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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 5th April 2024

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Profit margins for Europe’s major commercial insurers are set to reach their peak in 2024 before encountering a downturn, according to new analysis by Fitch Ratings. The report by Fitch pointed to momentum in pricing that has shown a marked deceleration throughout 2023, with little expectation of outpacing the rate of claims inflation in the following year. European commercial insurers have been grappling with elevated underwriting losses caused by a combination of factors, including significant claims inflation, inadequate reserves, and the impact of the global pandemic. (Mika Pangilinan, 5/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'European commercial insurers’ profitability surge to stall - Fitch')

The cyber insurance market is witnessing significant evolution. In its latest report, Munich Re highlights this progression amid increasing digital threats. Thomas Blunck, CEO of reinsurance at the company, highlighted a notable gap in cyber risk coverage, referring to a global cyber survey which found that 87% of managers believe their companies are inadequately protected against cyber threats. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re on the cyber risks and trends that will shape 2024')

HowdenTiger, the reinsurance division of Howden, is set to undergo a rebranding to Howden Re in April 2024, aligning with the company’s broader strategy to consolidate its broking operations under a unified brand identity. The move comes on the heels of Howden’s comprehensive rebranding initiative in October last year, which sought to present a cohesive brand across its various business units. Since acquiring TigerRisk in January 2023, Howden’s reinsurance sector has demonstrated strong market performance. The company emerged as a rapidly growing reinsurance intermediary in 2023, boasting a 25% organic growth rate over the year. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Howden Tiger announces rebrand to Howden Re')

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has announced the creation of The Cyber Hub, in collaboration with specialist insurance provider CFC Underwriting (CFC). Made for members of BIBA, it will be a feature of the annual BIBA conference which will showcase the latest in cyber technology, expert insights, case studies, as well as an interactive “beat-the-hacker” game. The UK government estimates that there were about 2.39 million cases of cybercrime affecting businesses in the country last year, while there were 49,000 incidents of cyber fraud. Through The Cyber Hub, BIBA members, as well as conference attendees, will learn about the importance of cyber insurance for businesses, several strategies that will help in selling cyber insurance to clients, components of a good and effective cyber policy, and the future of cyber insurance. Attendees will also be able to access CFC’s team of cyber underwriters, security experts, incident responders, and claims adjusters. (Abigail Adriatico, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'BIBA unveils cyber hub for members')

​The insurance service provider Davies has announced that it has secured regulatory consent to extend its broking operations into Europe. The newly established Davies Broking Europe SRL (DBE) has received approval from the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and expects to become an authorised broker under Lloyd's imminently. With its headquarters in Brussels, DBE is positioned to support brokers within the European Economic Area (EEA), facilitating UK-based broker clients to broaden their operational reach into Europe through a warehousing solution. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Davies secures approval for broking operations in the EU')

Devonshire UW Limited, and its affiliate Devonshire UW Europe GmbH (together, “Devonshire Underwriting”), a Managing General Agent (“MGA”) specialising in underwriting transactional risk (“TR”) solutions, has announced its market launch today. Focused on positively disrupting the TR insurance market, the MGA will be led by four experienced founders and partners – Natasha Attray, James Dodd, James Fletcher and Charles Turnham – who are highly-respected specialists in this sector with a collective 30 years of transactional liability underwriting experience as well as over 15 years of professional experience in law and tax. The company, which is backed by Lloyd’s and a strong panel of A-rated insurance capacity providers, will provide intelligent, sophisticated solutions for large legal risk deals for brokers, corporates, private equity firms, professional advisers and other specialist investors. Devonshire’s products comprise Warranty & Indemnity (W&I), Tax and Contingency Insurance, with a particular focus on a streamlined, responsive underwriting process that embraces creativity and best-in-class service. (Devonshire Underwriting, 3/4/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Experienced underwriters launch new MGA Devonshire Underwriting specialising in transactional risk')

Bissell and Partners Ltd has received authorised status as an independent boutique Lloyd’s insurance broker. Founded in 2016, the company handles and advises on complex risks on a global scale. It specialises in bespoke re/insurance solutions while focusing on a client-centric approach. Chief Executive Officer Chris Bissell spoke about the authorised status and Lloyd’s broker accreditation in an emailed statement, referring to this new development as “a huge career goal.” (Mika Pangilinan, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Bissell and Partners gains Lloyd’s broker status')

The recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, an incident marked by substantial insurance losses, is expected to exert a minimal impact on the earnings of individual reinsurers. According to Fitch Ratings, the event, despite its severity, is unlikely to alter the ratings of global reinsurers. Projected to become the largest marine insurance claim ever recorded, Fitch noted that the incident is poised to eclipse the loss of approximately $1.5 billion from the Costa Concordia sinking in 2012. With estimated losses ranging between $2 billion and $4 billion, the final insured loss will hinge on the duration of the port’s closure and the specifics of business interruption insurance policies. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Baltimore bridge collapse to have limited impact on reinsurers – Fitch')

The directors & officers (D&O) insurance market underwent significant changes throughout 2023, with global markets facing a mix of challenges and opportunities. Gallagher’s latest report analyses these developments, offering insights into the regional dynamics and trends that are shaping the D&O landscape as the industry moves into 2024. Among the key themes explored are the fluctuations in pricing, adjustments in capacity, the rise of new risks, and shifts in regulatory frameworks, all of which offer a glimpse into the current state of the D&O market across different territories. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher report delves into the state of the global D&O market')

esure Group has published its annual report for the fiscal year 2023, with the CEO praising a “robust” year despite a dip in profitability. In the report, the motor and home insurance provider marked a period of navigation through challenging market conditions with a focused shift towards enhancing written profitability rather than merely increasing policy volumes. The year 2023 witnessed the company grappling with industry-wide challenges such as elevated claims inflation and a resurgence in claims frequency to levels seen prior to the pandemic. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'esure reflects on "robust" 2023 despite dip in profitability')

Ki has formed a new partnership with Beazley, as part of a move to expand its digital follow capacity within the Lloyd’s insurance market. The multi-year deal will see Ki incorporate additional follow capacity from Beazley’s syndicate 2623/623 via its online platform, according to a company release. This capacity will be available across Ki’s open market business sectors, the release added, including the property, casualty, and specialty divisions. (Mika Pangilinan, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ki forms multi-year partnership with Beazley')

Aspen Insurance Holdings has released its financial results for both the three months and 12 months ended Dec. 31. The company posted improvements in combined ratio and net income, according to a news release. “We are pleased to report an excellent set of results for 2023,” said Mark Cloutier, Aspen’s Executive Chairman and Group CEO. “Aspen’s continued focus on underwriting discipline and operating excellence resulted in our adjusted combined ratio improving to 89.4%, our net income available to ordinary shareholders increasing to $485 million and an annualized operating return on average equity of 20.2%, all significant improvements over the prior year.” (Ryan Smith, 1/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Aspen reveals 2023 results')

​Recently rebranded The Fidelis Partnership has announced that it has received “in principle approval” from Lloyd’s for the establishment of Syndicate 3123. The initiative is a collaboration between Fidelis Insurance Holdings Limited and Hampden Agencies, Lloyd’s largest source of private capital. The new syndicate also marks a notable return for Richard Brindle – the founder and CEO of The Fidelis Partnership – to the Lloyd’s market after a hiatus of 26 years. Pending final approval, Syndicate 3123 aims to commence underwriting activities in the second half of 2024 with a goal to generate $180 million in gross written premiums (GWP), with projections of reaching $450 million in GWP by 2025. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'The Fidelis Partnership announces new syndicate')

​Prudential Financial has officially completed a major reinsurance transaction with Somerset Re involving a portion of its guaranteed universal life insurance block. Initially unveiled on July 24, 2023, this move, Prudential explained, aligns with its strategic efforts to mitigate market sensitivity and enhance capital efficiency. The financial outcomes stemming from this transaction are anticipated to align with projections shared in the original July 2023 announcement. This reinsurance agreement also marks a pivotal step for Prudential Financial as it undergoes efforts to optimize its portfolio and financial standing. By transferring some of the risks associated with its guaranteed universal life insurance policies to Somerset Re, Prudential says that it aims to achieve a more stable and efficient capital structure. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Prudential Financial finalizes reinsurance transaction with Somerset Re')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Generali Investments Holding S.p.A. (GIH), an entity which comprises most of the asset management activities of global insurance and asset management provider Generali Group (Generali), has acquired global asset manager Conning Holdings Limited (Conning). “We are excited to embark on this long-term partnership with Generali, with identified growth areas and synergies in mind and to leverage our shared insurance industry heritage,” said Woody Bradford, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Conning Holdings Limited Board. “Conning's hallmark is delivering world-class performance and service for clients. This will remain our steadfast focus going forward,” he added. (Abigail Adriatico, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Generali snaps up global asset manager')

​First revealed in December 2023, Ardonagh Advisory has now finalised its acquisition of Westfield Brokers, which operates as Westfield Insurance, to mark an expansion of its commercial brokerage operations. The Horsham, West Sussex-based Westfield Insurance is known for its portfolio of general insurance products, including fleet, liability, and contractors’ insurance. Founded in 2009 by Peter Cowan, it has carved a niche for itself in the commercial insurance sector, underpinned by Cowan’s expertise. He will continue at the helm = as it integrates into the Ardonagh Advisory platform, further enhancing its regional footprint in West Sussex. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ardonagh Advisory seals deal for Westfield Brokers')

Alternative asset manager Blue Owl Capital has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Kuvare Insurance Services LP (also known as Kuvare Asset Management) for $750 million. KAM, a specialized investment management firm, caters to the insurance industry, including Kuvare UK Holdings (Kuvare), by providing asset management services. The acquisition is planned to be financed through a mix of $325 million in cash and $425 million in Blue Owl Class A common stock. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Blue Owl signs deal for Kuvare')

​Jensten Group has declared its intent to acquire Sutton-based Henry Seymour & Co, subject to the customary regulatory approvals. This move will see Jensten welcoming a team of 22 professionals from Henry Seymour's Sutton office, along with a portfolio of 66,000 policyholders. Henry Seymour & Co is known for its expertise in the hair and beauty insurance market under the Salon Gold brand, catering to salons, clinics, gyms, spas, and mobile or freelance therapists. Additionally, its Tradesman Saver brand has carved out a significant presence in the trade and construction insurance sector. This acquisition is set to bolster Jensten's strategic focus on enhancing its schemes and affinities offering. Jensten explained that it remains dedicated to a diversified distribution strategy, spanning retail, digital, and wholesale channels within its schemes and affinities operations. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Jensten announces expansion with Henry Seymour & Co deal')

​Re/insurance specialist broker Miller has announced the completion of GIC’s acquisition of shares from Cinven, to mark a shift in the company’s ownership structure. GIC, a global institutional investor, initially invested in Miller alongside Cinven in 2021, setting the stage for Miller’s subsequent growth. Under the new ownership, Miller has reported a rise in trajectory, evidenced by a 26% increase in total revenues year over year, reaching £240 million in 2023. Additionally, the firm touted that it has successfully placed approximately $4 billion in gross written premiums, highlighting its expanding influence and capacity in the reinsurance sector. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'GIC snaps up Cinven shares in Miller to become majority shareholder')

The Broker Investment Group (TBIG) has announced an increased stake in PHP Insurance, a Chartered Insurance Broker based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. This investment sees TBIG now holding an 80% stake in the brokerage, which has held its chartered status since 2009. PHP Insurance operates under the leadership of Co-Directors Jullian Shawcross and Andy Tyrrell. It has a GWP of £5.5 million across general commercial insurance, including a substantial property portfolio. (Mika Pangilinan, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'The Broker Investment Group increases stake in PHP Insurance')


​Ascot Group has officially announced Charles Craigs as the new Managing Principal in charge of third-party capital initiatives in Bermuda in a bid to expand and enhance its sidecar and third-party capital ventures. Before joining Ascot, Craigs held several key positions at Canopius Re, dedicating 15 years to executive leadership roles within the company’s London and Bermuda offices. His most recent post was Chief Executive Officer of Canopius Bermuda and Group Head of Reinsurance Underwriting. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ascot appoints new managing principal for Bermuda third-party division')

Renovation Underwriting has announced the induction of Wayne Knibbs as the new Head of Distribution for private clients. The industry vet steps into the role previously held by James Guthrie, who has since been elevated to oversee the company's entire distribution strategy as the Head of Distribution. With a career spanning over two decades, Knibbs’ expertise is focused on the high-net-worth insurance sector. He was recently at Aviva, following its acquisition of Azur, holding a prior position as Head of Sales. His tenure at AIG and over a decade of expertise in the superyacht insurance niche also further complement his role at Renovation Underwriting. (Kenneth Araullo, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Renovation Underwriting names new head of distribution for private client team')

​Global insurance intermediary group Howden has introduced a new Chief Placement Officer in the UK & Ireland, Paul Hasib. Hasib has been in the industry for more than two decades and had served in multiple roles such as Development Underwriter, Broker Development Manager, Sales Manager, and Regional Manager at multinational personal and commercial insurer RSA as well as being Aston Lark’s Head of Insurer Management. After Howden acquired Aston Lark, Hasib took on the role of Head of UK Retail Carrier Management within the Howden Markets team. (Abigail Adriatico, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Howden reveals new acquisition and new chief placement officer')

QBE Insurance Group (QBE) has announced the appointment of Aidan Quinn as its new Head of Commercial Underwriting, Trade Credit for QBE Europe. Prior to his new role, Quinn was part of QBE’s Australia division as its Head of Commercial Underwriting where he was based in Melbourne for more than four years. Before that, he took on the position of National Relationship Manager and New Business Underwriter. Quinn began his career in the trade credit industry as the Senior Manager, New Business, of Atradius Credit Insurance, where he stayed for more than five years. Aside from Quinn’s appointment, QBE also recently announced Catalina Romero as its newest Senior Risk Underwriter and Iain Bird as Head of Surety. Romero joined the team with 15 years of experience as she previously held roles at Coface, Allianz, and Barclays Bank. Bird comes with more than 25 years of experience and previously worked for insurance firms such as Great American, Travel and General, and Correlation Risk Partners. (Abigail Adriatico, 4/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'QBE welcomes new divisional head for European operations')

​Munich Re has announced Klaus Wilkens as the new President and CEO for Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company, the reinsurer’s agency affiliate in the country. Wilkens, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry, first joined Munich Re in 1995, embarking on a career that began in the casualty facultative underwriting department. Wilkens’ career trajectory at Munich Re took him across the globe, including a significant tenure with Munich Re of Africa starting in 2000, before he returned to Munich to serve as Senior Underwriter, specializing in customized reinsurance solutions. In 2008, he advanced to the position of Client Management Executive, overseeing the client management team responsible for the non-life reinsurance business in several key markets, including the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re names new CEO for Canada')

Ariel Re has announced significant internal advancements as it promotes 13 of its staff across its Bermuda and London locations. Brian Darling, has been named AVP of portfolio management, Cameron Cooper is now VP, Actuary and Catarina Correia, has elevated to the position of Reinsurance Analyst. Connor Lockett has been promoted to Software Developer, Emily Leitch, takes on the role of SVP, Head of Marine and Specialty Lines and JayLynn Hines, now an Underwriter specializing in cyber. Katie Dilke has been appointed as VP, Head of Non-Cat Analytics and Actuarial Pricing, Meghan Sherwin has been promoted to Reinsurance Analyst and Morgan Siese is now a Human Resources Generalist. Finally, Neil Pohlman, Brian Darling, and Roman Sklyar, all advance to AVP of Portfolio Management, Ruhal Miah, is stepping up to Senior Analyst, Portfolio Management and Sophia Marshall, has been named Assistant Manager, Operations. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ariel Re announces swathe of promotions for Bermuda, London offices')

​MS Amlin has officially announced Sam Geddes as its new Head of Reinsurance & Deputy Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO), pending regulatory consent. Having joined MS Amlin in April 2021, Geddes brings over two decades of international market expertise to his new position, with significant experience in Hong Kong and New York. His career also includes a stint as Deputy Active Underwriter at Everest Global Markets, starting in 2016, and prior senior roles at Kiln Syndicate 510 and MSIG Syndicate 3210. Geddes, who previously served as Head of Property & Allied Lines at MS Amlin, will assume his new responsibilities immediately, continuing to report to Martin Burke, the chief underwriting officer. The vacancy left by Geddes will be filled by Simon Morgan, who was previously Head of Property Delegated Authority at MS Amlin. Before Hiscox, Morgan also served as a Property Underwriter at Kiln. Morgan, who joined MS Amlin in September 2022, brings more than 20 years of experience in the property market. He arrived at MS Amlin from Hiscox, where he managed a $500 million portfolio as Divisional Director for property during his 15-year tenure. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'MS Amlin names new head of reinsurance')

Independent personal and commercial brokerage Thomas Carroll Group has enhanced its leadership team with the addition of David Whittaker as Chief Operating Officer. Having transitioned to an employee ownership trust (EOT) framework, Thomas Carroll appoints Whittaker to bolster the group's ongoing growth initiatives and succession strategy. With a career including a pivotal role as the COO of Aon's UK Retail Business and a near-decade tenure at Marsh UK where he became the inaugural COO of its National Corporate Practice, Whittaker brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Upon joining Thomas Carroll Group, Whittaker will also become a member of the company's board of directors, positioning him to play a key role in shaping its future direction. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Thomas Carroll Group names new COO')

Swiss Re has announced a major leadership change with Andreas Berger set to assume the role of Group Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2024, succeeding company vet Christian Mumenthaler, who has decided to step down following an eight-year tenure. Berger, who joined Swiss Re in March 2019, brings extensive experience from his previous roles at Boston Consulting Group, Gerling, and Allianz. Mumenthaler has been with the company since 1999 in notable leadership roles, including Chief Marketing Officer Reinsurance and CEO - Reinsurance. (Kenneth Araullo, 3/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Swiss Re CEO steps down, successor named')

​Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) has announced the appointment of Alison Rand to its board of directors, effective from April 1, 2024. Previously, Rand served as the Chief Financial Officer for Primerica, an insurance, investment, and financial services distribution company with over 140,000 independent agents across the US and Canada. Joining Primerica in 1995 and stepping into the Executive Vice President and CFO role in 2000, Rand was key in leading Primerica’s initial public offering in 2010. Besides her new role at RGA, Rand is an Independent Director at Regions Financial Corporation, contributing to the audit and technology committees. Currently, Rand is also the Vice Chair of the Dean’s advisory council at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'RGA names new member of board of directors')

Legal services provider DWF has announced the expansion of its global risks practice in London with the appointment of Gary Walkling and Franco D'Andrea as Partners, and Leah Wood as Senior Associate. Walkling joins DWF after a 15-year tenure at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, including the last four years as a Partner where he led the International Risk insurance team. D'Andrea, meanwhile, transitions to DWF from Clyde & Co. He has advised international insurers and reinsurers, focusing on energy and marine claims. Wood comes to the role with experience in advising London market insurers and reinsurers on energy insurance and complex international casualty matters. In other recent developments, DWF has also bolstered its insurance division with the recruitment of Disease and Casualty Specialist David Wynn as a new Partner for the practice. (Kenneth Araullo, 2/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'DWF bolsters global risks practice with trio of experts')

AXA XL has elevated Neil Cole to the position of Global Chief Underwriting Officer for its marine sector, effective from April 1. Cole brings to the role a wealth of industry knowledge, with a 25-year tenure in the marine sector, including the last decade at AXA XL. Beginning his career in claims, he transitioned into underwriting, with a focus on international marine markets. Prior to his current promotion, Cole had served as Global Head of Underwriting Management and Deputy Chief Underwriting Officer for marine since 2020. Besides AXA, he has also served in previous roles at XL Group, Zurich Insurance, and Starr Companies. (Kenneth Araullo, 1/4/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA XL elevates company veteran to marine global CUO')

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