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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 5th January 2024

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Insurance News

Recent research conducted by The Green Insurer (which just officially launched a month ago) has revealed that 15% of motorists are contemplating abandoning driving within the next year due to escalating costs associated with car ownership and operation. For many of these motorists, the decision to give up driving could significantly impact their daily lives. Around 40% of respondents indicated that such a decision might necessitate changing or relinquishing their current job. (Kenneth Araullo, 5/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'More motorists considering giving up driving due to escalating costs – The Green Insurer')

Specialist Risk Insurance Solutions (SRIS) has launched a dedicated department for high-net-worth clients. In the announcement posted by SRIS on LinkedIn, the Specialist Risk Group (SRG) broker said Specialist Risk Private Clients consists of an experienced roster offering a concierge-led service. According to Specialist Risk Private Clients, benefits of its private client household product include high single-article limits for art and jewellery, higher inner limits for properties undergoing building works and renovations, as well as worldwide all-risks cover for contents and valuables. (Terry Gangcuangco, 5/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Specialist Risk Insurance Solutions launches private clients department')

​Woodgate & Clark has warned insurers about the spike of about 40% in scaffolding costs in the past year as Henk, the first storm in the UK in 2024, brought downpour and strong winds to a large part of England and Wales. The specialist loss adjuster is urging insurance providers and their claim partners to consider alternatives to scaffolding for building roof and window repairs. In an emailed release, Woodgate & Clark cited a recent claim it was managing wherein the scaffolding cost was six times more than the cost of the repair on the property. (Jonalyn Cueto, 5/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Loss adjuster warns insurers about rising scaffolding costs')

Insurance giant AIG has emerged as the primary insurer in a substantial $130 million “all-risks” policy covering a Japan Airlines aircraft involved in a collision at Tokyo's Haneda airport, according to information sourced by Reuters from industry insiders. While AIG opted not to provide a statement on the matter, details indicate that the insurance policy primarily focuses on hull damage. This coverage was put to the test following the incident at Haneda airport, where a Japan Airlines Airbus A350 collided with a De Havilland Dash-8 Coast Guard turboprop. The collision resulted in the deaths of five out of six crew members on the smaller aircraft, although all 379 passengers on the Japan Airlines plane were safely evacuated. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AIG named as lead insurer for Japan Airlines plane involved in collision')

​Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has announced enhancements to its multinational services and capabilities. This includes the expansion of its partner network and internal teams to work on multinational services as well as adding multinational products and adopting new technology to elevate service quality. BHSI’s services can be accessed in 178 countries, according to a news release. It recently expanded its internal team of multinational experts to 13 cities across the globe and expanded its capabilities to include surety bonds. (Jonalyn Cueto, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'BHSI reveals enhancements to its multinational capabilities')

The UK life insurance market can expect improving conditions in 2024 driven by strong sector fundamentals and a more favourable operating environment, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings (Fitch). The agency notes though that UK life insurance is the sole life sector in Europe to show signs of an improving outlook for 2024. The credit rating agency said this improving outlook can persist despite challenges posed by macroeconomic and financial markets. It expects the pension risk transfer market to continue its strong growth throughout the year driven by a strong demand from corporates de-risking their balance sheets, which resulted from improved pension scheme funding levels following increases to interest rates in the last 18 months. (Jonalyn Cueto, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'UK life insurance expected to enjoy improving market conditions–report')

Specialist private equity investor B.P. Marsh & Partners Plc has invested in Ai Marine Risk Limited, a new managing general agent in the UK that will specialise in marine hull insurance. Co-founded by marine insurance specialists Tom Fulford-Smith and Charles D’Alton, Ai Marine plans to deliver risk solutions to a global portfolio of marine clients from its London headquarters and Scandinavian distribution centre. The MGA is backed by A-rated capacity. B.P. Marsh, whose portfolio includes UK marine cargo underwriting agency Fiducia and specialist marine Lloyd’s broker Lilley Plummer, has acquired a 30% cumulative preferred ordinary shareholding in Ai Marine, according to a London Stock Exchange filing. (Terry Gangcuangco, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'B.P. Marsh invests in new marine MGA')

​Access PaySuite's recent research highlights a significant trend in the insurance industry: the growing need for flexibility and convenience in payment options to attract Generation Z and Millennial customers. The study, part of Access PaySuite's latest report, “Future-Proofing payments in the insurance sector,” reveals that 80% of Gen Z respondents consider diverse payment options a major factor in choosing an insurance provider, with 77% of Millennials echoing this view. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurers urged to adapt as younger people call for diverse premium payment options')

AXA has announced an expansion of its employee benefits, effective from Jan. 1, as part of its ongoing commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive corporate culture, and to providing a positive and supportive working environment for its staff. The enhancements include a notable increase in paid co-parent leave, doubling from 20 days to 40 days. Additionally, AXA is introducing five days each of caregiver leave, fertility leave, and pregnancy loss leave. These changes are designed to offer employees more time to spend with their families during crucial life stages, thereby promoting a healthier work-life balance and addressing a variety of personal needs. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA showcases multiple enhancements to employee benefits')

Specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical's recent research has highlighted a concerning trend of increasing vandalism and crime targeting heritage organisations in the UK. The study, involving 500 decision-makers in the heritage sector, reveals despite a slight 1% decrease from the previous year, an overwhelming majority of heritage organisations (90%) experienced some form of crime in the past 12 months. Additionally, instances of anti-social behaviour grew by 3%, affecting 32% of organisations, while verbal abuse towards staff and volunteers increased by 4%, affecting 30% of the respondents. (Kenneth Aruallo, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ecclesiastical warns brokers about concerning trend')

UnitedHealth Group has retained its number-one slot in AM Best’s ranking of the world’s 25 largest insurance companies for the ninth straight year, according to the credit rating agency. UnitedHealth grew its net premiums written (NPW) by 14% in 2022 to US$257.2 billion. Meanwhile, Allianz SE retained its top spot for nonbanking assets at US$1.1 trillion, despite a 10% decrease from the previous year, AM Best reported. (Ryan Smith, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AM Best ranks world's largest insurance companies')

​Specialist insurer Beazley has successfully closed its first 144A cyber catastrophe bond, securing $140 million in coverage. This marks Beazley's first venture into the 144A bond market, following its earlier $81.5 million cyber catastrophe bond program launched in 2023. The bond, issued under the name PoleStar Re Ltd Series 2024-1 Class A, is specifically crafted to provide coverage for catastrophic and systemic events with a low probability of occurrence. It is structured based on an indemnity trigger and is set on a per-occurrence basis. The bond has a two-year term, extending through to the end of 2025. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Beazley finalises $140 million cyber catastrophe bond')

The UK insurance industry has called on the government to implement lighter regulations for captive insurance companies in order to fill the gap within the specialist insurance market in London, as reported in an article by the Financial Times. The call comes before a planned government consultation that aims to design a new framework to encourage the establishment and growth of captive insurance companies in the UK. The consultation was announced in November. Chris Lay, the Chief Executive of Marsh McLennan UK, said that the current regulatory environment is stopping the UK from being a viable location for captive insurance vehicles and the government should show how it will be welcoming for new businesses. (Abigal Adriatico, 2/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Insurers call for lighter regulation to attract captive insurers to London')

Amanda Blanc, the Chief Executive of Aviva, has been awarded with a damehood in the New Year’s Honours list. Blanc was given the honour for services to business, gender equality and net zero as she has been one of the most vocal supporters for more diverse boardrooms, following her three decades worth of experience in the insurance sector dominated by men. The New Year’s Honours List awards Honours based on merit or the exceptional achievement or service of an individual, spanning various subject areas, and is released twice a year. (Abigail Adriatico, 2/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva CEO receives damehood in the New Year's Honours list')

Lycetts, an equine and bloodstock insurance broker, has announced the renewal of its sponsorship deal with Charlie Deutsch, a British national hunt jockey. "I’m delighted by the investment Lycetts has made in me. Its belief and encouragement are hugely important, and will help me achieve my potential,” said the jockey, based in Gloucestershire. Deutsch has been enjoying a successful season – he won The Betfair Chase at Haydock aboard Royale Pagille. Deutsch has also recently competed at the Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase aboard Victtorino. (Abigail Adriatico, 2/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Lycetts announces renewal of sponsorship deal with Charlie Deutsch')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Howden has announced the acquisition of Arctic Insurance AS, a Norwegian insurance broker experiencing rapid growth. This move is part of Howden's strategy to expand its footprint in the Nordic region by integrating local expertise with its global capabilities. Arctic Insurance, based in Oslo, was founded in 2014 with support from Arctic Group, a company in financial services. The firm has developed a specialisation in various insurance sectors, including property and casualty, financial lines and specialty, employee benefits, and pensions. It caters to a diverse client base with complex insurance requirements, spanning industries like food and beverage, recycling and waste management, transport, and finance. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Howden continues Nordic expansion with major acquisition')

​Cyber insurance managing general underwriter Corvus Insurance is now part of insurance provider The Travelers Companies. In an update by Travelers, the company announced the completion of its swoop for the MGU. Worth approximately US$435 million, the deal was first made public in November 2023. Travelers Chair and Chief Executive Alan Schnitzer said in this week’s release: “We have forged a strong strategic partnership with the talented team at Corvus over the past year, and we are pleased to officially welcome them to the Travelers family."(Terry Gangcuangco, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Done deal: Corvus now owned by Travelers')

Malago Insurance Brokers (Malago), an insurance brokerage based in Bristol, has announced the acquisition of Mulberry Insurance Brokers (Mullberry), following the retirement of Keith Johnson, its principal. “After more than 40 years, the bitter-sweet moment has arrived when I have decided to retire. It was not an easy decision as I have enjoyed my role so much,” said Johnson regarding his retirement. (Abigail Adriatico, 2/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Malago Insurance Brokers announces acquisition')


Multinational insurance group Antares Global has appointed seasoned actuary Kevin Wenzel as Chief Financial Officer. Wenzel, whose experience spans more than three decades, most recently served as Deputy CFO at Allianz Holdings Plc – the holding company that owns Allianz SE’s principal insurance operations in Great Britain. His previous roles include finance chief for LV= General Insurance. (Terry Gangcuangco, 5/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Antares Global appoints chief financial officer')

Fidelis MGU – the managing general underwriter that was launched in January 2023 as an entity separate from Fidelis Insurance Group – has appointed Simon Crone as Group Director of Underwriting. Crone came on board Fidelis Insurance in 2019 as Senior Underwriter and currently serves as Fidelis MGU’s Chief Underwriting Officer for the European Economic Area. In addition to taking on the director post, the promoted leader will be retaining his existing CUO position. Prior to the leadership appointment, which Fidelis MGU announced on LinkedIn, Crone was also Head of Partnership Underwriting. Outside Fidelis MGU, Crone’s previous roles include Chief Underwriting Officer for mortgage and credit at AmTrust International. (Terry Gangcuangco, 5/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Fidelis MGU names group director of underwriting')

​Gallagher has announced the appointment of Nepomuk “Nepo” Loesti as the Chief Commercial Officer of its European broking operations. Loesti, who joins Gallagher after a 17-year tenure at AIG, brings a wealth of experience to his new role. During his time at AIG, he was based in various global financial hubs such as Zurich, London, New York, Frankfurt, and Munich, holding key positions. Most notably, he served as the Head of Financial Lines for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His career trajectory also includes leadership roles in liabilities, financial lines, and client engagement for Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Loesti commenced his career in underwriting at Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe in 2004. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher names new chief commercial officer for broking operations in Europe')

US-headquartered global investment banking and reinsurance broking firm Stonybrook Capital & Risk Management has appointed London-based Darren Bailey as Group Managing Director and International Chief Executive. The UK hire joins the firm from Roosevelt Road Capital Partners where he served as Capital Markets Director. Spanning more than two decades of global reinsurance and capital markets experience, Bailey’s credentials include time spent at R&Q Insurance, Aon, and AIG. (Terry Gangcuangco, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Stonybrook Capital hires group managing director and international CEO')

Staysure Group Chief Customer and Technology Officer Finn Walsh has been promoted to Group Chief Executive, succeeding Founder Ryan Howsam. In its announcement, the travel insurance provider cited Walsh as a key cornerstone in the company’s transition into a new period of automation and digitisation. The former Hastings Direct Digital and Marketing Director brings one and a half decades of digital and e-commerce experience to the top post. (Terry Gangcuangco, 4/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Staysure Group names new group chief executive')

Specialty MGA Optio Group has announced the appointment of Wael Mohsen as the new Managing Director of Broking and General Lines forOptio Re MENA Ltd. in Dubai. Optio Re, which began its operations in January 2023, functions both as an MGA and a reinsurance broker. Mohsen joins Optio Re just as the company approaches its first anniversary. He brings with him nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a background that spans the Middle East, Africa, and West Asia. His most recent position was with Ardonagh Specialty (previously Ed Broking), where he served as Managing Director for the MENA region since 2014. As per LinkedIn, prior to this role, Mohsen held several high-ranking positions, including Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Orient Takaful Insurance Company and Underwriting Manager at Chubb Egypt Insurance Company. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Optio bolsters MENA division with key appointment')

​R&Q Insurance Holdings Co-Founder Alan Quilter, who was Chief Executive until early 2023 before serving as Group Head of Program Management, has left his post as planned. In a London Stock Exchange filing, the non-life global specialty insurance company said: “R&Q confirms Alan has retired and stood down from the board on December 31, 2023. As also previously announced, Alan will stay on in an advisory capacity for a period of time.” Quilter took charge of program management last year when Jeffrey Hayman became Non-Executive Chair while William Spiegel assumed the group CEO position. The ex-Chief Executive’s planned retirement at the end of 2023 was made public then. (Terry Gangcuangco, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'R&Q Insurance confirms co-founder's retirement')

HDI Global Specialty has appointed Jamie Bowes as the new General Manager for Aviation of its Scandinavian branch. Bowes is a 24-year aviation insurance veteran who has had an extensive international career spanning the London, Australasian, and European markets. He has experience in various facets of the aviation sector, including broking and underwriting. Bowes first joined HDI Global Specialty in Australia in 2019 as Head of General Aviation for the Asia-Pacific region. He later moved to the Stockholm office in 2022 as part of a planned succession. (Mika Pangilinan, 3/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'HDI Global Specialty names aviation general manager')

Miller has announced the appointment of Ollie Spells as the Head of London Property Facultative within its global facultative team. Spells is set to join the company in January, bringing his expertise in complex facultative reinsurance coverages for both its UK and global property business. As per his LinkedIn, Spells' career in broking began at Aon, after which he transitioned to facultative reinsurance at Willis Towers Watson. Prior to joining Miller, he held a senior producer role within UK facultative property at Guy Carpenter. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/1/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Miller expands facultative reinsurance division with key appointment')

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