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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 19th August 2022

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Insurance News

R&Q Insurance is in the eye of a hurricane, and Vida Capital Management is the first investor to go against the tide with a statement in support of R&Q’s current leadership and strategy. Last week, R&Q received a requisition notice from Phoenix Asset Management Partners, calling to replace current executive chairman William Spiegel with his predecessor Ken Randall to maintain the “best long-term interests of the company.” “We and other investors have seen the performance of the business deteriorate under the leadership of William Spiegel,” Phoenix said in the open letter to shareholders released last Friday. Now, Vidal Capital has released a statement to declare its support for Spiegel’s leadership, insisting that a sudden change in management would shift the insurance group’s focus away from proper business execution. “Vida Capital Management supports the current executive chairman, William Spiegel, the management team and the board of R&Q in their efforts to maximise shareholder value,” the statement read.

The Ardonagh Group has announced its half-yearly results up to June 30. According to the London headquartered, international brokerage, income rose by 37% to £595 million and adjusted EBITDA by 21% to £186 million. “These results reflect the strength of our business model with presence across multiple product lines, industries and geographies providing natural resilience and opportunity,” said CEO David Ross in a media release. The firm’s organic growth was 7% for the six months, with Ardonagh Specialty recording organic growth of 12% and Ardonagh International exceeding 10%.

Markel UK, which integrates insurance for SMEs with tax and legal services offered through sub-brands Markel Law and Markel Tax, has increased the income threshold at which organisations may access its charities and community groups product via its eTrade facility - from £1 million to £2 million. The income threshold expansion aims to support Markel UK’s ambitious growth targets in the sector and help customers and brokers seeking to place business despite challenging market conditions.

HowdenCAP, a division of international insurance broker Howden, and specialty carrier Mosaic have partnered to launch an integration of their technology platforms that aims to drive efficiency and speed of risk placement in the structured credit insurance market. The launch represents the first direct insurer-broker application programming interface (API) in the sector, the companies said. Through the API, HowdenCAP’s Tepfin X structured credit insurance placement program connects with Mosaic’s insurtech platform through the carrier’s API Gateway, enabling structured data to be easily exchanged and processed for submissions intake and triage.

Ecclesiastical Insurance is encouraging all its customers to prepare for flooding risks as the MET Office continues to forecast thunderstorms across the UK this week. “Flash flooding can happen miles away from established watercourses and can occur where there is no history of previous flooding problems. This makes it hard to predict and it can happen very quickly,” said Ecclesiastical Insurance risk management director Jo Whyman.

Probitas Managing Agency has announced a strong performance from its managed Syndicate 1492 during the first six months of 2022. The syndicate reduced its net combined ratio from 83.6% to 78.5% and produced an underwriting profit of £17.1 million for the period, compared to the £9.2 million it recorded in the previous half-year. Gross written premium is now expected to increase from an original plan of £202.5 million to £223.5 million, with a further 22% increase to £271 million planned for 2023.

Phoenix Group is looking to snag its next takeover deal as more “break-ups” are rumoured to take place in the insurance sector. Andy Briggs, chief executive officer of Phoenix, told This is Money that the UK market has around £480 billion of closed-book assets – insurance policies that are no longer for sale but are still being paid for their premiums – that are “split around a number of different players.”

In other news...It’s a promising year for Phoenix Group (Phoenix) as it has already hit its key financial goals for the six months to June 30, 2022 (H1 FY22) by delivering a record set of financial results and making clear strategic progress. Phoenix delivered record cash generation of £950 million in H1 FY22, up from £872 million in the first half of 2021 (H1 FY21), making it confident of delivering at the top-end of its £1.3 billion to £1.4 billion target range for the year.

WTW has released the latest cyber insurance market update, providing an overview of key developments in the cyber insurance market and analysing the conditions for domestic and international companies using the London insurance market to transfer risk. The report noted significant changes in the cyber insurance market during Q2 2022, with market segments becoming more distinct and nuanced than ever experienced previously.

Broker network Movo Partnership has taken in CNA as a capacity provider in a signed agency deal. Backed by more than 120 years of experience, CNA is one of the largest US commercial property and casualty insurance companies, with an ‘A’ Excellent rating by AM Best. CNA is the latest addition to Movo’s fast-growing panel of 300 complementary insurer agencies, including Travelers, Aviva, AXA, Zurich, Hiscox, RSA and AIG. Through the deal, Movo’s 60 AR broker members will gain access to CNA’s products via Acturis as part of the arrangement.

Z Zurich Foundation (ZZF), insurance giant Zurich’s charity arm, has announced its partnership with youth-serving non-profits JA Worldwide and JA Africa aimed at paving a bright future for the continent’s young people. Unveiled on International Youth Day, the collaboration is designed to help young Africans “succeed… as innovative job creators and well-qualified job seekers, [while] following the path best-suited to their economic realities.”

Former business secretary Vince Cable has slammed Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss or her campaign team’s “dangerous” proposal to merge the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the Guardian reported. Truss’s plan comes in less than a decade after the FCA and PRA were originally formed in 2013.

London businesses are highly likely to experience flash floods in more areas over the coming weeks, according to new research from Zurich UK. The research found that commercial and mixed-use buildings in Kensington and Chelsea have the highest risk percentage at 63% in the London borough. That’s an alarming two-fifths of the capital’s businesses at risk of being hit by flash floods. Other districts at high risk include Hammersmith and Fulham at 56%, Merton at 54%, Southwark at 54%, and Wandsworth at 53%.

Mergers & Acquisitions

UK insurtech Stubben Edge Group is expanding in London and St. Peter Port, Guernsey, through the acquisition of Genesis Special Risks (GSR) and the incorporation of 1Edge Insurance into the firm. Both strategic developments are set to expand Stubben Edge’s capabilities for immediate financing arrangements and brokers by enhancing its bespoke warranty and offering new cell management.

Ocean International Reinsurance Company (Ocean Re) has acquired Oceva Risk businesses in London and Denmark as part of its international expansion strategy. The Barbados-based reinsurance carrier Ocean Re revealed its acquisition of Oceva Risk, a London Market-facing business which sources suitable reinsurance, insurance, fronting and risk transfer business from the UK, Europe and internationally for the group, is approved by the FCA. As part of the deal, Ocean Re has also acquired Oceva Europe ApS, which is fully authorised by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority. Oceva Europe ApS sources European Union business from its office in Denmark.

UK General Insurance (UKG) and Precision Partnership Limited (PPL) have become the latest targets in the ongoing consolidation of the UK insurance market after the private equity investor Rcapital Partners LLP (Rcapital) revealed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the firms. Under the terms of the transaction, Montague Investment Group will also take a minority stake, in a deal led by the joint UKG and PPL management team of CEO Tim Smyth and CFO Ryan Gill. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

Jensten Group has continued its acquisition spree this month by acquiring High Wycombe-based insurance broker J Bennett & Son Insurance Brokers (J Bennett & Son) and its Oxford-based subsidiary Mathews Comfort & Co, subject to regulatory approval. Jensten Group’s fourth acquisition this month, J Bennett & Son mainly works with commercial clients locally and specialises in the life sciences and biomedical field, in addition to solutions for hot air balloon owners. The insurance broker and its subsidiary have a rich heritage of providing high-quality advice to their clients, joining forces in 2017. The business employs 25 people across its two offices.


Movers & Shakers

Chubb has named Chris Eappariello as the president of consumer lines for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, effective immediately. The role is a newly created regional segment that comprises Chubb’s specialty personal lines, accident and health (A&H) affinity, consumer travel and direct marketing business across 26 countries. Eappariello will be based in London and will report to David Furby, regional president for EMEA.

AXA XL has named Sabrina Lahrmann as senior underwriter, international property, UK & Lloyd’s. As senior underwriter, Lahrmann will be responsible for helping deliver the growth of AXA XL’s international property book of business in the UK, a release said. She will also help in the development of AXA XL’s relationships with key brokers and clients.

SiriusPoint has announced the appointment of Phil Woodbridge as head of London US casualty, effective Sept. 5. In his new role, Woodbridge will focus on growing the company’s US casualty treaty book. He will be based in London and will report to Nick Pascall, head of London and international casualty.

Fenchurch Law, a leading UK firm specialising in insurance disputes for brokers and policyholders, has announced the appointments of Catrin Wyn Williams and Chloe Vine to its Leeds office. Williams is joining the firm as an associate solicitor. She was previously a solicitor at BLM and has represented insurers in various areas, including property damage and personal indemnity. She also has experience working in house at Hiscox. Vine joins Fenchurch as a trainee solicitor. She previously worked as the group claims technical manager at nationwide insurance broker David Roberts & Partners and has experience handling all aspects of insurance claims, including liability and coverage disputes.

After a month of searching, the board of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) has decided to welcome Don MacIntyre as its new interim chief executive officer starting this week. The PFS CEO role was previously dissolved by the former CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) in June 2021, but for PFS president Sarah Lord, it soon became “clear that the best way to represent member interest…is through the appointment of a full-time executive CEO role.”

Specialist commercial insurance provider CNA Hardy has announced the appointment of Raphael Borrel as director of risks. In his new role, Borrel will be responsible for developing risk strategy and framework and leading the company’s risk function. He is based in London and reports to Carl Kearney, chief actuary and risk officer.

Chubb has appointed Martin Audis as senior underwriter for general aviation for its London market wholesale and specialty arm Chubb Global Markets (CGM). In his new role, Audis will be responsible for underwriting within the general aviation portfolio and supporting more development opportunities for CGM. He will be based in London and report to Nigel Griffiths, regional head of general aviation.

Motorbike specialist insurer MCE Insurance has announced the promotion of company veteran Mark Etheridge to head of partnerships. Etheridge, who has been with the firm for 16 years, has held several senior management positions, including in the sales, marketing, and product departments. In his new role, he will be tasked with forging new relationships with insurers in the motor space, with a focus on car and van.

iRevolution Group has tapped Ray Westwick as its new special projects director, effective last month. In his new role, Westwick will work on growing Insurance Revolution and specialist motor insurance broker Barry Grainger, as well as delivering on a number of projects in the pipeline across its various broker companies.

Allianz Insurance has announced the appointment of Ben Moore as its new commercial motor manager. Moore has been with Allianz since 2015, when he became part of the commercial insurance graduate scheme. He later took on the position of senior underwriter in the motor trade team and has since held various roles within the company, including senior technical analyst, pricing and portfolio management workstream lead, and executive assistant to the chief underwriting officer.

Mosaic Insurance has hit its 100-employee milestone with two new hires. The 100-employee honour is split between Emma Denny and Derrieka Johnson, who join Mosaic Insurance in London and New York, respectively. Denny is named the assistant vice president for cyber underwriting, supporting Mosaic’s growing international cyber unit. Meanwhile, in New York, Johnson is hired as a financial accountant, supporting Mosaic’s accounting and financial reporting functions.

QBE has announced the appointment of Chris Killourhy as managing director of QBE Re. He will be vacating his current role as chief financial officer of QBE International on Sept. 1.

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