launched a startup MGA called PU Protect, which was later acquired by Barbican Insurance.

Torsten Leue will have at least 10 years at the helm of insurance group Talanx AG after his contract as chief executive was extended. The name behind brands HDI and Hannover Re, Talanx announced that Leue’s contract has been renewed ahead of schedule and will see the business leader remain in charge until May 2028.

​Broking giant Aon Plc will have a new chief operating officer two months from now. Joining the business on October 10 is Mindy Simon, who will replace James Platt as COO. Platt has now become the group’s chief digital officer after serving as chief operating officer from June 2021. Chief financial officer Christa Davies, in the interim, will be in charge of operations prior to Simon’s arrival.

Sedgwick has appointed Ady Hall to the role of client director, as it seeks to strengthen its public sector offering in the UK. In this role, Hall will work to shape Sedgwick’s public sector offering, which currently serves clients such as local authorities, academic institutions, charities and housing associations. He will join an experienced team that manages numerous large and diverse complex losses each year.

EeLain Ong has succeeded Julian Chowdhury as chief financial officer at specialist mutual insurer TT Club. Chowdhury, who retired after 27 years with the Club, now serves as a finance consultant to the insurer on a part-time basis. His successor took on the CFO post on August 1.

Ageas UK has strengthened its distribution team with the appointment of Claire Green as director of distribution. The personal lines insurer looked internally for its latest appointment, as Green most recently served as Ageas UK’s head of strategic partnerships. She has been with the insurer for eight years. In her new role as director of distribution, Green will work alongside fellow director of distribution Darren Whittaker.

Kennedys has appointed Karen Peskett-Hall as its first director of transformation. Peskett-Hall will be responsible for the successful delivery of projects across the Kennedys network, which is comprised of over 2,400 people in 44 offices worldwide. She is tasked with analysing the firm’s current strategy and identifying improvement and innovation opportunities.

​​West P&I has appointed Gina Panayiotou as its new environmental, social and governance (ESG) manager. Panayiotou is an experienced maritime lawyer and industry strategist, having held senior roles throughout her career. She has worked as a legal manager at a leading shipowner, global head of shipping and energy at a multijurisdictional law firm, and in-house legal counsel for an international cruise line.

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