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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 18th August 2023

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​Vesttoo, which is still investigating the root of the collateral fraud scandal surrounding its transactions, has issued an update on the internal probe while confirming the lifting of the freeze orders on its assets. In a statement sent to Insurance Business, the insurtech said: “Vesttoo can confirm that the federal court in New York has removed the temporary restraining order freezing the company’s accounts on the 15th of August, and the Aon White Rock legal case was placed on the court’s suspense docket." (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Courts lift TRO against Vesttoo')

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has launched SmartBroker, a new member facility developed in partnership with customer lifecycle intelligence platform FullCircl. Using FullCircl’s proprietary graph technology and available to BIBA members at a discounted subscription rate, the SmartBroker facility features comprehensive company data and insights on British and Irish firms. The goal is to help insurance brokers to deliver tailored outreach at scale and to provide better underwriting submissions, among other things. (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'BIBA rolls out SmartBroker facility for members')

Specialist professional services and technology firm Davies has partnered with UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) to broaden the reach of the apprenticeship opportunities it has available for applicants across the UK. The partnership makes Davies one of the first organisations to showcase its apprenticeship programmes for Autumn 2023 on the UCAS website, providing young individuals an avenue to learn more about the world of insurance and financial services. (Mika Pangilinan, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Davies partners with UCAS to widen reach of apprenticeship opportunities in insurance')

European consolidator Monument Re is reportedly considering its strategic options, including a possible sale of the reinsurer. Citing people familiar with the matter, a Reuters report said Citigroup and Fenchurch Advisory have been tapped to explore the possibilities with Monument Re and its owners. Based in British overseas territory Bermuda, the reinsurer posted a lower total comprehensive income after tax in 2022 – from 2021’s €152.9 million to €132.7 million last year. (Terry Gangcuangco, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Monument Re mulls possible sale')

​The average price paid for motor insurance in the second quarter of 2023 continued its upward trend as insurers battle sustained cost pressures, such as a 33% rise in vehicle repair costs, according to the ABI’s latest Motor Insurance Premium Tracker. In June, analysis from international consultants EY said that “the UK motor insurance market experienced its worst performing year in a decade in 2022’. Their report highlighted that for every £1 motor insurers received in premiums, they paid out £1.10 in claims and operating costs. (The Association of British Insurers, 14/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Sustained cost pressures on insurers push the average price of motor insurance to a record high')

​A 52 year-old man (Business Development Manager of a major insurance company) has been charged with murder (Saturday 12 August 2023) following the death of Kelli Bothwell in Doncaster on Saturday 5 August 2023. The official police statement is as follows: "At 8pm on Saturday 5 August 2023, we were called to reports of a dispute inside a property on Main Street in which 53-year-old Kelli had been stabbed. Despite the best efforts of officers and ambulance crews, she sadly died a short time later. A post-mortem has since concluded that Kelli died of a stab wound. A 52 year-old male was arrested at the scene and was remanded in custody to appear before Sheffield Magistrates Court on Monday 14 August 2023. (youTalk-insurance newsdesk, 17/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Insurer Business Development Manager charged with murder')

​Examining the H1 2023 results that made up “another excellent half year, delivering profitable growth despite a very challenge economic backdrop” during a media briefing, group CEO of Aviva, Amanda Blanc, highlighted how the decision to refocus Aviva on the UK, Ireland and Canada had paid dividends for its customers, partners and shareholders alike. The resilience of this diversified proposition is clear, she said, with every part of the business delivering strong growth – including double-digital growth across all three of its general insurance businesses. In addition, the group won 211 new schemes in H1 2023, cementing its number one position in the growing schemes marketplace, and delivered an operating profit up 8% year-on-year to £715 million. (Mia Wallace, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva's Amanda Blanc on bucking the trend in general insurance')

​Legal & General (L&G) Group has reported a “resilient financial performance” in the first six months of the year, with operating profit and after-tax profit hitting £941 million and £316 million respectively. While the group’s operating profit fell by 2% annually, it did beat consensus analyst expectations of £834 million. “We remain on track to achieve our five-year ambitions and deliver attractive returns for our shareholders,” Nigel Wilson, group chief executive at Legal & General, commented on the first half financial results. (Romel Lontayao, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Legal & General announces 'resilient' half-year performance')

Classic vehicle insurance brand Peter James Insurance, part of Kingfisher Insurance, has partnered with the Mk1 Golf Owners Club to provide members a tailored insurance scheme. “The team at Peter James Insurance is excited to be working with the Mk1 Golf Owners Club,” Peter James Insurance partnerships director Dave Youngs said in an emailed release. “Despite being a single marque club, their community has such a vibrant and diverse range of vehicles and is truly driven by passion. Scheme benefits include free valuation process and free salvage retention, insurance solutions for younger members, as well as member-to-member cover that allows club members to drive each other’s VWs while having comprehensive insurance at no additional cost.(Terry Gangcuango, 15/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Peter James Insurance partners with Mk1 Golf Owners Club')

​The Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity (GAIN) welcomes Covéa Insurance – the UK subsidiary of Covéa Group – into the fold. In a Press release, GAIN revealed the insurer’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace by taking action to support equal opportunities for all of its workforce. Commenting on the decision of the company to join GAIN, Ian Bubb, speciality lines & IT director at Covéa Insurance said he’s “absolutely thrilled and deeply honoured” to become part of the group dedicated to neurodiversity in the financial sector. He said the partnership holds personal significance for him as it signifies a “tremendous milestone” in the collective effort to create a more supportive world. (Mia Wallace, 14/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Covéa Insurance joins GAIN')

Qatar Insurance Company (QIC Group) saw its net profits surge by 181% in the first half of 2023, with earnings reaching QAR 325 million. The insurer, which has a global underwriting footprint, reported gross written premiums (GWP) of QAR 5.5 billion, down from QAR 6.3 billion in H1 2022. Broken down, QAR 1.9 billion of the GWP came from the group’s domestic and Middle East North Africa (MENA) operations, while the international businesses contributed QAR 3.6 billion. Insurance service results, meanwhile, jumped to QAR 552 million from QAR 32 million in the previous year. Net investment results stood at QAR 460 million, compared to QAR 475 million in H1 2022. (Mika Pangilinan, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'QIC Group reports higher net profits in half-year results')

​Money Rebellion protesters disrupted the final round of the AIG Women’s Open on Sunday in the UK, targeting the tournament’s sponsor. Setting off flares and holding up “AIG is a climate criminal” and “AIG stop insuring climate crisis” banners, members of Money Rebellion conducted the protest on the 17th green at Walton Heath before being apprehended by the police. “AIG is insuring climate breakdown by enabling deadly fossil fuel projects to pump out more and more greenhouse gasses,” Money Rebellion’s Jane Clarke said in an emailed release. “AIG knows the science and is happy to protect its profits by cutting off insurance for homeowners facing floods and fires, caused by climate change." (Terry Gangcuangco, 14/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AIG Women’s Open in the UK disrupted by protesters')

Clevedon Town Council has lost its public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance, and fidelity insurance for undisclosed reasons. The council, which earlier this year failed to agree arrangements for a working committee structure, had “an issue with its insurance policy,” according to the message posted on the council’s website. Uninsured since 5pm of August 14, the council had to close its facilities. Additionally, the council’s phone line is currently not being monitored, with the public advised to contact local ward councillors directly. The circumstances surrounding the revocation appear to be confidential information. (Terry Gangcuangco, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Clevedon Town Council “stuck” after losing insurance')

Northern Ireland broker AbbeyAutoline has unveiled a major expansion in Newtownards with the relocation of its branch to new town-centre premises. This expansion comes as part of the broker’s 50th anniversary, with a sizeable investment made in the new premises at Old Cross Streets in Newtownards. The office will employ 17 staff and reaffirms the company’s commitment to the high street, with a total of 440 people across 15 branches in Northern Ireland. AbbeyAutoline Newtownards customers will still have access to the broker’s full range of personal and commercial insurance commodities including business, car, home, travel, taxi, van, motorbike, farm, and haulage insurance. (Kenneth Araullo, 15/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AbbeyAutoline unveils major expansion in Newtownards')

European insurance group Talanx has announced its financials for the first half of 2023, revealing a group net income of €827 million, an uptick of 21% and is the best half year result for the group in its history. Insurance revenue, on the other hand, also rose YoY to €20.9 (previously 19.2) billion, while operating profit jumped by more than 30% to €2 billion (previously $1.5 billion). Return on equity (RoE) was at 18.4% during the financial period and is expected to be well above the strategic target of 10% for the year overall. Additionally, all Talanx’s primary insurance divisions generated returns on equity of more than 10% for the first time. Overall, Talanx confirmed its medium-term targets published last December, and has stated its confidence in exceeding both its target of €42 billion for insurance revenue and €1.4 billion for the group net income. RoE will also be above 10%, as already outlined in the insurer’s first quarter results. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Talanx reports "best half year result" in group history')

LV= General Insurance has revealed plans to relocate from its Frizzell House base in County Gates, Bournemouth. The firm is set to make the move after nearly three decades in the building, in response to evolving work patterns and sustainability requirements. The relocation, happening at the end of 2024, will bring the general insurance operations to Stour House on Deansleigh Road. There will be no redundancies as a result of the move, according to Mission. He also said that the new Stour House location was chosen for its ability to provide a sustainable and dynamic work environment. LV= General Insurance, which operates under the umbrella of Allianz, has been headquartered at Frizzell House since 1996. Not part of Allianz, the LV= life and pensions business is not involved in the planned relocation. (Mika Pangilinan, 14/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'LV= General Insurance to relocate from Bournemouth office')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Specialist Risk Group (SRG) unveiled its acquisition of Cheshire Insurance Brokers (CIB). The deal is its fifth of the year and reflects its ongoing commitment to expanding its portfolio and expertise across specialist sectors. Founded in 2010 by Dominic Leach & Victoria Benito, Northwest-based CIB arranges tailored insurance programmes and is recognised for providing insurance solutions to recruitment agencies internationally, alongside providing cover for commercial & professional businesses and high-net-worth clients in the UK. In a Press release, SRG highlighted that the acquisition will further strengthen the offering of its retail pillar - Specialist Risk Insurance Solutions (SRIS). (Mia Wallace, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'SRG expands with latest acquisition')


Dale Underwriting Partners (DUP) - the trading name for Dale Managing Agency Limited’s Lloyd’s Syndicate 1729, - has today revealed that Robert Pettifer will be joining its property open market team as underwriter. The appointment, which is effective November 6 2023, will see Pettifer report to Marcus Turner, head of property open market. Pettifer brings over 12 years of insurance experience to the role and will support the property open market team’s growth strategy as it looks to capitalise on current market opportunities. He comes across from Liberty Specialty Markets, where he most recently served as senior underwriter, property D&F. (Mia Wallace, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Dale Underwriting strengthens key team with Liberty hire')

Hedron Network, the UK network arm of Global Risk Partners (GRP) a Brown & Brown company, has appointed two business development professionals with responsibility for supporting network partners. Anna Wilkinson and Tom Lawlor will look after broker partners in the South East and the North East respectively, and both will report to AnthonyLee, Hedron development team manager. Both Wilkinson and Lawlor, who began their new roles in July, come from broking backgrounds, and bring the business development team in Hedron to 10 strong. (Hedron Network, 17/8/2023, youTalk insurance, 'Hedron Network hires two business development professionals to look after broker partners')

Arrow Risk Management has announced a major expansion into financial and professional lines, as well as the appointments of Andrew Wood and Ben Cubitt to oversee the practice. According to his LinkedIn, Wood was most recently a class underwriter for financial institutions at International General Insurance (IGI). He also held previous roles at Hardy, GE Insurance Solutions, and Willis (now WTW). Cubbitt brings over 13 years of underwriting experience in the financial lines sector to the practice. According to his LinkedIn, and like Wood, he also previously worked at IGI as an underwriter for financial institutions. He also had prior roles at Nexus Underwriting, Ace European Group, AIG Europe, and Claims Management Group. This new underwriting team will commence operations following the completion of Wood’s and Cubitt’s contractual notice periods. Wood will lead the division, coming to this role as an industry vet who has been underwriting for the class for more than 20 years. (Kenneth Araullo, 17/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Arrow Risk announces foray into financial and professional lines')

The Fortegra Group, a global specialty insurer and subsidiary of Tiptree Inc., has announced the appointment of Edward Peña as its new chief financial officer, effective Aug. 28. Peña will succeed current CFO Mike Grasher, who is moving to the role of executive vice president of international business development. Peña brings with him over two decades of experience in the insurance, finance, and mergers and acquisitions sectors. Prior to joining Fortegra, Peña held the position of CFO in Liberty Mutual's Global Retail Markets division. He has also held various positions at Coaction Specialty Insurance and J.P. Morgan. (Steven Byerley, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Fortegra welcomes new CFO')

​SME insurance broker Superscript has added two leaders to its executive roster. Part of what Superscript calls the “next major phase of accelerated growth,” the move sees the arrival of chief commercial officer ChrisBarclay and chief technology and operations officer Tim Joslyn. Joslyn already came on board in July, while Barclay is joining the Lloyd’s brokerage next month. Barclay, who will bring 23 years of industry know-how to Superscript, previously served as UK affinity head at Marsh. Joslyn, meanwhile, has more than two decades of financial technology expertise to his name. (Terry Gangcuangco, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Superscript adds two to executive team')

HIVE Underwriters (HIVE), a rapidly growing MGA, has appointed David Langran as its new class underwriter. Langran will join HIVE after completing his contractual obligation with his current employer, Inigo, where he is head of aviation war. Before joining Inigo in 2022, he was an aviation war underwriter at Atrium for eight years. Langran commented: “I am delighted to be joining HIVE at this exciting time in the market. I am greatly looking forward to adding to the fantastic offering and reputation in aviation that the team has built over the last few years and utilising the market-leading data and analytics tools they have developed to do so.” (Roxanne Libatique, 15/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'HIVE Underwriters appoints new underwriter')

RSA Insurance has announced the appointment of Matthew Gosling as senior specialist underwriter for engineering, power, and renewable energy for the insurer’s UK specialty lines business. Gosling comes to the role as a construction and engineering specialist, tasked with managing and profitably growing RSA’s engineering portfolio. In this new role, he will report to RSA UK specialty lines director engineering, power, and renewable energy director Jon Drabble. According to his LinkedIn, Gosling joins RSA from IGI, where he last held the role of class underwriter for construction and engineering. Gosling also held previous roles at HSB, Sompo International, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Bspoke, and Towergate. (Kenneth Araullo, 16/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'RSA taps industry specialist for engineering portfolio expansion')

Aon has appointed Joe Peiser as chief executive of commercial risk solutions, succeeding Lambros Lambrou – who was named human capital CEO earlier this year – with immediate effect. Reporting to risk capital chief Andy Marcell, Peiser will be in charge of driving the growth of Aon’s commercial risk solutions while collaborating with reinsurance leaders across the risk capital division. Prior to his promotion, Peiser was commercial risk head for North America. Meanwhile Paul Shedden, who most recently served as head of global and UK analytics for Aon’s reinsurance solutions, has been installed as head of advanced risk analytics for risk capital. (Terry Gangcuangco, 15/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon appoints commercial risk solutions chief')

​Allianz Commercial has announced two appointments to reinforce its presence in the Southern region of the UK. Simon Hanley has been named as regional manager for the South, while Caroline Donati will join the company as branch manager for Southampton in October. Hanley first joined Allianz in 2005 as a business developer. He has since held various roles within the commercial business, including key account manager and distribution manager. Donati will join Allianz with 20 years of experience in the broker market, having held roles at RSA, AXA, and most recently Aviva where she was senior broker development manager. (Mika Panglinan, 15/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Commercial UK bolsters Southern team with key appointments')

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