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General Insurance Newsletter Thursday 6th April 2023

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Insurance News

The Financial Conduct Authority is poised to raise fees for the general insurance mediation pot where brokers sit to £34.7m for 2023 to 2024, as its budget rises to £684.2m, including a £5.3m Consumer Duty cost. The 10.4% rise for brokers from the current £31.5m would be ahead of the 8.5% year-on-year increase to the FCA’s overall funding requirement. (Emmanuel Kenning, 5/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'FCA proposes 10.4% hike to broker fees block')

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has launched a new computer scheme, provided by specialist insurer HSB, to help protect computer hardware and portable equipment. The new scheme offers comprehensive cover for computer-related risks, the trade body said. The policy is divided into four sections in order to offer commercial customers the flexibility to choose the level of cover they need. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'Biba launches computer insurance scheme')

Managing general agent Spring Insure has launched a commercial professional indemnity product in the UK and Ireland with backing from a new capacity provider. The managing general agent aims to become ‘an increasingly attractive prospect’ for brokers’ clients. Spring’s London and Dublin offices will support the offering. It is backed by existing capacity providers Ascot and Aspen, as well as new provider Faraday. The newly formed Casper Specialty is also providing capacity for UK risks. (Saxon East, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'Spring Insure looks to court brokers in UK professional indemnity launch')

​The City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is taking action against opportunistic insurance fraud as cost-of-living pressures drive a surge in such cases. IFED investigated 18 claims across the country, amounting to a total estimated value of £216,875, in February and March 2023. The unit executed warrants in Berkshire, Peterborough, and Portsmouth, leading to the arrest of two people and charges against four others suspected of making fraudulent claims. (Miko Pagaduan, 6/4/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'IFED busts insurance fraudsters, sends 'cease and desist' notices across UK')

Zurich Insurance Group has become the latest Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) member to quit the organization within days, hot on the heels of Munich Re. In a statement, Zurich said that “after establishing a standardized methodology for measuring and disclosing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated to insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios, we want to focus our resources to support our customers with their transition.” (David Saric, 5/4/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich latest to leave Net-Zero Insurance Alliance')

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has announced an independent governance review. In a release, the association noted that the review, which will be conducted by Integrity Governance, will look to provide an ‘objective, independent assessment’. The review will cover the PFS CEO’s role, the PFS Board’s operations and structure and advice provided to the board by both the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) governance team and other relevant CII advisors. In addition, it will examine the PFS Board decisions taken as a result of this advice. (Mia Wallace, 5/4/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'PFS announces independent governance review')

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has launched a new computer scheme to help protect computer hardware and portable equipment. Provided by leading specialist HSB, the new scheme offers comprehensive cover for computer-related risks. The policy is split into four sections, providing commercial customers with the flexibility to choose the level of cover they need. BIBA members can access HSB’s enhanced computer product which provides additional benefits including an environmental hardware replacement enhancement.(HSB, 3/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'BIBA launches new computer insurance scheme with HSB')

Munich Re discontinues Net-Zero Insurance Alliance membership. Munich Re has discontinued its membership in the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA). “In our view, the opportunities to pursue decarbonisation goals in a collective approach among insurers worldwide without exposing ourselves to material antitrust risks are so limited that it is more effective to pursue our climate ambition to reduce global warming individually," says Joachim Wenning, CEO of Munich Re.(Munich Re, 3/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Munich Re discontinues Net-Zero Insurance Alliance membership')

Mergers & Acquisitions

The Needham Group has bought PJ Insurance Brokers, adding £2.5m gross written premium to the firm and taking its GWP total to more than £12m. The deal, which is the ninth in Needham’s history, follows on from buying Corporate Insurance Solutions and Baldersons Insurance in 2022. (Emmanuel Kenning, 5/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'The Needham Group buys PJ Insurance Brokers')

Pen Underwriting CEO Tom Downey claims the business is on track to hit its £1bn GWP target within three years - and that it will reach it by both diversifying and building on what it already has. In order to grow the MGA’s gross written premium, Pen set its sights on further potential M&A activity, while also focusing on organic opportunities. Downey said: “We ended 2022 with just over £720m GWP, and with the acquisition of Tay River Holdings, that will bring us more than £90m GWP on an annualised basis. So, while life is not linear, we are ahead of where we expected to be right now. We are on target to reach £1bn GWP by the end of 2025, but we don’t want to chase for chasing sake. It’s about the people, the culture and the products that meet the needs of brokers and their clients.” (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 5/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'Pen Underwriting CEO eyes more M&A to get closer to £1bn GWP target')

Ardonagh Advisory has announced its first new deal of the year with the purchase of Stoke-on-Trent based broker Pace Ward and revealed it has an “impressive pipeline of M&A”. Pace Ward will join Ethos Broking, where Ardonagh said its specialisms – commercial lines, prestige and high-performance motor and high net worth – will complement Ethos’ existing partner brokers, which include Chambers & Newman, Hugh J Boswell and Guy Penn. (Insurance Age Reporter, 5/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'Ardonagh Advisory announces first new deal of 2023 with Pace Ward buy')

Saga is targeting the sale of its underwriting business, Acromas Insurance, in the second half of this year – but arranged a loan in case a deal does not go through. Exclusive talks with Australian insurtech, Open Insurance Technologies to sell the group’s in-house underwriter broke down last month. According to the over-50s specialist, if there is no disposal, then as of 1 January 2024 it will be able tap into a £50m loan from founder and ex-chief executive Sir Roger De Haan, who invested in the business again in 2020. (Emmanuel Kenning, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'Saga reports stable broking results as it pushes on with Acromas sale')

Specialist HGV and motor trade insurance broker New Era has made its first acquisition within weeks of becoming part of the JMG Group. The firm has acquired Preston-based in a move that creates a new specialist commercial motor division within the JMG Group. Established in 2012, provides services covering courier van insurance, public liability insurance, breakdown cover and fleet insurance. It will continue to trade as and its team, which is led by Director Simon Moores, will continue to work with clients out if its Preston office. (Insurance Age Reporter, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'JMG establishes new division after second motor deal in a month')

Castle Insurance Services has made its first acquisition since becoming the North-East hub of Global Risk Partners in May 2022 by swooping for fellow Durham-based broker M R Lonsdale. M R Lonsdale was founded in 1959 and previously owned by three partners, Oliver Dobson, Philip Lonsdale and Nigel Bradley. Dobson and the team will remain with the business under Castle’s ownership, while Lonsdale and Bradley will be retiring. (Insurance Age Reporter, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'GRP's NE hub Castle buys M R Lonsdale')

UK General Insurance lost £7.41m in its financial year before being snapped up by Rcapital and Montague. The post tax deficit for the year ended 30 March 2022, came hard on the heels of losing £9.13m in the prior nine months. A spokesperson for the business said: “The results were quite poor. It was a challenging period for us.” (Emmanuel Kenning, 4/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'UK General lost £7.4m ahead of sale')

​US-headquartered brokerage Acrisure has forayed into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) by acquiring the region’s biggest insurance distribution platform, Unilink Group, for an undisclosed sum. Placing nearly seven million policies per year, Unilink Group provides non-life and life products through a network of 15,000 external agents and 2,500 points of sale. It employs more than 1,300 people across Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, and Moldova. (Terry Gangcuangco, 6/4/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Acrisure expands in Europe')


The Association of British Insurers confirmed Mervyn Skeet as Director of General Insurance Policy having held the post on an interim basis since December 2022. Skeet joined ABI in November 2017 as Assistant Director, Head of Tax. He has covered his new post since the departure of James Dalton, who left to join the Motor Insurers’ Bureau as Chief Services Officer. Prior to joining the ABI, Skeet was Managing Director at XL Group and Senior Vice President at Chubb. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 5/4/2023, Insurance Age, 'ABI names Mervyn Skeet director of general insurance policy')

AXA XL has announced (4 April 2023) it will expand its offering and capabilities to serve mid-market clients and has appointed Hannah Hosking as Head of Mid-Market to lead the strategy across the business, focusing on growth for AXA XL at the higher end of this key market segment. Ms Hosking brings to the role over 20 years’ experience, holding senior positions running strategic distribution and regional operations in the mid-market space. (AXA XL, 5/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'AXA XL to expand its UK mid-market presence with appointment of Hannah Hosking')

In further news...AXA XL has announced the appointment of Adam Lait, Senior Underwriter, Marine Liability & Ports, UK & Lloyd’s, effective immediately. Mr. Lait has extensive knowledge of the marine liability and ports market, having been a broker in the London market for over 20 years.(AXA XL, 3/3/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'AXA XL appoints Adam Lait as Senior Underwriter, Marine Liability & Ports, UK & Lloyd’s')

Allianz has announced Nadia Côté has been appointed Commercial Managing Director UK, effective 1 May 2023, subject to regulatory approval. With more than 25 years’ experience in corporate insurance, Nadia Côté has been with Allianz Group since May 2022 when she joined as Regional Managing Director for London & Nordics with AGCS. (Allianz, 3/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Nadia Côté to lead Allianz Commercial in the UK')

Cowbell, the leading provider of cyber insurance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has launched its UK operations and appointed cyber insurance expert, Simon Hughes, as General Manager for Cowbell UK. Hughes joins Cowbell with a unique blend of experience across the U.S. and the UK, most recently serving as the Cyber Team Lead at CFC Underwriting. (Cowbell, 5/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Cowbell appoints cyber insurance expert Simon Hughes to spearhead UK operations')

RSA Insurance has announced that it has appointed Gary Mason as COO Delivery Director, effective immediately. Mr. Mason has significant Insurance IT experience, having previously worked at IBM, Allianz and more recently Aviva, where he was the Claims CIO Partner. (RSA, 3/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'RSA appoints Gary Mason to drive technology transformation of its key operating and claims capabilities')

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, the data, advanced analytics and technology provider to the U.K. and Ireland insurance markets, has appointed James Burton as Managing Director, Insurance, U.K. and Ireland, effective 1 April 2023. Burton previously served as Vice President of Product Management, Insurance, U.K. and Ireland. He has worked for LexisNexis Risk Solutions for seven years and has been responsible for the management and execution of the product strategy across the business.(LexisNexis Risk Solutions, 3/4/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'LexisNexis Risk Solutions appoints James Burton as Insurance Managing Director')

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