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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 10th February 2023

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Insurance News

Zurich UK’s operating profit from the property and casualty business fell £145m year-on-year to £226m in 2022, due to claims inflation and the impact of large losses. The provider also noted that a profit of £371m in the prior year, had been “very strong”. The combined operating ratio worsened to 95.5% from 86.5%. However, Zurich said the result reflected a “robust performance given the market conditions”. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 9/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Zurich UK’s P&C operating profit drops to £226m in 2022')

Barbon Insurance Group aims to double its current £21m earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation over the next five years, new Managing Director Wayne Tonge has revealed. Tonge started in the role at the beginning of the year, and has now has outlined his ambitious growth plans for the PIB Group-owned broker. Tonge wants expansion across the business’ geographical footprint – riding on the back of PIB’s expansion across the continent – and product range. (Saxon East, 9/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Barbon aims to double £21m earnings in five years')

The Financial Conduct Authority has begun to improve its turnaround times for approving key general insurance broking roles, bringing the average down to 92 days from 105 days in 2021. This has put the service in line with the statutory three-month target. Brokers came under the remit of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime on 9 December 2019 meaning delays have been particularly problematic.(Emmanuel Kenning, 9/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'FCA brings broker role approval turnaround time down to 92 days')

Apollo will be providing capacity to Moonrock Drone Insurance for a facility designed to provide cover for larger commercial drone operations. Moonrock’s new facility, available through brokers, sits alongside its Hiscox-backed offering. The specialist drone broker started wholesaling the Hiscox-underwritten policy for smaller commercial operations in 2018, having teamed up with the provider in 2016. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 8/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Apollo partners with Moonrock on drone facility')

Allianz Commercial has refreshed its fleet policies to reduce repair times and prescribe the fitting of green parts. The new policy wording means that green parts can be automatically fitted when appropriate and reduce excess for customers using Approved Repairer Network. According to Allianz, against a backdrop of double-digit claims inflation, these new terms aim to delivering swifter sustainable repairs for customers. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 8/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Allianz Commercial greens fleet policies in revamp')

The Financial Conduct Authority forced firms to change or remove 8582 promotions in 2022 - 14 times more than 2021. In addition, the regulator published more than 1800 alerts to help prevent consumers from losing their money to scams. The figures in the latest report follow on from the biggest ever quarter for the FCA as it intervened to amend or withdraw 4151 promotions between July and September last year. The vast bulk of these advert amends and withdrawals were in retail lending, investments and banking sectors. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 7/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'FCA's misleading ads block count rises 14 fold in a year')

Aviva has published its second Building Future Communities report, which found that the carbon cost of restoring a flooded home can equate to 55 car trips from Land’s End to John O’Groats or six and a half return flights from London to New York. According to the British insurance giant, an analysis of its claims data showed that restoring a flooded home can create nearly 14 tonnes of CO₂ emissions. (Terry Gangcuangco, 9/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva reveals shocking fact about restoring flooded homes')

Allianz Group has committed €6 million – including as much as €1 million to match employee and agent donations – towards relief and recovery efforts following the Turkey-Syria earthquake. In Turkey, the international insurer employs more than 2,000 people across its Allianz, Allianz Partners, and Allianz Trade businesses. Group boss Oliver Bäte described the donation as “an expression of our solidarity” with colleagues, customers and their families.(Terry Gangcuangco, 9/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz to donate €6 million following Turkey-Syria earthquake')

Talanx Group, the name behind HDI and Hannover Re among others, has revealed what the 2022 finanical year brought for the multinational insurance giant. The group revealed that it slightly exceeded its FY 2022 target for group net income with an increase of 16% bringing it up to €1.17 billion (approx. £1.04 billion) – above its forecast for a figure in the €1.05-€1.15 billion range. Its gross written premium (GWP) income also saw double-digit growth increasing 17% to €53.4 billion.(Mia Wallace, 9/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Talanx Group reveals full-year results, forecast for 2023')

Crown Jewel Insurance, an insurtech and Lloyd’s coverholder focusing on trade secret asset risk management, and Chaucer, a global specialty re/insurer, have announced a partnership to provide insurance for companies’ trade secrets. The product is the first of its kind. It offers protection for any loss a business can suffer if its trade secrets are stolen and made public or given to a competitor.(Ryan Smith, 9/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Crown Jewel, Chaucer partner up for industry first')

Covéa Insurance has been awarded The Institute of Customer Service (ICS), ServiceMark Accreditation with Distinction for its Commercial Lines business. The ICS’s recent assessment included analysis of the customer journey along with individual and group interviews to help understand the company’s ethos and culture in relation to credibility, capability and continuity. (Covea, 9/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'Covéa awarded the ICS ServiceMark with Distinction')

AXA XL has published its new three-year sustainability strategy, “Roots of resilience” setting itself 23 ambitious targets to be met by 2026 or before. Putting nature at the heart of its strategy demonstrates AXA XL’s ambition to be an industry leader in protecting biodiversity to promote resilient ecosystems as well as supporting community livelihoods.(AXA XL, 7/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'AXA XL puts nature at heart of new 3 year sustainability strategy')

UK insurers’ face slowing premium income growth this year, as high inflation, cost of living pressures and a rise in borrowing costs continue to impact product demand, according to the latest EY ITEM Club Outlook for Financial Services. Both non-life and life sectors are expected to experience reduced premium growth this year, with non-life forecast growth of 4.5% (down from a projected 4.9% in 2022) and life premiums forecast to contract 2% in 2023 (down from projected growth of 4.6% in 2022). (EY, 6/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'UK insurers face slowing premium income growth')

Cobra Network has launched a new e-trade quote and bind facility, available exclusively to all Cobra Network members, helping to make it simple and efficient to place business. With many brokers having to spend hours keying details into multiple insurer systems and market access getting more difficult, the new quote and bind e-trade facility, CobraQuote, launched by Cobra Network, enables members to quote, buy and manage their e-trade business easily and simply from one source. (youTalk Insurance reporter, 6/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'Cobra launches exclusive e-trade quote and bind facility')

HDI Global is offering clients a range of tailor-made value added services (VAS) to raise awareness of cyber threats. The value added services encompass services in three categories that extend beyond the area of classic risk transfer and improve defence against risks within the company: “Human Firewall”, “Organisational and Procedural Security” and “Technological and Offensive Security”. All of these services are based on needs analyses carried out by HDI, and they are tailored individually to current requirements as well as being regularly reviewed for their effectiveness. This approach means that HDI Global focuses on risk quality at clients with the single-minded objective of improvement. (HDI Global, 9/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'HDI Global raises awareness for cyber-risk in companies and targets international growth')

The Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity has welcomed UK industry leader, Aviva as an ‘Industry Transformer’ member. As the UK’s leading insurance, wealth and retirement business, Aviva supports over 18.5 million customers across the UK, Ireland, and Canada. By partnering with GAIN, Aviva is pledging to engage, educate, and enable neurodivergent individuals to thrive in the workplace. Aviva’s core values of care, confidence and commit to creating a diverse and inclusive organisation; realizing the strength and benefits that comes from collaborating with employees and customers. (youTalk Insurance reporter, 9/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'Major milestone as GAIN welcomes Aviva as an ‘Industry Transformer’ member')

AXA UK’s Gender Pay Gap Report shows a continued narrowing trend for the fourth year running for both median and mean pay gap and mean bonus gap. Based on hourly rates on 5 April 2022, women at AXA UK earn just under 18.3% less than men in median terms, and around 21.2% less in mean (average) terms. This means, for the fourth year in a row, the pay gap is narrowing – this year by 0.5% in median terms.(AXA, 6/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'AXA UK gender pay gap improves for the 4th year running')

​It’s Willis Towers Watson's turn to outline how it performed in the quarter and throughout 2022. It was noted that the net income for Q4-21 and FY-21 included discontinued operations of US $1.8 billion and US $2.1 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter, WTW’s health, wealth and career segment saw a 2% increase in revenue, while risk and broking recorded a 2% decline.(Terry Gangcuangco, 10/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'WTW releases earnings report for Q4 and full year')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Howden-owned Aston Lark has agreed terms to buy Allegiance Insure in its first acquisition of 2023. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Allegiance Insure was established by Charles Wintour in 2015. The firm, which is based in the City of London, is an appointed representative of Bennett Gould & Partners.(Emmanuel Kenning, 9/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Aston Lark strikes deal to buy Allegiance Insure')

Global Pet Insurer, Petcover Group has acquired Brooks Braithwaite (Sussex) Limited from ManyPets Ltd (formally Bought by Many). Operating in the UK under the British Pet Insurance brand, the acquisition will see Petcover increase their already extensive exotic and pet Business insurance offering in the UK. (Petcover Group, 6/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'Petcover Group buys leading exotic pet insurer')


Shaun Hooper has been appointed Managing Director at Close Brothers Premium Finance succeeding Seán Kemple who is moving to a broader CEO role. Kemple, who has been in the post since May 2021, will have overall responsibility for motor finance in the UK and premium and motor finance in Ireland. Hooper was formerly group CEO at motor broker Complete Cover. (Emmanuel Kenning, 8/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Close Brothers Premium Finance recruits ex-Complete Cover boss Shaun Hooper as MD')

Marsh McLennan has named their UK Chief Executive​. Marsh UK Chief Executive Chris Lay, on top of his current remit, will also have oversight of sister firms Mercer, Guy Carpenter, and Oliver Wyman in Britain when he becomes Marsh McLennan UK CEO beginning March 1. “With a career of more than 30 years, Chris is one of the firm’s most experienced leaders,” said Marsh McLennan International Chief Flavio Piccolomini. (Terry Gangcuangco, 9/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh McLennan names UK chief executive')

QBE has announced the establishment of a client proposition team and, with immediate effect, the appointment of Matt Lacy to take the helm in a newly created role of Director of Client Proposition. Matt has over 20 years’ experience in insurance and has been with QBE since 2002, holding a variety of positions including Head of London Markets, Director of Casualty and, most recently, Programme Director for Construction and Multi-National. Matt will report into Andrew Besant, Chief Customer Officer, QBE European Operations. (QBE, 9/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'QBE creates Client Proposition team and appoints Matt Lacy as Director')

Aon PLC has named Matthew Alcott as UK Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). With a background in risk engineering, including time spent working with global insurers and brokers, Matthew has been with Aon for just over a decade. (Aon, 6/2/2023, youTalk Insurance 'Aon appoints new UK Chief Commercial Officer')

Specialist insurance provider CFC has appointed Scott Bailey to the newly created role of Cyber Underwriting Leader. Bailey re-joins CFC after nearly 10 years at Markel International, where he most recently served as Managing Director of the cyber division for the last four years. He also served as the European Underwriting Director for technology/cyber at CNA Europe for a year. When he was previously part of CFC, Bailey spent 12 years managing the technology and media division. (Lyle Adriano, 10/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'CFC names new cyber underwriting leader')

Andrew Brooks who has retired as Chief Executive of Ascot Group, is now the Deputy Chair at the Council of Lloyd’s. An elected Lloyd’s Council member since 2017, Brooks succeeded Dominic Christian as Deputy Chair on February 9. The industry veteran has worked in the Lloyd’s Market since 1983. Currently, Brooks chairs the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) and is also a board member at the London Market Group. (Terry Gangcuangco, 10/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Former Ascot Group boss takes on key post at Lloyd’s Council')

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