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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 13th November 2020

13 Nov 2020

Continued rate hardening will help the insurance sector to recover from the recession caused by the pandemic, according to Swiss Re group Chief Economist Jerome Jean Haegeli. Heightened risk awareness is also set to drive up demand for insurance. In a briefing with journalists on 11 November, Haegeli predicted that the global economic outlook will remain fragile and that interest rates will remain low.

Brokers have stated that they hope a sale can “breathe new life” into RSA after it was revealed that a consortium of two providers were looking at a potential deal last week. The transaction would see Canadian provider Intact Financial Corporation retain RSA’s Canada and UK & International operations, while Danish Insurer Tryg would retain RSA’s Sweden and Norway operations. The two providers would also co-own RSA’s business in Denmark. Stuart Reid, Chairman of Partners&, stated that this was “fantastic news” for RSA.

In other news...RSA has launched a new first notification of loss (FNOL) platform. The online portal will allow Brokers to submit commercial FNOL’s digitally on behalf of customers. According to the provider the platform is easy to use and streamlines and simplifies the claim reporting process.

Coverys Managing Agency has announced that DTW Syndicate 1991 at Lloyd’s will cease to accept new and renewal business with effect from 31 December 2020.  Robin McCoy, CEO of Coverys Managing Agency, said: “It is with great regret that Coverys Managing Agency has notified Lloyd’s of its intention to put Syndicate 1991 into run off. Every effort has been made to implement remediation measures on underperforming business over the past few years, however, the results have not improved sufficiently to deliver a sustainable and long-term profitable outcome.”.

Zurich is one of the latest firms to release its financial results, announcing that P&C gross written premiums were up by 3% over the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019, standing at US$27,258 million (around £20,658 million). Its life business, however, took a stronger hit at US$2,573 million (around £1,950 million) – representing an 8% like-for-like fall on the prior year. However, the group was keen to highlight that sales recovered in the third quarter with the annual premium equivalent up 7%.

In other news...Zurich has invested £1 million in a workforce retraining programme aimed at addressing an anticipated skills gap in the next few years. According to the insurance giant, it plans to upskill two-thirds of its manpower pool, or about 3,000 UK employees, for data literacy and various tech-driven competencies in the next half decade.

Arch Insurance (UK) has launched a new UK regional Marine hull and machinery product for owners and operators of small and medium-sized commercial vessels. The provider noted that the solution is designed exclusively for vessel fleets and single vessels operating throughout inland and coastal waters of the UK and Western Europe.

Generali has announced that it will not be paying the second tranche of the dividend on 2019 results, however on the plus side, operating profit for the past nine months has topped market estimates, coming in at €4 billion euros (£3.57 billion), which is a 2.3% jump from the previous year.

In other news...Generali has developed a Professional Indemnity product designed for professionals working in fields like consultancy, communication & marketing, advisory services, education, computing, legal and economic spheres, among others. Generali suggested that the cover had been developed with self-employed and companies in mind and flagged that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of having insurance that covers all aspects deriving from professional activity.

Specialist Risk Group is looking to bolster its Broker offering by announcing a transformation plan. “We aim to provide our broker partners, Insurer partners, and clients with the best possible experience,” said SRG group COO Lee Anderson. “With WNS and Novidea we can now do exactly that. Working together we will ensure that SRG is at the forefront of digital transformation in the London Market, in line with Lloyd’s recently announced Blueprint two.".

Davies is rebranding its Requiem intermediary business, as the firm looks to widen its service offering. It will be now known as Davies Intermediary Support Services Limited.

Amey, one of the largest infrastructure support service providers in the UK, has appointed Gallagher as its Professional Indemnity (PI) Broker following a competitive tender.

Machine learning may still sound like it belongs in a SciFi film, but it has well and truly arrived at AEGIS London. They have announced the "deployment of technologies designed to help Underwriters better evaluate, price and manage risk through the Concirrus Quest Marine platform.".

Direct Line has reported a drop in Q3 gross written premium from its Motor direct brands – dropping to to £434.2 million from £440.5 million in the same period last year. Meanwhile, GWP from its Motor partnerships dropped 24.9% to £13 million. 

A partnership has been struck between Ki and Howden, in what is being described as a first for the Lloyd’s market. Ki is set to commit substantial capacity over three years, with Ki, Howden and the insurtech platform HX – formerly known as Hyperion X – collaborating on a fully digital end-to-end Lloyd’s placement journey during 2021. According to the firms, it will enable a “seamless and instantaneous commitment of follow capacity in the market.”.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance released its third quarter results this week, with the 10-Q, which breaks down the net earnings attributable to Berkshire shareholders, shows that the insurance underwriting operations lost US$213 million (around £162 million) in the third quarter – a major tumble from the US$440 million in attributable net earnings posted in the same three-month span in 2019.

Results continue to be announced, with Talanx Group now releasing its numbers for the first nine months of the financial year. According to HDI Global SE’s parent, net income would have been up year-on-year if not for the blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Talanx posted a 30% decline in group net income, from €742 million in the first nine months of 2019 to €520 million in the same period this year.

MS Amlin has sold its pleasure craft operation, Haven Knox-Johnston to Aston Lark for an undisclosed sum. Haven Knox-Johnston provides Marine pleasure craft insurance, with products covering a breadth of watercraft ranging from yachts and motorboats to canal boats, RIBS and small commercial craft.

UK-headquartered Miller Insurance Services, 85% of which was acquired by Willis Towers Watson in 2015, will now be sold by its partners and corporate member to international private equity firm Cinven and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC for an undisclosed sum.

Specialty Lloyd’s Broker MNK Re Limited will acquire a majority stake in independent South African reinsurance Broker, Prospect Brokers Africa (Pty) Limited.

Willis Towers Watson has acquired Acclimatise to create a global powerhouse for climate resilience services. UK-based Acclimatise is a specialist consulting company that provides climate change advisory and analytics services.

Direct Insurance London Market has announced the launch of its new PI & Financial Lines Division and the appointment of Mike Newson to head up the team as PI and Financial Lines Manager. 

Hazelton Mountford Insurance has recently promoted Veronique Veillet to Senior Account Handler in recognition of her outstanding work. In addition, Steph Hilton-Turvey has been given a promotion to Associate Director of the firm’s dedicated tenant referencing business: HM Referencing.

Axa XL Insurance announced that Ian Nunn has been appointed Head of Political Risk, Credit & Bond (PRCB) for the UK & Lloyd’s market with immediate effect.

Bridge Insurance Brokers has made three senior appointments at its Manchester headquarters. Rob Morrison has joined the Real Estate team as an Account Executive following 12 years in the property team at Reich, while Laura Whitby and Joanne Pitcher have been appointed into the FlatGUARD division.

Gallagher has appointed former Sales Sharks’ star and British Lions lock, Nathan Hines as a Business Development Manager with a focus on rugby clients. Hines is taking over from former Saracens player, Hugh Vyvyan who is moving into a different Business Development Director role, with a remit of developing Gallagher’s affinity relationships, including partnerships with Natwest, Lloyds Banking Group and RSM.

UK & Ireland Claims Director John Latter is to fill the post to be left by Europe and Eurasia & Africa Claims Director Julie Chalmers. Latter will assume his new Senior Vice President (SVP) position with immediate effect, while continuing to carry out his UK & Ireland duties until a replacement takes over. 

Gallagher is boosting its North West presence with the appointment of Daniel Launder as Chester Branch Director. Launder has been tapped to fill the post left by former Branch Director Steve Lowe, who retired in July.

In other news...Gallagher has made two new appointments in its SME and Personal Lines leadership team. Barry Duffin has been appointed the Managing Director of Gallagher’s specialist retail brands and David Birch has been named Managing Director of SME & partnerships.

Apollo Syndicate Management has hired Amanda Lewis as Head of Specialty Disruption Insurance and Sophie Dunkerley as Specialty Disruption Insurance Underwriter at Syndicate 1969. This, the firm said, marks its expansion into contingency, agri-contingency and Legal Indemnity.

 

 

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

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