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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 13th September 2019

13 Sep 2019

Insurance News

InsurTech UK whose status as a formal association was sealed in June, has announced the addition of 17 firms to its membership. The new entrants to the trade body include, Aon, Digital Partners, IDEX Consulting and NCC Group. Aon and Munich Re Firm Digital Partners join InsurTech UK as associate members, IDEX Consulting joins as a recruitment partner and NCC Group joins as a cyber security partner. In addition, 13 insurtech founders have also joined recently as members. These are Albany Group, Automated Insurance Solutions Ltd, Cazana, Digital Risks, distriBind, Envelop Risk Analytics Ltd, Flock, Oasis Loss Modelling Framework, Quodex Ltd, Reviti, Stable Group Ltd, Vesuvio Labs and VTX Partners Ltd. Meanwhile Insurtech UK’s partners roster has been widened by the arrival of recruitment partner IDEX Consulting and cybersecurity partner NCC Group. All in all, the association is now an 86-strong membership alliance, which also has the backing of principal partner Oliver Wyman Digital.

The Chartered Insurance Institue (CII) has unveiled a free online course examining personal lines insurance. According to the body, anyone can visit the FutureLearn page and sign up to the month long online course to learn more about Home, Car, Travel and Pet insurance. The course will run three times a year and it goes live on 14 October.

In further news...The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has reported an increase in total membership to 127,480 at the end of 2018 (2017: 124,924). The professional body noted in its financial statement for 2018 that this had led to a 2% increase in operating income to £43.2m, compared to £42.1m in 2017. The CII further reported an operating deficit before tax of £200,000 (2017: surplus of £400,000). Its expenses were up by 4% in 2018 to £43.4m (2017: £41.8m), which included its investment in the “transformational journey” for 2018 of £2.4m (2017: £1.0m).

A radical new approach to high-performance training of Brokers, MGAs and Insurers seeking to expand client relationships and grow new business revenues has just been launched by RosAcad: The Results Oriented Sales Academy. RosAcad throws out of the window much of the accepted wisdom around insurance industry sales training. Its flexible, cost-effective digital platform can be accessed with equal ease by the big players and the sole trader. It offers an intuitive, experience-based menu of options that can be tailored to provide world class practical sales training for insurance practitioners including Account Executives, Underwriters, Account Handlers and sales teams.

Das UK Group has reported a comprehensive loss, but also a growing gross written premium (GWP) and an improved combined operating ratio (COR), for the year ending 31 December 2018. According to its financial results, published on Companies House, the firm had a GWP of £117.9m in 2018 and the COR was 95.4%, something it pledged to achieve last October. In 2017 GWP was reported as £111.5m and COR was 101.7%. However, the business also reported that it made a comprehensive loss of £10.6m compared to £5.2m last year. Losses in 2016 were £13.8m.

Wiser Academy is updating its apprenticeship programme after a report from Ofsted showed that too few apprentices are developing substantial new skills. The education watchdog made a monitoring visit on 24 July this year and its report found that Wiser Academy’s leaders and Managers do not plan the training programmes well enough to meet individual needs. Crescens George, Chief Executive Officer of Wiser Academy, welcomed the feedback and explained that the training provider had already started implementing changes to address the issues.

The Society of Insurance Broking (SIB) has unveiled its plans for its second year as it celebrates the one year anniversary of its launch. The society has just under 15,000 members across the world and was the first society in the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) as it transitioned from having a system of faculties to a society style model. In the year the SIB has been operating it has produced guidance on a variety of different subjects, including the Insurance Distribution Directive, the dark web, smart water, construction materials and the treatment of vulnerable customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has delayed the publication date of its interim report on general insurance pricing practices from summer 2019 to this October. An FCA spokesperson commented: “The work remains a priority for the FCA”. The regulator is investigating how Insurers charge Home and Motor customers in a study that was launched last October. The previous month, the FCA had promised to look at pricing practices used by general insurance in these areas of cover.

Rating agency AM Best has upgraded the financial strength and credit rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “a” from “a-” of International General Insurance Co Ltd., (IGICL) (Bermuda) and International General Insurance Company (UK) Limited (IGIUK) (United Kingdom). The outlook of these Credit Ratings is stable. AM Best said that the rating upgrade reflected IGI’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorises as “very strong”, as well as citing its strong operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

AIG has announced that as of January 2020 virtually all of its commercial Property and Casualty insurance policies will begin affirmatively covering or excluding physical and non-physical Cyber exposures, addressing market concerns that traditional commercial insurance policies across the industry – from Property to general Liability – are often silent about Cyber coverage. For more than 20 years, AIG has offered specific, standalone Cyber insurance products that provide a high-level of coverage clarity to clients in the event of a Cyber security breach. As the Cyber threat has grown in the last five years, AIG has been drawing on that expertise to provide more holistic Cyber coverage for clients across standard commercial insurance lines and to incorporate affirmative Cyber coverage into traditional P&C policies on a product-by-product basis.

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) has refreshed its website to better serve the needs of the rapidly growing number of visitors to its flagship portal. In accordance with Zurich’s strategy to put customers first, the most important changes will make it easier and quicker for them to find services, products, contacts and locations. Customers are the largest group of visitors to the website. The changes mark the start of a process of continual and data-driven improvement. However, the overall architecture of the site and organization of the information remains unchanged, so regular visitors will quickly find what they are looking for.

Price Forbes has boosted its financial products arm with the appointment of Directors’ and Officers’ specialist Suresh Ellawala as Executive Director, US Financial Products; financial fraud specialist Mark Warrilow as Director, Financial Products; and Chris Butler as Business Manager. Based out of London, the team focus will be on developing and growing Price Forbes financial products business around the world.

WeCovr, a London-based insurTech startup that has developed a range of mobile-first insurance apps for consumers and small businesses, has teamed up with, one of the UK’s leading insurance aggregators, to bring its cost-effective bicycle insurance offering to a new group of British cyclists. With data from the Office for National Statistics revealing that approximately 300,000 bicycles are stolen in the UK each year, bicycle insurance is a sensible and cost-effective way to safeguard your bike.

Danish provider Gefion Insurance and collapsed unrated Insurer Qudos Insurance have launched a lawsuit against Lloyd’s coverholder Staveley Head and claims management firm Proximo, reports Law360. According to the article, Gefion and Qudos sued Staveley Head and Proximo in June, alleging breach of contract and breach of duty of care. The Insurers further said they have lost around £8.8m because of inefficiencies in the claims management process.

Marsh has announced that Jelf will be renamed Marsh Commercial in Q1 2020. A statement from Marsh claimed the rebranding would help it deliver services and solutions more effectively across the UK. Following the purchase of Jelf in 2015 for £258m, Marsh also completed acquisitions of JLT, Bluefin and Clark Thomson.

Midas Underwriting have gone live on Acturis with their non-standard Home product Midas Jewel. The policy is designed to cover the types of risks usually declined by other Insurers including clients with previous criminal convictions and bankruptcy; properties suffering previous subsidence, listed buildings, properties undergoing building works, extended unoccupancy and business use at the home. Midas has increased the blanket cover available under the Jewel product, for Acturis users, to Buildings Sum Insured up to £1m and Contents Sum Insured up to £100k (higher limits are available on referral).

Lloyd’s of London managing agent Charles Taylor Managing Agency (CTMA) is being sold to a Premia Holdings Ltd subsidiary. Without disclosing the financial terms of the deal, Charles Taylor and The Standard Club announced that the sale of CTMA involves its associated companies, including The Standard Syndicate Services Limited and The Standard Syndicate Services Asia Pte Ltd, as well as the Lloyd’s corporate names. Acquiring the managing agency will allow reinsurance group Premia to establish a dedicated legacy platform in the Lloyd’s market. The entire CTMA workforce will be transferred to the new entity.

Annual global Cyber losses are expected to hit US$6 trillion by 2021, with cybersecurity spending projected to exceed a total of US$1 trillion for the five years leading up to 2021, according to a new report from Aon. The report, “Prepare for the unexpected: Safeguarding value in the era of Cyber risk”, surveyed Cyber-focused business leaders for their views on building Cyber-resilient organisations. While the immediate costs of a cyberattack can be significant, Aon’s report suggested that damage to a business’s reputation could cost just as much or even more in the long term.

SME insurtech Digital Risks has joined the Starling Marketplace, making it possible for the 65,000 business account holders of mobile-based lender Starling Bank to instantly purchase tailored insurance coverage directly from their smartphones. The offering features a flexible monthly subscription model which allows changes or cancellations at any time at no extra cost. Starling customers will also be able to keep track of their policy dates via the challenger bank’s app. An Insurtech UK member, Digital Risks provides commercial legal protection, cybersecurity, Management Liability, Employers’ Liability, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.

Clear Insurance Management has bought fellow Brokerbility member Morrison Insurance Solutions for an undisclosed sum. The Broker explained that Morrison, which is based in Alcester, Warwickshire, is its largest acquisition to date and brings its gross written premium to £135m. The Morrison office is Clear’s second location in the Midlands and the Broker stated that it is planning to expand further in this area.

RSA UK and International has merged its Commercial Risk Solutions (CRS) and Global Risk Solutions (GRS) businesses to create a unified commercial division. The move follows RSA’s decision to exit unprofitable business lines and reduce its London Market and specialty risk portfolios. RSA UK and International Chief Executive Officer, Scott Egan, said in February that the provider had exited almost half of its London Market book.

CPP Group, which describes itself as an InsurTech company and provides ancilliary products, has bought niche Broker Business & Domestic Insurance Services (B&D) for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents CPP’s first move into the UK insurance broking space. CPP has acquired the business from B & D’s parent company, Motorway Direct, a supplier of insurance products to the automotive industry.

Insurance Age has launched the Top 50 Brokers in Personal Lines supplement for 2019. Participating Brokers reported collective personal lines gross written premium (GWP) of £4.9bn and total GWP of £6.7bn. For firms that reported fee data, a total of £1.5bn was recorded as fee income over the last year. The document also uncovers average fee rates, how many Brokers have bought other companies and how many have been purchased themselves.

A group of financial services professionals have launched a register aimed at preventing vulnerable customers from developing financial problems. The Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS), is a not-for-profit initiative designed to help with money decisions and combat the associated risks to mental health arising from vulnerabilities. In a statement the founders explained that the VRS is a tool to help people who consider themselves to be financially vulnerable and in need of help to register their details online, free of charge and indicate to businesses and organisations they deal with that they require sensitive handling and support.


Market Movers and Shakers

Steve Seekings has been promoted from Operations Director at Saffron Insurance to Managing Director, replacing David Beswick. The Broker announced that Beswick would be leaving over the coming months on 10 July. At the time it was said that Directors Steve Seekings, Colin Fellowes and Keith McGregor would continue to lead the firm until a new MD was appointed.

Gallagher has appointed Brent Kruger as its new UK Chief Information Officer (CIO) and he is set to take up the role in early November. This follows Steve O’Donnell’s departure from the business, in August. The Broker stated that Kruger has more than 25 years’ experience in the field of technology and operations. 

In further news...Renowned sports broadcaster Jill Douglas has joined Gallagher’s UK operations as a Business Development Consultant. The broking giant stated that the move is part of its plans to expand its presence in the specialist sport, media & entertainment sector. In her new role, Douglas will work with the existing teams to develop tailored propositions and targeted campaigns aimed at the world of sport, media and entertainment.

Ageas has announced that Chris Dobson, Broker Distribution Director at the Insurer, will be retiring at the end of 2019. Dobson has led Broker distribution at Ageas for nearly 15 years. The Insurer said he played a “pivotal role” in Ageas’s provision of products and services to Brokers. Ant Middle, Chief Customer Officer, commented: “Chris has made a fantastic contribution to Ageas and the whole insurance market for many years and we all wish him the very best for his retirement."

Specialist Risk Investments Ltd, the specialist insurance intermediary group that owns Miles Smith and The Underwriting Exchange, is pleased to announce that it has appointed Warren Downey as CEO. Warren joins SRIL immediately from Jardine Lloyd Thompson where he spent the past 28 years, most recently as the CEO of its Global Private Client Business. He has held roles across specialist lines of business in the UK, Sweden and Asia. Warren brings extensive industry and client experience and will lead SRIL in its mission to become one of the market leading, independent specialist Brokers. SRIL plans to grow organically by investing in innovative new products, in its sales pipeline and talent, as well as leveraging SRIL’s relationships supported by appropriate acquisitions.

AXA XL Insurance is investing in its coverholder capabilities announcing that Paul Howard has been promoted to Head of Coverholder Management. As part of AXA XL’s commitment to drive engagement with its portfolio of coverholders, Mr. Howard will be responsible for developing and executing a new UK coverholder commercial strategy and engagement model. He will be based in London and report to Louise Piper, Head of Client and Distribution Management – UK and to Philippe Gouraud, Global Head of Strategic Distribution. This will see AXA XL take steps to further strengthen its relationships with UK coverholders, by increasing collaboration to support the development of new and innovative solutions and providing access to its wide product suite and the broader capabilities of the AXA Group.

AXA XL announce executive appointments in a new simplified Reinsurance organisational structure, aligned around its key markets and intended to enhance the focus on its payer to partner strategy. Rob Littlemore, Chief Executive, London Reinsurance, will assume leadership of a newly-created Global markets business which will comprise of AXA XL’s Bermuda and London Reinsurance platforms. Mr. Littlemore brings more than 28 years’ experience underwriting US Casualty reinsurance classes including having served as legacy Catlin’s Head of Reinsurance in London and becoming XL Catlin’s Underwriting Director of London Reinsurance in 2015. Paul Simons, Head of Property – Global Markets, will also serve as Head of Bermuda Reinsurance and will report to Mr. Littlemore. David Watson, Chief Executive of AXA XL's International Reinsurance business and CEO of XL Re Europe SE, has decided to retire at the end of 2019. Following Mr. Watson’s retirement, John Welch, Chief Executive, North America Reinsurance, will assume leadership of AXA XL Reinsurance’s International markets business. Jonathan (Jon) Gale, Chief Executive, Bermuda Reinsurance, is assuming the role of Chief Underwriting Officer, currently held by Chris Dougherty who is assuming the role of Chief Executive, Underwriting Capital Management AXA XL. Mr. Gale will be responsible for delivering underwriting excellence, underwriting portfolio management, customer relationship management, developing new business opportunities and further demonstrating AXA XL’s thought leadership capabilities. Mr. Gale joined legacy Catlin in 2002 and held progressively senior underwriting roles before most recently becoming Chief Executive Bermuda Reinsurance. AXA XL Reinsurance Chief Operating Officer Dawn Dinkins will lead the newly centralized claims and operational functions. Ms. Dinkins has 30 years of claims experience, with 23 years spent in Reinsurance claims. She assumed the Reinsurance COO role at the end of 2016.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) announces the appointment of Alexander Montoya as President of LSM – US, Bermuda and LatAm, effective immediately. They also announced Wilhelm Schaugg has joined Alexander’s team. Wilhelm Schaugg, joins LSM as Head of Strategy – US, Bermuda and LatAm, having previously been Head of Commercial Lines & Reinsurance at Liberty Mutual’s Global Retail Markets East. His new role was created to support the region with strategic planning, marketing, new business analysis and reporting. He reports to Alexander Montoya and is based in Miami, Florida.

Tasker Insurance Group has appointed Robin Thomson as Managing Director of Tasker Insurance Brokers, the group’s retail broking business. The role was previously filled by Ann Bowyer. She will remain at Tasker as a Group Executive, focusing on responsibilities covering markets, placement and learning and development. Thomson has over 30 years’ experience in the industry, having previously held leadership roles at Layton Blackham, Bluefin and Clear Insurance.

Annie Watson has joined CCRS as Managing Director of Broking. The Broker noted that Neil Campbell remains in his post as Managing Director of the firm as a whole. Watson will start at CCRS on 16 September and moves to the firm from a Branch Director position at Aspen in Glasgow.

Ten Insurance Services boss James Sharp is set to retire from the business at the end of this month. Sharp, who is the last of the company’s three founders to have remained in an executive position, will be succeeded by Dawn Derbyshire, who has been with the business for 11 years. Derbyshire has already been Managing Director of Ten for nearly three years, while Sharp has held the position of MD of its holding company, Ten Operations Services and Holdings (Tosh).

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited has announced the appointment of Mary Kotch as Chief Information Officer. In her new role, Kotch will join the Aspen Group executive committee. Kotch has more than 20 years of experience in strategic technology innovation, application-shared services, managing a global project-management office, infrastructure, architecture and digital and data management, Aspen said.

James Conmy, Senior VP for Marine and Energy at Guy Carpenter has been dismissed for gross misconduct after sending an all staff email including sexually inappropriate language and referencing a female member of staff, according to reports. Insurance Post said that in addition to Conmy’s dismissal two of his colleagues had received internal penalties. A spokesperson for Guy Carpenter said: “We take all incidents of harassment very seriously and will not tolerate any behaviour that breaches our code of conduct. When a serious breach of this policy occurred last month we suspended the individuals involved.


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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