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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 3rd February 2023

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Insurance News

The pace of rate rises across UK insurance slowed down towards the end of last year, increasing by just 4% in the fourth quarter, according to Marsh specialty and global placement data. This compares to a 6% rise in the third quarter of last year for UK composite insurance pricing. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Rates rises slowed across UK insurance towards end of 2022')

Romero Insurance Brokers has posted a 29% rise in profit after tax to £3.84m as turnover soared 25% organically to £13.6m in the year to 30 April 2022. Managing Director Simon Mabb said the successes were due to “delivering fantastic service and the fact we are still fully independent and invest our profits into growing the business which you can see in the numbers year-on-year”. (Emmanuel Kenning, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Romero Insurance Brokers grows turnover and profit over 20% in 2022')

The Financial Conduct Authority is at ‘breaking point’ amid hundreds of workers having left the regulator in the last 18 months, claims Unite. The union claims FCA Chief Executive Nikhil Rathi has rejected union pay proposals, instead imposing a below inflation 4.5% wage increase. Unite is now calling on Rathi to ‘urgently rethink’ his position, warning that the exodus of staff means ‘there are now serious questions about the FCA’s ability to keep consumers safe’.(Saxon East, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'FCA at ‘breaking point’ as hundreds of underpaid staff leave – Unite')

Burns & Wilcox have launched a new healthcare product line within its Specialty Lines practice. The offering will be available to insurance brokers and care organisations within England, Wales and Scotland. The package coverage includes Public Liability, Employers’ Liability, Medical Malpractice and Property Damage. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Burns & Wilcox launches healthcare liability product')

Associate Director at Sicsic Advisory, Sue Mallender, has stressed that the treatment of vulnerable customers is seen by the Financial Conduct Authority as an integral part of how businesses should operate. Amid a cost-of-living crisis, the FCA has emphasised, according to Mallender, the importance of protecting vulnerable customers in its Consumer Duty, which comes into force on 31 July. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Sicsic Advisory urges treatment of vulnerable customers should be top priority')

Zurich has increased the number of apprenticeship places on offer in 2023 across the UK for external recruits and existing staff to 100. The insurer noted that the uplift has included creating new placements in HR, marketing and data protection. Open to applications from 6 February to 19 March, the placements will be available across 12 different business areas including data science, operations and IT, finance and claims, and will range from those who are at the start of their insurance career all the way through to master’s qualifications for those in later stage careers. (Emmanuel Kenning, 1/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Zurich boosts apprenticeships to 100 for 2023')

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s CEO, Alan Vallance, has stressed that it was in the best interest of the Personal Finance Society members to appoint extra Directors despite it being a painful choice, in his latest response to the PFS's consultation. Vallance released a statement on 27 January to members after the PFS’s consultation period came to an end. The bodies have been bashing heads since the CII decided to put three institute Directors on the PFS board just before Christmas and to add another one after consultation giving it a majority.(Sophie Locke-Cooper, 1/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'CII chief optimistic of PFS resolution despite 'painful' times')

Stubben Edge Group has secured a further £5.6m in investment taking its total raised to over £20m. The UK-based fintech, which includes a network for appointed representatives, also raised £5.6m in September. Since then the products and technology specialist has gone on to buy the likes of credit broker Finpoint, regulatory and compliance experts Helodrium, specialist managing general underwriter Cedar Underwriting and tech enabled distribution platform Insurercore. (Emmanuel Kenning, 1/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Stubben Edge raises £5.6m as business valued at £175m')

Aston Lark will look at opening branch offices as it seeks to expand its regional footprint across the UK, according to UK Retail Managing Director Warren Dickson. According to the broker leader, the firm’s network is ‘barren’ in swathes of the country such as the North, North East, East Anglia and in Wales. (Saxon East, 31/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Aston Lark eyes widespread regional expansion in next phase of growth')

A new commercial insurance broker, The Yorkshire Broker, is set to launch officially in the SME market in February with a target of £1m gross written premium in 2024. The new broker, which will specialise in Property, Business, and Hospitality insurance, was founded by Managing Director Martin Weaver-Parker and Commercial Director Phil Hodgson, both former employees at Lockyers. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 31/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Start-up The Yorkshire Broker targets SME')

A Financial Conduct Authority review into brokers charging the highest commissions for work on buildings insurance is due in just a few weeks as government minister Michael Gove vowed to ban commission-chains and bring in ‘transparent’ fees. The Secretary of State for Levelling Up wants the regulator to publish its review in March and then update him with an action plan by the summer. Gove is concerned that insurance brokers, along with managing agents, landlords and freeholders, are taking excessive commissions for buildings insurance work.(Saxon East, 31/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Gove vows commission-chain ban as FCA buildings review on highest charging brokers imminent')

Atec, parent company for Ceta Insurance and Arkel, has plans to more than double its business through organic growth in niche insurance lines over the next five years and will continue to pursue strategic acquisitions. The Oxfordshire-based company specialises in niche Leisure, Household and SME cover. It also offers digital quote and buy journeys through its own InsureMy, Compare and LoveYourHut brands. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 31/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Atec leader sets out doubling target')

The latest political risk index shows a shift in geopolitical alignments across the globe, dividing it into opposing blocs and increasing risks in several key areas as more and more countries “de-align” from Western powers and their values. WTW and Oxford Analytica have just launched ‘Mapping the New Geopolitical Divides’, their latest political risk index. In it, Oxford Analytica assessed 61 countries and territories listed in the WTW political risk index based on their current and historical geopolitical alignment. (Mary Or, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Political risk index reveals global 'dealignment' from Western powers')

​Cyber insurer Coalition has published its first annual Cyber threats index, which provides detailed insights on cybersecurity trends for the year 2022 and the emerging Cyber threats businesses should prepare for in 2023. The annual report used data gathered by the insurer’s active risk management and reduction technology, combining data from underwriting and claims, internet scans, and Coalition’s global network of honeypot sensors and scanning over 5.2 billion IP addresses. Coalition’s honeypots observed Cyber attacks from the inside to develop a deeper understanding of attackers' techniques over the span of 22,000 events.(Mary Or, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Coalition launches first cyber threats index')

​Aspen Insurance Holdings has announced that it has become a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The PRI is a global network of over 5,000 organisations that are committed to integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment decision-making and ownership policies. The PRI is also supported by the United Nations. (Lyle Adriano, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aspen signs up to UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment')

​Zurich Insurance Group’s global startup contest Zurich Innovation Championship is back. Now in its fourth edition, the competition features five categories: customer experience, commercial insurance, distribution partnerships, digital enablement, and sustainability. According to the insurer, Zurich Innovation Championship 2023 will run as a year-long tournament. (Terry Gangcuangco, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich Innovation Championship back with fourth edition')

Four in five brokers see increased instances of insurance fraud, yet only a third feel confident to deal with the rise. Over half of brokers believe internal investment and cross-industry collaboration will help identify the signs of fraud. The insurance industry is facing a significant issue with fraud, with growing concern among brokers on increasing levels of insurance fraud, according to the results of the latest Broker Pulse from RSA Insurance. (RSA, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Brokers call for more support to help fight insurance fraud')

In further news...RSA Insurance, one of the UK’s largest insurers, is pleased to announce it has become a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant is a government-backed scheme that advocates for the unique needs of those within the Armed Forces Community, ensuring employers create environments in which all those who serve, have served and/or have serving family members are understood, treated fairly, and supported to thrive. (RSA, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'RSA signs Armed Forces Covenant')

At USD $1.01 billion, globalInsurTechinvestment fell in the fourth quarter of 2022 to its lowest quarterly level since Q1 2020, and declined 57.0% from the third quarter of 2022, according to the Global InsurTech Report from Gallagher Re. InsurTech funding in Property & Casualty (P&C) for Q4 2022 slumped 64.4%, to $630.16 million, while total Q4 investments in Life & Health (L&H) fell 33.7% to $383.76 million. Average deal size across 106 rounds declined 42.3% to $11.79 million. The performance drove annual total funding for 2022 down by 49.5% from 2021, to $7.98 billion. Notably, InsurTechs attracted $6.51 billion less in mega-round funding – a 66.7% year-on-year drop. (Gallagher Re, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Global investment in insurTech falls in 2022')

Email address intelligence can help combat insurance fraud in Ireland says Shane McCabe, Strategic Account Manager, Insurance, Ireland, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The insurance industry works tirelessly to help eradicate fraud but as Aviva reported in December 2022, application fraud is on the up and with it, the scourge of ghost broking. This certainly seems to be the case in Ireland where LexisNexis Risk Solutions has recently expanded its operations. A survey we conducted amongst insurance purchasers in the Republic of Ireland found that around 1 in 3 people has been tempted by an advert for cheap insurance on a social media site and just over 1 in 10 has actually purchased insurance through a social media channel. This rises to 16% for 17-24year-olds. The good news however is that email intelligence is now helping Irish insurance providers in the fight against fraudsters. (LexisNexis Risk Solutions, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Ghost broker busting in the Emerald Isle')

Howden Group Holdings has announced its financial results for the year ended 30 September 2022. One of the highlights - Continued exceptional financial performance, driven by record organic growth of 19% (FY 2021: 19%), a 60% increase in revenue to £1,841m (FY 2021: £1,148m), and a 69% increase in EBITDA to £565m (FY 2021: £335m). (Howden Group, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Howden Group post consecutive year of 19% organic growth')

Aviva announced a £38 million donation to restore Britain’s lost temperate rainforests in the UK. Aviva believes this is one of the most effective nature based interventions to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The restored rainforests will also provide a positive contribution to the nature and biodiversity crisis, as well as supporting flood protection and resilience. The donation is part of Aviva’s Net Zero 2040 ambition. (Aviva, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Aviva donates £38 million to restore rare native British rainforests')

AXA UK has announced it has signed-up to the Flood Re’s Build Back Better scheme. This means it will be able to offer relevant customers access to reimbursement costs of up to £10,000, over and above work to repair damage and loss caused by a flood. The Build Back Better scheme has now gained the support of more than 60% of the UK’s Residential Property insurance market.  AXA UK joins insurers Ageas, Aviva, Covea, Hiscox, NFU Mutual, Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland, Halifax, and Lloyds Bank home insurance products), LV= General Insurance and RSA on the ground-breaking scheme. (AXA UK, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'AXA UK signs up to Flood Re’s Build Back Better scheme')

International General Insurance Holdings Ltd has announced (30 January 2023) that it has repurchased 2,271,775 common shares in a privately-negotiated transaction. The shares were repurchased at a price of $8.60 per share, for a total cost of approximately $19.5 million. (IGI, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'IGI executes repurchase of approximately 2.3 million common shares')

Partners& has reported group turnover of £22.2m in its first full set of audited results since being launched in April 2020. The figures for the year ended 31 March 2022 showed a group operating loss of £14m including £5.7m of restructuring costs. The business detailed that stripping out acquisitions purchased but not yet brought into Partners& Limited the results consisted of £15.6m turnover and a £10.9m operating loss. (Emmanuel Kenning, 2/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'Partners& posts £14m group operating loss in first full year results')

Markel Corporation has published its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022 – a period during which the company posted a comprehensive loss to shareholders worth US$1.3 billion. Lifting the lid on the figures, Markel said: “Comprehensive loss to shareholders in 2022 resulted from net investment losses and unrealised losses on our fixed maturity portfolio, which more than offset operating income from our insurance and Markel Ventures operations."(Terry Gangcuangco, 3/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel reports full-year results')

Legal expenses insurer ARAG plc has made some of its more popular insurance products available on the Acturis platform. The Acturis launch gives brokers access to ARAG’s family, Commercial and Property Owners’ legal expenses insurance products, in addition to the insurer’s home emergency offering, through the Acturis e-trading system. (Lyle Adriano, 3/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'ARAG makes its debut on Acturis platform')

Mergers & Acquisitions

PIB Group Ltd has entered the Italian insurance brokerage market through the acquisition of Area Brokers Industria S.p.A (‘ABI’). ABI is one of the top 20 brokerages in Italy, offering consulting services and a comprehensive range of insurance products to Commercial and Retail clients. ABI’s clients are served by a highly qualified team of 31, with brothers Lorenzo (CEO) and Marco Riccardi (CTO) at the helm. Their client base spans SME’s through to international groups with strong economic interests all over the world.(PIB Group, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'PIB Group makes its first venture in Italy with broker acquisition')

The Hayes Parsons Group has announced the acquisition of fellow Bristol based insurance broker Ntegrity Insurance Solutions. Ntegrity was established in 2007 and is a specialist Professional Indemnity insurance broker. This move further strengthens Hayes Parsons' position as one of the leading independent providers of specialist insurance and risk management services and brings the Group’s Gross Written Premium to over £27 million. (Hayes Parsons, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Hayes Parsons Group buys professional Indemnity insurance broker')

Amwins Global Risks has acquired Roberts Armytage & Partners (RAP) for an undisclosed sum. In a release, the Wholesale brokerage and international arm of global specialty insurance broker Amwins said snapping up RAP will mean broader capabilities, enhanced market relationships, and streamlined services for retail clients who require direct access to global energy markets. (Terry Gangcuangco, 3/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Amwins Global Risks acquires energy broker')


​Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has appointed Philip Graham as the new Head of Marine for Regional Unit London (RUL) & Nordics and Global Product Lead – Marine Liability. Graham has more than 30 years of Marine underwriting experience, having joined AGCS from Chaucer Syndicates, where he most recently served as Head of Marine Global. In that role, he led a team which managed all areas of marine insurance offerings, and sat on the steering committees for ESG underwriting, product oversight, and reinsurance security. Graham also served as chairperson of the IUMI Facts and Figures committee. (Lyle Adriano, 1/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AGCS names regional marine head, global product lead')

The reinsurance business unit at Swiss Re will be split into Property & Casualty Reinsurance (P&C Re) and Life & Health Reinsurance (L&H Re) to streamline the company’s organisational structure. Tapped to lead P&C Re and L&H Re, respectively, are Urs Baertschi and Paul Murray. The latter is currently Swiss Re’s Chief Executive for reinsurance in Asia-Pacific, while Baertschi serves as reinsurance CEO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (Terry Gangcuangco, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Swiss Re to split reinsurance business')

Gallagher’s team in Leeds is stated to grow by more than 20% this year. In an emailed release, the broker said new colleagues have been recruited while further hires will be onboarded in the coming months. Recent joiners include Rachel Morrison and Holly Brooke who made the switch from AXA and Aviva, respectively. Meanwhile, James McNee, a qualified Lawyer who previously advised insurers on policy coverage, has moved to a Senior Account Executive role within the brokerage. (Terry Gangcuangco, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher UK announces expansion in Leeds')

After nearly five decades in insurance, including more than a full decade at Ascot Group in the UK, Charles Cantlay is hanging up the gloves. Cantlay, whose insurance career began in 1976, has been with Ascot since 2011. The Aon alumnus served as Ascot’s Group Reinsurance & Executive Director. (Terry Gangcuangco, 2/2/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurance veteran to leave industry after 47 years')

QBE European Operations has appointed Scott Jacobs as Head of Core Claims. ​In his new role, Scott will lead a department operating across multiple lines of business, handling claims up to a value of £500,000. Scott joined QBE in 2011, and most recently was a Service Excellence Manager in Core Claims. He takes over from Nathan Fuller, who was recently appointed Chief Operations Officer, QBE International. (QBE, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'QBE European Operations has appointed Scott Jacobs as Head of Core Claims')

Miller has announced the appointment of Matthew Keeping as Head of Property and Casualty. Matthew brings over 20 years’ experience and extensive knowledge of P&C, Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance. He joins from Foresight, where he was Head of Distribution. Prior to this, he spent time at QBE North America as well as 14 years at Willis, where he held several roles in the UK and North America.(Miller, 30/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Miller hires Matthew Keeping as Head of Property and Casualty')

AXA XL has announced the appointment of Diego Cerquenich as Senior Risk Consultant, Marine, UK & Lloyd’s, effective immediately. As a Master Mariner, Capt. Cerquenich has extensive maritime and shipping knowledge, including command experience on dry bulk Cargo vessels. In 2014, he turned his specialist skills to Marine consultancy, focusing on investigating naval accident/incident, Marine advice and charter party disputes as an expert witness and Marine warranty surveyor.(AXA XL, 2/2/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'AXA XL appoints Diego Cerquenich as Senior Risk Consultant, Marine, UK & Lloyd’s')

Aspen Insurance Holdings has hired Mike Duffy as Non-Executive Director for Aspen Managing Agency and Aspen Insurance UK. He has previously worked in the Lloyd’s market with a 40-year career across underwriting and broking. He was most recently Chief Underwriting Officer for Canopius.(Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

Consilium has appointed Matthew Gould as Associate Partner placing International Casualty. He was formally a Broker at Zeus and has a track record placing specialist and complex Canadian, Australian and US Construction Liability risks in the London market. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

McGill and Partners has expanded its Marine offering to include a ports and terminals team with the appointment of Julien Hubbard as Head of Ports and Terminals. Hubbard is joined by Mark McKinnell, Daniel Wells, Alex Jonesco, Dan Green and Elena Stefanova. Hubbard joins McGill and Partners from Tysers where he led the drive into Marine Liabilities, Ports and Terminals and War risks for the last 19 years. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

Lockton has appointed Ryan Willis as Existing Business Team Manager within its Commercial Wholesale team, based in Manchester. David Lee, Senior Vice President said: “I am pleased to welcome Ryan to our ambitious and growing UK Wholesale division based in Manchester. He has a solid track record of success, having led a number of teams to exceed both their immediate and long-term targets. His skills will be highly valuable and I look forward to working with him as our own growth accelerates, where we are committed to helping Agents manage ever-complex risk profiles and achieve their business objectives.” (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

Apollo has hired Caroline Stanley to build out its Ports and Terminals business within its Marine energy liability class. Stanley brings significant experience to the new role, having specialised in ports and terminals for more than 15 years. Since beginning her insurance career at Navigators she has held a number of increasingly senior underwriting roles across The Hartford Group companies.(Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

Markel International has made two new hires to its Transport and Logistics team. Jared Short joins as Senior Underwriter of T&L, from CNA Hardy. Joe Holiday will assist Short as a T&L Underwriter. He previously worked at TT Club Mutual Insurance Ltd. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

WTW has named Pieter Van Ede as Global Head of Trade Credit. He was formerly Deputy Global Head of Credit Solutions at Aon and has 30 years’ experience in delivering Trade Credit insurance across several continents. He also previously held executive positions at Marsh as well as Atradius in The Netherlands and Credit Guarantee Insurance Corporation in South Africa.(Sophie Locke-Cooper, 3/2/2023, Insurance Age, 'People Moves: 30 January – 3 February 2023')

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