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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 22nd March 2024

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Aviva disbursed £1.18 billion in 2023 to its individual protection policyholders, marking a historic peak in claims payments. The total signifies not only the highest sum Aviva has distributed in a single year but also marks the fourth year in succession where the payout has crossed the £1 billion threshold. The insurer successfully processed and paid out on over 50,600 claims across individual life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, fracture cover, and hospital/trauma/therapy/carer cover, achieving a 97.8% payout rate. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva breaks claims record')

Zurich Insurance Group’s Nordic unit is broadening its horizons with a strategic move into the Baltic states. According to the insurer, which has been operating within the Nordic countries since 1875, it will now be providing its suite of insurance and risk management solutions to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, targeting the middle-market segment specifically. The expansion will see Zurich’s Finnish branch spearheading efforts to cater to the distinct requirements of middle-market businesses and their brokers in the Baltic region. (Terry Gangcuangco, 22/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Zurich Insurance Group announces Baltic expansion')

​VIG Re had a memorable 15th year - its preliminary results for the financial year 2023, show growth in both revenue and profits. The reinsurance firm reported a 13.7% increase in gross written premiums, totaling €900.7 million for 2023. This growth was primarily fuelled by the non-life treaty business, which saw significant advances across various segments. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'VIG Re marks 15 years with record results')

Specialty re/insurer SiriusPoint has joined forces with NIP Group to launch a new excess and surplus (E&S) program underwriting platform. It is tailored for landscaping firms in the United States, offering coverage for services ranging from landscape construction to snow removal. The initial focus on the LandPro program will set the stage for subsequent expansion of these solutions to additional NIP programs, it was stated. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'SiriusPoint collaborates with NIP for new nationwide E&S platform')

The Talanx Group, Germany’s third largest insurance group, which owns brands such as HDI Global and Hannover Re, has reported its results for the fiscal year 2023, announcing that it plans to lift its earnings targets following growth across its segments. Following its preliminary results in February, the insurance group has announced an increase in its dividend per share to €2.35, up by 35 cents, after recording a group net income of €1,581 million for the financial year 2023. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Talanx lifts earnings targets as it posts results for 2023')

The Fidelis MGU, which is rebranding to The Fidelis Partnership, has revealed its financials for the year ending December 31, 2023. For the fiscal year 2023, The Fidelis Partnership reported a gross written premium (GWP) of $3.6 billion, a 19% increase from the prior year. Growth was particularly notable in its specialty portfolio, which saw a 39% increase. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Fidelis MGU reports 2023 results, major rebrand')

Allianz Legal Protection (ALP) has announced a revamp of its existing After The Event (ATE) insurance offerings aimed at clinical negligence and personal injury law firms. The specialist legal insurer’s PAID+ was devised in collaboration with Speed Medical, integrating the “Paid As Incurred Disbursements” (PAID) system with Speed Medical’s specialised medical services and favourable payment conditions. ALP explains that this new scheme is unique in that it allows solicitors to recover disbursement costs as they occur, rather than waiting until the conclusion of a case. This integration with Speed Medical, a UK provider of medical reports, is designed to address longer settlement times and difficulties in sourcing appropriate medical experts that law firms currently encounter. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Legal Protection launches new proposition for clinical negligence')

​Howden’s Chief Corporate and Legal Affairs Officer Will Bloomer died unexpectedly last week. In an announcement, the broking group confirmed Bloomer’s passing describing him as a “family man” and noting it was devastated at his loss. Bloomer was a Solicitor for Cameron McKenna, before serving as General Counsel, Group Company Secretary and Compliance Director at Heath Lambert/Gallagher Health, and making the switch to Howden in 2012. He initially joined as Corporate & Legal Director, before moving into the roles of Group General Counsel, and later Chief Corporate and Legal Affairs Officer. (Paul Lucas, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Howden's Will Bloomer dies unexpectedly')

Direct Line Insurance Group PLC (Direct Line Group) has revealed its financial results for the year concluding on December 31, 2023 (FY23). The group saw its gross written premiums and related fees surge to £3,106.0 million – a 27.1% rise from the prior year. However, despite this increase, it faced a net insurance margin decline at -8.3%, coupled with an operating loss of £189.5 million. (Roxanne Libatique, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Direct Line Group takes big loss in latest financials')

Prudential Plc has released its 2023 earnings report, revealing a major turnaround. “These are a very strong set of results while operating in a challenging macro environment, with new business profit up 45%”, Chief Executive Anil Wadhwani said. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Prudential Plc bounces back in 2023 financials')

​Creditors of the insurtech company Vesttoo have agreed to a $14.5 million settlement with Hannover Re for a longevity swap transaction, pending approval from a federal bankruptcy court in the United States. The settlement motion was filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which was appointed during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings of Vesttoo. Additionally, the parties involved have expressed their intention to request the sealing of a confidential exhibit related to the settlement, planning to replace it with a publicly filed summary. (Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Hannover Re, Vesttoo creditors seek approval for longevity swap')

​SCOR Investment Partners, the asset management arm of the SCOR Group, has announced a milestone, having reached over €20 billion in assets under management. The year 2023 marked a period of growth for the firm, especially in terms of third-party activities, which saw a rapid increase in assets under management. This growth is also in step with the SCOR group’s Forward 2026 strategic plan. By the end of 2023, assets under management from third parties approached €7.4 billion, buoyed by nearly €900 million in net inflows from external investors. (Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'SCOR investment arm announces milestone')

The Clear Group has revealed its financial outcomes for the year ending October 31, 2023, with a notable surge in both revenue and EBITDA, largely fuelled by acquisitions and a solid operational performance. The group’s figures show a revenue jump of 31.7% to £74.7 million, with EBITDA experiencing a 33.4% increase. Also key to the group’s growth has been its focus on client service, evident from a client renewal retention rate of 94% for the period under review. The Clear Group also noted a rise in revenue from £56.7 million in 2022 to £74.7 million in 2023. (Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'The Clear Group publishes annual results')

​Alan Kirshner, the esteemed former Chairman and Chief Executive of Markel Group, passed away at the age of 88 on March 17. Kirshner’s journey with Markel Group began in 1960, and his visionary leadership was instrumental in the company’s evolution from a regional insurer to a multinational conglomerate. His tenure on the board of directors commenced in 1978, culminating in his role as Chair and CEO in 1986. The enterprise began trading publicly in the same year. Tom Gayner, the current CEO, expressed deep sorrow over Kirshner’s passing, saying: “This is a sad day. It’s hard to put into words the legacy and impact of Alan Kirshner. He was as savvy and hard-working a leader as anyone I ever met, but it was his commitment to people that really set him apart." (Terry Gangcuangco, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ex-Markel Group chair and chief executive passes away')

The world’s leading P&I marine and energy insurer, Norwegian giant Gard has announced its earnings for the year, showing a profit after tax of US$236 million, alongside a gross written premium reaching a record US$1,183 million. This achievement is marked as the best outcome in the company’s hundred year history. The carrier is also boasting a combined ratio of 93%, an insurance technical result of US$67 million, and an investment non-technical result of US$161 million. Equity stands strong at US$1,471 million. (Matthew Sellers, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Major marine insurer announces record results – 10% off for members')

​Cyber insurance’s global gross premium volume witnessed a yearly increase exceeding 20% from 2019 to 2021, with projections indicating a surge in demand over the coming decade. However, this growth is not without its downsides, as revealed in the latest study from an actuarial consultancy. The recent Insurance Risk Monitor from OAC places a spotlight on the cyber insurance segment, delineating its growth trajectory and identifying critical factors influencing the current market and risk landscape. Analysts predict that annual premium growth rates for the sector could reach up to 25%. (Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Cyber insurance to see growth, but downsides remain – OAC')

Marsh has released its “Transactional risk insurance 2023: year in review” report, revealing the broking giant’s third busiest year on record despite a continuing decline in global M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity due to macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds. According to Marsh, the tough conditions notwithstanding, there was resilient demand for transactional risk insurance, emphasizing its crucial role in facilitating M&A deals. Representations and warranties (R&W) cover, along with tax and contingent liability insurance, became a staple across various industry sectors in 2023. (Terry Gangcuangco, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh reveals third busiest year on record for transactional risk')

Crawford & Company has officially joined the ranks of organisations endorsing the ‘Code of Conduct for the Use of AI in Claims’ within the UK. The voluntary framework seeks to ensure that the deployment of artificial intelligence in claims management is conducted with fairness, transparency, and accountability, among other things. “With AI already being debated, delivered, and deployed in claims departments (and their suppliers) across the land, it is clear that the time for action is right now and not some indeterminate time in the future,” the Code of Conduct claims working group noted previously. (Terry Gangcuangco, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Crawford becomes signatory to UK conduct code on AI use in claims')

Kingfisher Insurance has a brand-new broking headquarters in Birmingham. The new West Midlands base in Rubery will serve as the central hub for the company’s motor trade, commercial, and non-standard home insurance divisions, in addition to housing its classic and specialist vehicle insurance brand Peter James Insurance. Managing Director James Stuart shared his enthusiasm about the new premises, saying: “The new HQ places Kingfisher in the heartlands of UK motoring heritage, with the West Midlands home to historical marques including MG, Triumph, Rover, and many more." (Terry Gangcuangco, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Kingfisher Insurance opens new base in Birmingham')

​Specialist insurer CFC has announced its foray into the carbon insurance market with a brand-new offering. The newly introduced Carbon Delivery Insurance by CFC is also notably the industry’s first product designed to safeguard businesses against both physical and political risks that could impede the delivery of voluntary carbon credits, the MGA states.(Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'CFC develops new policy aimed at carbon delivery')

Hannover Re has announced its fiscal results for 2023, highlighting a surge in its group net income. The group reported earnings of €1.8 billion, surpassing its initial forecast of at least €1.7 billion. This financial upswing prompts an anticipated increase in dividends, with plans to propose a total distribution of €7.20 per share at the next Annual General Meeting — a hike from the previous €6.00, comprising a regular dividend of €6.00 and a special dividend of €1.20 per share. (Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Hannover Re reports surge in net income')

Sabre Insurance Group has disclosed its financial results for the year 2023. The firm reported an increase in gross written premiums, rising to £225.1 million from £171.3 million the previous year. Key financial indicators also showed improvement, with the net loss ratio decreasing to 56.3% from 66.0%, and the combined operating ratio improving to 86.3% from 93.4%. (Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Sabre Insurance posts full year 2023 results')

Workforce benefits provider Personal Group Holdings has announced its preliminary financial outcomes for the year 2023. The announcement highlighted an uptick in the group’s KPIs, with an expansion in total client numbers and growth in recurring revenue sectors. This performance in the latter half of the year has also solidified the board's view that Personal Group is on a growth path, set to harvest benefits from recent investments in offerings and team enhancements. (Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Personal Group reveals preliminary results for full year 2023')

​Aviva has completed its exit from Singapore Life Holdings (Singlife) for total proceeds worth £937 million. Last September, the British insurer agreed to sell its 25.9% stake in Singlife, along with two debt instruments, to Sumitomo Life Insurance Company. The Japanese mutual, which first invested in Singlife in 2019, also moved to acquire all the shares in Singlife held by TPG (around 35%) back in December, while offering to snap up the stake of all other remaining shareholders. (Terry Gangcuangco, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva completes Singlife divestment')

UK rural insurer NFU Mutual has disclosed its distribution of a £54 million mutual investment bonus to its qualifying with-profits customers for 2023. The bonus, which marks a 1.5% enhancement, comes in addition to any annual bonus customers might receive, underlining the insurer’s commitment to sharing financial successes with eligible policyholders. Over the last half-decade, the financial resilience of the mutual has allowed it to augment the investments of with-profits policyholders by more than £180 million via the mutual investment bonus. Now it’s been announced that the bonus will be adjusted to 1.85% starting April 2024. (Terry Gangcuangco, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'NFU Mutual distributes £54 million mutual investment bonus')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​In a strategic move poised to expand its European footprint, The Ardonagh Group is acquiring independent Italian brokerage Mediass. The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, marks Ardonagh’s first major venture in Italy after Carlo Faina took the helm as Chief Executive of Ardonagh Italia in November 2022. Mediass specialises in general liability, motor, and professional indemnity coverages, all supported by an extensive network comprising 96 offices and more than 550 franchise partners. Last year, the company reported a €20 million income. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ardonagh boosts Europe reach with Italian swoop')

Award winning Tokio Marine, the giant Japanese headquartered insurance company which already has a wide presence across the globe, has set its sights on expanding with a budget of up to US$10 billion for overseas acquisitions. The insurer has already become a largely global operation - international business now constitutes over half of its overall profits, a significant increase from less than 3% two decades ago, with substantial investments already made in the US market. (Matthew Sellers, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Tokio Marine sets sights on international insurance buying spree')


​Independent reinsurance brokerage Holborn has announced the appointment of Luke Kwiatkowski as its new Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Before joining Holborn, Kwiatkowski served as Vice President and Deputy Global Controller at AmTrust Financial Services. His resume also includes a wide background in the insurance sector, highlighted by seven years at KPMG auditing property and casualty insurance and reinsurance entities.(Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Holborn adds former Munich Re executive')

Specialist re/insurance broker BMS has expanded its cyber capabilities with the appointment of a new Co-Divisional Director, naming Daniel Leahy in the role. Leahy, a Chartered Insurance Broker in the London Market with nearly a decade of experience, transitions to BMS from Howden, where he held the position of Divisional Director for cyber & technology. His background in cyber insurance also includes a previous role at Miller Insurance Services LLP. (Kenneth Araullo, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'BMS names new cyber practice co-leader')

​Dale Underwriting Partners Syndicate 1729’s parent company Dale Holdings Limited has confirmed the addition of John Chambers, John Hastings-Bass, and Clare Hennings to its board as Independent Non-Executive Directors. Chambers is stepping into the role as Chair of the group risk and underwriting committee, armed with more than three decades of Lloyd’s market experience. His credentials include significant contributions at AEGIS London, where he was Underwriting Director as part of a 19-year stint. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Dale Holdings makes board appointments')

​Allianz Partners has promoted Ariane Koelbli to Global Head of People & Culture. Before ascending to the post, Koelbli was integral to the firm’s human resources department, serving as the Head of HR Business Partners and HR Country Leads from 2022. This position saw her significantly enhancing HR’s role within Allianz Partners and pioneering a global approach to HR delivery. Koelbli’s experience as an HR leader within the financial services industry includes time spent at Swiss Re and Zurich. (Terry Gangcuangco, 21/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Partners picks global head of people & culture')

​AI specialist insurtech Cytora has bolstered the expertise of its advisory board with the addition of Emmanuel Clarke, former President and CEO of PartnerRe. Clarke brings experience from his tenure in leadership positions within property and casualty (P&C) insurance, specialty lines, and the global reinsurance market. Clarke also contributes his expertise as a board member for several organizations, including Intact Financial Corporation, BMS, Compre, Wakam, and Tremor Technologies. He is also currently a Senior Advisor for McKinsey & Company. (Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Former PartnerRe head to bolster global advisory board')

​Sompo International has promoted a stalwart of 10 years to head the company’s commercial P&C underwriting efforts. The insurer has named Richard Allen to the position of Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) for its global markets commercial property & casualty (P&C) insurance division. Previously serving as Executive Vice President, Commercial P&C Insurance and Professional Lines Product Leader within the global markets sector, Allen succeeds Cliff Easton, who is transitioning into retirement while remaining as an Advisor to the company.(Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Sompo names new CUO for global commercial P&C business')

The West of England P&I Club (West) has unveiled two specialised claims units, executing several promotions and role changes at its London headquarters. The club’s two-pronged initiative first aims to augment claims capabilities in areas concerning crew, passengers, and third-party personal injury and death claims. To that end, the club has introduced a people claims team, with Chris Edwards elevated to the role of Head of Claims (people team).(Kenneth Araullo, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'West P&I launches new specialist claims teams')

​Julie Comer has joined the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) as Head of Compliance. Before her transition to the trade body, Comer was employed at Lloyd & Whyte, holding the position of Risk & Compliance Director. With a decades-long career entirely rooted in the broking sector, Comer commented: “As a broker, I really appreciated the help and support offered by BIBA. I know the burden that compliance with regulation places on brokers, and I am looking forward to working with members to help them achieve regulatory requirements efficiently." (Terry Gangcuagco, 20/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'BIBA welcomes compliance head')

Swiss Re has officially named Amitabha Ray as the incoming CEO for its India Branch, set to assume his new role on April 1, 2024, pending regulatory clearances. With a 27-year tenure at the reinsurance giant, Ray’s experience spans across various global locales including Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Johannesburg. His expertise encompasses treaty underwriting, client management, facultative underwriting, and business development. Ray succeeds Hadi Riachi, who will transition to the position of Head, Global Underwriting Center for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. (Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Swiss Re promotes stalwart to new head of India branch')

The National Cargo Bureau (NCB) has announced the election of Sean Dalton as the new Chairman of its board of directors, with his term set to commence on March 11, 2024. Dalton will occupy the position for two consecutive one-year terms, succeeding Captain John Murray, whose tenure as Chairman has concluded. Dalton primarily holds the position of Executive Vice President and leads the marine underwriting division for North America at Munich Re.(Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re EVP to chair NCB board of directors')

Specialist engineering and tech insurer HSB has appointed a new Managing Director for its warranty and building control practice. The Munich Re-owned firm has named David Swigciski as the new MD for Premier Guarantee, taking over from Jacki Goodman who retired at the close of 2023. With expertise in specialist insurance, Swigciski joins HSB after serving as Director of Client Service at DAS UK Group.(Kenneth Araullo, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'HSB taps new MD for warranty and building control division')

​Seventeen Group has added Roy Standish to the board of James Hallam, effective this month. Standish, a seasoned insurance professional, joined the broking subsidiary in 2019, leading its partnership broker programme before moving on to manage insurer relationships as Distribution Director. His expanded role will now include a focus on broker mergers and acquisitions, aligning with James Hallam’s strategic growth initiatives. Standish’s credentials include 32 years spent at Zurich Insurance. (Terry Gangcuangco, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Industry stalwart joins James Hallam board')

Chubb is expanding its reach into the global market with a new transactional risk insurance platform aimed at serving international clients. The insurer brought on board Josh Cowen as Senior Vice President for international transactional risk as part of the launch. From his base in the UK, Cowen will lead underwriters specialising in warranty and indemnity, tax, and contingent liability insurance products outside North America.(Terry Gangcuangco, 19/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Chubb announces global transactional risk platform')

Global reinsurance broker Gallagher Re has announced the appointment of Brian Flasinski as CEO for its North America region. Flasinski will succeed Jim Bradshaw, who will transition to the role of Chairman for Gallagher Re North America. Flasinski joined the company in 2015. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and North American sales leader. Prior to his tenure at Gallagher Re, Flasinski served for nine years as a Vice President at Guy Carpenter.(Ryan Smith, 18/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher Re taps new CEO for North America')

​Brit has announced the appointment of David Cary as Deputy Head of Property Treaty for its Bermuda operations to mark the expansion of its leadership team in the reinsurance sector. With a background that spans nearly two decades in the reinsurance industry, Cary transitions to Brit after a tenure as Underwriting Manager and Head of Property & Casualty for QBE Re in Bermuda. His prior experience also includes roles at Swiss Re and Willis Re. (Kenneth Araullo, 18/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Brit bolsters Bermuda office with new deputy head of property treaty')

Miller is expanding its fine art and specie division as it brings new blood to the consolidated team. The latest addition is Lance Thorpe, who steps into the role of Specie Account Executive. With a background spanning over 15 years, Thorpe’s career has encompassed significant positions, including an underwriting role at Everest, alongside previous underwriting and broking responsibilities at Parker Norfolk & Partners and Willis Towers Watson (now WTW). His arrival follows the 2023 launch of the fine art and specie team, now comprising several key figures. (Kenneth Araullo, 18/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Miller hones fine art and specie expertise with key appointment')

​Michigan-headquartered H.W. Kaufman Group, the name behind Burns & Wilcox, has added Jacqueline Legrand to its London board of directors amid the company’s continued push for international expansion. Currently, Legrand is CEO of advanced geospatial analytics business MAPTYCS, an insurtech she co-founded to deal with property and climate risks as well as real-time events response. With an industry background spanning 25 years across the US and the UK, her previous roles include Chief Operating Officer at international broker MDS and CEO at captive insurance firm HighDome PCC. (Terry Gangcuangco, 18/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ex-Brokerslink CEO joins Kaufman’s London board')

Sutton Winson (SW) are delighted to announce the appointment of Neil Hobbs as a Director and Board member, subject to FCA regulatory approval. Neil has been a longstanding and dedicated member of the SW team, having started as an Account Technician in our Corporate Commercial Broking team back in 2004, working his way up over the years and heading up the Commercial team since 2011. (Sutton Winson, 18/3/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Neil Hobbs appointed as Director at Sutton Winson')

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