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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 23rd February 2024

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As a fourth-generation family-run business that has been serving its clients since 1919, TL Dallas exemplifies the role insurance brokerages can play in the communities they serve. There are not many independent brokerages left which can trace their roots back so far, noted MD Polly Staveley (pictured), whose great-grandfather started the firm which now supports clients from offices in Bradford, London, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cumbria, Belfast, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Holmfirth, Shetland and Stockport. (Mia Wallace, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'TL Dallas MD on her route to running a fourth-generation insurance brokerage')

Gallagher Specialty has announced the launch of a new Parametric Insurance Centre of Excellence aimed at addressing the evolving needs of the market. It will also focus on expanding the accessibility of alternative risk transfer solutions to a broader client base. The broker’s new program comes in response to the escalating frequency and severity of natural disasters, influenced by climate change, which affect businesses both directly through damage to premises and indirectly via non-damage business interruption to operations or supply chains. (Kenneth Araullo, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher Specialty establishes new parametric centre')

​Allianz has reported its operating profit and shareholders' core net income for both the fourth quarter (4Q) and the full year (12M) of 2023, marking a record performance for the insurance giant. In 2023, Allianz's total business volume climbed by 5.5% to €161.7 billion, with the property-casualty segment leading this growth due to positive pricing and volume effects. (Kenneth Araullo, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz posts financial results for Q4 and full year 2023')

What co-founder and former Vesttoo chief executive Yaniv Bertele’s camp considers an “unfounded request” has been junked by Tel Aviv’s district court. The request, which sought to seize huge sums through foreclosures on assets, was against Bertele, fellow co-founder and ex-chief financial engineer Alon Lifshitz, previous employees Udi Ginati and Joshua Rurka, and Tal Ezer who served as a finder for Vesttoo. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Court junks "unfounded request" against Vesttoo founders')

The UK P&I Club has reported a strong renewal season for 2024. In a release, the marine insurer said: “The Club’s consistent approach saw positive gains from its core mutual membership, and its overall year-on-year growth in entered mutual tonnage is approximately two million gross tonnage. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'UK P&I Club enjoys "positive gains')

Tolson is CEO of digital solutions for Crawford & Company, one of the world’s largest claims management providers. He was explaining how insurers and reinsurers typically use data from three different sources to accurately assess property damage after a natural disaster - and also to predict costs before an event happens. “We were working with a reinsurer that has spent quite a bit of effort developing a solution to use satellite technology to provide an assessment to carriers to look at an event and try to assess reserving and get to a point of getting very accurate about what the impact will be,” said the 30-year industry veteran. (Daniel Wood, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Catastrophe prevention with sats, planes and ground truth')

The property and casualty (P&C) insurance and insurtech sectors are poised for significant shifts in 2024, fuelled by technological advancements and evolving global dynamics, according to intelligent solutions provider Duck Creek Technologies' report. The report underscored the transformative changes expected across the industry, highlighting the integration of generative AI, cloud platforms, digital innovations, and the expansion of API interactions. (Roxanne Libatique, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Report explores pivotal shifts in tech, consumer expectations, and global dynamics set to redefine insurance landscape')

“The future of the cyber re/insurance market looks extremely promising.” This affirmation opened CyberCube’s ‘Cyber Predictions Report 2024’ and, during a recent webinar exploring the key themes of the research, specialists from across the cyber re/insurance market answered pressing questions on where the sector stands today and whether it’s still positioned for growth. (Mia Wallace, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Is the cyber reinsurance market positioned for growth?')

The Swiss Re Institute has updated its forecast for the US economy’s growth to 2.2% for the year, a notable adjustment from previous estimates. However, the giant reinsurer explains that this upward revision does not necessarily translate to direct benefits for the insurance sector. As per the reinsurer’s insights, the increase is attributed to significant “carry-over effects” from the prior year, particularly after the US economy expanded at a 3.3% annualized rate in the last quarter of 2023, resulting in a 1.3% carry-over into 2024. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'US growth forecast not as robust as suggested – Swiss Re')

Bahamian households and businesses were spared from facing potential double-digit increases in re/insurance costs, following the country’s successful removal from the European Union’s (EU) tax blacklist. This development was particularly crucial for the Bahamian property and casualty insurance sector, which, according to Anton Saunders, managing director of RoyalStar Assurance, relies on German carriers for 35% of its reinsurance market capacity. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, ''Bahamas escapes potential double-digit increases in reinsurance')

The potential exit of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) marks a new chapter of political unrest in the region but is expected to minimally impact the re/insurance markets of these countries, AM Best says. ECOWAS, established in 1975, is among eight regional economic communities acknowledged by the African Union to promote regional integration across the continent. Its primary goal is to establish a unified, expansive trading bloc through economic collaboration. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, ''Major regional pullouts – how will they affect reinsurance markets?')

A new report from Marsh delves into the recent trend of financial institutions and private equity entities owning life insurance operations as companies increasingly recognize the strategic benefits of establishing offshore reinsurance entities. The global broker notes that life reinsurance offers enhanced financial flexibility and substantial capital relief for life insurers, also facilitating reductions in portfolio costs and enhancements in return on capital. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, ''How can reinsurance promote the growth of life insurance?')

Global re/insurer SiriusPoint has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2023. In the reinsurance segment, SiriusPoint reported an underwriting income of $27.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2023, achieving an 88.6% combined ratio, an improvement over the previous year due to favorable prior year loss reserve development. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, ''SiriusPoint posts Q4 2023 results')

Though the claims landscape may have changed almost beyond recognition since James Nicholson (pictured) joined Zurich Insurance as part of its graduate program 27 years ago, its premise of supporting local communities and wider society remains the same. Looking back on his career to date, Nicholson – who stepped into his role as chief claims officer for Zurich in the UK one year ago – highlighted the lasting appeal of working in the claims sector and the genuinely inspirational people he has worked with. (Mia Wallace, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'What's reshaping the claims sector?')

Zurich Insurance Group has reported its results for the financial year ending December 31, 2023, with a business operating profit (BOP) reaching an all-time high of US$7.4 billion, marking a 21% increase from the previous year. This achievement has led to the highest ever return on equity (BOPAT ROE) for the company, standing at 23.1%. Further elevating its financial standing, Zurich has also announced a 12% rise in earnings per share (EPS) in US$ terms, with a 20% increase on an adjusted basis, and a 10% increase in net income attributable to shareholders, amounting to US$4.4 billion. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich posts full year results for 2023')

AXA has disclosed its full-year earnings for 2023, marking a period of strategic adjustments and varied performance across its business lines. The insurer reported a 3% increase in total gross written premiums and other revenues, reaching €102.7 billion. This growth was notably propelled by a 7% rise in its property & casualty (P&C) segment, with commercial lines experiencing a 9% uptick due to favourable pricing and increased volumes across several geographies. Personal lines also showed resilience with a 6% growth, largely attributed to positive pricing effects. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA publishes full year 2023 results')

QBE UK has released its Gender & Ethnicity Pay Gap Report for 2023. The mean overall gender pay gap across the organisation was 21.9% in 2023, down from 24.7% in 2022, and 32.8% when it started reporting for 2017. This compares to a gap of 35% in the insurance industry, 26.6% in the financial services industry and 8.3% for the UK economy. QBE EO People Director, Nikki Lees said some of QBE’s enhanced and updated benefits package announced last year were helping drive change. (QBE, 22/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'QBE releases gender pay gap data for 2023')

Coalition, a pioneer in active cyber insurance, has released its Cyber Threat Index 2024 – a comprehensive overview of cybersecurity trends observed in 2023 and potential threats that companies need to be on the lookout for this year. Among the findings is an anticipated 25% rise in common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) in 2024, equating to nearly 34,900 vulnerabilities. Coalition’s research underscores the escalating pace at which new vulnerabilities are identified, contributing to a cluttered cyber risk landscape that many find challenging to navigate. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Coalition unveils new cyber threat index')

In May 2023, the Guardian featured an article bearing the headline “Nearly 50 news websites are ‘AI-generated’, a study says”. Even now, at a time likely to be regarded as its relative infancy, artificial intelligence (AI) can generate content with speed, authenticity (or at least the appearance of it) and a flair for headline-writing that can rival some of the nation’s red tops. With that comes a significant risk of false reporting, misleading information and potentially defamatory content capable of instant and widespread dissemination across the internet and social media. (ARAG’s partners at Ashfords LLP, 21/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Can an AI-generated statement be defamatory?')

QBE Insurance Group is “much more” stable now, according to group chief executive Andrew Horton (pictured), who recently sat down with Insurance Business to talk about what sits at the top of the agenda for the global insurer. Being an international business has its advantages, including learning from different markets and potentially replicating a division’s success. This is something the company is keen to benefit from, as part of its “bring the enterprise together” strategic priority – QBE has six, the other five being portfolio optimisation, sustainable growth, business modernisation, and the respective focus on its people and culture. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'QBE group chief talks insurer’s stability')

CHL, the holding company for Bermuda-based reinsurer Conduit Re, has disclosed its preliminary financial outcomes for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2023. In 2023, Conduit Re reported income of $190.8 million, marking a 22.0% return on equity. The year also saw a change in its combined ratio, dropping to 72.1% from the previous year’s 103.0%. The company’s gross premiums written surged to $931.4 million, up 49.6% from 2022. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Conduit Holdings reports full-year financial results')

Re/insurance group Ascot has announced the formation of a new marine & energy treaty reinsurance division, under the leadership of Alex Kirkby, who takes on the role of senior vice president, head of marine & energy in Bermuda. With a background that spans over 10 years in the marine & energy sector, Kirkby brings a wealth of experience from both the brokerage and carrier perspectives to his new role at Ascot. He was previously vice president at Validus Reinsurance where he focused on marine, energy, and composite business lines. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ascot expands reinsurance arm with new marine & energy treaty practice')

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) of India is set to introduce a new requirement for collaterals in reinsurance transactions involving cross border reinsurers (CBRs). The initiative, outlined in a recent exposure draft, aims to apply to all reinsurance placements with CBRs by Indian insurers starting from the financial year 2025-26. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'IRDAI to require collaterals for CBR transactions)

In a recent interview with Insurance Business, Material Cultures director Paloma Gormley threw down the gauntlet to the insurance industry, highlighting the responsibility of the sector to bridge the sustainability gap created by modern construction methods and materials. In response, specialists from Aviva, RSA and Zurich lent their insights on the approach required. “We completely agree with Material Cultures’ assertion that the insurance industry has an important role to play in supporting the transition to more environmentally friendly construction materials,” said Sophie Hitchcock (pictured left), interim head of construction, at Aviva. “The built environment contributes 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, which is why this is a priority area for Aviva. (Mia Wallace, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva, RSA and Zurich on bringing insurance and sustainability together?')

Insurance Business UK is interested to know what you think about the standard of the current MGAs in the market. Are they meeting your expectations? How are they performing in terms of marketing support or geographical reach? Share your insights through the thirdBrokers on MGAssurvey until Friday, March 1. For every completed survey, one tree will be planted, as Insurance Business supportsOne Tree Plantedto help make a positive impact on nature, wildlife and people. (Insurance news, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'What makes a great MGA partner?')

AXA UK says customers whose intruder and fire alarms are connected to BT’s Redcare signalling system should act quickly to find an alternative supplier after it was announced the service will shut down next year. Redcare is one of the leading suppliers of alarm signalling systems for both commercial and residential properties in the UK, serving around 100,000 customers. The system sends an alert to the key holder and/or the police if the alarm is activated. (AXA, 19/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'AXA UK says customers should act quickly following BT Redcare closure announcement')

Mergers & Acquisitions

NorthStandard, which came to life in February 2023 by merging North P&I Club and the Standard Club, has reported strong renewal results for its first year of operation. In a release, the global marine insurer said: “Premium revenues exceeded US$825 million for the insurance year ending February 20, 2024, against a combined US$796 million at the point of merger 12 months ago". (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'NorthStandard “more than meeting” expectations post-merger')

Duck Creek Technologies has expanded its partnership network by naming Xceedance as a primary reinsurance partner. Xceedance, with its technology service solutions, has already established partnerships with three of Duck Creek’s reinsurance clients in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The company specializes in providing operational support, technology solutions, and data analytics services. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Duck Creek welcomes partner for reinsurance')


RSA Insurance has made two significant additions to its commercial lines business – South regional manager Sarah Collins and London & South sales manager Ben Francis. Collins, who most recently served as broker development consultant team leader at Covéa, is tasked with steering the South’s underwriting team to better serve the region’s mid-market brokers. The Horsham-based regional manager came on board RSA on February 5. Her credentials include time spent atAllianz, PIB, and Cobra. (Terry Gangcuangco, 23/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'RSA announces double hire for commercial lines')

John Mason has been introduced as the new chief executive officer of PPL, the electronic trading platform pivotal to the London insurance market. Before this appointment, Mason held the position of group head of platform at the London Stock Exchange. His extensive background includes leading European Enterprise Solutions at Bloomberg and spearheading Thomson Reuters' efforts in response to MiFiD II, along with other regulatory and market structure initiatives. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'PPL welcomes new chief executive')

Aon has appointed Alicia Goosen as the leader of its professional services group within the London Global Broking Centre. In her newly assumed position, Goosen is tasked with enhancing Aon's growth in the professional services sector, particularly focusing on the London market. She aims to expedite the creation of innovative, specialist solutions tailored to meet the evolving requirements of clients in the legal, accounting, consulting, and design industries. (Kenneth Araullo, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon names new head of professional services')

Specialist insurance provider CNAHardy has added Sarah Moses to the team as cargo underwriting manager for London. In a LinkedIn post, CNA Hardy said Moses brings one and a half decades of marine experience to the post. The cargo hire’s credentials include time spent atAon, Bryte Insurance, Guardrisk,Marsh, and Alexander Forbes Risk Services. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'CNA Hardy brings in Marsh and Aon alum')

Aon has hired Philip Smaje to serve as global chief broking officer for transportation and logistics at the broking giant’s commercial risk unit. “We are thrilled to work with Phil to help our transportation and logistics clients better understand new and existing risks and match risk and capital in this growing and dynamic industry,” chief executive for global marine Lee Meyrick said in Aon’s announcement. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aon taps ex-WTW, Ardonagh leader for key post')

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