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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 13th March 2020

13 Mar 2020

Aon is set to buy Willis Towers Watson for $30bn (£22.9bn) in an all-stock transaction which values the combined businesses at approximately $80bn (£61.1bn). This follows discussions between the two Brokers which were made public in a regulatory filing on March 5 2019 and then quickly shot down a day later when Aon signalled its intention to walk away. Aon Chief Executive Greg Case has described the Broker’s $30bn (£22.9bn) deal to buy Willis Towers Watson (WTW) as the “most meaningful in our history”. The deal could lead to an explosion in the value of independent private equity-backed Brokers in the UK according to experts.

PIB Group has bought RA Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum as it seeks to develop its motor offering. According to a statement RA has a specialism in Motor Trade via its scheme with NIG. PIB detailed that RA’s motor offering will complement Motor and Haulage solutions provided by Cooke & Mason which has been a part of PIB since 2016 and Cooper Solutions which was acquired towards the end of 2019.

Global Insurers are now being threatened with coronavirus from two directions – a sharp increase in payouts and at the same time, significant investment losses. While initially a low level of claims was expected because epidemics are excluded from many business insurance policies, a recession that might be in the cards for the global economy puts companies with trade credit insurance, including airlines and retailers, under strain. This is happening alongside added pressure on Insurers’ investments, which comprise around US$20 trillion in assets alongside problematic big government bond holdings.

Axa has clarified it will only cover specified diseases for Business Interruption following the coronavirus outbreak which is spreading across the UK and World.

LV has confirmed that it has paused the sale of travel insurance to new customers due to the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the provider said that the move will not affect existing customers who already have a policy with LV, adding that the provider is still paying claims and offering renewals. The decision was taken after the Insurer saw the number of policies sold double in the last couple of weeks.

The decision by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, not to further increase insurance premium tax in the new Budget (11 March) has been welcomed by the insurance sector. Sunak has also developed some relief to help businesses affected by the rapidly spreading coronavirus. This includes a coronavirus Business Interruption loan for small businesses and earlier payment of statutory sick pay for people who have been advised to self-isolate. British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) CEO, Steve White, said: “We welcome new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s approach to IPT. Not changing the current rate – already at a significant 12 pence in the pound of every premium paid will help businesses and consumers to afford the insurance protection they need   We will, however, bear in mind that the Chancellor has not explicitly frozen the rate and we will continue to campaign for Government to freeze, if not reduce, the rate of IPT for the remainder of this Parliament.".

Lloyd’s is ramping up its business continuity preparations with the aim to provide reassurance for the market, employees and customers in case contingency measures due to COVID-19 escalate. The corporation is set to test the resilience of the market on Friday 13 March by closing the underwriting room at 1 Lime Street in London for 24 hours.

Aviva plc has announced that it has agreed to exit Indonesia by selling its entire shareholding in its joint venture in Indonesia, PT Astra Aviva Life, to Aviva’s joint venture partner, PT Astra International Tbk. The transaction is expected to complete in Q4 2020 and is subject to certain closing conditions.

As members of the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), Q Underwriting were took part in their first ‘Meet the Market’ regional event of the year. Following a successful event in Bristol in 2019, the country’s leading MGAs went to Leeds for this instalment – an opportunity to meet and catch-up with local Brokers and to hear from the MGAA on their work.

International General Insurance Holdings Limited (IGI) has announced plans to support the women in its organization on International Women’s Day by investing in their personal and professional development. As part of its ongoing Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiative, IGI will offer Career Excel to every woman within its global organization, which spans five offices. Female employees will be able to access the online program from any location, complete it at their own pace and take away actionable strategies to advance their careers.

The importance of sustainability is increasingly prevalent across all aspects of our lives and our corporate lives are no exception. In Allianz latest BIBA Brokers' Guide, published in conjunction with law firm DAC Beachcroft, they take a look at key issues about sustainability and the insurance industry.

LV and Openwork are the latest companies to commit to two Insuring Women’s Futures pledges. The Insurer and financial advice network have joined 19 other insurance firms by signing up to the flexible working and inclusive customer financial lives pledge. The ‘Financial Flexible Working’ pledge commits firms to help their colleagues to understand and manage the long-term financial implications of flexible working.

The government has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce new market access arrangements for financial services between the UK and Gibraltar. HM Treasury stated that the government has committed to enabling financial services firms based in Gibraltar to continue to access the UK market after Brexit, reflecting the institutional framework that was in place while the UK was still a member of the European Union.

Acturis has partnered with Ageas to expand its Personal Lines offering with the launch of the latest Ageas product, House Guard. The software house detailed that Ageas’s new Household insurance product features Insurer Hosted Pricing which it said offers Brokers the most up-to-date Ageas rates and sophisticated underwriting process directly through the Acturis platform.

Axa UK has been embroiled in a row on social media channel Instagram after sponsoring an account called Father of Daughters to post about International Women’s Day (IWD). At the time of writing, the paid post had 1,069 comments, with people criticising the Insurer for paying a man to post about female empowerment. One of Axa UK’s own posts about IWD has also received a large number of negative comments from followers.

A-Plan Holdings has acquired Cotters Insurance Brokers which specialises in SME commercial insurance, adding to its expanding portfolio. A-Plan detailed that Cotters Insurance Brokers was established in Northamptonshire in 1997 and has been servicing clients from all over the UK. Cotters, which has around £8m of gross written premium, will continue to trade under its existing brand, with the management team and staff remaining in place and operating from their Northampton office.

GRP’s Sagar Insurance [Sagars] has acquired Anderson Ashcroft Insurance Brokers Ltd, a Preston-based commercial insurance Broker. John Meadows, Chief Executive of Sagars, confirmed the purchase of the business and said the deal has received regulatory approval. All staff, including the two Directors, John Anderson and Ian Ashcroft, will remain with the business after the transaction and the Preston office will stay open under new ownership.

More than eight out of 10 insurance professionals would recommend working in the profession to a friend or family member, according to a recent Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) poll. A Twitter survey of 164 of the professional body’s membership at the start of February showed 83 per cent would advise family and friends to embark on a career in insurance while 17 per cent would not recommend it. Kevin Hancock, Managing Director of Chartered insurance Broker Yutree and Chair of the CII’s Society of Insurance Broking, said “I’ve had a long and happy career in the insurance profession. It is a world where you can be a Broker, Underwriter, Claims professional, Loss Adjuster, Actuary, Lawyer…. the list is almost endless.".

Trov, an insurance technology firm focused on providing on-demand insurance, has announced that it has been selected by Mobility Transformation (parent company of Zerology) to provide coverage for zero-emissions rideshare company Zerology. A release said that Trov will use anonymized vehicle data from Zerology’s fleet of Tesla Model 3 cars in Madison, WI to address the rideshare company’s complex risk management challenges.

It looks like Hannover Re has weathered the storm, posting a higher net income in 2019 despite major losses from the likes of Hurricane Dorian. The latest to release its full-year numbers, the major reinsurer said its executive and supervisory board will be proposing a dividend increase given the results.

Insurance intermediary Howden UK Group Limited is offloading its specialist trade credit broking business for an undisclosed sum. The unit – which operates in Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff – will be acquired by Xenia Broking Group, the independent broking arm of Nexus Group. Upon completion of the transaction at the end of the month, the trade credit business will be integrated into Xenia’s regulated entity Credit Risk Solutions Limited.



Motorsport insurance specialist Tim Nagle has joined Miller to support growth in all areas of sport and entertainment.

Pen Underwriting has promoted Nick Hewland into the newly created position of Area Sales Manager, Midlands & North, in a move which the MGA said will strengthen its regional and specialist support of UK Brokers.

Worry+Peace, which describes itself as the reviews-led marketplace for insurance, has announced that Paul Jardine, former Executive Vice President and Chief Experience Officer at XL Catlin, has joined its advisory board with immediate effect.

Gallagher has announced that Kathryn Moon has been appointed Sales Director for the North area, incorporating the Midlands and North regions of England, plus Scotland and Northern Ireland.

HDI Global SE has announced the appointment of Oliver Davies as Distribution & Strategic Initiatives Manager for the London region.

Chris Clement has joined H&H Insurance Brokers (HHIB) to serve as Commercial Director amid the company’s continued growth.

Norway-headquartered Skuld will see a couple of changes to its London management team come July. First off, Chief Business Development Officer Gregory Thomas is relocating from the UK to continue driving the development of Skuld’s global commercial business from the Marine Insurer’s Oslo base. Meanwhile Senior Vice President Matthew Burton, who currently serves as Head of London P&I (Protection and Indemnity), will remain as an SVP but in his new capacity as Head of Business for Skuld London.

Carl Smith, who most recently served as London Markets Chief Operating Officer at Marsh, is making the switch to United Insurance Brokers (UIB) in the middle of next month.



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

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