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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 7th October 2022

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Insurance News

Munich Re has joined industry peers in changing how they underwrite or invest, in support of net zero goals. In a statement, the reinsurance giant said: “As an environmentally conscientious business, Munich Re aims to play its part in meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. The group has therefore set itself ambitious decarbonisation targets for its investments, its (re)insurance transactions, and its own business operations.”

​The Chartered Insurance Institute will aim to return to surplus by the end of 2023, CII CEO Alan Vallance pledged at the organisation’s annual general meeting on Tuesday. “Going forward, we need to rebalance the group’s cost base and most importantly we must return the CII operating entity to a surplus as soon as possible,” Vallance said. The organisation has “taken just over” £2 million from the planned 2022 cost base, Vallance confirmed.

Aon has announced that it has acquired data and analytics capabilities for reputational risk from Pentland Analytics, a provider of analytics and advisory services. The transaction includes Pentland’s reputation crisis database, proprietary modelling algorithms and a cloud-based web app for clients.

​Centuries-old insurance marketplace Lloyd’s, which recently made headlines over its upcoming cyber policy exclusions, has reset its network and systems amid a possible cyberattack. “All external connectivity has been turned off, including Lloyd’s delegated authority platforms,” a Lloyd’s spokesperson was cited by The Record as saying. “We have informed market participants and relevant parties, and we will provide more information once our investigations have concluded.” The systems reset was described as a precautionary measure after “unusual” network activity was detected by Lloyd’s.

​Global mergers and acquisitions performance rebounded in the third quarter, according to research from WTW’s Quarterly Deal Performance Monitor (QDPM). Based on share price performance, buyers outperformed the wider market by 3.9 percentage points for deals valued at over $100 million between July and September. The data, which was collected in partnership with the M&A Research Centre at Bayes Business School, also revealed the extent to which risk sentiment has fallen. Global deal activity is down significantly, with 210 deals completed in Q3, compared to 264 in the same quarter of 2021. However, WTW said the drop indicates a return to healthy pre-pandemic levels after 2021’s record-setting pace.

Mosaic Insurance has announced that its cyber division has launched excess capacity and coverage for a new product intended to protect technology sector companies from rapidly emerging liability risks. Mosaic now offers excess technology errors and omissions coverage as companion cover to cyber for businesses ranging from artificial intelligence, virtual reality, edtech, and IT consulting firms to data analytics companies, software-as-a-service companies and peer-to-peer platforms. The product is available globally through Mosaic’s cyber hubs in London, Bermuda and the US, with a minimum attachment point of $10 million. It is underwritten through Mosaic’s Syndicate 1609 with capacity from both Mosaic and partner carriers.

Pen Underwriting (Pen) – an MGA operating as a virtual insurer – has entered a multi-year strategic partnership with Aviva, which will provide over £100 million in premium per annum. The deal will see Aviva provide Pen with 100% capacity across the business lines within its personal lines division from April 01, 2023, for risks placed with the MGA via coverholders and brokers. It will also utilise Pen’s capabilities as a virtual insurer in underwriting and distribution, as well as pricing, risk and governance, and claims handling.

​Come New Year, Swiss Re Solutions chief executive Russell Higginbotham is taking over from Aston Lark CEO Peter Blanc as president of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

​The Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) has announced the launch of a charter aimed at improving market culture and fostering an inclusive environment among its stakeholders and communities. Unanimously approved by the LMA board in July, the charter establishes a behavioural framework aimed at fostering an environment where individuals “feel respected, equal, and comfortable in sharing their opinions, while continuing to encourage innovation and exchange of views in pursuit of market improvement.” It outlines the association’s expectations of its members and guests as they work in the London market and attend LMA events, setting the rules on how the LMA should respond to instances where behaviours fall short of these expectations.

​The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has raised concerns over how insurance firms have handled business interruption claims, noting several areas for improvement. It highlighted these in a review of business interruption (BI) claims following the test case judgement handed down by the Supreme Court last year.

​The global insurance broking group NFP has today announced its intention to rebrand two of its acquired firms in Ireland - Aiken Insurances and ReSureCorporate Brokers. In a Press release, the broker said combining the firms’ commercial insurance expertise and capabilities would streamline operations and create a more integrated solution for clients. Both Aiken Insurances and ReSure Corporate Brokers will be fully rebranded as NFP by the end of October 2022. NFP will continue to operate its existing office locations in Dublin, including Malahide, the Docklands and Dun Laoghaire.

​Managing general agent Arcadian Risk Capital is now authorised to operate beyond its Bermuda base following approval from British and Irish regulators. The MGA revealed this week that it was granted the green light in August by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Central Bank of Ireland for the company’s London and Dublin operations, respectively.

​Chartered insurance broker Aston Lark, which is now part of Howden, has reported its final set of financial results as a standalone business. According to Aston Lark, its 2021 results include £160.1 million in revenue, which represents a 75% jump. Meanwhile earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation grew 82% in 2021. Aston Lark also highlighted 11% organic growth in commission and fees amid what was described as a highly competitive market that was coupled with the economic environment at the time. In 2021, the brokerage made 32 acquisitions across retail broking, employee benefits, Ireland, and the London Market. Of the 32 transactions, 27 were share purchases; four, book; and one, trade & assets. So far this year, Aston Lark has announced seven deals.

​US renters’ insurance provider Lemonade has arrived in the UK by teaming up with British giant Aviva. “Insurance as we know it hails from the UK, as do I,” said Lemonade co-founder and co-chief executive Daniel Schreiber. “So, both professionally and personally, bringing Lemonade to the UK is a homecoming of sorts. We believe the millions of local renters will appreciate what Lemonade has to offer. After all, who doesn’t want instant, transparent, personalised, and mission-driven insurance?”

CRESTA, an insurance organisation that provided a global standard for risk accumulation zones and CAT industry losses, has released its industry loss index for the third quarter of 2022 (Q3 2022), showing an above-average loss activity for international CAT events in 2022. The CRESTA Industry Loss Index (CLIX) provides industry loss data on global CAT events, excluding the US, which have generated more than US$1 billion in industry losses.

Verlingue has gained bronze accreditation for its ESG approach from independent assessor EcoVadis. The validation was given to Verlingue for its commitment to creating a sustainable business that can be handed down to future generations. EcoVadis is a provider of business sustainability ratings, and according to the broker, has assessed over 90,000 companies. It has also validated Verlingue’s parent company in France.

Figures from the Financial Conduct Authority have confirmed that 34,506 business interruption insurance claimants have received their full payment out of 42,586 accepted by insurers. While this shows only 81% have been paid in full a further 1506 have had an interim payment pushing the figure for those that have had at least some money up to 85%. The 85% figure is up by 4% since March.

​SJL Insurance Services has ambitions to widen its talent pool with the launch of SJL Academy and has given jobs to 10 people living in or near Worcester. The broker detailed that SJL Academy will put new employees, who have zero insurance experience, through a training programme at the start of their new jobs. The 10 new members of staff to join the academy, started working for SJL on 20 September and are currently being put through a three-week intensive classroom based training programme at SJL’s headquarters in Worcester.

Commercial Express has launched public and product liability excess of loss cover aimed at SMEs with turnover of less than £15m, and separately revealed a new partnership with Brit. The managing general agent detailed the policy, which provides an additional layer of cover on top of the limit set by a primary insurer, is available to nearly 300 trades with premiums starting at £200.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Seasecure Group, which is among the biggest marine and cargo insurance brokers in France, has been snapped up by international insurance brokerage Howden for an undisclosed sum. The acquired business consists of operating entities Seasecure and Guian, which together serve shipowners, charterers, operators, and other supply chain stakeholders. The group’s customer count stands at more than 2,000.

PIB Group has furthered its retail presence in the Spanish market with the acquisition of the brokerage Engloba. A company release said that this is PIB’s fourth investment in Spain. The transaction is pending customary regulatory approval. Based in Zaragoza, Englobla focuses on personal lines insurance, with an emphasis on savings, investment, and personal products. With its origins dating back to 1988, the firm is the result of the merger between JMC Correduría de Seguros Mañero, S.L. (JMC) and INS Brokers Consultang Correduría de Seguros Española, S.L. (IBC). Engloba operates throughout the Autonomous Community of Aragon and beyond.

​Aston Lark Ireland has acquired Pembroke Insurances Limited. Founded in 2007 by Graham Weir and John McGuire, Pembroke Insurances offers commercial insurance solutions. Since its establishment, it has grown to become a trusted name within the Irish insurance sector, a release said.

Ardonagh Specialty – the business within The Ardonagh Group that spans Besso Insurance, Bishopsgate, Compass London Markets, Ed Broking, Inver Re, Piiq Risk Partners, and Price Forbes – is acquiring Lloyd’s broker Oxford Insurance Group, subject to regulatory approval. “In Oxford we have found shared values and true alignment on client service and the role of technology and innovation in delivering for them,” declared Ardonagh Specialty chief executive Antony Erotocritou. “We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues and supporting them as part of the largest truly independent broking group.” When finalised, the swoop will add 125 people to Ardonagh Specialty’s 1,400-strong workforce.

​“Finpoint and Stubben Edge have the same ethos and commitment to bettering financial services through technology and excellent customer service.” Those were the words of Stubben Edge Group chief executive Chris Kenning when the company announced its swoop for free-to-use business financing platform Finpoint, in a deal aimed at expanding the line-up of services offered by the company and its network of independent financial advisers (IFAs) and brokers.

​British cycle insurance provider ETA Services Ltd has been bought by global cyclist insurtech Two Three Bird (TTB) for an undisclosed sum. “TTB already managed the underwriting for the ETA since September 2020, which forged a strong partnership,” noted TTB chief executive Theo Grobler. “We’re now incredibly excited to bring the ETA business as a whole into our fold. There are fundamental synergies between TTB and the ETA when it comes to ethical and sustainable transport.

Ardonagh Europe has announced the completion of its acquisition of Léons Group, an independent, family-owned insurance brokerage and consultancy firm headquartered in Amsterdam. Founded in 1951, Léons provides full-service insurance solutions to corporate clients with specialisation in international operations and complex cases. It is a founding member of Brokerslink, a global network of independent brokers across 125 countries.

Movers & Shakers

DUAL, the specialist underwriting arm of Howden Group Holdings (Howden), has appointed Caroline Stone as the new chief risk officer (CRO) for DUAL UK, effective immediately. Stone has extensive experience in financial services, most recently as the chief risk and compliance officer at BGL Insurance. She was also the head of risk and compliance at Nottingham Building Society.

Arch Insurance International (Arch) has appointed seasoned insurance leader David Stallard as its new senior cargo underwriter, effective immediately. Stallard brings over 20 years of insurance market experience in underwriting and broking to Arch. Before joining the company, he was Lockton's senior vice president for cargo and logistics. He was also a cargo and equipment underwriter at Markel International and Skuld 1897, and held broking roles at Ropner Insurance Services and Price Forbes & Partners.

​Independent specialist re/insurance broker Miller has launched a new dedicated bloodstock and livestock team, by effectively hiring a major competitor’s own bloodstock and livestock line-up. The new bloodstock and livestock team will be led by Archie Horne. As head, he will report to Miller head of private clients Katie Small. Horne joins Miller from WTW, where he had held the same position for the last two-and-a-half years. Miller’s new team also includes Florence Crowhurst as account executive, as well as Harry Findlay and Ben Roe, who both join as account handlers/brokers. Like Horne, they also join from WTW’s bloodstock and livestock team.

​Global specialty insurer and reinsurer Brit Ltd has appointed Jack Hinton as an underwriter in its accident and health team. Hinton joins the team from RSA, where he was a senior underwriter for accident and health insurance. He has also held similar roles with Sompo International and ANV. He joined Brit in 2022 and reports to class underwriter Trevor Heyburn.

CNA Hardy has announced six Continental Europe-based appointments, as it seeks to grow its specialist lines of business in the region. Oliver Tobies has joined CNA Hardy as life science and technology underwriting manager, based in the Cologne office. Jasper Knoch also joined the Cologne office from WTW as financial lines senior underwriter. Stefano Magni was hired as financial institutions senior technical underwriter, based in Milan. Kennie Dyreborg-Kragh was appointed as head of financial lines for the Nordics region, based in Copenhagen. Amsterdam-based Patrick Knobbe joined CNA Hardy from SiriusPro as technology underwriter.

HDI Global has appointed Simon Hunt, current chief financial officer (CFO) of HDI Global Specialty UK branch (HSUB), as the new CFO for HDI Global UK & Ireland (HDIG), effective immediately.

International General Insurance Holdings (IGI) has brought in Christopher Jarvis from Canopius Managing Agency to serve as chief underwriting officer. Based in the London office, Jarvis took on the CUO post on October 3 after holding the position of joint active underwriter for Syndicates 4444 and 1861. His credentials include time spent at AmTrust Syndicates, ANV Managing Agency, Flagstone Marlborough, BMS Group, and SVB (Novae) UW.

Howden has appointed Philippe Lutgen as chief operations officer for the broker’s operations in Europe. Lutgen takes on a newly created role by Howden, in which he will lead on operations across the continent, minus the UK. He will support the development and execution of Howden’s growth strategy while driving successful integration as it further consolidates its European platform, a release said. Lutgen will report to Howden Europe CEO Luigi Sturani, and will be based in London.

Thomas Miller Group (Thomas Miller), an international insurance services provider, has announced that Hugh Titcomb will replace Bruce Kesterton as its new chief executive, subject to shareholder approval. Titcomb has been with Thomas Miller since 2016, having held a broad range of senior leadership roles across the financial services sector. The board has selected him as the new chief executive following a rigorous selection process internally and externally.

​Chief financial officer Mark Twite has been appointed as chief executive of AXA XL Reinsurance in British overseas territory Bermuda. Effective October 3, the company veteran will be in charge of the unit’s strategic growth by ensuring capital is effectively deployed. The goal is to drive a stable and sustainable portfolio as part of the group’s wider reinsurance operations.

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