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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 30th September 2022

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Insurance News

Gibraltar-based Motor Insurer Mulsanne Insurance more than doubled its gross written premium to £119m in 2021 from £54.8m in 2020. The provider reported the significant year-on-year increase was driven by continuing to exploit niche areas in the market and building on existing and new Broker relationships.

Ecclesiastical Insurance has reported a pre-tax loss of £27.3m for the first half of the year compared to a profit of £46.5m in the same period of 2021. The group’s swing back to a loss was driven by £79.8m of fair value losses in the investment portfolio (H1 2021: £34.3m gains) contributing to a net investment loss of £26.6m.

In a compliance webinar hosted by Kenneth Underhill, Director of Implement Compliance Solutions and Resources, 76% of approximately 120 participating co-manufacturers and distributors said they had not received a fair value assessment from their manufacturer ahead of the FCA’s deadline of 30 September. Underhill stressed that if the fair value assessment is not completed by the deadline the Financial Conduct Authority could cease the distribution of the manufacturer’s products.

Close Brothers has posted a 4% fall in its premium finance book to £1bn in the year to 31 July 2022. According to the company, which works with around 1,600 Brokers in the UK and Ireland, the reduction was driven by “lower demand for the funding of insurance policies from consumers”.

Insurance figures have paid their respects following the passing of respected former Broker - and the first Conservative Muslim peer - Lord Mohamed Sheikh, who died on 22 September aged 81.

Complete Cover Group introduced a restructuring programme in the fourth quarter of 2021 to significantly reduce the UK workforce with much of the customer facing activities outsourced to South Africa, a Companies House filing has revealed. The statement in the motor broker’s annual results to 31 December 2021 added that the process would continue through 2022.

Claims management giant Crawford & Company has launched “Zero to Landfill,” a UK policy designed to promote sustainable soil management following a polluting incident. The programme, which was developed by the firm’s environmental consultancy team in Britain, is aimed at reducing the reliance on landfills by employing on-site soil treatment whenever possible.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to Chief Executives in the insurance industry to ensure that customers are protected against harm as the UK continues to deal with the increased cost-of-living. In his ‘Dear CEO’ letter, FCA consumers and competition Executive Director Sheldon Mills outlined the regulator’s expectations of insurance firms. The expectations span customers in vulnerable circumstances, fair value, premium finance, underinsurance, claims, and multi-occupancy buildings.

Specialty MGA firm Optio Group has announced that it will establish MGA and reinsurance broking businesses in Dubai, subject to final approvals from UAE regulatory authorities. Optio expects both operations to be operational by the start of 2023, with an initial focus on Accident and Health insurance. Optio also said it intends to enter Political Violence and Terrorism, Marine War, Kidnap and Ransom, and Financial Lines insurance in the region in due course, drawing on the wider group’s Specialty expertise.

Aviva has renewed its agreement with Lucida Group, which will provide non-standard Motor insurance for Personal Lines customers for an additional three years. This follows a successful 12-month pilot programme with Right Choice Insurance Brokers (RCIB), a Romford-based specialist non-standard Car insurance provider under the Lucida Group. The trial saw Aviva providing Motor insurance cover for more than 30,000 new customers.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Jonathan Swift discusses the touted potential tie-up between Markerstudy and First Central and asks whether the former is ready to get back on the Rock with this deal. Last week Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman Tweeted that Markerstudy was in talks to buy First Central for £500m. The suggestion that First Central was being touted around the market was not a massive revelation in as much that Bloomberg had reported the £600m sale of the motor insurance specialist at the start of the year, mentioning Evercore as leading the sale process.

US-based Acrisure has made its second UK Broker purchase with CRK Commercial Insurance Services, following the acquisition of Russell Scanlan. The deal is expected to close at the start of October 2022. Founded in 2000, CRK is a specialist schemes provider focusing on the manufacturing, engineering, rope access and HVAC industries.

It’s official – Lloyd’s Wholesale Broker Tysers is now owned by ASX-listed firm AUB Group Limited. AUB, which consists of insurance Brokers and Managing General Agents in over 500 locations across Australia and New Zealand, has completed its purchase of the London-headquartered brokerage.

QBE has announced the sale of select Irish Casualty Commercial insurance portfolios to the Ascot Group via a renewal rights transaction. The sale follows QBE’s decision earlier this year to conduct a phased withdrawal from underwriting certain Republic of Ireland-domiciled direct insurance business. The deal will see Ascot offering renewal terms on the portfolios, while existing back book policies will remain with QBE.

Movers & Shakers

Gallagher has promoted Julian Raven as CEO of the Energy practice in its Specialty leadership team. Raven joined Gallagher 14 years ago when the firm first established its London-based Energy practice. Prior to Gallagher, Raven worked at Aon specialising in Energy broking.

Global reinsurance Broker Gallagher Re has appointed David Bangs as the Head of Gallagher Re APAC UK and Robin Swindell as Executive Officer. Bangs started his career at Willis Re in London in 2005 and then spent the past 15 years in Asia in various senior roles, most recently as the Head of Japan for Axis Re. Swindell is currently responsible for Gallagher Re APAC UK. He has more than 30 years of reinsurance experience at Willis Re and now Gallagher Re, mainly in the Japanese and US markets.

Sheryl Fernando is to join the Association of British Insurers as Director of Membership and Commercial Development. Fernando currently works at UK Finance where she has held the role of Director, Membership and Member Governance since 2017.

Digital commercial insurance platform, Aurora, has hired Ian Thomas as Head of Product and Insight. Thomas joins from WTW, where he was Director of Risk, Insurance Consulting and wider practices. Previously, he has held reserving, risk pricing and actuarial roles at Insurers such as Das, Ageas and First Assist.

Canopius Group has appointed Adhiraj Maitra as Group Head of Sustainability, effective immediately. He joins Canopius from WTW where he was the Global Head of ESG and Climate Change.

Verlingue has hired Rob Marshall to head up new business development for its employee benefits consultancy. The appointment forms part of Verlingue’s plans to expand its footprint in the UK employee benefits market with large SME and mid-corporate customers.

Ex-Broker Network boss Andy Fairchild has teamed up with global IT services and business consulting firm CGI as a brand ambassador. Fairchild was CEO of Broker Network for four and half years from July 2014 until leaving in December 2018. He had joined Towergate in December 2013 when the consolidator bought Footman James. Before this he worked at Axa, Commercial Union and Royal Insurance.

Personal Lines insurance Broker, Got You Covered, has added Fresh-Founder Lisa Powis to its executive management team in an advisory role as Non-Executive Director. Powis was previously CEO of Fresh Insurance Services Group, which she established in 2002 in Redditch. The business grew to 250 employees across two sites and reached a turnover of £70m.

Trustee Josh Brekenfeld has been appointed as Board Chair of The Insurance Charities. Meanwhile, Lisa Bartlett, Mary Bowie, Paul Buckle, Debbie Bullock, Caroline Dungar, Michael Gaughan, and Paul Howard have been installed in different committees. They come from Crawford & Company, Miller Insurance Services, Morning Data, Aviva, Yorkshire Building Society, Insurecore Ltd, and AXA XL, respectively.

In response to several executive departures, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) has made a series of senior leadership appointments and has created two new roles. James Dalton has been tapped to serve as Chief Services Officer, to help make a “stronger alignment between the MIB’s services and the needs of the insurance industry,” a release said. Dalton joins the MIB from the ABI where he served as Director of General Insurance Policy. In addition, it has appointed Kjirste Coltham as Chief Information Officer, to lead the organization through its next phase of technical developments, products, and change programmes. Coltham previously served as Director of IT Solution Delivery at Ageas UK. Chris Makomereh also joins the MIB, to serve as its new Chief Risk Officer – a newly created role established in recognition of the increasingly vital role of risk management and the need for the MIB to explore the regulatory environment. Makomereh most recently served as Head of Risk at Pacific Life Re.

HDI Global SE has announced new team roles as part of the Insurer’s “underwriting transformation” activities. Changes include bringing together the company’s portfolio steering teams in Property Lines. Leading the centralised department is Dr Carsten Schulte, who is taking over from HDI Global veteran Walter Garhammer. The latter is retiring after being with the business for 35 years and is credited for his “excellent” contribution.

Allianz Legal Protection is boosting its Sales and Distribution team with the appointment of Jonathan Thomas as Senior Business Developer. Jon joined ALP’s Legal Expenses division, effective 19 September, working out of Bristol.

Premium Credit, the multi-award-winning insurance premium finance provider, is pleased to announce that Mark Coffey is joining the business as Personal Lines and E-Trade Director. Mark has extensive experience in the Insurance industry having started his career with Zurich Insurance in underwriting. Since then, he has held a variety of distribution and development focused roles largely in the Personal Lines market. Mark went on to join RSA in 2011 where he was Director of Personal Lines and when RSA bought Oak Underwriting he became Managing Director. Mark joined Atlanta (the retail arm of Ardonagh) in 2018 as Trading Director for Home, Car, and Commercial Vehicle product lines.

AXA XL Insurance has announced it has appointed Olivier Croese as Product Leader, Energy & Construction – APAC & Europe. His appointment is effective as of 26 September 2022 and he will be based in Paris, France.

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Insurance Age, Insurance Business UK and youTalk.