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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 29th September 2023

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Insurance News

​International insurance broker W Denis has secured planning consent to revamp its new headquarters at 8 St. Paul’s Street in Leeds City Centre. The 20,000-square-foot, six-storey property was purchased by W Denis earlier this year in a deal negotiated by Carter Towler. The approved project will expand its total floor space by approximately 30% and add a rooftop terrace. (Mika Pangilinan, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'W Denis secures approval to create new HQ')

The over-50s travel and insurance group Saga Plc has posted its interim results for the six months ended 31st of July 2023 – a period marked by double-digital revenue growth for cruise and travel. Among the key financials published, it was revealed that the group’s revenue rose 15% year-on-year to £355.3 million while the group reported a loss before tax of £77.8 million, an improvement of 70% from the £261.8 million loss before tax reported for H1 2022. Saga noted that the loss before tax reflects a £68.1 million impairment of Insurance Broking goodwill. (Mia Wallace, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Saga posts interim results for half-year 2023')

London-headquartered (re)insurance broker Miller has partnered with technology company Clearwater Dynamics (CWD) to offer full war risks insurance to vessels shipping Ukrainian grain. In conjunction with authorities in Ukraine, the partnership will allow the provision of cover for merchant ships operating in the Black Sea. Capacity will be provided by Lloyd’s and A-rated London market insurers. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Miller to offer full war risks insurance for Ukrainian grain shipping')

The Dive In Festival, a three-day event focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), has commenced and will run until the 28th of September. Across six continents, numerous events will delve into crucial DE&I issues. A survey encompassing more than 7,000 individuals from the insurance and business sectors was conducted to gauge the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. The results revealed that 72% perceive the insurance industry as more diverse and inclusive compared to when they initially joined. However, participants emphasised the need for further actions, particularly in mental health (68%), gender equality (42%), and racial equality (33%). Other highlighted areas included mentorship, inclusion, AI, and non-visible disabilities. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Dive In 2023 kicks off for better DE&I industry practices')

Ariel Re, the global (re)insurer, has rebranded its clean energy division as Ariel Green, recognizing the critical role of technology performance insurance in expediting innovation within solar, energy storage, hydrogen, and bioenergy, crucial for addressing climate change. With a substantial track record, Ariel Re has insured assets totalling $30 billion across six continents, encompassing over 30 clean energy technologies. This includes a notable milestone of surpassing 100 GW of solar warranties this year. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ariel Re unveils revamped clean energy arm')

A recent survey conducted by HSB (UK and Ireland) among insurance brokers indicates that a significant majority of businesses, about 67%, are not adequately considering insurance coverage for computer-related risks stemming from evolving work practices. The survey reveals that a notable portion of brokers believe their commercial clients haven’t given due attention to computer insurance in the context of hybrid working, with merely 29% thoughtfully considering the associated risks. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Two in three UK firms overlooking computer risks – HSB')

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), agreeing to work together on “matters of mutual interest” such as cyber and climate change. In its announcement, ABIR said: “The agreement will build on the working partnership that exists between the Bermuda and UK markets, two leading global (re)insurance hubs. It promotes cooperation and the exchange of views and information on issues of high importance to the industry.” (Terry Gangcuangco, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'ABI, ABIR to work together on “matters of mutual interest”')

Placing Platform Limited (PPL) has confirmed that the planned switchover to Next Gen will push through on Sunday (1st October 2023), making Next Gen the only PPL platform available to place new risks from the 1st of October. In an emailed release, PPL said: “From this date, the option to create a new firm order will be removed. Any firm orders created on the old platform before this date can still be completed until the 15th of December. The ability to endorse a firm order already on the old platform will not be impacted next week, as this type of endorsement can still be created and completed on or before the 15th of December.”(Terry Gangcuangco, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'October switchover to go ahead as planned – PPL')

For the fifth consecutive year, Ecclesiastical Insurance and Benefact Group are granting £1 million to various charities through their Movement for Good awards. Both opened the opportunity for the public to nominate causes dear to them, announcing 150 awards of £1,000 for selected charities. Over 800 brokers nominated charities of their choosing to receive the £1,000 grants. Among the chosen charities are Bipolar UK LTD based in London, providing support to those living with bipolar; Gloucestershire Nightstop, offering emergency accommodation for 16-25 year olds; and The Saturday Café Club in Scotland, engaging young disabled children with enjoyable activities. The public's overwhelming support led to the selection of these charities, Ecclesiastical said. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'More than a hundred UK charities to receive share of insurer’s £1 million fund')

Specialty insurer Markel and insurtech Cytora have revealed an increase of 113% in productivity (GWP per FTE) for Markel’s underwriting team as a result of their partnership. Cytora and Markel announced their partnership back in 2021 with the aim of transforming the latter’s underwriting process into digital workflows by leveraging AI to automate pre-underwriting activities, perform upfront evaluations of risks, and eliminate the rekeying of data. With this in place, the theory was that Markel’s underwriters would be able to focus on decision-ready risks with a high propensity to quote and bind. (Jonalyn Cueto, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel's underwriting productivity skyrockets 113% with AI')

The saga surrounding embattled insurtech Vesttoo continues with a court-approved foreclosure on the founders’ assets. In a release, Vesttoo noted that it had filed an injunction with the district court in Tel Aviv, requesting to seize huge sums from Co-Founders Yaniv Bertele and Alon Lifshitz, former employees Udi Ginati and Joshua Rurka, and Tal Ezer who served as a finder for the company. In another injunction, Vesttoo had also requested a temporary freeze on the abovementioned individuals’ bank accounts, real estate assets, and any stock, as well as a freeze on wire transfers from a Swiss bank account. (Terry Gangcuangco, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Vesttoo saga continues with court-approved foreclosure on founders’ assets')

In support of the growing SME community in Northern Ireland, Hughes Insurance is investing £2 million into the broker’s commercial insurance offering over the next five years. “SMEs are the backbone of Northern Ireland’s economy, employing around 80% of the local workforce,” Hughes Insurance Operations and Customer Services Director Bernie McHugh Sonner said in an emailed release. (Terry Gangcuangco, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Hughes Insurance announces £2 million investment')

Q Underwriting, introduces its latest product offering, Motor Trade Combined, as part of its Motor Division portfolio. This insurance solution has been developed in collaboration with Travelers, an A-rated insurer, that has extensive experience in insuring complex motor risks. Motor Trade Combined is designed to cater to the needs of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the motor industry with an annual turnover of up to £3.5 million and employing up to 15 people. This comprehensive insurance package covers a wide range of motor-related activities. (Q Underwriting, 25/9/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Q Underwriting launches Motor Trade Combined')

​Aon has officially unveiled FI Protect 360, a new insurance solution designed in collaboration with the London market. This flagship proposition aims to address operational risks encountered by today's financial institutions (FIs), providing a singular approach to risk management. With the financial services industry’s increasing reliance on technology comes new and evolving risks. To effectively address these emerging challenges that go beyond traditional policies, organizations require innovative risk mitigation and management solutions. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon launches flagship proposition for financial institutions')

RSA Insurance has unveiled the latest addition to its financial risks portfolio with the launch of a pension trustee liability (PTL) insurance product. The newly introduced PTL product is aimed at UK pension schemes with robust financial backing from employers who rely on independent professional advisors to manage their risk, including those seeking wind-up and run-off coverage for specific sections of their portfolios. (Mika Pangilinan, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'RSA expands financial risks portfolio with new product')

McGill and Partners has joined forces with Renew Risk to construct catastrophe models tailored for offshore wind portfolios. This collaboration aims to address the growing need for comprehensive catastrophe modelling, particularly as offshore wind projects extend further into high-risk zones. The industry can gain a better grasp of risk, quantify it, set appropriate (re)insurance limits, and comprehend aggregation across multiple wind farms within a region through better models, the company explained. Ultimately, it is also expected to bolster insurance capacity, benefiting developers by allowing (re)insurers to offer more competitive and sustainable products while reducing their own capital requirements and volatility. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'McGill and Partners unveils collaboration for offshore wind catastrophe models')

Former AFL owner Alec Finch and his son Bob Finch, former AFL CEO, were found to have painted a “false picture” of the wholesale broker’s financial position prior to the 2017 sale of a 58% stake in the business to Next Generation Holdings Limited (NGHL), an investment vehicle of former Cooper Gay CEO Toby Esser. At the time of the discovery, there was a £3.5 million client money hole that both Finches were aware of and at least in part responsible for, the judge found. Further, it was found that a list of debtors provided prior to the sale had overstated sums owed to AFL. (Jen Frost, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ex-owners of broker AFL told to pay millions over fraud')

​Gallagher UK Non-Executive Chair Alderwoman Dame Susan Langley and SiriusPoint Chair Alderman Bronek Masojada have assumed their roles as City of London Sheriffs. Among those in attendance during the admission ceremony was Marsh McLennan’s International Director of External Affairs and Media Relations Jason Groves, who is proud of the Sheriffs and Lord Mayor’s insurance backgrounds. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher UK, SiriusPoint chairs take office as City of London Sheriffs')

Toolbox by Admiral, which entered the market in April 2021 with its flagship flexible tool insurance product, will now be offering professional indemnity (PI) insurance to self-employed individuals and small businesses in the UK. In an emailed release, the digital-first business insurance provider said more than 100 professions are eligible – from designers who might face a copyright lawsuit, to web developers who might have clients losing money due to faulty code, or consultants who might be accused of providing bad advice. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Toolbox by Admiral to offer professional indemnity cover to self-employed, SMEs')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​The Clear Group, recent acquisitions of which include Profile Risk Solutions and Heath Crawford & Foster Holdings, has made another swoop – this time snapping up Cirencester-based brokerage Bluestone Insurance Services to expand Clear’s footprint in the South West. In a release, Clear cited the chartered insurance broker’s expertise in areas like property owners, engineering, construction, fleet, and commercial motor. It was noted that Bluestone handles more than £5.4 million in gross written premium. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Clear Group acquires Bluestone Insurance Services')

Direct lender Ares Management Corporation is reportedly backing the merger of UK peers Markerstudy Group and Atlanta Group via a £1 billion loan. As previously announced, The Ardonagh Group’s personal lines broking business Atlanta will be combined with Markerstudy to create a major new player in the British market. When the deal – which values Atlanta at £1.2 billion – was revealed, it was noted that Markerstudy majority owner Pollen Street Capital and global investor Bain Capital Special Situations were leading the new investment that would fund the business combination. (Terry Gangcuangco, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Atlanta-Markerstudy merger backed by £1 billion loan – report')

Aviva Plc is purchasing American International Group Inc.’s UK protection business for £460 million in a deal that would expand the UK insurer’s presence in the local market. Aviva will use internal resources to acquire AIG Life Ltd. from Corebridge Financial Inc., an AIG subsidiary, according to a statement on Monday. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024. The purchase “continues our progress in repositioning the group towards capital-light growth,” said Aviva group CEO Amanda Blanc. (Gia Snape, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva buys AIG's UK protection business for £460 million')

London-based specialist managing general agent (MGA) iprism Underwriting (iprism) has acquired Kent-based SK Underwriting, its second acquisition. Established in 1999, SK Underwriting offers a wide range of commercial SME products, mainly focusing on property. It is backed by “A” rated, UK-domiciled capacity. The acquisition will see SK Underwriting staff remain with the business and SK Founder and Managing Director Colin Johns remain with the business as a Consultant for 12 months.(Roxanne Libatique, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'iprism completes second acquisition')


​Specialist insurer Hiscox has officially announced the appointment of Regional Managers for its UK broker business — Chris Hanson, Darren Love, Laura Garrard, and Alex Bailey. While the geographical locations of Hiscox’s seven UK regional branches will remain consistent, the overall leadership will be consolidated into four larger regions: Chris Hanson will serve as the Regional Manager for the North, overseeing Glasgow, Manchester, and York, Alex Bailey has been designated as the Regional Manager for the Midlands, covering Birmingham and Colchester, Laura Garrard is appointed as the Regional Manager for the South, which encompasses the Maidenhead branch she previously managed and the surrounding area and Darren Love will continue in his current capacity as the Regional Manager for London. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Hiscox appoints regional managers')

Gallagher Specialty has tapped company stalwart Alex Vullo to lead the broker’s marine protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance practice in London. “When I joined Gallagher in 2005, we represented just over 30 million of gross tonnage,” noted Vullo in an emailed release. “[Now], Gallagher represents more than 10% of the world fleet, which is in excess of 140 million gross tonnage, and this impressive feat has been achieved as a result of the talent and knowledge of the team at Gallagher". (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher Specialty announces leadership appointment for marine P&I')

Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS), a mutual insurer of the energy industry, has announced the retirement of William P. Cullen as President and Chief Executive Officer. He will be succeeded by William L. Hillman, the current Executive Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer of AEGIS, effective on the 1st of January, 2024. As part of the transition, Cullen will remain on the board as Hillman is elected as a Director of the company. (Jonalyn Cueto, 26/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AEGIS names new chief as CEO announces retirement')

Sompo International has appointed Jérôme Gossé as Head of Cyber Insurance for Continental Europe. Gossé, with a wealth of experience in the cyber insurance market, previously served at Chubb European Group as the Head of Cyber for Continental Europe and the MENA region. Prior to this, he held positions at Zurich in Paris and Marsh in Toronto and Paris. According to LinkedIn, he also previously served as a Legal Counsel for the Danone Group. (Kenneth Araullo, 25/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Sompo International names cyber head for Continental Europe')

American International Group (AIG) has announced that it will be appointing Edward L. Dandridge as its new Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, effective on the 16th of October. With over three decades of leadership experience, Dandridge holds several key positions, such as being a member of the President’s Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Chair of the Susan G. Komen National Board of Directors. His prior leadership roles encompassed prominent organisations, including SVP, Chief Communication Officer of Boeing, Chief Marketing & Communication Officer of Marsh & McLennan, and President & CEO of the National Association of Investment Companies. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AIG welcomes new chief marketing & communications officer')

​The Insurance Institute of London (IIL) has officially appointed Dominick Hoare as its President for the 2023 to 2024 term. Hoare, who currently holds the position of Group Chief Underwriting Officer at Munich Re Syndicate (formerly Watkins Syndicate), brings over three decades of experience in the Lloyd’s market and holds the distinction of being a Chartered Insurer. His association with Munich Re Syndicate began in 1994, according to LinkedIn.(Kenneth Araullo, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'IIL announces new president for 2023-24')

Major reinsurer SCOR has added two new members to its executive committee. Effective on the 1st of November 2023, Claudia Dill and Redmond Murphy are joining the company’s leadership line-up as Group Chief Operating Officer and Life & Health Deputy Chief Executive, respectively. Murphy will transition from his role as SCOR’s Deputy Group Chief Financial Officer and Group Head of Business Performance, while Dill – a Zurich Insurance Group alumnus – is an external hire. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'SCOR makes executive committee changes')

Elaine Lennox, who joined insurance broker Gallagher in 2018, has been appointed as Regional Managing Director for the Midlands after serving as Leisure MD. “With more than 20 years of industry experience Elaine brings outstanding leadership skills, coupled with a deep understanding of market and distribution channels that will enable her to build on Gallagher’s success in the Midlands", said Peter Matthews, Managing Director of the North in Gallagher’s UK & Ireland retail division. Lennox’s credentials include time spent at Zurich, Thistle, and Jardine Lloyd Thompson. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher appoints Midlands regional managing director')

CFC has announced the appointment of Clair Healy as the Distribution Manager for Ireland, a newly created role. With a background as a Professional Indemnity (PI) Broker and Underwriter, Healy joined CFC in 2015, underwriting tech errors and omissions (E&O), cyber, and media for businesses globally, including Ireland. She transitioned to the distribution management team three years ago. According to her LinkedIn, Healy also held previous roles at DUAL Australia and Willis Risk Services (now part of WTW) in Ireland. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'CFC names distribution manager in Ireland')

​BMS Group has appointed Emmanuel Clarke as Chair of the specialist (re)insurance broker. Clarke, whose credentials include time spent as President and Chief Executive of PartnerRe, succeeded John Hastings-Bass on the 28th of September. The latter, meanwhile, will remain with the independent brokerage as Chair of its UK and international operations. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'New chair joins BMS Group')

MorganAsh, a provider of support services to the financial services sector, has bolstered its team with two senior appointments. Peter Labrow joins as Head of Marketing and Tracey Johnson as Underwriting and Claims Manager. Labrow brings with him around 40 years of experience, including as a Journalist for Haymarket Group, as Marketing Manager for a global systems integration company, and as Marketing Director for a training company. He was also the Co-Founder of newswire Learning News and Founder of his own marketing agency. He has worked with MorganAsh as a Marketing Consultant for more than a decade. Johnson, meanwhile, is a highly experienced Medical Underwriter and Claims Manager, who has worked in the UK and Irish protection market with many of the UK’s life insurers. She was an integral part of launching Bright Grey – which is now part of Royal London Retail – and has worked with Acorn, Allianz, AXA, Prudential, Standard Life, and Utmost, among others. (Rommel Lontayao, 28/9/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'MorganAsh boosts team with senior appointments')

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