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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 28th October 2022

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Insurance News

Aviva has invested £9m into Citizens Advice and Business Debtline services to aid with crisis support. The insurer has pledged to give £7m and £2m to Citizens Advice and the Money Trust’s Business Debtline service respectively over the next two years.(Sophie Locke-Cooper, 27/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Aviva invests £9m to help with crisis support')

Pub chain claims Gable was in a precarious financial position and Towergate did not advise properly. Towergate business denies the allegations. Towergate Underwriting should have advised a hospitality client to have its insurance with a more ‘financially sound insurer’, it is claimed in court documents. Few Inns wants £3.3m compensation over a Towergate-advised Gable policy that failed to pay out. Gable closed new business in July 2016 amid a capital shortfall.  (Saxon East, 26/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Towergate ‘not entitled to ignore warnings from Gable’s auditors’, claims pub wanting £3.3m payout')

Bravo Networks is offering its members the opportunity to grow their staff through fully funded apprenticeships, provided by learning and development company Raise the Bar. The network is sharing its apprenticeship levy with its England-based members to support them in developing their leaders with Raise the Bar’s L3 Excelling in Team Leadership programme. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 25/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Bravo Networks offers staff fully funded apprenticeships')

Close Brothers Premium Finance now trades with 1,650 UK brokers and a further 150 firms in the Republic of Ireland, Managing Director Seán Kemple has confirmed as he committed to growing the reach even further. Despite the rise from a previously reported 1,600 brokers across the UK and Ireland, Close Brothers posted a 4% drop in premium finance to £1bn in the year to 31 July. (Emmanuel Kenning, 24/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Close Brothers boss Seán Kemple hails broker investment and promises more efficiency to come')

Kelliher Insurance Group has recorded a 6.4% increase in turnover for 2021 to £17.3m. According to a filing at Companies House, profit after tax rose from £737,713 in 2020 to £776,847. Ebitda was stable year-on-year at £1.6m. The broker consists of two direct regulated operating subsidiaries: Kerry London and Trade Direct Insurance Services. (Emmanuel Kenning, 24/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Kelliher reports turnover and profit growth for 2021')

Ecclesiastical Insurance (Ecclesiastical) and Benefact Group have continued their donation spree through their Movement for Good Awards, donating over £500,000 to 31 UK charities. The awards aim to help charities make a real difference in their communities. More than 500 charities applied for the funding, with the winning projects selected against four criteria: impact and effectiveness, sustainability, innovation, and care and compassion. (Roxanne Libatique, 27/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Ecclesiastical and Benefact Group continue donation spree')

Bermuda-headquartered insurance companies Arch Capital Group, AXIS Capital Holdings, and Everest Re Group have published their respective third quarter financial results. For the three months ended September 30, net income available to Arch common shareholders stood at US$6.9 million – a dive from US$388.8 million for the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders slid from last year’s US$294.7 million to US$106 million this time around. Finding itself in the red, AXIS reported a US$17 million net loss attributable to common shareholders in Q3 2022. In the same quarter last year, the firm’s net income available to common shareholders amounted to US$47 million. Q3 operating income, however, grew from US$1 million to US$3 million. Also hit with losses, Everest cited an active catastrophe quarter and volatile market conditions as behind the company’s US$319 million net loss. In Q3 2021, Everest’s net loss was lower, at US$73 million. Meanwhile, the latest net operating loss of US$205 million is also more significant, compared to last year’s US$53 million. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Financial results round-up: Arch, AXIS, Everest reveal numbers')

International insurance group Ageas has outlined the culprits from which its third quarter results have taken a hit. Ahead of the release of the company’s nine-month interim financials on November 9, Ageas stated: “On August 10, 2022, while commenting on the first half year 2022 performance, Ageas confirmed its guidance of €1 billion for the full year 2022 result excluding the impact from RPN(i) and under the reserve of the impact of extreme negative developments in the financial markets. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Ageas reveals impact to third quarter results')

Not-for-profit network and multicultural inclusion advocate iCAN (Insurance Cultural Awareness Network) has launched a new insurance job board in hopes of attracting diverse talent to the industry. With more than 70 roles listed from iCAN’s sponsors, the job board came to life as part of the network’s iCANApply initiative, the goal of which is to connect multicultural and ethnic minority talent with organisations across the UK.(Terry Gangcuangco, 26/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurance Cultural Awareness Network rolls out new job board')

AXA UK has found that Motor insurance claims increase by an average of 7% over the three days following the clocks going back at the end of October, with a cost of around £2,230 per claim. The insurance firm analysed claims data from the past three years, which also show there is an increase in minor collisions during morning and evening rush hours as drivers get used to driving in the dark. (AXA UK, 27/10/2022, youTalk, 'AXA UK finds 7% increase in motor claims when clocks go back')

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has announced its new look Independent Review Pool (IRP) with 9 new appointments, including a new legally qualified Chair. The IRP carries out a review and tribunal service for the disciplinary and eligibility functions of the CII and is independent of the CII. It consists of CII/PFS members, lay members (those who are separate from the insurance and financial planning professions) and legally qualified members. The IRP may carry out other review services for the CII as required by the Professional Standards Committee (PSC). (Chartered Insurance Institute, 24/10/2022, youTalk, 'CII appoints new members of its new look Independent Review Pool')

In further news...“We are sorry that this incident happened.” Those were the words of Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Chief Executive Alan Vallance when the professional body revealed a cybersecurity incident that impacted the systems of the CII. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/10/2022, 'Chartered Insurance Institute issues apology over cyber breach')

Minority Venture Partners have announced a new investment, this time in Yorkshire insurance broker Hathaway and Cope. The independent Wholesale broker was established 40 years ago and is based in Elland, West Yorkshire. The broker specialises in Liability insurance for self-employed people and small businesses, as well as being Liability Scheme providers for to Retail insurance brokers. (Lauren Ingram, 24/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'MVP invests in Yorkshire broker')

Lloyd’s and 10 insurers have been taken to court in London by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE). It was reported that the aircraft leasing firm is suing Lloyd’s, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, AIG, AXIS Specialty Europe, Chubb, Fidelis Insurance Ireland, Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers, Great Lakes Insurance, HDIGlobal Specialty, Starr Europe Insurance, and Swiss Re. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/10/2022, 'Insurers hit with High Court lawsuit in London')

WTW– the business segments of which are health, wealth & career (HWC) and risk & broking (R&B) – has released its third quarter earnings report. In a release, WTW explained that last year’s significantly higher income from operations and net income included the US$1 billion income receipt that was received as a result of the termination of the proposed merger with Aon. As for segment performance, WTW’s HWC business posted a US$236 million operating income, which represents a 2% slide from 2021. The R&B unit, meanwhile, saw a 24% decline in operating income, to US$105 million.(Terry Gangcuangco, 28/10/2022, 'WTW publishes Q3 financials')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Qatar Insurance Company wants to exit loss making business and is poised to sell its Gibraltar-based direct insurance carriers. An institutional buyer is primed to buy the Qatar Insurance Company-owned Markerstudy underwriting business. QIC revealed in its third-quarter results that it wants to exit ‘low margin and loss making’ international direct business. It has a buyer lined up for both Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited and West Bay Insurance PLC.(Saxon East, 27/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Buyer gears up for Markerstudy insurer swoop amid QIC exit')

Sutton Winson and Sutton Specialist Risks have been acquired by Acrisure. The deal means Acrisure, whose US-parent is a top ten global broker, now handles £175m premium in the UK. The Sutton Winson and SSR brand names will continue to exist under the umbrella of Acrisure. (Saxon East, 26/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'Sutton Winson snapped up by acquisitive broking group')

Rcapital Partners LLP, and joint investor Montague Investment Group have completed the acquisition of UK General Insurance and Precision Partnership Limited, following regulatory approval. The deal, which was first announced in August, brings together UKG and PPL under the chairmanship of Lord Marland, Chief Executive Tim Smyth and CFO Ryan Gill. It is the third sale of UK General in five years. Primary Group bought the Managing General Agent back from JC Flowers in 2020 having sold it to the private equity house in 2017.(Insurance Age Reporter, 26/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'RCapital and Montague complete UK General deal')

GRP’s County Group has acquired broker Business Insurance Specialist for an undisclosed sum. The Llandudno-based broker’s staff, including the Directors, will continue with the business and the office will remain open. BIS is a commercial broker that specialises in insurance for the Motor Trade and Construction. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 25/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'County Group buys North Wales broker')

For the team at F R Ball Insurance, acquisitions are a little like waiting for a bus – you wait for a while and then two come along at once. The Abergavenny-based broker had a lot to celebrate between news of its acquisition of Lawson D Jones Insurance Consultants (Lawson D Jones) and its merger with Wessex Business Services Ltd to create Wessex Insurance Brokers Ltd (Wessex). Discussing the whirlwind that October has been for the business, MD Paul Wadsworth noted that making deals like these happen – and managing the 30% increase in the size of your business essentially overnight – all comes down to having the right team of people around you. (Mia Wallace, 26/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Broking MD on taking his business to the next level after dual acquisition')

Movers & Shakers

TL Dallas, which has 11 UK offices, is expanding into Cumbria with Lynne Taylor and Emma Irving to head up the new office. The independent insurance broker will offer General Commercial, Corporate and Agricultural business insurance and will be based on the Dovenby Hall Estate, near Cockermouth. Taylor began her insurance career at General Accident in Workington. After a period as a Commercial and Farm Underwriter at Provincial in Carlisle, Taylor was offered a position at C H Jeffries in Cockermouth 28 years ago. Irving joined C H Jefferies 24 years ago, in the company’s commercial business unit. She then took on the Team Leader role, whilst also developing as an Account Executive, with her own book of Commercial clients. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 24/10/2022, Insurance Age, 'TL Dallas to expand into Cumbria')

London-based insurtech Artificial Labs has appointed industry veteran Martin Reith as Board Chair effective immediately. Reith’s nearly four decades of industry experience include time spent as CEO of XL Capital’s insurance operations in London and of Neon Underwriting. Currently, he is a Non-Executive Director (NED) at Helios Underwriting and Prospero Re. (Terry Gangcuangco, 26/10/2022, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurance leader takes on chairmanship at Artificial Labs')

Specialty Lines insurer, HDI Global Specialty (HDI) has announced the appointment of Jade Wilcox as Director of Delegated Authority, effective immediately. Wilcox is currently HDI’s Underwriting Manager, US Delegated Authority, having joined the insurer in 2021 from Arch Insurance. She brings almost 20 years of London market and North American delegated authority expertise to the role. (HDI, 27/10/2022, youTalk, 'HDI Global Specialty SE UK appoints Director of Delegated Authority')

The Lloyd’s managing agency Argenta Syndicate Management Limited (ASML) has announced the appointment of Stephen Haynes as Marine Excess of Loss Underwriter. With nearly four decades of experience in the Energy and Marine insurance market, Haynes joins Argenta from AXIS Re, where he was Head of Global Energy and Marine reinsurance. (Lyle Adriano, 28/10/2022, 'Argenta names underwriter for marine excess of loss')

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