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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 15th December 2023

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Allianz Insurance Plc, which earlier this year triumphed at the High Court of Justice over the University of Exeter in the proceedings that centred on an unearthed and detonated bomb, has also won at the Court of Appeal. As reported by Insurance Business in March, the case involved the university’s denied claim over the damage and business interruption it suffered from a bomb detonation at a construction site beside its premises more than two years ago. It was noted that the bomb was dropped in Exeter by German forces in 1942, prior to it being discovered in 2021 during building works. The controlled detonation was conducted after it was determined that the bomb could not safely be moved. (Terry Gangcuangco, 15/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz seals second win in Exeter bomb case')

International re/insurance broker Consilium has announced a strategic partnership with KYND Limited, a company specializing in cyber risk management, that will see Consilium’s insurance brokers utilising KYND’s advanced cyber risk assessments. The aim of the collaboration is to provide comprehensive visibility into clients’ cyber risk exposure, thereby enhancing cyber readiness and contributing to sustainable revenue growth. This collaboration comes amid a significant increase in corporate cyberattacks globally, positioning cyber insurance as the fastest-growing segment within the insurance industry. Projections suggest a growth from $10.3 billion in 2023 to $17.6 billion by 2028. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Consilium partners with KYND for revamped cyber risk assessments')

​Ryan Specialty has announced the launch of an international financial lines managing general underwriter, Ryan Financial Lines. The MGU was created by unifying the operations of MGUs and programs that are currently part of Ryan Specialty Underwriting Managers (RSUM). These are: Emergin Risk, StarPoint Executive Risks, Ryan Specialty Nordics, Capital Bay, and the professional liability portfolios that were historically housed within Ryan Specialty National Programs. The formation of Ryan FInancial Lines will continue through the first half of 2024 as the alignment of operations and capital is completed, Ryan Specialty said. The MGU will have operations across the US, Latin America and London and provide a spectrum of products and services for the small-to-middle market enterprise and large insured market. (Ryan Smith, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ryan Specialty announces launch of international financial lines MGU')

SEP Insurance is enjoying what the Liverpool-based broker calls a “record year for business growth” since coming to life more than five years ago. A specialist in commercial insurance, liability insurance, professional indemnity, and wheels-based insurance, the company reported in excess of £11 million in written premium – a 40% increase in 12 months. SEP Insurance’s “most successful” month generated £2.1 million of written premium. (Terry Gangcuangco, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'SEP Insurance announces record-breaking financial results')

​Consumers intend to step up their spending on e-commerce platforms over the holiday season, according to a new report from Chubb. However, financial fraud and delivery issues have impacted consumers’ trust of online shopping sites. According to the report, which surveyed 500 consumers across the globe, 55% of respondents intend to increase spending at e-commerce sites. However, Chubb found that brick-and-mortar stores were still the most popular choice among consumers, with 43% buying from physical locations. Another 27% said they intended to buy direct from company websites. (Ryan Smith, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Fraud, delivery issues impact customers' trust in online shopping – Chubb')

AXIS Capital has secured in-principle approval from Lloyd’s to set up AXIS Energy Resilience Syndicate 2050. Planned for an April 2024 start, the new Lloyd’s syndicate is aimed at insuring organisations’ energy transition journeys. “Dedicated to providing capacity for new energy projects that have a critical role in supporting the transition to net zero and building a more resilient, economically sustainable world, ”Syndicate 2050 is looking to underwrite the construction and operation of technologies and projects that support energy transition." The goal, AXIS noted, is to provide a single access point to specialist insurance solutions for cross-class risks over the lifecycle of projects and activities associated with replacing or displacing fossil fuels. The broad scope of the syndicate will include transit, storage, financing, and other activities that support and enable cleaner energy projects. (Terry Gangcuangco, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AXIS Capital secures in-principle approval for new Lloyd's syndicate')

A recent report by Aon, in collaboration with Beauhurst, a UK private company data provider, reveals challenges in the funding ecosystem for intellectual property (IP)-rich companies in the UK. The study, titled “Funding Innovation: Intellectual Property’s Role in Unlocking the Potential of UK Scale-ups,” highlights a significant funding gap for these companies, with only 2% of IP-rich companies both reaching scale-up status and raising equity funding. According to the report, there are 18,477 IP-rich companies in the UK, but only 8% have achieved scale-up status as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Furthermore, just 18.5% of these companies have secured equity funding. Scale-up status is identified by an average annualised return of at least 20% over the last three years, with the company having at least 10 employees at the start of this period. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'IP-rich UK firms challenged by continued gap in funding – Aon')

​In the 12 months to October, the average quoted price of home insurance in the UK jumped by 36.1%, breaking the previous annual record of a 25.7% increase, according to the latest Consumer Intelligence Home Insurance Price Index. In an emailed release, Consumer Intelligence noted: “Average quoted premiums for buildings and contents policies are expected to soar even higher as damage from Storms Babet and Ciaran is likely to mean further quoted price rises. “The average of the five cheapest quotes for a buildings and contents policy now stands at £227 compared with £163 in October 2022.” Meanwhile Laura Vas, senior insight analyst at Consumer Intelligence, commented: “With Storms Babet and Ciaran causing significant damage to thousands of homes across Britain, we anticipate further increases in premiums over the coming months. (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'New UK index shows record-breaking increase in quoted home insurance premiums')

A former RSA employee has been sentenced to 28 months in prison for selling stolen customer data to claims management firms. Karl Yates, aged 40, used his position within RSA to access confidential information related to non-fault road traffic claims over a year-long period. This breach led to cold-calling companies pressuring drivers into making personal injury and damage claims. Detective Sergeant Matt Hussey from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) said Yates made use of his mobile phone to take pictures of customer records, gathering enough data to make fraudulent calls seem legitimate. RSA discovered the theft following controls identifying issues and customer complaints. The case was referred to the IFED in September 2020, leading to the fraudster’s subsequent arrest. More than 100 images of typed pages with customer information were found on his phone. (Mika Pangilinan, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Former insurance employee gets jail time for data theft')

Thomas Carroll Group’s 181 employees now own a share of the “fiercely independent” brokerage following the creation of an employee ownership trust (EOT). “This is all part of our long-term succession plan for the business,” chief executive Rhys Thomas said in a release. “The EOT model very much reflects the ethos of the group, one which has been in place since my father (Evan Thomas) and Terry [Carroll] founded the company 51 years ago, and one which we now want to pass on to the next generation.” According to the Caerphilly-based firm, the move has turned it into one of Wales’ biggest employee-owned enterprises. (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Thomas Carroll Group creates employee ownership trust')

​The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has unveiled its conference theme for next year. “After choosing a reflective theme for last year’s conference, we wanted to look forward this year and support brokers in navigating ‘What’s next?’ on the horizon,” BIBA chief executive Graeme Trudgill said in a release. “At The BIBA Conference 2024 we will be discussing ‘What’s next?’ for insurance brokers – from cyber risk and artificial intelligence, to recruiting the next generation of young brokers and the changing political landscape. I’m already counting down the days until The BIBA Conference 2024 and can’t wait to welcome everyone.” (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'BIBA announces 2024 conference theme')

Global specialist insurer Hiscox has partnered with Google Cloud to develop the London Market's first AI-enhanced lead underwriting model, marking a significant step in integrating advanced technology into the insurance sector. The project utilises Hiscox London Market’s technology platform, Hiscox AI Laboratories (Hailo), in conjunction with Google Cloud’s generative AI technology. This collaboration aims to streamline the underwriting process, transforming it from a manual operation that typically takes up to three days into an automated system capable of generating quotes within three minutes. (Kenneth Araullo, 12/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Hiscox teams up with Google Cloud for AI-enhanced underwriting solutions')

Aon’s flagship London Market placement facility, Aon Client Treaty (ACT), has been expanded for next year, with all existing carriers renewing their participation and two new ones coming on board. In an emailed release, Aon said: “In 2024, ACT will offer 22.5% co-insurance across core lines of business placed through Aon’s GBC (global broking centre) in London, giving guaranteed, pre-secured and ring-fenced aggregate capacity to those clients who select it. (Terry Gangcuangco, 12/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon announces expansion of flagship London Market placement facility')

Marsh, an insurance broker and risk advisor, has announced its collaboration with Beazley, a specialist insurer, to offer an additional professional indemnity (PI) cover to construction contractors based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. “ESG concerns are a growing area of scrutiny for the global construction sector, and financial institutions are looking to ESG performance as a marker of sustainable and resilient businesses,” said Kelly Looney, CEO, UK construction, infrastructure and surety, Marsh Specialty. “Despite their best efforts, many contractors are not always able to satisfactorily display their positive ESG goals in a way that allows them to obtain meaningful risk and insurance benefits.” (Abigail Adriatico, 12/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh and Beazley team up to offer additional coverage for construction industry')

Marsh McLennan’s new facility to cover Ukrainian grain exports could pave the way for more insurance solutions to support the country amid the ongoing conflict. That’s what Marcus Baker, global head of marine, cargo & logistics at Marsh, hopes will come on the heels of the global broking giant’s “Unity” facility. “Now that we’ve done it, people will go, ‘Oh, it can be done. That’s amazing. I’d like to be a part of this, please,’” Baker said. Launched last month, “Unity” will provide up to US$50 million (£39.8 million) in hull and separate protection & indemnity (P&I) war risk insurance underwritten by Lloyd’s of London insurers. (Gia Snape, 11/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh's Baker hopes new Ukraine facility will bring in more insurance solutions')

Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) has received “in-principle” approval from the Lloyd’s Council to launch a Lloyd’s syndicate in 2024, in partnership with Apollo Syndicate Management. The approval is contingent on ASR completing the necessary financial and operational preparations required for new entrants to Lloyd's market, leading to final approval and permission to underwrite. ASR Syndicate 2454, set to commence underwriting in March 2024, will concentrate on business across Africa, which currently accounts for approximately 2% of Lloyd’s global business. This move is expected to create significant opportunities in specialty risk insurance both for ASR and the wider Lloyd’s market. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Africa Specialty Risks receives “in-principle” approval for Lloyd’s syndicate launch')

Experts at Allianz UK have collaborated on a new machine-learning tool designed to combat growing fraudulent claims. The ‘Incognito’ tool was developed as part of a broader fraud prevention strategy, according to a news release by Allianz. It works by flagging potentially fraudulent claims that are then referred to fraud experts for review and investigation. Fraud claims identified through Incognito have led to savings of £1.7 million to date, Allianz revealed. An additional £3.4 million is also being held in claim reserves pending the conclusion of ongoing probes. (Mika Pangilinan, 11/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz unveils machine-learning tool designed to detect potential fraud')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Ardonagh Advisory, The Ardonagh Group's SME broking platform, is set to acquire Westfield Brokers Ltd (Westfield Brokers) in a strategic move, pending regulatory approvals. Westfield Brokers, established in 2009 by managing director Peter Cowan and operating under the name Westfield Insurance, stands as an independent commercial broker headquartered in Horsham, West Sussex. It specialises in a diverse array of general insurance products, including fleet, liability, and contractors. (Roxanne Libatique, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ardonagh Advisory sees off 2023 with "final flourish" deal')

​Global broking giant Aon is selling its personal lines business in the Netherlands to independent private equity firm BlackFin Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. In a release, Aon noted that the unit to be offloaded spans insurance brokerage (Affinity) and managing general agents (MGA), with no impact on the group’s global Affinity business. The definitive agreement between BlackFin and Aon will see the latter stop serving client groups for private insurance in the Netherlands. There will be certain exceptions, however, such as expat and international student cover. (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon announces overseas divestment')


AXA UK & Ireland has announced that Alain Zweibrucker will assume the role of chief executive officer of its retail insurance unit on January 2, 2024, pending regulatory approval. Zweibrucker has been with AXA for 25 years and previously held senior positions in property & casualty insurance across various markets. His most recent role was chief financial officer at AXA Switzerland, serving on the executive committee for seven years. During his tenure in Switzerland, Zweibrucker spearheaded transformative initiatives aligned with AXA’s strategic plan. He also played a pivotal role in capital management endeavours, including the establishment of a third-party asset management business model. (Mika Pangilinan, 15/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA UK & Ireland appoints CEO for retail unit')

Zurich Insurance Group has appointed its next group chief financial officer. Subject to regulatory approval, Claudia Cordioli is succeeding George Quinn as group CFO in March 2024. Prior to his departure, Quinn will oversee the completion of Zurich’s annual results for this year while ensuring a smooth handover. Cordioli, whose predecessor has held the top finance post at Zurich since 2014, will be joining the insurer’s executive committee. A fellow of the Aspen Institute Finance Leaders Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, she most recently served as Swiss Re’s group finance director. (Terry Gangcuangco, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich Insurance Group picks CFO successor')

Gallagher has announced the appointment of Michael Rea as the CEO of its UK broking and underwriting operations, pending regulatory approval. This new role, effective from January 1, 2024, will see Rea leading Gallagher’s UK team of 6,000 employees, and managing the company’s retail, specialty, and underwriting divisions in the UK. Rea, who joined Gallagher in 2015 as the COO of its international division, ascended to the role of CEO of Gallagher’s UK & Ireland retail division in 2016. His tenure has been marked by significant organic growth and expansion, driven by strategic mergers and acquisitions. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher names new CEO for UK broking and underwriting operations')

AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, has announced the appointment of Mike Gosselin as chief underwriting officer for the UK & Lloyd’s. Subject to regulatory approval, Gosselin will take charge of the division’s underwriting strategy and portfolio performance across its Lloyd’s and company market platforms in the UK. Prior to joining AXA XL, Gosselin was the global leader for energy & transition risk at Liberty Global Risk Solutions. He also accumulated over two decades of experience at Liberty Specialty Markets, holding diverse positions. At one point he served a seven-year tenure as chief underwriting officer for specialty. (Mika Pangilinan, 14/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA XL names chief underwriting officer for the UK & Lloyd's')

Global P&C insurance company Chubb has announced the appointment of Frederico Spagnoli as division president of consumer lines for Overseas General Insurance, the company’s international general insurance operation. In the newly created role, Spagnoli will be responsible for Chubb’s consumer lines in 51 countries and territories. Spagnoli will step into the role effective Jan. 15. He will report to Juan Luis Ortega, executive vice president of Chubb Group and president of Overseas General Insurance. Spagnoli has more than 20 years of industry experience. He joins Chubb from Prudential Financial, where he served as CEO of Fully Ecosystem, a wellness fintech venture. (Ryan Smith, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Chubb names division president for Overseas General Insurance')

KPMG in the UK has today announced its appointment of Huw Evans as its incoming head of insurance. Evans - who joined KPMG in January 2022 as a partner in its insurance practice from his role as director general at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) – will take over from retiring head of insurance Trevor Jones from April 2024. In a Press release, KPMG noted that during his time at the ABI, Huw supported the industry through Brexit, the government’s Solvency II proposals, pension freedoms and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before joining the ABI, Evans served as a special adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Home Secretary David Blunkett and spent time in the banking sector. (Mia Wallace, 13/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Former ABI director general Huw Evans steps into new leadership role')

Sompo International has appointed Stephen Barr as the new head of marine & energy liability insurance, London Market. Prior to joining Sompo International, Barr served as the European head of marine insurance at CNA/Hardy. His background spans roles as an underwriter and broker at renowned firms including Talbot, Hiscox, and Sedgwick. He is also vice chair of the International Union of Marine Insurance’s executive committee, having assumed the role in 2022. Barr will be based in the company’s London office. He will report directly to Paul Ashworth, who serves as head of aviation, energy, and marine in the London Market. (Mika Pangilinan, 12/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Sompo International taps marine & energy liability insurance head')

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS) has revealed a host of leadership changes, pending regulatory approval, set to take place from January 1, 2024. Among them, Petros Papanikolaou, current CEO of Central Europe for Allianz Group, will assume the role of CEO at AGCS. He will also take charge of Allianz Commercial, the integrated global model devised by Allianz Group to serve the commercial property & casualty insurance segment, encompassing mid corporate, large corporate, and specialty customers. (Roxanne Libatique, 11/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE reveals new CEO')

Aviva group chief executive Amanda Blanc, who in 2018 became the first woman to chair the Association of British Insurers (ABI), has made an ABI board comeback. Blanc’s return comes more than four years after she had to step down in 2019 following her resignation from Zurich Insurance Group. The industry bigwig served as chief executive of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as of global bank distribution, at the Swiss-headquartered insurer. At the time, it was revealed that “it has long been [Blanc’s] personal ambition to chair” the ABI, with a spokesperson then pointing to the seriousness of the decision to leave Zurich which resulted in Blanc having to stand down as chair of the UK insurance body. (Terry Gangcuangco, 11/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ex-chair Amanda Blanc rejoins ABI board')

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