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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 2nd February 2024

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Insurance News

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has released its latest Motor Insurance Premium Tracker, which shows an increase in the average premium paid for private motor insurance in the fourth quarter of 2023. In Q4, the average price paid for motor insurance in the UK stood at £627. The amount recorded in Q3 was £562; in Q4 2022, the average premium was £470. On a full-year basis, the average for 2023 (£543) was 25% higher compared to 2022’s £434. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Motor insurance premiums up from previous quarter, year')

AXIS Capital has suffered losses in the fourth quarter of 2023. In Q4, AXIS reported US$26 million in pre-tax catastrophe and weather-related losses, net of reinsurance. The company’s gross written premium (GWP) increased by 1% to US$1.8 billion. For the full year, GWP was up 2% to US$8.4 billion. Pre-tax catastrophe and weather-related losses, net of reinsurance, amounted to US$138 million. (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 01/02/2024, 'AXIS Capital reports losses in Q4')

RenaissanceRe announced that it achieved $2.5 billion in annual net income available to common shareholders and $1.8 billion in annual operating income available to common shareholders for the year 2023. Throughout the year, RenaissanceRe racked up significant achievements. These included a return on average common equity of 40.5% and an operating return on average common equity of 29.3%. The company also saw growth of 57.9% in book value per share and a 47.6% growth in tangible book value per share plus change in accumulated dividends. (Jonayn Cueto, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'RenaissanceRe reports robust financial performance')

After announcing plans to set up a Class 3 reinsurance carrier in Bermuda four years ago, Accelerant has decided to change plans and focus on the Cayman Islands instead, a report from The Royal Gazette revealed. Because of this change, credit ratings agency AM Best has withdrawn its ratings for Accelerant Re Bermuda, citing the parent company “made the strategic decision to establish a licensed affiliate in Cayman to act as an internal reinsurer instead.” AM Best noted, “At the time of the withdrawal, the outlook of the credit ratings was stable.” (Jonalyn Cueto, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Accelerant shifts focus to Cayman Islands for reinsurance company')

Hippo has announced the successful placement of its 2024 reinsurance program. “Our reinsurance partners have demonstrated their unwavering confidence in our enterprise by offering improved terms for the second consecutive year,” said Rick McCathron, CEO and President of Hippo. “Our persistent efforts to mitigate weather-related risks, coupled with our proactive stance on home protection, have consistently driven significant enhancements in our loss ratio. This has notably enhanced the appeal of the Hippo Home Insurance Program to reinsurers, many of whom have maintained longstanding partnerships with us.” (Jonalyn Cueto, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Hippo completes 2024 reinsurance renewals with success')

Markel returned to profit in 2023 after a loss making 2022. The insurer reported comprehensive income of US$2.3 billion for the year (2022: US$1.2 billion loss). Earned premiums rose 9% year-on-year, at US$8.3 billion for 2023 compared to US$7.6 billion for 2022. "We enjoyed excellent returns in 2023 from Markel Ventures, our investment operations, and many portions of our insurance business," said Thomas S. Gayner, Markel CEO. "While we remain focused on some areas of improvement for our insurance operations, our three-engine system continues to drive profitable growth." (Jen Frost, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Markel unveils 2023 results')

Swiss Re’s Chief Underwriting Officer for P&C Reinsurance, Gianfranco Lot, has shared his insights on the 2024 reinsurance renewal season, highlighting key outcomes and trends as the industry approaches upcoming renewals. The 2023 1.1 reinsurance renewal was characterized as particularly challenging, but the 2024 renewal presented fewer surprises. This year’s renewal saw earlier placement of retro capacity, leading to a more orderly process with a greater emphasis on price discovery and increased competition. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Swiss Re CUO praises orderly renewal amid good underwriting discipline')

​Swiss Re Institute has released a new report titled “Multi-Cancer Early Detection: cancer screening beyond today’s boundaries,” which delves into the future implications of Multi-cancer early detection blood tests (MCEDs) for both patients and insurers. MCEDs represent a significant advancement in cancer detection, Swiss Re said, as it offers the possibility of comprehensive screening for multiple cancers through a single, minimally invasive blood test. This technology could revolutionize early cancer detection, potentially improving survival rates and reducing the economic impact of late-stage treatments. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'MCED has potential to revolutionize cancer screening, Swiss Re reports')

​In a new report, S&P Global Ratings examined the impact of regulatory payment restrictions on the credit ratings of non-operating holding companies (NOHCs) in the Bermuda insurance industry. NOHCs typically depend on dividends and other distributions from operating companies to fulfil their financial obligations, which introduces additional credit risks compared to their operating companies. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Regulatory payment restrictions and their effects on Bermuda’s industry')

​RSA Insurance (RSA) has unveiled the RSA Business Support Hub, an exclusive online resource platform tailored for businesses in the UK. The hub accessible to all of RSA's management protection, commercial crime, and professional indemnity customers at new business and renewal – offers a comprehensive suite of business tools, risk management features, and legal support. This digital platform, known as the RSA Business Support Hub, boasts a vast collection of over 2,000 online resources covering various subjects, including business compliance, risk management, data security, and day-to-day business operations. Powered by Farillio and available 24/7, the platform equips customers with an array of guides, checklists, videos, workflow tools, legal templates, and more, facilitating the efficient management of their businesses and associated risks. (Roxanne Libatique, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'RSA launches comprehensive resource platform for businesses')

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has launched a merger inquiry into the deal between The Ardonagh Group and Markerstudy Group. First announced last September, the proposed transaction involves Ardonagh’s personal lines broking business Atlanta Group. The plan is to merge Atlanta with Markerstudy to create a “major new player” in the UK insurance market. If approved, the deal will see Markerstudy parent Venus Topco Limited acquire Atlanta. Venus Topco is part of Pollen Street Capital, which in 2021 led a £200 million investment into Markerstudy. (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 01/02/2024, 'Regulator launches inquiry into Ardonagh's deal with Markerstudy')

The Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity (GAIN) has announced the addition of Sheffield Haworth, a global talent consulting firm, to its membership. By joining GAIN, the organisation notes that Sheffield Haworth demonstrates a commitment to fostering neuro-inclusion in both its internal operations and client services. This collaboration underscores the firm's recognition of the unique benefits that can be derived from employing and engaging neurodiverse individuals, including those with different thinking styles and abilities. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'GAIN adds talent consulting firm to its ranks')

Insurance group Chubb Limited has published its financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2023. In the fourth quarter, Chubb’s global property & casualty net premiums written rose 10.5% while life insurance net premiums written grew 20.3%. For the year, both metrics saw respective increases of 10% and 51.5%. Chubb operates in 54 countries and territories and is manned by approximately 40,000 people. (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Chubb releases Q4 and full-year 2023 financials')

Achievers of the2024 Claims Service Quality Marque (claims SQM) have been announced by Gracechurch Consulting. According to the research and advisory company, 10 London Market insurers and three from the UK market were awarded the independent accreditation this year. The London Market’s AEGIS London, Beazley, Chaucer, Chubb, Convex, HDI Global Specialty, Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), Markel, MS Amlin, and Tokio Marine Kiln (TMK) achieved the 2024 SQM for claims; Allianz, Chubb, and Ecclesiastical made the cut for the UK market. (Terry Gangcuango, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Gracechurch recognises 12 insurers for outstanding claims service')

Aviva marks an industry first as it introduced new mental health support services for its group personal accident and business travel customers without additional costs. This initiative sees Aviva offering a comprehensive range of wellbeing services and benefits, including a line manager toolkit for mental health, health and wellbeing discounts, support for individuals living with cancer, and a counselling service. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Aviva revamps group accident and travel products with wellbeing boost')

HDI Global has announced an advancement in its technological capabilities by implementing a proprietary generative artificial intelligence solution, HDI-GPT. This tool will enable the company to extract real-time insights from unstructured data in text or image form, enhancing support for HDI Global staff. The implementation of this AI solution aligns with the company's transformation strategy to fully harness and sustainably realise the potential of this technology. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'HDI Global debuts in-house GPT system for process enhancement')

UK specialist firm Saga has provided a trading update for the period from August 1, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Mike Hazell, Saga Group’s Chief Executive Officer, indicated that the company is poised to achieve a notable increase in revenue and a significant boost in underlying profit, more than doubling the previous year's figures and surpassing initial projections. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'Saga issues half-year trading update')

The UK government is calling on organisations to submit feedback on its draft Cyber Governance Code of Practice and to participate in a pilot project. Part of the government’s £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy, the initiatives are aimed at informing the development of the Code. The draft Code sets out key actions for directors and business leaders to take in line with efforts to boost companies’ cyber resilience. (Terry Gangcuangco, 30/01/2024, 'UK government charges ahead in national cyber strategy')

Howden has introduced a pioneering insurance facility specifically designed to cover carbon dioxide (CO2) leakage from large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities, with the product aiming to stimulate the crucial investments necessary for achieving global net-zero targets. Developed by Howden and spearheaded by SCOR’s syndicate at Lloyd’s, the facility offers protection against environmental damage and revenue loss resulting from CO2 leakages in CCS projects, whether these occur suddenly or gradually. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 29/01/2024, 'Howden launches new insurance facility for net-zero transition initiatives')

London-based insurance provider Humn has entered administration as a final resort due to financial woes. Its joint administrators are PwC’s Adam Seres, David Baxendale, and James Cameron. Lifting the lid on the move, PwC said: “The directors of Limited had been exploring strategic options to address the medium-term funding requirements of the company. Despite extensive efforts and having exhausted all options, the difficult decision was taken by the directors to place the company into administration.” (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 29/01/2024, 'Humn goes into administration')

FloodFlash, the first insurance technology company to offer sensor-enabled parametric flood insurance, has today announced its expansion to a further 10 US states. Delaware, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, Vermont and Massachusetts now have unrestricted access to the parametric product. They join Florida, Texas, California, Virginia and Louisiana. FloodFlash is available across the states, however minimum premiums do apply for risks outside of the states above. Due to demand, FloodFlash has reduced that minimum premium to $25,000, with the intention to make their sensor-based parametric approach available to more of the businesses and public entities that need it most. (youTalk Insurance, 29/1/2024, 'FloodFlash announce US expansion')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Navigator Travel Insurance is now owned by Voyager Insurance Services. In its announcement on LinkedIn, Voyager Insurance said customer policies will not be impacted by the finalised acquisition, financial terms of which were not disclosed. Navigator Travel Insurance specialises exclusively in travel insurance, while its new owner provides both wholesale and retail insurance products and solutions including wedding cover. (Terry Gangcuangco, 2/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Voyager Insurance Services snaps up Navigator Travel Insurance')

Jensten Group (Jensten) has acquired community broker Melville Burbage, pending regulatory approval. The agreement involves a team of 15 and two additional offices, contributing £6 million in gross written premium (GWP) to Jensten's business. Well-regarded locally for delivering commercial broking solutions, Melville Burbage serves over 5,000 businesses and individuals across sectors such as construction, non-profit, and professional services. The company specialises in engineering and printing, areas that augment Jensten's expanding roster of specialist centres of excellence. (Roxanne Libatique, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Jensten expands regional presence with Melville Burbage swoop')

Astute Insurance Solutions (Astute) has announced its acquisition of the property specialist Sandhouse Insurance, its first purchase since becoming part of the JMG Group in 2022. In a press release, Astute said the completion of the deal marks a “significant milestone” in its strategic growth initiatives, strengthening its advice-led service proposition. Led by Ian Mahoney, Astute provides a raft of services for commercial and corporate clients across Northamptonshire and the UK. (Mia Wallace, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'JMG Group brokerage announces first acquisition')

Hadron, a pioneering insurer designed to helping Managing General Underwriters (MGUs) accelerate their growth with flexible capacity and reinsurance services, announced its expansion into the UK market with the acquisition of Folgate Insurance Company Limited. The acquisition of Folgate expands the Hadron footprint from 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. into the UK. Using a disciplined yet pragmatic view of underwriting risk and working closely with its MGU specialists and risk capital providers, Hadron designs optimal, efficient structures that support both rapid paths to market and long-term stability. (youTalk Insurance, 1/2/2024, 'Hadron Specialty enters UK with acquisition of Folgate Insurance Company')

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has launched a merger inquiry into the deal between The Ardonagh Group and Markerstudy Group. First announced last September, the proposed transaction involves Ardonagh’s personal lines broking business Atlanta Group. The plan is to merge Atlanta with Markerstudy to create a “major new player” in the UK insurance market. If approved, the deal will see Markerstudy parent Venus Topco Limited acquire Atlanta. Venus Topco is part of Pollen Street Capital, which in 2021 led a £200 million investment into Markerstudy. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Regulator launches inquiry into Ardonagh's deal with Markerstudy')

In further news...​The Ardonagh Group, subject to regulatory approval, is selling captive and insurance management group Robus to Strategic Risk Solutions (SRS) for an undisclosed sum. Part of Ardonagh’s capital solutions portfolio, Robus operates in Guernsey and Gibraltar. In a release, SRS said the acquisition is in line with its goal to become Europe’s leading captive management firm.(Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'Ardonagh sells Robus to Strategic Risk Solutions')

Howden has expanded its risk management capabilities in the UK through the acquisition of AHR Consultants, a major player in HR, employment law, training, and health & safety services. The AHR Consultants team, headquartered in Rugby, specialises in providing a range of HR support and consultancy solutions, including legally compliant employment documentation and unlimited HR advice. AHR Consultants also extends its expertise to health and safety compliance, offering support for risk assessments, fire safety, policies, training, and access to legal experts.​ (Roxanne Libatique, Insurance Business, 29/01/2024, 'Howden expands risk management capabilities with AHR Consultants swoop')

Access Insurance, a specialist broker catering to charities, is set to join Benefact Group, marking a significant expansion for the financial services group’s Broking and Advisory division. Benefact’s Broking & Advisory is in a growth phase with over £300 million of gross written premium (GWP). The group already offers insurance services through the Ecclesiastical and Ansvar brands, alongside EdenTree investment management and other broking businesses. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 29/01/2024, 'Benefact Group adds specialist charity broker to its ranks')


Insurer CFC has announced the appointment of Jason Hart as the Head of Proactive Cyber. A recognized cybersecurity thought leader and a longstanding member of the Forbes Technology Council, Hart brings over 20 years of experience in crafting and developing information security services. Hart most recently served as a Chief Technology Officer for EMEA at Rapid7, a Nasdaq-listed cybersecurity platform, alongside being a board advisor for various cybersecurity and technology businesses. (Jonalyn Cueto, 2/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'CFC introduces new head of proactive cyber')

​Ardonagh Specialty-owned Price Forbes has announced the appointment of Phil Johnson as the Chief Executive designate of its Asia Pacific operations. Johnson, currently based in Singapore, will be taking over as CEO at the end of September, following regulatory approval. Johnson joins Price Forbes from Miller Insurance LLP, where he served as Head of Casualty and Chair of the Australasian territorial group. His responsibilities at Miller included overseeing the wholesale strategy for property, casualty, and financial lines. Before his tenure at Miller, Johnson worked in politics and was trained as a Solicitor.(Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Price Forbes names new chief executive designate for APAC')

​Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (BILTIR) has announced significant changes to its leadership, including appointing Suzanne Williams-Charles as the organization’s first Chief Executive Officer. Williams-Charles is set to assume her role at BILTIR in April, bringing over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a notable focus on regulatory aspects for 15 years. Her previous position was with the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) as Director of Policy and Regulation, Corporate Secretary, and Data Privacy Officer. There, she led the Bermuda office and managed public outreach initiatives.(Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'BILTIR announces changes to executive team')

Brace Underwriting Limited, a multi-line and alternative risk specialist underwriter backed by Beat Capital Partners, has announced the launch of Brace USA. Headquartered in North Carolina, Brace USA will mirror its London counterpart and focus exclusively on binder business, excluding natural catastrophe, cyber, and long-tail liability. Glenn Dorr will take the helm as President and Head of Marketing, North America, reporting to group CEO Adam Holberry. Dorr has over three decades of industry experience. His background includes senior distribution roles at Hiscox, Lloyd’s, and HCC Specialty. He was previously the Head of Distribution at Brace.(Mika Pangilinan, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Brace Underwriting reveals US expansion')

Howden has announced the addition of two new members, Dean Barker and Ross Power, to its team in the South and West Wales region. As per his LinkedIn, Barker has been appointed as an Account Executive at Howden, coming to the role with nearly two decades of experience in the insurance sector. Barker has previously worked with regional and national brokers, including Jelf and Towergate. Power, on the other hand, joins Howden as a Commercial Account Handler. Based in Swansea, Power is tasked with supporting Account Executives in developing new business, attracting new clients, and addressing clients' day-to-day requirements. Power brings extensive experience in the insurance industry, particularly in the South Wales region, having previously worked with several local brokers, including Douglas Insurance. (Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Howden expands commercial team with key appointments')

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) has hired its first-ever London energy head. Former underwriting manager for onshore energy James Boyle is now Head of Energy for London, having been promoted with immediate effect. He brings more than 15 years of London Market experience to the post. “Boyle is perfectly placed to lead LSM’s globally recognised, market-leading underwriting team,” the specialist insurer said in a release. “Boyle and his team will continue to work closely with LSM’s in-house risk engineers and claims team to provide agile solutions for clients and brokers.” (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 01/02/2024, 'Liberty Specialty Markets creates new London role')

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has a new customer & broker engagement head for the UK. London-based Fiona Merton, who made the switch from Chaucer, succeeded Mark Walker. The latter was named UK national business head last year. Merton’s credentials include time spent at RSA and Travelers. She brings more than two decades of industry experience to BHSI. (Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 31/01/2024, 'Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance hires UK customer & broker engagement head')

Canopius Group has announced the expansion of its global credit & political risk team with the addition of four new members. Angelos Deftereos has been appointed as Head of Structured Credit, with Boris Medimorec and Virad Patel joining as Underwriters, all based in London. Meanwhile, Dimitri Plastiras has been tapped to join as an Underwriter in APAC. He will take up the role in Sydney before moving to Singapore later in the year. (Mika Pangilinan, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'Canopius expands credit & political risk expertise with new hires')

MDS Group, part of The Ardonagh Group, has announced the appointment of Álvaro Mengotti to its executive board. Mengotti joins MDS having previously served as Chief International and Reinsurance Officer at March Risk Solutions, a subsidiary of Banca March Group. He also previously worked at AIG Iberia, where he led for 12 years and closely collaborated with MDS and the Portuguese market. Mengotti was also a part of the LATAM ExCo at AIG from 2012 to 2016 and began his career at Gil y Carvajal.(Kenneth Araullo, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'MDS continues Spain and LatAm expansion with key appointment')

Azlina Bulmer, Executive Director of membership and engagement at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), is leaving the professional body ahead of her contract end date. According to the CII, Bulmer will exit its executive leadership team on February 23. Bulmer’s fixed-term contract was supposed to end in April. The reason for next month’s departure was not disclosed. “Azlina has made a real difference during her time with us,” acting Chief Executive Gill White, who remains at the helm until incoming CEO Matthew Hill’s arrival in April, said in a release.(Terry Gangcuangco, Insurance Business, 30/01/2024, 'Chartered Insurance Institute announces leadership team departure')

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