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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 1st December 2023

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Insurance News

Ecclesiastical Insurance has formed a partnership with Towergate Care to expand its schemes proposition and provide property capacity for larger care home providers. Towergate is a community broker that offers tailored insurance solutions for care homes. It has over 25 years of experience in the care sector and is recognised as the preferred insurance provider to Care England and the National Care Forum. In an emailed news release announcing the partnership, Ecclesiastical underscored its schemes expansion and the larger goal of doubling the size of its business by 2026. (Mika Pangilinan, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Ecclesiastical expands schemes proposition with new partnership')

Global insurance group Howden, which recently apologised for having engaged in “unlawful recruitment,” is being taken to court again over poaching allegations. The apology was issued in October as part of Howden’s settlement with Guy Carpenter, the reinsurance broking arm of Marsh McLennan. Settling pre-trial meant reinsurance broker Howden Tiger didn’t have to defend itself in court in London over a claim that it poached more than 30 people from Guy Carpenter. “The Howden Group acknowledges that it, and certain of its executive officers, engaged in unlawful recruitment from Guy Carpenter as set out in the admissions made to the High Court,” Howden said at the time. “Howden Group and the individuals involved… regret the actions they have taken.”(Terry Gangcuangco, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon sues Howden anew')

Rokstone has announced the debut of its new contingency portfolio with exclusive backing from A-rated carriers. The company has set its sights on initially rolling out the contingency account in the UK and Europe, with an ambitious expansion plan that includes North America by 2024. Rokstone aims to cultivate this specialised portfolio to exceed £30 million in gross written premium (GWP) within the next three years. The account’s coverage spans a range of areas, including event cancellation, death, disability & disgrace, transmission failure, media business, ticket refund, some non-appearance cases, and bespoke, complex risks. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Rokstone launches contingency account with A-rated backing')

Fitch Ratings’ risk-based Prism Factor-Based Capital Model provided an assessment for large global reinsurers in a November 2023 peer review. According to the report, all global reinsurers in this peer group maintained at least a “Strong” capital adequacy rating at the end of 2022. This stability was attributed to improved solvency coverage, bolstered by a reduction in financial market risk and enhanced retroactive coverage. The financial leverage ratios for the peer group were evaluated as ranging from low to moderate, varying between 16% and 33% at the end of 2022, aligning with the “aa” to “bbb” categories. This stability was largely consistent with the previous year's figures. Reinsurers in this group have increasingly relied on retained earnings to finance growth in a hardening market environment. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Fitch Ratings discloses assessment of large global reinsurers')

Gaenor Jones, the Middle East Regional Director for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), presented a significant accolade to Prasad Fernando, the Senior Partner of Arma Underwriting Limited. Fernando received the International Professional Partner Firm (IPPF) plaque, marking a notable recognition for the firm. The IPPF designation by the CII is an honour bestowed upon firms outside the UK that voluntarily adhere to the CII's Code of Ethics and commit to maintaining and enhancing professional standards within the insurance industry. Arma Underwriting’s acceptance as an IPPF is particularly noteworthy as it is the first managing general agent (MGA) based outside the UK to align with the CII. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'CII welcomes Arma Underwriting as new IPPF')

​HDI Global has reported robust growth in revenue and earnings for the first nine months of the 2023 financial year. The industrial insurer recorded a notable improvement in its combined ratio, reaching 92.7% compared to the same period last year. The insurer's generated insurance revenue totalled €6.6 billion, with a return on equity of 13.4% after nine months, surpassing its strategic target of over 10%. (Kenneth Araullo, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'HDI Global announces financial results for 9M 2023')

The aerospace insurance market is poised for growth, with an expected increase of US$763.67 million from 2022 to 2027. During this forecast period, the market is projected to advance at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.36%. A new report from Technavio revealed that this market is categorised by end-user segments including service providers, airport operators, and others, and by types such as in-flight insurance, public liability insurance, passenger liability insurance, and more. Geographically, the market spans across regions like Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and South America. (Kenneth Araullo, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aerospace insurance to hit new highs in next few years')

In the third quarter of 2023, insurers in the UK paid out £2.54 billion in motor insurance claims – the highest quarterly sum since the Association of British Insurers (ABI) began collecting data in 2013. The record-breaking figure represents a 21% increase from the same period in 2022, according to the ABI. In a release, the trade body said the amount equates to £4,821 paid out every minute during Q3. (Terry Gangcuangco, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'UK insurers break motor insurance payout records')

​Prestige Underwriting and Tesco Bank have partnered to offer Coverall, a non-standard home insurance policy designed for customers of the bank who have unique circumstances and requirements. In an emailed release, the managing general agent said Tesco Bank customers who are unable to get home insurance from the lender will be directed to Prestige brand Open & Direct and receive an exclusive referral discount on their premium if they go on to take out cover. Underwritten by Prestige Underwriting, Coverall is aimed at those who require non-standard insurance due to their homes’ risk profile or the use of non-typical construction materials in their properties. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Prestige Underwriting announces home insurance partnership with Tesco Bank')

Direct Line Group subsidiary Darwin celebrated a significant milestone by welcoming its 250,000th customer, reflecting the company's steady growth since its inception in 2019. Darwin, a motor insurance provider, has successfully carved out a 2% market share and contributes to the Direct Line Group's overall objective of enhancing profit margins and boosting profitability in the motor insurance sector. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Darwin Motor Insurance customer base grows to 250,000')

Carbon Underwriting has announced its ambitious growth plans for 2024 following a series of successful underwriting years. The company, which has consistently outperformed its targets since 2020, received formal approval from Lloyd’s for an increase in stamp capacity for the upcoming year. As part of its 2024 strategy, Syndicate 4747, operated by Carbon, aims to raise its gross written premium from £150 million in 2023 to £204 million in 2024. This increase will be facilitated through the introduction of new product lines and the expansion into additional geographical markets, enhancing its global coverholder network. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Carbon Underwriting outlines premium growth ambitions for 2024')

​QBE Insurance Group has published its performance update for the third quarter of 2023. According to the global insurer, its gross written premium (GWP) saw a 7% hike compared to the same three months in 2022. In the first nine months, QBE’s GWP growth stood at 10%. Renewal rate increases, meanwhile, averaged 9.6% in Q3 for the group, as seen below. Retention, according to QBE, has remained at favourable levels. (Terry Gangcaungco, 28/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'QBE reports GWP growth in Q3 2023 update')

​Saga Plc is reportedly working with financial advisory firm Lazard to strengthen the over-50s travel and insurance group’s balance sheet, with options including the possible sale of its underwriting business Acromas Insurance Company Limited (AICL). As reported earlier this year, it was decided that Saga would sell AICLas part of a debt reduction strategy. Discussions with a prospective buyer, however, fell through, and the divestment plan was subsequently paused. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Saga revisiting potential sale of underwriting arm – report')

Movo Partnership’s managing general agent (MGA), Moveda Underwriting, established in May, has recently commenced operations with the support of capacity providers AmTrust and Irwel, aiming to enhance the options available to the independent broking sector. In recent years, MGAs have become increasingly important for brokers, particularly for addressing the specific needs of smaller, independent brokers. As part of its establishment, Moveda seeks to fill a market gap by offering a wider range of choices and customised policy wordings, especially in the more challenging segments of the SME market. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Movo’s new MGA Moveda Underwriting now live')

A trademark dispute between global insurance company American International Group (AIG) and insurance agency A.I.G Agency has been settled out of court. The AIG trademark court action, which centered around the use of the AIG name, had been slated to go to trial in front of a jury in January. However, AIG and A.I.G Agency have now settled for an undisclosed sum after years of legal back and forth. (Jen Frost, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'AIG and insurance broker settle long-running trademark dispute')

International (re)insurance broker Consilium has reported a notable 35% increase in revenue for the year ending June 2023, with a gross written premium (GWP) reaching $600 million. Projections indicate that the company is on track to achieve a GWP of $800 million by June 2024 and $1.4 billion by the end of 2026. Since 2019, the broker has maintained a compound growth rate of 39%. Additionally, since June 2022, there has been an 85% increase in its workforce, with further recruitment anticipated in the coming year. The broker is expected to see 45% growth in 2024 and is currently surpassing its budget for Q1 23/24, aligning with its target of reaching $1.4 billion GWP by 2026. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Consilium records 35% growth in 2023')

Aviva has saved £120 million in bogus payouts after uncovering more than 9,250 instances of insurance fraud in 2022. According to Aviva, which investigated over 19,000 claims for fraud last year, there was a 22% increase in fraudulent repair claims during the period while the number of home insurance frauds it detected rose by 18%. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva avoids £120 million in fraudulent claims in 2022')

​Angel Risk Management is announcing its enhanced cyber insurance solution with the option to add on a Cyber Crime extension covering social engineering, funds transfer and invoice manipulation losses. The product went live on Wednesday 1st November 2023 and is available online to registered brokers. This enhanced solution, which replaces Angel’s previous cyber offering, now allows registered brokers to add a cyber-crime extension to a cyber quote generated by its sophisticated and yet easy to use online quote and bind portal. The cyber-crime cover is available on a wide range of industries and underwritten exclusively based on statements of fact. (youTalk Insurance, 30/11/2023, 'Angel Risk Management launches enhanced cyber insurance solution')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Bspoke Insurance Group (Bspoke Group), which is backed by private equity investors RCapital Partners LLP & MIG Partners LLP, has swooped for the personal lines elements of the Police & Forces Mutual businesses - Police Mutual Healthcare (PMHC) and Police Mutual General Insurance (PMGI). In a release, Bspoke Group confirmed that it will acquire 100% of the share capital of the two businesses, subject to regulatory approval, from The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited (Royal London). (Roxanne Libatique, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Bspoke Group continues expansion with personal lines acquisitions')

​Aviva has officially announced its acquisition of Optiom O2 Holdings Inc (Optiom) from Novacap and other minority shareholders. The deal, valued at approximately £100 million (around CA$170 million), sees Aviva taking over a prominent managing general agent (MGA) in Canada, known for its vehicle replacement insurance offerings and flexible payment options for customers. According to a news release, the deal marks a significant expansion of Aviva’s capital-light business ventures, which already constitute over half of the company’s portfolio. Specifically, the deal enhances Aviva Canada’s presence in a profitable niche of the Canadian insurance market. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva announces acquisition of Optiom')


WTW has announced the addition of two key personnel to its contingency division, with Nick Anscombe appointed as the Contingency Lead and Brett Corrigan as Director. Anscombe joins WTW with a substantial background in the field, having spent 17 years at Marsh where he led the contingency division in their wholesale practice. Following this, he was at Guy Carpenter, leading US specialty programs and reinsurance for contingency, product recall, and special crime. Corrigan, joining WTW from Guy Carpenter, where he has worked since 2018, previously served in Aon's contingency team. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'WTW adds two key appointments to contingency team')

Bob Cox, President and Chief Operating Officer of global insurance operations at Markel, is leaving the business at the end of the year. Since 2018, Cox has been in charge of the Markel Specialty and Markel International divisions. He is credited for having led “successful, profitable” growth strategies over the past five years. Upon his exit, the above-mentioned insurance divisions will fall under the supervision of Markel President Jeremy Noble. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel announces executive leadership team departure')

In further news...​Markel has announced the appointment of Tim Woodhouse as Senior Underwriter within its war and terrorism team. Woodhouse has over two decades of expertise in the insurance sector. He most recently served as Divisional Director of Terrorism and Political Violence at Howden. He also spent time as Managing Director of Political Violence at DUAL Corporate Risks and has held leadership roles at Novae Group and StarStone Insurance. (Mika Pangilinan, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel bolsters war and terrorism team with key appointment')

Placing Platform Limited (PPL) has appointed Mark Griffith as Chief Information Officer. Griffith, whose credentials span change and technology leadership roles in the London insurance market and in other insurance and financial services firms, is joining PPL from Ebix Europe where he served as Delivery Director. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/12/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Placing Platform Limited names chief information officer')

Jonathan Olley, a former Marsh Senior Vice President in London, has come on board Lloyd’s wholesale brokerage Costero Brokers as Cyber Divisional Director. “I am absolutely delighted to join the Costero team at a very exciting time for both the business and the wider cyber insurance industry,” Olley, who had served in the British Army and worked for a risk management consultancy said in a release. (Terry Gangcuangco, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Costero Brokers brings in cyber divisional director')

Markerstudy Group has announced the appointment of John Castagno, Ellie Barlow, and Steve Maddock as Non-Executive Directors (NEDs). Castagno brings to the table over four and a half decades of experience in the insurance, technology, and services industries. His career includes leadership roles in several well-known companies, including Legal & General, The Equity Group, Hastings Direct, British Gas, and most recently, Post Office Insurance. Barlow's expertise lies in the retail financial services market, where she has established herself as an accomplished NED. Her early career was in retail banking, followed by senior executive roles in global insurance firms and price comparison brands, such as Compare The Market, Money Supermarket, and Zurich Insurance. Maddock's 30-year tenure in the insurance industry encompasses various roles at Capita, RSA, and Direct Line Group, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer for 12 years. He also spent seven years as Chair of the Motor Insurers Bureau. Maddock's experience as an NED spans technology, digital transformation, cyber security, operations, and claims. (Kenneth Araullo, 30/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markerstudy adds three new non-executive directors')

Coalition has announced the appointment of Allianz SE Chief Executive Officer Oliver Bäte to its board of directors. A longstanding Executive at the Allianz Group, Bäte has been the CEO of Allianz SE since 2015 after serving as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Previously, he served in several leadership roles at McKinsey & Company, including Director of the firm's European insurance and asset management practice. (Roxanne Libatique, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Coalition appoints insurance giant executive to board')

CFC group CEO Dave Walsh and CFC CEO Graeme Newman will exit the insurance managing general agent (MGA) following a completed Lloyd’s investigation into allegations of non-financial misconduct at the business. Walsh will be succeeded as CFC group CEO by Louise O’Shea, with the appointment subject to regulatory approval. O’Shea was previously a Non-Executive Director (NED) at CFC and served as CEO of until March of this year. Andy Holmes, CFC Chief Underwriting Officer, will be promoted to the CFC CEO role. Holmes has been with the business for more than 20 years. Dan Trueman, formerly AXIS Insurance Global Head of Cyber, will join as CFC CUO from 1 January 2024. CFC also plans to appoint a new Chief People Officer, the business said. (Jen Frost, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'CFC CEOs Newman and Walsh to exit after Lloyd's misconduct investigation')

​Global reinsurance broker Gallagher Re has announced the promotion of Mark Hansen to Chief Operating Officer. Hansen has served as Chief Operating Officer of Gallagher Re North America since 2021. Prior to joining Gallagher Re, he spent almost 20 years at Willis Re North America, where he served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of US operations. Hansen began his insurance career at E.W. Blanch Co. (Ryan Smith, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher Re reveals new COO')

Tokio Marine HCC International (TMHCCI) has moved to fortify its position in the UK regional professional risks market with key underwriting appointments and a new office in Manchester. Jazz Parkash has been appointed as Development Underwriter for the Birmingham branch, bringing with her 18 years of experience in the broking sector. In her most recent role, she served as Professional Indemnity Broking Manager at Wesleyan. She also held roles at Lockton and Giles Insurance Brokers. Joining Parkash in the Birmingham team is Rhian Ottey, newly appointed as Underwriting Assistant to the professional risks team. Ottey has a law degree from Staffordshire University and comes from Arc Legal. In Manchester, Scott McDermott has joined as a Development Underwriter. His experience includes nearly five years at Horwich Farrelly, in addition to roles at BLM and Towergate Insurance. (Mika Pangilinan, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Tokio Marine HCCI grows presence in Birmingham and Manchester')

​No-code insurance platform provider INSTANDA has announced the appointment of Geoff Keast as its new Vice President of Sales. Keast brings a wealth of experience to the role, with over a decade of expertise in global financial technology and sales leadership. His career history includes significant positions at Fiserv and ABnote North America. Keast also has considerable experience with Montoux, a cloud-based automation platform for actuaries, where he served in various senior roles, culminating in a four-year tenure as CEO. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'INSTANDA reveals new VP of sales')

State National Companies, a Markel Group division in the US, is expanding into the UK next year. Markel Group’s insurance operations Markel said in an emailed release: “State National, the largest program services carrier in the US, is partnering with Markel International Insurance Company Limited to create a program services division in the UK to serve managing general agents (MGA)." Subject to regulatory approval, 28-year Markel veteran Rob Whitt will become Executive Director for State National Global. He currently serves as Managing Executive for Corporate Development at Markel. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel Group division State National expanding into the UK')

Managing general agent BluNiche, which specialises in product recall insurance, has launched a UK division to be led by Ed Mitchell. Mitchell, who most recently served as Principal Underwriter at MS Amlin, brings 25 years of product recall insurance markets experience to BluNiche UK. His credentials include time spent as Global Head of Product Recall at XL Group. BluNiche, a subsidiary of incubator NuVenture International, noted that BluNiche UK will be the only British MGA outside of the London Market that has a sole focus on product recall cover. Based in Malvern, Worcestershire, Mitchell is currently working on finalising capacity and will be hiring underwriters in 2024. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'MGA launches BluNiche UK')

Euan Sutherland has resigned as Group Chief Executive of Saga Plc effective November 28. In a London Stock Exchange filing this week, the over-50s travel and insurance group said: “Following a thorough internal and external process, the board is pleased to announce that [Sutherland] will be replaced by Mike Hazell, currently Group Chief Financial Officer. Mike, in turn, will be succeeded by Mark Watkins, currently Group Chief Corporate Development Officer. Euan informed the board of Saga earlier this year that he believed the time was right time for him to stand down, allowing for the appointment of a new CEO to take Saga onto the next phase of its development." (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Saga Plc gets new chief executive')

Lycetts has announced the appointment of Ian Martin as its new Chair. In his non-executive capacity, Martin will focus on enhancing corporate governance, managing regulatory risk, and contributing to the strategic planning of the business. Martin, a resident of Kent, brings a wealth of experience to the role, having held several key positions in the insurance industry. His career includes serving as the CEO of HSBC Insurance UK, Ireland, and Malta from 2012 to 2014. He later assumed the role of CEO at HSBC Insurance Singapore and was a director at HSBC Asia Insurance Holdings for four years. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Lycetts adds ex-HSBC chief of staff as new chair')

​Legal & General has made two senior appointments to its retail protection team, with James Shattock named as new Managing Director for UK protection and Pippa Keefe chosen as new Commercial Director. Shattock replaces outgoing Managing Director of UK Protection Steve Griffiths, who announced his retirement after a 17-year career at Legal & General, while Keefe succeeds Shattock in his previous role as Commercial Director for Retail Protection. Shattock brings over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry across both the direct and reinsurance markets. He joined Legal & General three years ago from UNUM UK, where he was Chief Underwriting Officer. Keefe, who was previously Business Development Director at Legal & General Retail Protection, will join the retail protection leadership team, bringing with her over 13 years of experience in the protection market, working with insurers, re-insurers, and direct distributors. She has been with Legal & General since 2021. (Rommel Lontayao, 28/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Legal & General makes senior appointments to retail protection team')

Global broking business Brokerlink has announced the addition of Ardonagh Specialty Chief Executive Antony Erotocritou to its board of directors. Erotocritou has been a key figure within the Ardonagh Group since 2016 when he joined as Underwriting Finance Director. He later assumed the role of Group Finance Director in 2018. Transitioning into the specialty business in 2019, Erotocritou was pivotal in the group’s restructuring and expansion and was named specialty CEO in 2022. Prior to his time at Ardonagh, Erotocritou held roles at Towergate Insurance and RSA. His background also includes experience in finance and telecommunications. (Mika Pangilinan, 28/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Brokerslink adds Ardonagh Specialty CEO to board of directors')

Lloyd’s Chief Investment Officer Eleanor Bucks is joining the board at long-term savings and retirement business Phoenix Group. Effective next month, Bucks will serve as an Independent Non-Executive Director, bringing strong corporate governance experience as well as life assurance expertise. The incoming board member’s credentials include 15 years spent at Legal & General. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Lloyd's investment chief to join Phoenix Group board')

Global Head of Entertainment Michael Furtschegger will become Regional Managing Director for Germany and Switzerland at Allianz Commercial starting next year. Succeeding Hans-Jörg Mauthe in January, Furtschegger has been with Allianz since 2009. His previous roles include Head of Global Strategy & Development for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s Chief Underwriting Office Specialty. Furtschegger’s predecessor, who came on board Allianz as a trainee in 1990, is retiring when the new Regional Managing Director takes over. Meanwhile, the entertainment line of business at Allianz Commercial will be managed by Global Head of Specialty Gordon Browne until a replacement entertainment head is named. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/11/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Commercial names regional managing director')

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