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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 14th September 2018

14 Sep 2018

Insurance News

Nexus Group, an independent specialty Managing General Agent headquartered in London, has acquired Huntington Underwriting Limited (HUL). HUL is a structured solutions Underwriting Manager based in Malaysia’s Labuan International Business and Financial Centre and was part of Singapore-based insurance services group Huntington Group Pte Ltd.

In other’s a done deal for managing general agent Nexus Group and club-style MGA formation platform Castel Underwriting Agencies Limited. Described as being on a dynamic growth path, the independent specialty MGA has completed its third acquisition for the year – snapping up Altitude Risk Partners from Castel through an asset purchase. In 2017, which saw the completion of a £30 million capital raising, Nexus made four swoops.

A team of three from Welsh software house Vizolution will ride their bikes for four days to raise funds for the Latch Children Cancer Charity. The technology firm, whose clientele includes UK Insurers, will see staff members Robin Betts, Jonathan Gibbs and Leighton Sparkes, cycling 220 miles from the Vizolution headquarters in Port Talbot to the Notting Hill office in London from morning of September 15 to evening of September 18 2018.

QBE, one of the first (re)insurers to receive approval for its post-Brexit subsidiary, has reached what it described as “another significant milestone” in its preparations for the UK’s divorce with the European Union. Announcing the latest development in its Brexit arrangements, QBE said its Part VII transfer hearing has taken place – meaning its restructuring plans have been heard at the High Court in the UK. The court-sanctioned legal transfer of policies is governed by Part VII of the UK’s Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Munich Re has estimated that the Cyber insurance market will double by 2020, thanks to an increase in the use of connected devices and the subsequent surge of complex risks associated with such systems. The German company shared its business forecast during the Rendez-Vous event – an annual meeting of reinsurers in Monaco earlier this week, reported.

As far as the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is concerned, the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is a tax on protection which impacts insurance uptake. A whopping £5.94 billion – a 22% rise year-on-year – in IPT was collected for year 2017/2018 ending July 31, according to data reported by national accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. Citing the government’s forecast, the firm said the additional income raised from last year’s IPT adjustment is much more than initially predicted.

Losing the incentives that lure insurance fraudsters, in the view of Aviva, is one of the benefits to be gained when the proposed version of the Civil Liability Bill is enacted. The Insurer believes fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims will continue to rise not only in terms of number but also as far as cost is concerned, unless the Civil Liability Bill becomes law. Expressing its support for the pending legislation, Aviva cited the £59 million of bogus injury claims it detected last year.

AXIS Re Strategic Partners has now been formally unveiled, following an earlier announcement detailing changes happening at the reinsurance giant. Part of Axis Re’s plans to enhance its client engagement model was the formation of a dedicated team to serve clients and Brokers – which has now come to life with the appointment of Strategic Account Executives for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). These are Herndon Stokes, Simon Stirnemann and Juan Manuel Martín Leon.

XL Catlin’s insurance operations have announced the launch of insurance products designed to provide coverage to companies in the media and entertainment industry. The products address the risks faced by organisers, performers, producers and support trades in the industry, including one dedicated to film and television productions and another that covers live performances and the companies involved in the sector, XL Catlin said. The products are offered on an annual or project-by-project basis and provide covers specific to each area. They are customisable and can be individually tailored to specific productions and events.

According to a new report released this week from Axco, protectionism, unrest, currency volatility and economic interventionism are prompting an increase in demand for Political Risk and Trade Credit insurance. The report suggests that the market has become increasingly dynamic in recent years – with the number of Insurers growing from around 30 in 2010, to more than 60 in 2018. In London alone, the private market capacity is currently estimated at $3.25 billion (£2.5 billion) for project and trade risks. Sam Evans, Director of specialist Credit and Political Risk insurance (CPRI) firm BPL Global commented “I am always struck by the realisation that the CPRI market has doubled in size since I joined”, citing an increased market demand in recent years, which he said is a reflection of the rising geopolitical uncertainties facing clients.

MS Amlin partners with Envelop Risk - an underwriting partnership between two London-headquartered firms has been launched. Announcing the tie-up at the reinsurance event Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monte Carlo, global (re)insurer MS Amlin and specialty Cyber (re)insurance analytics and underwriting firm Envelop Risk said their collaboration is well placed to become a dominant force in the cyber reinsurance space. It will bring together the latter’s “compelling” augmented intelligence capabilities and its partner’s specialist lead underwriting and global scale.

New York-headquartered TransRe is beefing up its operations in Europe. Announcing a restructure aimed at efficiency and strengthened presence, the company said TransRe Zurich Ltd will re-domicile to Luxembourg where it will eventually get a new name. The reinsurer’s sites in Munich, Paris, Zurich and Dubai will become branch offices of the Luxembourg subsidiary.

XL Group has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AXA this week in a US$15.3 billion insurance mega merger. The combination of AXA’s and XL Group’s existing positions propels the Group to the #1 global position in P&C Commercial lines. “Upon closing of the acquisition of the XL Group, AXA XL will combine our P&C commercial lines and specialty risks into a new entity of the AXA Group,” said AXA Chief Executive Thomas Buberl two months ago. “This new entity will operate under the master brand AXA, and its offerings will be identified along four main lines: XL Insurance, XL Reinsurance, XL Art & Lifestyle, and XL Risk Consulting."

China Reinsurance has bought Chaucer Group from Hanover Insurance for $950m (£726m). The sum is made up of $865m in cash and a pre-signing dividend from Chaucer of $85m received in the second quarter of this year. The deal consists of Hanover Insurance International Holdings, Chaucer Insurance and Hanover Australia.

The Carlyle Group becomes majority investor in claims firm. Private equity firm and PIB backer The Carlyle Group has bought a majority stake in Sedgwick for $6.7bn (£5.15bn). The deal sees previous majority shareholder KKR, an investor in Ardonagh Group, exit the business.

Warwick Davis Insurance Consultants has completed a management buyout backed by Ataraxia Broking. The move sees Managing Director Neil Kerkhove take control of the business, with founder Warwick Davis exiting the Broker. Kerkhove was previously a Director of the business. A spokesperson for Ataraxia confirmed that there had been no other changes in staff.

In other Ataraxia news... Thompson & Co has completed a management buyout backed by Ataraxia Broking. The deal for an undisclosed sum saw existing shareholders of the family-owned Broker reduce their stake in the firm, allowing others in the existing management team to increase their holdings. In addition, Ataraxia became a minority shareholder in the West Midlands-based business.

Incorporated Insurance Group (IIG) has launched an Airside and Aviation Products Liability offering in a move it said was designed to help regional Brokers compete with national players. The managing general agent (MGA) detailed that its new scheme can provide Airside Liability not only for contractors like trades, cleaners, refuelers and airline repairers but can also deliver cover for vehicles that work next to the aircraft. It claimed this is something that many fleet Brokers struggle to place. The policy can accommodate indemnity limits up to £100m, run for short periods and work alongside existing cover.

Danish legal changes to affect FSCS-style claims from January. Another Alpha would hit UK Insurers but policyholders would still be compensated. As of 1 January 2019 the Danish Guarantee Fund, the country’s equivalent of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), will only pay out to policyholders in Denmark in the event of a local Insurer failure following a change in the nation’s law. The FSCS confirmed to Insurance Age that there would be no negative net impact on UK consumers.

Private equity firm Livingbridge has taken a stake in SME health insurance provider Equipsme. The start-up managing general agent was launched earlier this year by former Axa Head of Global SME initiatives Matthew Reed with a target of selling products to 30,000 SMEs within two years. The latest £2m of additional capital funding came from a funding round led by Livingbridge which also backed a management buyout of Coversure this March.

Saga has made health insurance policies available to brokers for the first time. The firm claimed that its Health Insurance Introductions initiative was an alternative for Brokers whose customers are aged over 50. Saga detailed that it offered five health insurance plans and having previously only sold direct was opening up the scheme after a trial with a network of selected Brokers.

Data from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) Police Helpline has revealed that an estimated 25,000 learners in the UK are driving without insurance. The MIB is urging learner drivers to meet insurance requirements. In the past 12 months MIB received thousands of enquiries from Police Officers at the roadside where a provisional licence holder was suspected to be driving without insurance.

ARAG has launched a completely free online training platform. This platform is designed to be a simple, easy to use way to get you intimately familiar with our products and services. It's available on a desktop through a web browser, or on any iPhone, iPad or Android device using the EduMe app. 


Market Movers and Shakers

Chubb’s Mike Berry is moving up from his role as Head of Surety for the UK & Ireland to a wider remit as Surety Head for Europe. Announcing the immediate changes, Chubb said Senior Surety Underwriter Jamal Griffith will be taking on Berry’s previous position. Griffith, a former AIG Surety Underwriter who joined Chubb in 2010, will report to his predecessor and to Chief Underwriting Officer for Property and Casualty in the UK & Ireland Mark Roberts.  

Karen Beales, CEO of UK General Insurance, is leaving her post as Chief Executive with immediate effect, according to an announcement from the MGA’s board. UK General plans to start the process of looking for Beales’ replacement shortly, with John Spencer, currently the Non-Executive Chair of the Company, acting as Executive Chairman until a new CEO is appointed.

Specialist Fine Art and High Net Worth claims professional Fabrice Watson is back at Ecclesiastical. Appointed as Claims Team Manager for the Insurer’s Art and Private Client operation, Watson has returned following his stint at Covéa’s High Net Worth claims unit. He left Ecclesiastical in 2015 after leading its heritage residential claims team.

Sanchia Groves LLM FCII is taking on a newly created role at Allianz Insurance Plc. After serving as Senior Underwriter and Team Leader for the Legal Protection operations for nearly five years, Groves will move up as Underwriting Manager. As part of the Allianz Legal Protection (ALP) management team, she will be in charge of leading ALP’s technical excellence agenda, the daily oversight of the technical team, as well as setting the direction of the unit’s after-the-event and before-the-event underwriting footprint.

Ripe Insurance, the InsurTech specialist behind some of the UK’s most successful niche insurance products, has appointed Dan Dawson to the role of Underwriting Manager. In this role, Dawson will be responsible for ensuring all 12 of the company’s insurance products are profitable, in addition to overseeing new product development. The new senior hire comes at a time when Ripe plans to bring three new products to market by early 2019. Dawson will report directly into Executive Chairman, Paul Williams.

Lancashire Holdings Limited (“LHL”) has today announced the appointment of James Irvine as the Chief Underwriting Officer for Lancashire Insurance Company Limited in Bermuda (“LICL”) with effect from 1 October 2018 (subject to immigration and regulatory approvals). 

James Neild is appointed Regional Trading Underwriter for Prestige by ERS. James has over 20 years’ experience in High Net Worth, High Value Motor insurance from senior roles held at Hiscox, Zurich Private Clients and, most recently, Oak Underwriting where James was Lead Underwriter.

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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Market Movers and Shakers

Market Movers and Shakers

Market Movers and Shakers

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