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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 15th March 2024

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Insurance News

AXA Commercial is providing brokers streamlined access to a collection of partner schemes offering AXA-underwritten solutions tailored to an array of non-standard trades and sectors. Called the Scheme Specialists directory, the new online niche schemes market resource is designed to alleviate the difficulty brokers often face when securing insurance for uncommon or specific business needs. (Terry Gangcuangco, 15/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA Commercial unveils niche schemes directory for brokers')

Lloyd’s has announced a major collaboration with the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) to enhance both the hubs’ re/insurance and risk sharing expertise. Both international organizations have pledged to enhance their partnership, with the aim of spurring innovation through the Lloyd’s Lab and broadening educational opportunities across both the Lloyd’s and Bermuda markets. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Lloyd's, BMA collaborate for reinsurance innovation and education')

This week marks a significant milestone for global insurance group Allianz as it widens its brand reach in the UK’s personal insurance market. As previously announced, the top insurer, capitalising on its international reputation, is rebranding British subsidiaries LV= Broker and Flow to elevate Allianz’s profile among UK consumers. Flow’s identity shift took effect on Thursday, making the digital motor insurance business known to the market as Allianz. With operations across nearly 70 countries and serving over 125 million customers, Allianz’s branding move in the UK underscores its ambitious growth plans in the country’s personal lines insurance sector. In the commercial space, Allianz currently serves over 2,000 UK brokers. (Terry Gangcuangco, 15/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz gives global brand a UK boost')

JM Glendinning Insurance Brokers North Yorkshire has achieved an important milestone as it surpassed £1 million in revenue for the first time in its history. In a bid to further bolster its growth, the company recently transitioned to Langley House at Wykeham Business Centre, an upgrade from its previous location at 54 Westborough in Scarborough, where it had been situated since 1978. (Kenneth Araullo, 15/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'JM Glendinning branch breaks through first million milestone')

​Amid significant fire risks in buildings with combustible cladding – as evidenced by 2017’s Grenfell Tower blaze and the subsequent Dame Judith Hackitt Review – the insurance industry is making what the Association of British Insurers (ABI) calls an “intervention” by setting up the Fire Safety Reinsurance Facility. Set to be launched next month, the McGill and Partners facility is supported by the ABI and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA). The participating insurers are Allianz, Aviva, AXA, RSA, and Zurich, while the reinsurance panel is led by Swiss Re. “The facility will enable insurers to expand the capacity they have for writing insurance for affected buildings and take on new business,” the ABI noted. “Over the course of the following 12 months, the insurers will consider which additional buildings can be entered into the facility as and when their insurance policies are due for renewal.”  (Terry Gangcuangco, 14/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Reinsurance facility set for rollout over six years post-Grenfell')

Swiss Re has announced plans to increase dividends as well as re-elect a member of the board to serve as its new Chairman. As the company touted a group SST ratio of 306% as of January 1, 2024, Swiss Re’s board plans to propose a 6% dividend increase to US$6.80 per share. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Swiss Re reveals plans for board re-election')

In further news...The Swiss Re Institute has shared insights into the inflation trends within the Euro area, projecting a return to the 2% mark, consistent with expectations of economic normalization. According to the analysis, current market forecasts for year-on-year inflation by September are aligned around 2%, albeit with some perceived upside risks. The reinsurer expects a temporary dip below this 2% threshold due to base effects, followed by a reacceleration later in the year, without endorsing the notion of a “second-wave” of inflation. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Swiss Re delivers verdict on Euro area inflation')

​Amid a return to underwriting profitability, specialty re/insurer SiriusPoint has maintained its credit and financial strength ratings, as well as a stable outlook. Fitch Ratings confirmed SiriusPoint’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at “BBB,” its senior debt at “BBB-,” and its operating subsidiaries’ insurer financial strength (IFS) rating at “A-” (Strong). The rating follows a notable turnaround in SiriusPoint’s financial health, marked by a return to underwriting profitability in 2023 after a period of challenges exacerbated by several catastrophic events. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'SiriusPoint gains stable outlook amid profitability return')

Antares Global has disclosed the 2023 performance figures for Antares Syndicate 1274 – with reinsurance leading growth for the business. The company reported a gross written premium (GWP) of $600 million, marking an 8.1% increase from the previous year’s $555 million. The growth was primarily fueled by expansions in its reinsurance sectors, in addition to contributions from the marine and energy insurance segments. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Reinsurance paves the way for syndicate's record profit')

​AEGIS London, operating under Lloyd’s Syndicate 1225, has announced its financial results for the year 2023. The syndicate reported an improvement in its combined ratio to 79.4%, a decrease from the previous year’s 83.8%. In financial terms, the syndicate’s profit under UK GAAP soared by 112% to £206 million, up from £97 million in 2022. Its premiums, before commissions, reached £1,040 million, marking a 15% rise from £908 million recorded in 2022. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AEGIS London posts surge in profit for 2023')

Global specialty insurer Brit has revealed a new cyber offering. Brit Cyber First50 is tailored for large institutions with annual revenues exceeding $10 billion. This initiative introduces a $50 million primary coverage limit under a Brit-led Lloyd’s consortium. Clients leveraging the Brit-led consortium will also gain access to Brit’s claims service. Jon Sullivan, Brit’s group Chief Underwriting Officer, touted the firm’s strong track-record of creating innovative products built around client demand. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Brit introduces new offering for large cyber risks')

​Lloyd’s, Arch Insurance, and other insurers have been taken to court by Swiss consortium Nord Stream, which was denied coverage following damage to its Baltic Sea pipelines due to underwater explosions of unknown cause. A report said Lloyd’s and Arch are listed as representative defendants in the UK High Court case, with the centuries-old marketplace among Nord Stream’s primary insurers while Arch led the excess cover providers. The gas pipelines, while not operating at the time, were damaged following explosions in international waters in 2022. Both Ukraine and Russia had denied involvement. Germany continues to investigate the cause, after Denmark and Sweden ended their probes due to lack of evidence. (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Lloyd’s, others hit with €400 million lawsuit')

Following the release of its preliminary results, International General Insurance (IGI) has now announced its financials for the final quarter and the entirety of 2023. For the quarter ending December 31, 2023, IGI reported a net income leap of 46.7%, totaling US$33.0 million, up from US$22.5 million in the same period of 2022. This surge was attributed mainly to an US$18.8 million rise in underwriting income and a favorable shift of US$6.4 million in net investment income. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'IGI announces full-year financial results')

​Inigo has announced a new partnership that revamps the underwriting business’s aviation war portfolio. Through the partnership, London-based insurtech Insurwave will use its technology and sector expertise to assist Inigo in achieving real-time monitoring of its portfolio exposure. Inigo will benefit from live location tracking of assets displayed on an interactive risk map. This feature enables the insurer to monitor global events through real-time alerts within specified or custom search zones. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Inigo unveils insurtech partnership for aviation war exposures')

​MS Amlin has reported its financial results for the past year, announcing a major turnaround from its operating loss in 2022. The Lloyd’s (re)insurer noted: “We delivered an exceptionally strong financial and operating performance in 2023, marking a significant milestone in the transformation of our business. Operating profit increased to £256.8 million, an improvement from the previous year’s loss of £46.7 million. The strength of the underlying underwriting performance is evidenced by a significantly improved adjusted combined ratio of 86.6% (2022: 96.2%) – the lowest in a decade, and best since the company was acquired by Mitsui Sumitomo in 2016.” (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'MS Amlin enjoys major turnaround')

Generali has reported growth in its financial performance for 2023, setting new records in gross written premiums (GWP) and dividends per share growth. The firm’s GWP surged by 5.6% to €82,466 million, propelled by growth in the property & casualty (P&C) sector. (Kenneth Araullo, 12/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Generali breaks through GWP barrier in financial results')

​A comprehensive report on how the Lloyd’s market is performing will soon be published by the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) and Insurance Capital Markets Research (ICMR). In its announcement, the LMA said: “The full report will delve into performance of syndicates and segments of the market by size and line of business, as well as benchmarking the market’s performance against liquid specialty (re)insurance investment and catastrophe bond indices.” The resource, which aims to take a deep dive into the market’s financials, will become available shortly after the publication of all the syndicates’ accounts later this month. (Terry Gangcuangco, 12/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'LMA to examine Lloyd’s market performance')

The Aviva-insured Darwin Autonomous Shuttle project has expanded, with the University of Salford now on board and a second shuttle added to the service. Described as the longest-running self-driving passenger service in the UK, the Darwin Autonomous Shuttle has been operating for two years, carrying passengers around Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. Under the project, which has the backing of the European Space Agency and UK Space Agency, autonomous vehicle operator Darwin Innovation Group has been sharing data with Aviva to further understand how to insure connected and autonomous vehicles. (Terry Gangcuangco, 12/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva-insured self-driving passenger service expands')

While Direct Line Group (DLG) is busy turning down takeover proposals, it’s business as usual for the insurer – recently extending its partnership with connected car data and devices provider Trakm8. The tie-up, which began in 2014, has been extended for a further two years. In an emailed announcement, the telematics supplier noted: “Trakm8 will continue to provide insurance data services and devices to Direct Line Group, including Trakm8’s advanced connectedcare data sets and AI-driven (artificial intelligence) FNOL (first notification of loss) crash algorithm.” (Terry Gangcuangco, 12/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Direct Line Group, Trakm8 extend partnership')

In further news... Direct Line Group CEO Adam Winslow is poised to unveil a fresh strategy in the wake of the company’s refusal of a £3.1 billion acquisition proposal from Belgian competitor Ageas. Winslow, who assumed the role of CEO shortly after the offer was dismissed by Direct Line’s board as “unattractive” at the end of February, will present the new plan concurrently with the annual financial outcomes on March 21, a report from This is Money revealed. The firm, which boasts a client base of approximately 10 million and operates brands such as Churchill and Green Flag, is listed on the FTSE 250 index and was established in 1985 as Britain’s inaugural telephone-based insurance provider. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Direct Line regroups amid another potential takeover attempt')

Africa Re has announced its preliminary financial results for the year 2023, noting a historic milestone as it crosses the billion-dollar mark. It reported a gross written premium (GWP) of $1.106 billion, marking an annual growth rate of 16.25%, which it says notably exceeded its forecasts for the year. This growth was attributed to effective marketing strategies, new business acquisitions, favorable market pricing, robust re’ demand, and moderate economic expansion in key markets. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Africa Re smashes billion-dollar milestone')

Markerstudy Group has announced the new divisional name for its broking and distribution portfolio. Markerstudy Broking has been renamed Markerstudy Distribution, to encapsulate the breadth of products and services across the entire division. It encompasses a number of own brand broking specialists, including Lancaster Insurance and BGL Insurance, as well as key partnerships with several of the best-known brands in UK financial services and retail. (Markerstudy Group, 14/3/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Markerstudy reveals new name for broking business')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Brookfield Reinsurance has announced that its Iowa Insurance Division has scheduled a hearing for April 5, 2024, regarding its planned acquisition of American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (AEL). Sachin Shah, the Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Reinsurance, shared his enthusiasm for the upcoming transition. “We are excited to move toward closing this transaction and begin the work of building AEL into a leader in the US annuity markets,” Shah said. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to drive the business forward, and to make a positive impact in the Des Moines community and on AEL’s policyholders and employees.” (Kenneth Araullo, 14/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Brookfield Reinsurance sets hearing date for AEL acquisition')

​PSC Insurance Group (PSC Insurance) has confirmed its engagement in discussions related to a potential acquisition, following an approach by multiple interested parties. The confirmation, reported by Reuters, noted that the group is exploring informal talks with a couple of international brokers, with Goldman Sachs brought on board to manage these preliminary discussions. The Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) sources suggest that the potential suitors include US-based Arthur J Gallagher and the UK’s Ardonagh Group. (Roxanne Libatique, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'UK, US brokers tipped to battle for major acquisition - report')

​Academy Insurance Services has brokered a deal to acquire an Allianz business arm to bolster its expansion in the North West. The multi-specialist broker has negotiated a transaction to acquire the entire equity share of Allianz Business Services Ltd, which operates under the name Premierline, integrating the latter’s specialised commercial insurance services, which are primarily offered throughout the UK, into its portfolio. Gilles Normand, Chief Executive Officer of Academy, stated that the deal was a pivotal element of Academy’s strategy for growth and development, aiming to establish a widely respected national brand. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Academy to acquire Allianz arm for North West expansion')

​Bermuda-based James River Group has initiated a lawsuit against Fleming Intermediate Holdings, a portfolio entity of Altamont Capital Partners, seeking to compel Fleming to adhere to conditions of a stock purchase agreement (SPA) concerning the acquisition of JRG Reinsurance Company Ltd. (JRG Re). The legal action, filed in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of New York County, centers on Fleming’s alleged failure to complete the acquisition of JRG Re, a deal poised for closure upon securing all requisite regulatory nods. James River’s legal filing recounts that Fleming, on the eve of the anticipated closing, withdrew from the agreement. The company is accused of not participating in the final closing call and seeking substantial alterations to the terms of the transaction at the last minute. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'James River files suit to enforce reinsurance sale')

Active insurance provider Coalition has announced a new partnership through a multi-year capacity agreement with Aspen Specialty Insurance Company (Aspen). The deal aims to extend cyber insurance capacity in the United States, beginning on or after April 1, 2024. The arrangement also allows Aspen to contribute to Coalition’s US surplus lines cyber program from this year forward. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Coalition inks multi-year capacity agreement with Aspen')

Seventeen Group has announced two acquisitions in March 2024. Firstly, they have acquired a book of business relating to Hendricks Insurance which is based near St Andrews in Scotland. As part of the transaction, Hendricks owner Ritchie Sherret will be joining Seventeen Group along with his team of four staff. Gross Written Premium is £2.8 million and the book comprises a mix of rural, commercial and private client business. The business will in due course rebrand to James Hallam (Seventeen Group’s broking subsidiary) and will form part of James Hallam’s Scottish regional division led by Regional Director Neil Campbell. The Division now operates out of five offices across Scotland including two premises in Glasgow and 1 each in Dumfries, Inverness and St Andrews. Secondly, they have acquired Keith Miller Insurance Services Ltd, a business controlling £2.5 million GWP. Keith Miller has a strong Hotel book, which compliments James Hallam’s Hospitality & Travel team and also handles a number of significant long-standing clients across a variety of sectors. Again, the business will rebrand to James Hallam in due course and the team will attach to the Group’s West Sussex office. Keith Miller will be remaining with the Group to help enable a smooth transfer and takes on an ambassadorial role for the wider business. (Seventeen Group, 14/3/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Seventeen Group completes two acquisitions')


Arch Reinsurance Group has announced the promotion of three key Senior Executives, set to take effect on April 1, 2024. Jerome Halgan has been appointed as President and Chief Underwriting Officer of Arch Reinsurance Group. Besides this expanded role, he will retain his position as CEO of Arch Reinsurance Ltd. (Arch Re Ltd.). Halgan, who has been with Arch since 2009, was previously a Vice President at Berkshire Hathaway for seven years. He also held previous roles at SOREMA North America. In addition to Halgan, Vanessa Hardy Pickering has been named Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Arch Reinsurance Group. Finally, Lester Pun will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Arch Reinsurance Group. Pun joined Arch in 2018, serving most recently as the Chief Actuary of Arch Re Ltd. He held previous roles at New Ocean Capital Management, AQR Re, and Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings.(Kenneth Araullo, 14/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Arch Reinsurance elevates executive trio to key roles')

Bermuda-based legacy re/insurer Compre has announced the appointment of Zameer Mitha to the newly established position of Group Commercial Director within the group’s business development sector. Mitha, who began his tenure at Compre as Chief Actuary for North America in 2022, will now spearhead business origination efforts in both the European and Lloyd’s markets. Prior to Compre, Mitha held roles at ArgoGlobal, including Head of Transformation and Head of Strategy & Business Operations for EMEA. He was also a board member for ArgoGlobal and worked at Argo Group and KPMG UK in various roles. (Kenneth Araullo, 14/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Compre announces promotion for new commercial director role')

Markel Group’s insurance arm Markel has promoted Oliver Atkin to Bloodstock Head in London with immediate effect. In his new capacity, Atkin will be in charge of guiding the bloodstock team towards expansion and innovation as part of Markel’s focus on the equine and livestock sectors. He will also continue to bolster both new and ongoing relationships with brokers while ensuring that high service standards are maintained. Having been a part of Markel for over six years as a Bloodstock Underwriter, Atkin has consistently exhibited outstanding leadership and management of the portfolio. (Terry Gangcuangco, 15/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel names bloodstock head in London')

​In an effort to bridge the gender seniority gap in re/insurance, the ISC Group has announced the appointment of Carmen Powell as its interim Managing Director. She joined the organization’s global team on March 4, 2024. Powell brings a track record of over two decades in senior marketing roles, with a focus on business transformation and the achievement of sustainable objectives for a wide range of entities, including corporate firms, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and non-profits. She will now be at the helm of the organization’s global business development strategy, specializing in enhancing ISC Group’s membership offerings. (Kenneth Araullo, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Group tackles gender seniority gap in re/insurance')

​Tidjane Thiam, whose credentials include time spent as Chief Executive of Aviva Europe and Prudential Plc, has his eyes set on becoming Ivory Coast’s next President. Speaking with French newspaper Le Monde, Thiam was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: “Yes, I will stand as a candidate at the upcoming PDCI convention to be the party’s candidate for the 2025 presidential election.” Thiam currently leads PDCI (Democratic Party of Ivory Coast), the West African country’s main opposition party. He left Prudential in 2015 to take the helm at Credit Suisse. The McKinsey & Company alumnus and former Ivory Coast Secretary of Development and Planning had a five-year stint at Aviva, from 2002. (Terry Gangcuangco, 13/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ex-insurance CEO to run for president')

​Legal and business services provider DWF has bolstered its insurance division by adding a new partner to its ranks. The firm has announced the recruitment of Disease and Casualty Specialist David Wynn as a new Partner for the practice. Wynn, previously at the helm of Clyde & Co’s global legacy solutions practice, brings over a decade of experience in advising an array of global insurers, reinsurers, run-off specialists, and multinational corporations on industrial disease and casualty claims. (Kenneth Araullo, 12/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'DWF brings in disease and casualty expert to bolster insurance offering')

HDI Global SE has announced significant changes to its board of management, effective April 1, 2024, with the appointments of Dr Barbara Klimaszewski-Blettner and Dr Dirk Höring in key leadership roles, and the exit of one notable figure. Klimaszewski-Blettner will oversee the company’s operations in Germany and global claims management, while Höring will serve as Chief Underwriting Officer for the property, engineering, and marine portfolios, in addition to leading HDI Risk Consulting. The company also announced the departure of Claire McDonald from the company. Torsten Leue, Chairman of Talanx AG’s board of management and Supervisory Board Chairman at HDI Global SE, expressed gratitude for McDonald’s contributions to HDI Global’s portfolio performance and international expansion, wishing her success in future endeavors.(Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'HDI Global reveals board additions – big name exits')

Allianz Commercial has announced the appointment of Baillie Peacock as the Branch Manager for its Chelmsford office to bolster the senior regional leadership team in the South of England. Peacock transitions from Aon UK where he held the position of Head of Sales and Service for over four years. His tenure there saw him lead initiatives within a service portfolio that included professional indemnity, office, directors & officers, and financial lines. Before joining Aon, Peacock held several roles across the insurance sector, including positions at LV= Broker, where he managed commercial motor operations, and Zurich Insurance, where he led a team of underwriters focusing on SME commercial combined products. His career also includes leadership positions at AXA and Allianz Insurance. (Kenneth Araullo, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Commercial names new Chelmsford branch manager')

Aspen has officially named Sarah Stanford as the Chief Executive Officer of its UK operations. The announcement comes after Stanford’s appointment as interim CEO in January, with the Aspen UK boards giving their approval to make the position permanent. In line with Stanford’s new role, Dan Osman has been selected to take over her previous capacity as Active Underwriter for Lloyd’s Syndicate 4711 while continuing his tenure as Chief Underwriting Officer for Aspen Insurance UK (AIUK). Osman first joined Aspen in 2018 as a Senior Underwriter. He was subsequently promoted to Head of Credit and Political Risk in 2021. A year later, he was appointed CUO of AIUK. Prior to his time at Aspen, Osman had amassed 17 years of experience in the banking sector. He was involved in diverse functions ranging from credit research and correlation trading to bond and credit default swap trading, as well as loan and portfolio management. (Mika Pangilinan, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aspen UK names new chief executive')

Global claims services provider McLarens has announced the formation of an entertainment and contingency team in the UK & Ireland. The move comes with the addition of four seasoned adjusters to the company, underlining McLarens’ strategy to expand its focus on sector-specific services. The company has also tapped Ian McDonald to lead the team. McDonald is stepping out of early retirement to take on the role. He has more than 40 years of experience in the sector, having previously served as Director and Head of Media and Entertainment at a global loss adjusting firm. His background includes handling complex claims in film, TV, and live event production, ranging from equipment and time-element claims to contingency and casualty. Joining McDonald are Frank D. Benke, Tim Adams, and Russell Norris, who each bring their own wealth of expertise from their careers in global adjusting firms.(Mika Pangilinan, 11/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'McLarens forms entertainment and contingency team in the UK & Ireland')

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