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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 25th August 2023

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Insurance News

Stubben Edge Group has welcomed careless insurance as the newest addition to its appointed representative network. Joining Stubben Edge’s AR network provides careless access to underwriters and an array of products. This strategic alliance positions the insurtech to effectively cater to the modern generation of consumers while also affording it a vital support network within the industry. (Kenneth Araullo, 25/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Stubben Edge adds careless to appointed representative network')

The Central London Employment Tribunal has awarded £1.3 million to Julia Sommer, the Underwriter who was unfairly dismissed by a Swiss Re unit in 2021. Sommer, who worked as a Political Risk Underwriter for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in London, was claiming £5.1 million in compensation.(Terry Gangcuangco, 25/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Tribunal awards £1.3 million to unfairly dismissed Swiss Re worker')

​Pen Underwriting has reaffirmed its dedication to the UK solicitors’ professional indemnity (PI) sector through the introduction of a new multi-year capacity agreement. This agreement, backed by A-rated security and Pen's established capacity partners, will empower the company to underwrite more than £100 million over the next three years. Pen’s long-established track record in supporting brokers and their law firm clients goes back to September 2000. This development extends Pen's unwavering market commitment beyond the significant 25-year mark, extending through to 2026. (Kenneth Araullo, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Pen Underwriting announces new £100 million capacity deal')

Manchester-based insurance broker Insure 24/7 Limited, which trades as Insure 24-7, has lost its permission to carry on regulated activities, including assisting in the administration and performance of insurance contracts. In its notice of decision dated August 23, the Financial Conduct Authority said: “Insure 24/7 has failed to submit the [complaints and retail mediation activities] returns to the Authority. The Authority therefore considers that Insure 24/7 has failed to provide information to the Authority as is required by the handbook, namely the information it is required to provide in the returns." (Terry Gangcuangco, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'FCA cancels Insure 24/7’s permission')

The global headquarters of Zurich Insurance Group has been awarded WELL Platinum status, which is said to be the highest certification for employee wellbeing. In an emailed release, the insurer said: “Quai Zurich Campus was planned, built, and renovated with sustainability in mind. Following the award of LEED Platinum certification for the whole campus in 2021, the building has now achieved the highest levels in both the LEED and WELL environmental rating systems." (Terry Gangcuangco, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich Insurance Group’s global headquarters bags major recognition')

Rokstone Construction Risk Underwriters (Rokstone CRU), a subsidiary of Aventum Group’s international (re)insurance managing general agent Rokstone, has recently formed a strategic partnership with Builders’ specialty program division. The collaboration aims to secure up to US$10 million in follow-form lead excess coverage from the Atlanta-based insurer for general liability on complex construction projects. Rokstone CRU specialises in casualty and builders’ risk insurance as a managing general underwriter. Through this partnership, Rokstone CRU has gained access to nationwide capacity on a non-admitted basis, utilising Specialty Builders Insurance Company’s platform, which has earned an “A” (Excellent) IX rating from A.M. Best. (Steven Byerley, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Rokstone CRU, Builders collaborate on follow-form excess program')

Insurtech MGA Qlaims has announced some further enhancements to its commercial lines claims assistance services. These changes will make the MGA’s Qlaims Insurance for Businesses easier to add to commercial property insurances and with a wider scope, now offering support for clients through new subsidence claims. These enhancements are aimed at supporting brokers with consumer duty through easier access for cover and less overall barriers. The Qlaims Insurance for Business also provides additional value-add cover, in addition to providing clients with their own claims specialist to prepare and manage their claims for property damage and business interruption above a certain threshold. (Kenneth Araullo, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Qlaims boosts commercial lines with additional enhancements')

Global broking business Brokerslink has announced the addition of 1783 Group, a sports, music, and entertainment contingency broker, to its network. 1783 Group offers expertise in areas such as event cancellation and liability, nonappearance, prize indemnity, contractual bonus, sports disability, entertainers’ disability, as well as more esoteric risks like death and disgrace, personal accident travel, booking refund/ticket cancellation and revenue, balance sheet protection, and bloodstock/livestock. In a news release, 1783 Group Co-Founder Joe Arnold said becoming a specialist affiliate in Brokerslink’s network provides avenues to connect with new colleagues and pursue further innovation. (Mika Pangilinan, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Brokerslink expands network with addition of 1783 Group')

A surge in “war risk premiums,” additional payments levied by insurers, has been communicated to ship charterers engaged in operations within Russia's Black Sea ports, according to reports from four traders, as reported by Reuters. The escalation of military activities in the Black Sea region, particularly around Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea ports, has transpired following the unravelling of a grain export agreement in mid-July. Recent incidents have also seen Russia's Black Sea ports targeted in multiple attacks, and while oil loadings from these ports remain so far unaffected, the mounting risks are triggering concerns among traders. (Kenneth Araullo, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurers raise prices for Black Sea tankers amid surging tensions')

Fidelis Insurance Group, whose initial public offering completed on the New York Stock Exchange in July, has released its first earnings report as a publicly traded company. In terms of underwriting income, all segments – specialty, bespoke, and reinsurance – posted increases in the first half. In the second quarter, only the reinsurance segment saw a decline (by around US$900,000) in underwriting income. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Fidelis Insurance Group publishes first earnings report as a public firm')

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited has announced its financial results for the first six months ended June 30. The company reported a robust performance, with both operating income and net income showing significant growth. “We are pleased to report a strong set of results for the first half of 2023, which saw our operating income and net income continue to increase, by 47% to US$191 million and by 352% to US$219 million, respectively,” said Mark Cloutier, CEO of Aspen.(Steven Byerley, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aspen announces H1 financials')

​Munich Re UK Life, part of the world’s biggest reinsurance group, is back as a member of the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Announcing its return, the Munich Re unit said the ABI membership fortifies the company’s commitment to the UK protection market. It cited the key benefits of being part of the trade body, including improved insight into market thinking and the ability to influence industry discussions. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re UK Life returns to ABI')

Placing Platform Limited (PPL) has deployed the first major upgrade to the Next Gen platform since it went live in March. Featuring more than 100 functional changes, including quote functionality and underwriter team email notification capability, Next Gen Release 2.0 introduces enhancements to nearly all areas of the platform. “The 2.0 release is a major milestone and builds upon the foundations already in place,” PPL Product & Practice Director Andy Woolley said in an emailed release. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Next Gen platform gets first major upgrade')

The insurance-linked securities (ILS) market displayed impressive strength and performance in the first half of 2023, experiencing a record-breaking influx of new issuances, according to a new report from Swiss Re. However, it is worth noting that capital appears to be more disciplined in this period. According to Swiss Re's latest ILS Market Insights Report, concerns arose regarding the capacity of the alternative capital sphere to meet demand after Hurricane Ian struck in the third quarter of 2022. This led to a dislocated ILS market at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, investors worldwide recognized an opportunity and successfully raised funds. (Steven Byerley, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'How did the ILS market perform in the first half of the year?')

Markel has rolled out a new insurance proposition for the UK construction sector. Called “Markel Construction,” the newly developed offering aims to address several pain points that were identified following more than 30 hours of qualitative interviews with brokers and end clients. These include difficulty placing professional indemnity, regulatory uncertainty, and price sensitivity. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel rolls out new product for UK construction sector')

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has introduced new leadership-focused training programmes that will begin in October. These two programmes are geared towards fostering personal performance, effective team leadership, and robust business development, offering professionals tools to excel in their roles and drive business. (Mika Pangilinan, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'CII introduces new leadership training programmes')

The industrial insurer HDI Global SE - part of the Talanx Group - has become the latest to report its financial results for H1 2023. In a period described as a “positive first half” by CEO Dr Edgar Puls, HDI Global SE’s combined ratio improved 1% year-on-year to 93.1%, which is below its stated medium-term target of 95%. In a Press release, the insurer revealed insurance revenues of €4.2 billion for the half-year period which it said was partly down to growth in its property and liability business, as well as to an increase in its specialty risks business, which generated insurance revenue of €1.4 billion, up from €1.3 billion last year. (Mia Wallace, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'HDI Global SE reveals financial results for half-year 2023')

Car Care Plan has acquired the assets of motor insurance broker Verex Insurance Services and appointed representative Verex Assistance after the two entered administration on August 18. In a notice to customers, the new owner said: “Car Care Plan will take over the services previously provided by Verex to administer your insurance policy. We want to reassure you that if you have paid your premium or if are still paying in installments to Verex Premium Finance, your policy purchased via Verex is still valid and will continue to be covered as normal." (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Verex Insurance Services, AR enter administration – assets move to new owner')

AUB Group, the Australasian network of insurance brokerages and underwriting agencies, has released its FY23 results. According to an ASX announcement, the Group’s revenue grew by more than 60% to AU$1.1 billion. Underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) was almost AU$130 million, up from AU$74 million in FY22. (Daniel Wood, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Tysers parent announces FY23 results')

​Howden-owned broker Aston Lark, which recently opened a new base in South Wales, has announced that it has kickstarted support for a cancer charity. Through support from Ecclesiastical Insurance, Aston Lark has donated £1,000 to Sir Gareth Edwards Cancer Charity, established by the rugby legend of the same name. The charity provides support for young people aged 15 to 35 who live in Wales, are receiving treatment for cancer, and are struggling financially. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aston Lark kickstarts support for cancer charity')

A fraudster has been found guilty of a total of four charges relating to fraud by false representation and sentenced to a 12-month community order following a string of fraudulent claims against Allianz and LV=. The UK fraud teams across Allianz and LV= worked closely together after spotting the fraudulent claims across a range of their polices held by the claimant – for claims of stolen items, property damage and the mis-representation on making previous claims. The resulting findings were reported to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) for criminal investigation which then led to prosecution. Following a lengthy process which started in December 2021 the claimant was finally brought to court in July 2023 at Newport city magistrates court where they were sentenced to a 12-month community order and 150 hours of community service. They were also ordered to cover costs. (Allianz, 24/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Allianz brings repeat insurance fraudster to justice')

Insurance broker and risk management company Gallagher is launching 'Student Assist', a policy that covers universities and student accommodation providers with insurance cover against damage to their properties, and their resident students with personal belongings insurance. Student Assist addresses the issue that many students do not take out insurance cover on a personal basis, and in the event of an item being damaged or stolen, look to their accommodation provider to assist. However, traditional landlord insurance covers the property itself but not tenant belongings. The policy is designed to be bought by universities and student accommodation providers, who then provide it to their student residents as part of their all-inclusive offering. (Gallagher, 24/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Gallagher launches property and contents cover for universities and student accommodation providers')

RSA Insurance has taken a further step in its drive to progress diversity, equity and inclusion by becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Stonewall is a leading UK human rights charity that has been campaigning successfully for 34 years to help deliver transformative change in the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the UK. Its efforts have helped establish the equal right to love, marry and have children in the UK and for the lives, families and relationships of LGBTQ+ people to be included as part of the National Curriculum in most of the UK. As a Diversity Champion, RSA will be working closely with Stonewall to help increase empowerment for LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers, and continue to embed inclusivity in its culture, ensuring that diverse lives and experiences are supported to thrive. As part of this, colleagues will be provided with access to specialist support and a wealth of resources and workshops to help promote awareness, inclusion and cultural competency. (RSA, 24/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'RSA becomes a Stonewall Diversity Champion')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Aston Lark Ireland, a Howden company, has agreed terms to acquire Dublin-based Kegra Limited (Finance Solutions). The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Founded in 2011 by Ken Murray, Finance Solutions is a financial services intermediary specialising in mortgage broking. It also offers tailored financial solutions such as life cover, income protection, investments, and pensions. The deal significantly strengthens Aston Lark’s offering to the mortgage broking market. (Gia Snape, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Howden's Aston Lark swoops for Dublin-based firm')

Marsh has announced that it has reached agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding share capital of Honan Insurance Group Pty Ltd (Honan), a leading specialist insurance broker in the areas of corporate risk, employee benefits, and strata and real estate insurance. This includes the 80% holding of majority shareholder TA Associates (TA), a leading global private equity firm. Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to be completed later in 2023 subject to regulatory approvals, were not disclosed. (Marsh, 22/8/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Marsh expands in Australia and New Zealand')


​Davies, a specialist professional services and technology business catering to insurance and highly regulated markets, has appointed Martin Langhorst as Major Loss Director in a bid to boost its UK major & complex loss division. Langhorst has over two decades of experience in the insurance sector, which includes his previous engagement at Davies as Head of Operations for Davies Repair Network. He is returning to Davies after a three-year tenure at AA Insurance, where he was Head of Property Claims. (Mika Pangilinan, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Davies strengthens major & complex loss division')

Simon Harker, who retired in 2020 after 44 years in the industry, is back – joining the aviation unit at underwriting business Inigo Limited. Prior to his retirement, Harker served as Global Chair and Chief Executive of Aviation at Marsh. At Inigo, which entered the market in January 2021, he will be working with Ed Whitworth. The latter is now in charge of aviation underwriting, after heading Inigo’s D&O (directors and officers) offering. (Terry Gangcuangco, 24/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh veteran plucked out of retirement to join Inigo')

​Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has announced the promotion of Jean-Francois Leandri as the firm’s new Global Risk Control Officer. According to his LinkedIn, Leandri joined BHSI in 2020 as a Risk Engineering Manager based in France. Prior to this, he spent more than 20 years with Global Risk Consultants and has a career spanning more than 25 years of engineering experience. (Kenneth Araullo, 23/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Specialty insurer names new global risk control officer')

The specialist global insurer Hiscox has announced that Gareth Hemming will be stepping into a new role as Chief Distribution Officer for Hiscox UK. His appointment is effective from October 1, 2023. According to a Press release, Hemming spent the last 33 years at Aviva where he held a variety of senior positions, most recently serving as Chief Distribution Officer. (Mia Wallace, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Hiscox taps Aviva stalwart for chief distribution officer role')

Tysers Chief Executive Clive Buesnel is leaving the London-headquartered Lloyd’s insurance broker following completion of key tasks under the first phase of the company’s new ownership. In a release sent to Insurance Business, Tysers noted: “Clive was appointed CEO of Tysers in June 2020 with the significant task of managing the company through a period of COVID lockdowns, dealing with Press speculation arising from uncertainty around the sales process together with addressing technology infrastructure that at the start of the pandemic did not support remote working, and managing regulatory investigations relating to historic activities in Latin America." Meanwhile, it appears the Tysers business will be integrated into the wider AUB Group, which mainly operates in Australia and New Zealand. While the restructure is carried out, AUB Group Chief Executive Mike Emmett will serve as Tysers interim CEO. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Tysers chief executive leaving ahead of group restructure')

​Allianz has announced the appointment of Alastair Warren-Upham as the Head of Distribution, London, for Allianz Commercial in the UK, effective on the 1st of September. Warren-Upham’s journey with Allianz began with his inclusion in the graduate management programme back in 2009. According to LinkedIn, he has notably served as a Key Account Manager in London, a Strategic Account Manager, and London Market Manager (Commercial Branch Manager) since 2019. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Commercial taps new leader for London market distribution')

Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (Direct Line Groupor DLG), whose former Chief Executive stepped down nearly seven months ago, is reportedly wooing Aviva’s Adam Winslow to take on the top post. Winslow, UK & Ireland general insurance CEO at Aviva, is said to have been approached by DLG about potentially succeeding Penny James. Citing industry sources, Sky News pointed to supposedly ongoing discussions between the two camps. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Direct Line Group courting Aviva’s Adam Winslow for top post – report')

Aspen Insurance Holdings has announced the appointment of Andrew Dyer as Chief Risk Officer at Aspen UK. Dyer has two decades of experience in risk management, governance, and oversight for insurance. He comes to Aspen from the Prudential Regulation Authority where he most recently served as Head of Division, London markets, overseeing Lloyd’s and wholesale company markets. (Mika Pangilinan, 25/8/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aspen selects chief risk officer for UK operations')

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