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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 17th February 2023

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Insurance News

Brokers are urging the Financial Conduct Authority to improve its authorisation speeds, and stressing that the current performance is damaging the industry. An Insurance Age Freedom of Information request revealed authorisation for new brokers looking to trade general insurance business worsened up to the end of October 2022. – a marked deterioration on the 164 days in 2021. Brokers say the slow process is damaging both morale and cashflow. Prizm Solutions managing director Peter Robinson said it does seem to be ‘double standards’ for the regulator to want quick action from brokers when it takes so long. (Saxon East, 16/2/2023, Insurance Age, '‘Double standards’ – fed up brokers urge FCA to improve authorisation times')

Jess Burton, Head of Operations at Ignite, has urged the insurance sector to become more gender balanced in order for the industry to keep moving forward. Ignite Insurance Systems recently launched Ignition a start-up broker accelerator targeting a 50/50 split of male and female founders. Burton said that without fresh people in the market, it is easy for the industry to become static. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 15/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Ignite stresses the importance of a gender-balanced industry')

The Financial Ombudsman Service has zoomed in on the high level of complaints about motor insurance as it released the latest set of data. “We continue to see a high number of complaints about car or motorcycle insurance,” the authority highlighted. There were 2769 cases opened at the FOS in the third quarter, putting it fourth in the top five most complained about table. The FOS reported that in some instances people had complained that their car was worth more than their insurer had given them, following a theft or an accident where the car was written off. (Emmanuel Kenning, 15/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'FOS hones in on high motor insurance complaints')

The average cost of home insurance dropped to £300 in 2022, the cheapest since the Association of British Insurers started collecting data in 2012. The price paid for combined buildings and contents cover was down 6% on 2021. According to the ABI’s Household Insurance Premium Tracker, which surveys prices paid rather than quotes, separate buildings and contents policies were also at an all-time low at £228 and £116 respectively. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 15/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Home insurance prices fall again to new record low')

Brokers have stressed the need to keep staff engaged as resignations and recruitment struggles don't look to be going away any time soon. Job vacancies in the UK for the financial industry spiked from 16,000 in May 2020 to 54,000 in April 2022 the Office for National Statistics revealed. Neil Campling, CEO of Verlingue, for one admits that his brokerage has experienced higher levels of staff turnover than it would have done pre-pandemic. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 15/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Brokers must priortise staff engagement as the 'great resignation' continues to bite in 2023')

Brokers have faced rising professional indemnity costs amid a perfect storm of factors driving rate increases. But now the market is beginning to settle, although some firms will still face significant headwinds. Over the space of just five years, insurance broker Ketan Patel has seen his professional costs rise four-fold. Patel says: “I’ve said to myself several times, ‘is it worth it?’ I speak to a lot of brokers because of the relationships I’ve had, and we are all in the same boat. One had to go on unrated paper just to continue trading, a couple of years ago.” (Saxon East, 14/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Light on the horizon for brokers squeezed by rising professional indemnity costs')

The Financial Conduct Authority’s headcount grew to 4352 at the end of January, the regulator has confirmed in a letter to Unite. The union wrote to CEO Nikhil Rathi at the start of the month warning the “exodus of experienced staff from the FCA is pushing the regulator towards breaking point”. Siobhán Sheridan, Chief People Officer at the FCA, responded on behalf of Rathi, detailing that the number of staff had risen from 3878 at the end of March 2022. (Emmanuel Kenning, 14/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'FCA details 16% staff turnover rate in response to Unite')

Insurance consultancy, Gracechurch, has awarded its Service Quality Marque to Allianz, Chubb and Ecclesiastical. According to Gracechurch, these insurers were praised by UK claims broking specialists for effective communication, responsiveness and overall broker service and customer focus. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 14/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Broker praise leads to claims recognition for Allianz, Chubb and Ecclesiastical')

The biggest insurance broker in Northern Ireland, AbbeyAutoline, is now 50 years old. To celebrate its golden anniversary, the brokerage launched a campaign designed to give back to the communities that have supported the company’s growth over the past five decades. The “50 Ways to Give Back” programme will feature a series of community outreach activities and local charities. (Terry Gangcuangco, 16/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AbbeyAutoline celebrates golden anniversary')

Price comparison giant Moneysupermarket Group has released its preliminary financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022. Adjusted EBITDA is the group’s operating profit before depreciation, amortisation, and impairment and adjusted for other non-underlying costs. In terms of revenue for the past year, £172 million came from the insurance segment; £103.3 million, money; £39.8 million, home services; £14.9 million, travel; and £57.6 million, cashback. Only home services posted a decline from 2021. (Terry Gangcuangco, 16/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Moneysupermarket Group reveals preliminary financial results')

AXIS Capital Holdings has announced a commitment to a 50% absolute reduction of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 across its operations. The commitment is the company’s latest step in its plan to transition to a low-carbon economy. Using a 2019 baseline, AXIS Capital’s GHG reduction targets align with the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. (Ryan Smith, 16/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AXIS Capital commits to emissions reduction')

Brit has announced the renewal and planned expansion of its cyber consortium, Brit Cyber Attack Plus (BCAP). BCAP is a cyber product designed to protect insureds from the impact of physical damage arising from cyberattacks. It offers limits of up to $100 million, and wrote more than $100 million in gross written premium in 2022, making it one of the largest cyber consortiums in the market by both premium and capacity. Brit expects BCAP to grow premium by up to 50% this year. (Ryan Smith, 16/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Brit announces expansion of its cyber consortium')

Insurance Business has released this year’s top insurance employers in the UK, organisations that excelled across several metrics. Some of this year’s winners are the following: TH March, Arch Insurance International, FloodRe and AXIS Captial. (Roxanne Libatique, 16/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Revealed - the UK's top insurance employers for 2023')

Results season continues with global insurer Allianz publishing its financials for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2022. Segment-wise, property-casualty insurance’s operating profit in the fourth quarter slid by 5.4% while FY22 operating profit grew 8.4%; life/health insurance saw a 50.5% surge in Q4 operating profit, whilst for the year it rose by 5.4%; and asset management posted decreases in operating profit for both periods, by 22.2% and 8.3%, respectively, in the last quarter and 12 months. (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz reports fourth quarter, full-year numbers')

It’s the turn of QBE Insurance Group to reveal how it fared in the year ended December 31, 2022 (FY22). Publishing its full-year financial results on Friday, the Sydney-headquartered global insurer reported an increase in net profit after income tax, from US$750 million in FY21 to FY22’s US$770 million. The group’s adjusted cash profit after tax grew from US$805 million previously to US$847 million this time around. (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'QBE publishes full-year financial results')

AIG has reported its Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results. Highlights include general insurance delivering the strongest underwriting profitability AIG has ever achieved as full year 2022 underwriting income nearly doubled to $2.0 billion from the prior year, led by commercial insurance that had a combined ratio of 89.6% and an adjusted accident year combined ratio* of 84.5% for full year 2022. (AIG, 16/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'AIG reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Global Risk Partners has ramped up its acquisition spree again, buying Shropshire-headquartered Henshalls Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. It is the consolidator’s second deal of the week, having already snapped up London-based commercial lines broker Edmondsons through Hamilton Fraser. GRP has completed five buys so far this year, four in the retail division and Nucleus Underwriting, which was its first managing general agent purchase since being taken over by Brown & Brown in 2022. (Emmanuel Kenning, 16/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Two deals in a week as GRP buys Henshalls')

AIG has not ruled out the UK and European markets following a deal with private equity-focused reinsurer Stone Point Capital to create a new managing general agency for HNW markets. The US insurance giant will also use Lloyd’s – specifically its own Syndicate 2019 – to provide capacity. AIG CEO Peter Zaffino said: “By partnering with a world-class private equity firm like Stone Point, we can maximise the strengths of this business, and improve product offerings to better serve the high and ultra-high-net-worth markets.” (Saxon East, 16/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'AIG strikes MGA deal to drive expansion in high-net-worth markets')

Building on its phenomenal growth in 2022, PIB Group Ltd has added another specialist new business to its Spanish operations through Fidentia Hispana Correduria De Seguros, S.L. (‘Fidentia’). Since entering the market in October 2021, the Group has established a strong presence in Spain. Clients are serviced by around 220 highly qualified staff, led by Spain CEO Martín Navaz. (PIB Group, 14/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'PIB Group accelerates growth in Spain with broker acquisition')

PIB Group’s acquisition spree continues with the arrival of three firms, one of which is in Harrogate and two outside the UK. The British deal features Jigsaw Insurance Services, which specialises in motor, breakdown, and pet insurance. Also joining the PIB family are Landmark Insurance and Halligan Insurances, which were acquired through PIB’s Campion Insurance. (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'PIB Group announces three acquisitions')


Ardonagh-owned Paymentshield has appointed Colm Tully as CEO, succeeding Rob Evans. Tully is also Commercial Director for partnerships at Atlanta Group, Paymentshield’s parent company. Former CEO, Evans has taken up the position of Chief Commercial Officer for Atlanta. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the insurance sector to the job. Tully previously worked as a Broker for over seven years at Aon, has been Head of Product for AA (Ireland) and Managing Director of Carole Nash Insurance Consultants (Ireland). (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 16/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Paymentshield names Colm Tully as CEO')

Towergate Insurance Brokers has appointed former Brokerbility Director Julie Rayson-Flynn to the newly created role of National Broking Director. She will head up Towergate’s insurer placement and internal markets. Rasyon-Flynn spent 16 years at Brokerbility where she held a variety of roles including Operations Director. She joined the main board as a Director in October 2021 with day-to-day responsibility for the network reporting to Ian Stutz. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 15/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Ex-Brokerbility boss Julie Rayson-Flynn joins Towergate')

Aston Lark, a Howden company, has announced the appointment of a Regional Director to lead its new South Wales office. Leading Aston Lark’s new office encompassing the whole of South Wales is Gary Stevens, formerly Area Director – Bristol and Wales for Towergate Insurance Brokers. Gary has almost 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, of which 21 has been devoted to delivering insurance broking services in Wales. (Aston Lark, 15/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Aston Lark appoints Regional Director for new South Wales office')

RSA Insurance has announced that Henry Westwood has been appointed as Senior Specialist Underwriter in its UK Specialty Lines cyber business. Mr. Westwood will join the business on 15 May from CNA Hardy and will be responsible for leading the stand-alone cyber underwriting practice in the UK. (RSA, 17/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'RSA bolsters its UK Specialty Lines Cyber Underwriting Team')

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