Accessibility Links

General Insurance Newletter Friday 5th June 2020

05 Jun 2020

PIB Group has bought Marx Re-Insurance Brokers, a reinsurance and insurance broking company with a global network of clients. It has a major focus on asset-based business, primarily in Property and Construction, Power Generation and Renewable Energy sourced from Europe and Latin America. According to the Broker the move reflects PIB’s ongoing ambition of international expansion and widens the group’s proposition into providing reinsurance solutions.

Castle Insurance Services has just completed the acquisition of another local independent Broker, EW Knapton which has branches in Newton Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland. The deal is for an undisclosed sum and sees eight staff join the team. It also takes Castle’s GWP up to £7m. There are no immediate plans to rebrand the businesses and both branches are set to be kept open in the immediate future.

Markerstudy Group is to make 478 staff redundant across its business operations in response to the “huge impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic. Staff were told verbally about the redundancies on 27 May; this was shortly followed by written internal communications.

Former Appointed Representative of Staveley Head, Policyplan, is no longer accepting renewals or new business, according to a statement on its website and the wholesaler is being placed into run-off. One Sure, which bought the branding rights and book of Staveley Head in April, is to manage the process.

China Pacific Insurance is reportedly pushing through with its planned London listing via a Sino-British stock link scheme, despite the volatility in financial markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shanghai-headquartered Insurer said it will issue 125.7 million units of global depositary receipts (GDR) in London, with Swiss Re as a cornerstone investor, Reuters reported. The company is looking to raise funds for its overseas expansion activities.

Davies Group has acquired Codebase8 Limited, an automation and digital solutions provider that specialises in robotic process automation (RPA), legacy platform modernisation, and product development for the insurance sector and other highly regulated markets. Under the deal, Codebase8’s technology experts will join Davies’s Consulting & Technology business led by Mark Grocott to offer a new automation capability to insurance clients. The firm will also work alongside Ember, Davies’s customer experience practice led by David Leedham.

The Carlyle Group and T&D Holdings have completed their acquisition of 76.6% interest in Fortitude Group Holdings from American International Group (AIG). The transaction was first announced last November. Fortitude Group Holdings’ reinsurance subsidiary Fortitude Re is now being positioned as a major provider of retroactive reinsurance and legacy run-off management solutions, armed with the expertise of Carlyle and T&D.

A whopping 5.5 million of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd’s common shares are up for grabs in an underwritten public offering. The global (re)insurance Provider – which has offices in Bermuda, Australia, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, and the US – has commenced the offering, with Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acting as joint book-running managers and representatives of the underwriters for the massive equity issue. In its announcement, RenaissanceRe also said: “State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which currently owns approximately 4.4% of RenaissanceRe’s total common shares outstanding, has entered into an investment agreement to purchase, subject to the consummation of the underwritten public offering and other customary conditions, approximately US$75 million of the company’s common shares at the public offering price per share in a concurrent private placement exempt from the registration requirements of the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended.”

It was back in July last year that Lloyd’s syndicate 1897 was placed into run-off. Now, Marine insurance Provider Skuld has agreed to its sale. A transaction, still subject to regulatory approval, has been agreed with The RiverStone Group. The Insurer outlined that a competitive process was introduced in autumn last year and RiverStone stood out above a number of bidders. It is noted that once the transfer of the management of corporate members is complete, Skuld will achieve legal finality on the syndicate. However, it will continue to underwrite the Hull and Offshore Energy business as Skuld Hull.

SSL Endeavour has rebranded as Oneglobal Broking, the company has announced. “The broking profession has become too inward looking and Oneglobal’s founding team is determined to change that,” the company said. “The new business will bring local expertise and knowledge direct to the client or retail Broker with Oneglobal’s specialist team connecting them to the international reinsurance market.”

By Miles has signed a deal to work with Broker Network. This follows a fundraise of £15m, led by CommerzVentures which was announced earlier this month. The By Miles model sees customers pay a fixed upfront cost to cover the car while it’s parked, then get their own unique per-mile rate to cover any driving.

A man was arrested in Luton this week by the City of London Police for acting as a ‘ghost broker’. A City of London Police press statement alleged that the 25-year-old man was selling fraudulent car insurance and had offered the fake cover to NHS workers at a discount. He was arrested for fraud by false representation after the police executed a search warrant at a property in the Hertfordshire town.

Brokers have been warned that an email, purportedly from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is a scam. Compliance business RWA wrote to its Broker clients stating: “It has been brought to our attention that several of our clients have received emails purportedly from the FCA asking them to complete a compliance questionnaire by 28 May 2020.  “The FCA has confirmed that this email is a scam. Please do not click on the link provided and do not give out any personal or firm details.”

Victor Insurance UK and Ageas have signed a five-year agreement, which will support the writing of £60m GWP over the next five years. Ageas stated that it will provide capacity across several of Victor’s product lines that support Brokers across the UK. These include Agriculture insurance and products for the third sector. Ageas already provides capacity for Victor’s Contractors’ insurance products.

It may only be launching this summer, but ethical MGA Arma Karma is already establishing relationships within the industry. The company is teaming with Genasys Technologies UK as its software partner ahead of offering renters a new way to protect items with a Netflix style subscription.

AXA UK is broadening its use of live video to settle commercial property claims, as the Insurer renews its contract with software provider Verisk. The ClaimXperience app is already being used by AXA’s Household customers, who can show escape of water damage in real time to their Home Insurer. The Claims Handler can record the video or take stills. They can evaluate the damage immediately and offer a cash settlement. If the policyholder agrees to the amount, the money can reach their bank account within two hours, thanks to a separate payment arrangement.

IGI has announced it has launched a new Marine Trades insurance product, strengthening the Company’s existing portfolio of Marine insurance risks. The Company, through its U.K. subsidiary, writes a portfolio of global Marine risks which together represented around 7% of the Company’s gross written premiums at December 31, 2019.

Reinsurance specialist Guy Carpenter & Company, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, has entered into an exclusive multi-year agreement with technology and engineering company Synthetik to enhance its proprietary terrorism modelling product Sunstone. Synthetik provides computational modelling for the global Terrorism Reinsurance market. The company specialises in explosive-blast and weapons-effects modelling, and works with both government bodies and the private sector to develop data-science applications, models and simulation code.

It was in May 2019 when it was reported on Lloyd’s of London’s proposal to merge its council and franchise board into a single governing body for the Lloyd’s market and the corporation. Now, despite it being unable to hold a full contested election process due to the coronavirus lockdown, the centuries-old exchange has introduced the new line-up which is effective June 01. Chairing the reformed council is Bruce Carnegie-Brown, who is joined by Senior Independent Deputy Chairman and fellow nominated member Andy Haste. Other nominated members include Angela Crawford-Ingle, Fiona Luck, Neil Maidment, John Sununu, John Neal, and Burkhard Keese. Meanwhile the working members of the council are Andrew Brooks, Vicky Carter, and Dominic Christian. The latter also serves as Deputy Chair. Rounding out the roster are corporate external members Axis Corporate Capital UK Limited and Flectat Limited – which are represented by Albert Benchimol and Michael Watson, respectively – as well as individual external member Nameco (No.1249) Limited, which is represented by Jeffery Barratt.

The turn of the month was a notable one for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) – marking five years since its inception. The foundation was designed to create an industry-wide platform for charitable giving and volunteering and, according to its newly released five-year impact report, it has helped improve the lives of more than 1,600 people in local communities across the country. This has been achieved through grants to small charities, as well as other promotions.

Worldwide economic losses from natural and man-made disasters in 2019 were US$146 billion, marking a decrease from the US$176 billion in 2018 and the previous 10-year annual average of US$212 billion, according to the latest Swiss Re sigma. Of last year’s US$146 billion total, the global insurance industry covered US$60 billion of the losses, compared to US$93 billion in 2018 and the US$75 billion 10-year average.

Tokio Marine HCC has completed the acquisition of specialist Renewable Energy underwriter GCube, after the deal was announced in March. According to Tokio Marine HCC’s statement, the move will boost its capabilities in Renewable Energy insurance, by combining GCube’s 25 years of experience in the International Renewables industry with its global footprint and financial scale.

Pioneer Underwriters and K2 Insurance Services have announced the completion of a transaction that transferred Pioneer’s ongoing underwriting portfolio and its underwriting and support staff to K2. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transferred business includes underwriting units specialising in Property Catastrophe Reinsurance, Financial Institutions, International Property Facultative and Marine Specialty. The combined units will underwrite approximately £150 million in 2020, all of which is supported by high-quality capacity Providers and will form the basis of K2 International, the companies said.

Full-year 2019 financial results are in for legacy specialist firm Randall & Quilter – with some skyrocketing figures. The company, which focuses on program management and legacy insurance, noted a group pre-tax profit of £40.1 million – a 180% rise from 2018’s £14.3 million. Meanwhile, after-tax profit climbed 399% to £38.9 million, up from £7.8 million. In addition, it noted 13% growth in net asset value per share, and a jump of 269% in earnings per share (basic). Looking at its specific business lines, gross written premiums for its program management business stood at US$369.3 million (around £298.1 million) – up from US$149.4 million (around £120.6 million); while operating return on equity for the legacy business climbed from 20.5% to 24.2%.

In a rare example of an Insurer swooping on an assistance company and taking all assistance services in-house, an unnamed company has swooped to purchase the assets and intellectual property of Traveller Assist Ltd. As a result of the transaction, which is for an undisclosed amount, the Insurer will pick up international payment and insurtech platform Payr which facilitates local currency transactions to network providers and has paid out over £7 million in claims payments. The buyer has yet to be revealed with parties bound by a non-disclosure agreement at this stage.

The global cybersecurity market, worth US$152.51 billion in 2018, is expected to reach US$430.33 billion by 2027, according to a new report by Stratistics MRC. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.2% during that period.

The Standard Club and Charles Taylor have announced that the club will be bringing its core management operations ‘in house’. In a statement, the two firms said that they will work together to create a new operating model for the club. This comes after a review held last year, which looked at the club’s strategy, scale and evolving governance requirements.

Domestic & General has partnered with John Lewis & Partners to launch Protect Plus, providing Warranty cover for customers of the latter’s products, including domestic appliances, electronics, and furniture. According to a statement, the arrangement will initially run for three years. It will begin running on John Lewis’s website immediately, and will be available in-store once shops reopen.

Legal & General has completed a £650 million buy-in with the trustees of the 3i Group Pension Plan, while Aviva has finalised a £95 million bulk purchase annuity transaction with the sole corporate trustee of the British Bankers’ Association Pension Scheme – LawDeb Pension Trustees.

Trade Credit insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10bn of government guarantees, ministers announced yesterday. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed following extensive discussions with the insurance sector, has been designed to see coverage maintained across the UK. The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.

 

Coronavirus-related News

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has  confirmed guidance for insurance firms to consider the impact of Covid-19 on the value of their insurance products. Sheldon Mills, Interim Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said: “Customers should expect value from the insurance products that they buy, but the exceptional circumstances of coronavirus may have materially reduced the value they are getting. “Today’s guidance is designed to protect consumers by directing insurance firms to review the products they offer to ensure they provide appropriate value and take action where there has been a fundamental change in risk or where certain benefits can no longer be provided.”

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown altered global working practices, joining a new company came with its own challenges. Those starting a new position during the lockdown are facing all the usual challenges of integrating into an existing team and learning new systems with the added caveat that this must now be done entirely remotely. For Steve Woodhouse, the HR director, UK & Ireland, for Marsh, the en masse move to remote working has seen a long pipeline of new joiners whose first days, weeks and months within the business have been conducted entirely online. Marsh was in the fortunate position of having a strong and structured onboarding process prior to COVID-19 and, therefore, did not have to create new procedures from scratch.

Where do you stand on the great coronavirus Business Interruption insurance debate? While the FCA may be contemplating its own stance with a trial case at the High Court, law firms continue to line up potential action against a host of big name Insurers. The latest on the list is Michelmores, which has issued a statement outlining that it is “considering COVID-19 group actions on behalf of policyholders with business interruption claims denied.” The company is now inviting expressions of interest from those businesses whose claims have been denied and has pinpointed several insurers which it believes have policies that may be relevant to the current circumstances. Its release specifically names Aviva (highlighting its resilience policies), Eaton Gate, Hiscox/Geo Specialty, RSA/New India Assurance, Ecclesiastical (in particular its Historic Britain Insurance), HIUA/Argenta and NFU Mutual (specifically its Commercial Select product).

In other news...The Financial Conduct Authority has revealed that 34 Hiscox policy types use some of the 17 Business Interruption wordings that it could place before a court to decide the validity of BI claims arising from coronavirus. The Insurer with the next highest number of policy wordings affected is Ecclesiastical with ten. The watchdog clarified that the list in its current form is not comprehensive and it expects other Providers to be affected by the outcome of the case which is set to be heard in late June.

Amid news from the FCA that a number of Insurers have confirmed that they will pay claims, others are heading to court to gain clarity on the obligations of their policy wordings. The test case will have eight defendants - Arch Insurance, Argenta Syndicate Management, Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, Hiscox, MS Amlin Underwriting, QBE, Royal & Sun Alliance, and Zurich while 17 sets of policy wording will be examined. But despite the test case – will the UK face a tsunami of litigation? Hiscox is already facing a barrage of legal action, and, as cases continue to make headlines, so more policyholders may decide to take legal action. And that action may not be just against carriers, with Brokers also under threat.

When the rapid implementation of remote working policies occurred across the insurance market, the question for many was what might be the long-term implications of this change. The answer has become a little clearer today as it was announced by the global speciality insurance business, Direct Insurance Group, that, following the coronavirus lockdown, the business is committing to a remote working policy for all staff permanently.

Pressure groups take different paths over whether to suspend their own legal proceedings while regulator's case goes forward as it is revealed three Broker wordings from Pound Gates, Marsh and Gallagher will be assessed. Brokers named in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) business interruption test case and brokers supporting clients fighting for pay outs amid the coronavirus pandemic have welcomed recent update on the proceedings. On the 1 June, the Financial Conduct Authority revealed the eight Insurers and the 17 wordings that will be highlighted as part of the legal action.

BSI, which acts as the UK’s National Standards Body, has published new safe working guidelines to help businesses manage a safe return to work and reoccupation of their facilities. The organisation stated that the guidelines are intended to become a consensus of good practice and encouraged the business community as well as individuals to have their say and share their insight on safe working to help protect public health.

Pandemic Re has announced the formation of a project committee and six working groups with the aim of improving how the insurance sector can respond better to future pandemics. The six working groups are:
- Customer engagement and distribution – led by Aon UK CEO Julie Page, with Marsh UK & Ireland CEO Chris Lay as Deputy
- Technical insurance – led by Steve Coates, CUO Pool Re
- Modelling and data – led by Paul Jardine, Chairman of Asta and Chaucer
- Scheme structure and operating models – led by Michael Dawson
- Nuclear Insurance Pandemic preparedness and mitigation – led by William Marcoux, Senior Corporate lawyer
- Legal regulatory and government affairs – led by Amber Rudd, former Home Secretary

Facing coordinated legal action from hundreds of firms over non-payment of BI insurance claims, Hiscox has offered goodwill compensation to a number of small enterprises to make up for the confusion on what businesses can claim during the lockdown. The specialist Insurer has offered three-figure compensation to select small businesses and admitted that it “should have been clearer” in the explanation of when its policy would cover lost earnings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19-related restrictions on supply chains and international travel have serious implications for the maritime industry, according to a new report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). While the threats that ships usually encounter at sea have been reduced due to many vessels being idle, other risks have replaced them. Many vessels are in lay-up – out of service and anchored at a fixed location without undertaking any commercial activities.

Several major Insurers, along with more than 40 law firms, medical reporting agencies and rehabilitation providers, have expressed their commitment to the Association of Consumer Support Organisations’ (ACSO) and the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) brokered statement of intent, which aims to ensure Personal Injury claims can be settled promptly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the insurance sector may be facing criticism from those outside the industry over issues like business interruption claims relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Chairman believes the industry has “stood up manfully”. Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) Chairman Stuart Scullion , was referring specifically to the Private Medical insurance industry when he spoke at the association’s AGM – its first virtual meeting in 22 years. In particular, he heaped praise on Insurers and cash plan providers for “standing up to the task” of enhancing benefits and ensuring products deliver value. He also noted a range of financial support measures that have been introduced for struggling businesses.

The pressures exerted by the COVID-19 pandemic on workforce availability and maintaining supply chains are proving challenging to the power sector, according to a report by Willis Towers Watson. Furthermore, the increasing focus on Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is also having a significant impact on future power sector risk management strategies, the Broking and Consultancy giant said.

Personal lines broking group Complete Cover has bolstered its management team with a quartet new hires including former Markerstudy and Brightside boss Russell Bence. The moves follow the acquisition of the business by Sun Capital Partners in January from Darwin Private Capital after a 12 month sales process. Russell Bence joins as Managing Director of the broking businesses from Blink Intermediary Solutions having joined as Commercial Director last year. Prior to that he was Managing Director at both Brightside Insurance and Markerstudy’s retail division for seven years.

Dr Immo Querner is leaving the management boards of Talanx AG and HDI V.a.G. after serving as Chief Financial Officer for over 14 years. Described as “on the best of terms and by mutual agreement,” the August 31 exit will see internal hire Dr Jan Wicke take over as CFO in September. Wicke, who became part of Talanx AG’s board of management in 2014, has been in charge of the retail Germany division.

Specialist Reinsurance Broker Capsicum Re has expanded its expertise in the specialist Motor and Casualty space, with a key addition. Joining the firm is Shane Aldons, who brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the market and has an extensive background that includes time spent working across underwriting, pricing and senior client relationships throughout Asia-Pacific.

MGA Pen Underwriting has turned to one of its own to fill the position of Head of Cyber. With Adrian Scott having moved into the Managing Director of International and Financial Lines role back in February, Hamir Patel will now move into the role having previously been Head of Insight and Reserving. Patel has been with the company for four years having enjoyed previous stints at the likes of Allianz, AIG and Deloitte and Scott believes he is the right man to fill his shoes.

Allianz Insurance has announced the appointment of Rebecca Rogers to the role of Head of Property Claims. Becky joins Allianz with more than 23 years of claims experience and a successful career in property claims. Prior to her current role, she held the position of Commercial Property Technical and Relationship Manager at LV=.

Gallagher has announced the launch of a new Bloodstock, Livestock and Aquaculture practice. The team of eight, led by Sophie Chambers and Dan Fairweather, has joined Gallagher from Willis Towers Watson. The London based team will be part of Gallagher’s UK Specialty division and will be responsible for clients globally. Previously, Gallagher has not had a team anywhere in the world that specialised in Bloodstock, Livestock and Aquaculture. Sophie Chambers has joined as Managing Director and will head up the practice while Dan Fairweather has joined as Divisional Director and will be focused on supporting Aquaculture and Livestock clients.

AXIS Capital has announced that W. Marston (Marty) Becker has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Becker will serve as a member of the Board’s Executive, Finance and Risk Committees.

AXIS Re, the reinsurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited has announced the promotion of Cyril Caillo to Head of A&H Reinsurance, EMEA LatAm. In this role, Mr. Caillo will be responsible for managing and growing AXIS Re’s Accident and Health business in the EMEA LatAm region. He will continue to be based in Zurich and will report to Andy Hottinger, President EMEA LatAm for AXIS Re.

Crawford & Company has announced the appointment of Tami Stevenson as Senior Vice President and Global General Counsel. In her new role, Stevenson will report to Joseph Blanco, President of Crawford.

It’s not every day a company can boast about adding an OBE to its ranks. However, that privilege now falls on Brit Ltd, which has swooped for Michael Wade OBE to work in the capacity of Independent Strategic Consultant. Wade is set to advise the management team at Brit across a host of areas – and also serve as an ambassador for the group. He brings with him more than 40 years of experience including serving as the Crown Representative for Insurance at the Cabinet Office, and advising the UK Government on projects including Pool Re and Flood Re.

Avid Arsenal fan and keen cook Mike Stockhouse is the latest recruit for Jensten Group. Joining the team as Business Development Manager – North, North East and East of Scotland for Policyfast and City Underwriters, he makes the switch from BNL having chalked up some 35 years of industry experience at the likes of Broker Network, Sterling Hamilton Wright and Marsh ProBroker.

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from multiple General Insurance Media sources and individual company press releases.

Check out one of our featured jobs below.

 

 

Meet our specialist General Insurance team here

 

IDEX Consulting are proud to have teamed up with the Insurance Times to bring you the latest news on salary movements and job prospects across the UK General Insurance sector.

Tagged In: Newsletter
Add new comment
*
*
*
Our clients include: