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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 15th January 2021

15 Jan 2021

It’s here – the moment that the insurance industry and consumers throughout the UK have been waiting for since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic – the final ruling on the appeal of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s Business Interruption case. Earlier today, the Supreme Court livestreamed its judgement, substantially allowing the FCA’s and the Hiscox Action Group (HAG)’s appeal and dismissing Insurers’ appeals. The Supreme Court noted that the case was brought forward by the FCA to appeal certain issues on which it did not succeed in the High Court cases, along with HAG. Six insurance companies also appealed the decision of the High Court on other issues and also responded to the FCA’s appeal. The Insurers were Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd, Argenta Syndicate Management Ltd, Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd, MS Amlin Underwriting Ltd, QBE UK Limited and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc (RSA). Zurich Insurance Plc was also a respondent to the FCA’s appeal, but did not separately appeal the decision of the court.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is urging Insurers to “show care and compassion,” following a CII survey conducted among consumers and SME's. The findings suggest that SMEs are disappointed with how their claims have been handled by the insurance profession during the pandemic. This is reflected by the decline in the percentage of businesses that were satisfied with their Insurers’ service in 2020.     

Global law firm Kennedys is opening an office in Leeds. The site will be its 12th location in the UK and 42nd globally. The new office location was made possible following Kennedys acquisition of the insurance team of law firm Langleys.

ACORD Solutions Group (ASG), the industry-owned subsidiary of insurance standard-setting body ACORD, has announced the implementation of its ACORD Data Exchange Platform & Translator (ADEPT) to perform automated, real-time premium accounting reconciliation between Insurers and Brokers. The platform was developed with some of the industry’s largest stakeholders, ASG said.

Pangea Insurance Brokers has officially launched. A sister company of Pangea Life, the freshly formed brokerage is a Marsh Networks member specialising in Commercial and Private insurance. Based in Southampton, Pangea Insurance Brokers is led by director Michael Piper, whose credentials include time spent at Ageas, A-Plan Insurance, Portmore Insurance Brokers and Gallagher.

As part of its “12 days of giving” campaign, Ecclesiastical is giving away a total of £120,000 to 120 charities, some of which were nominated by the Broker community. 

In a move that will significantly extend its scope, Canopius has announced that its Reinsurance company, Canopius Reinsurance Limited, has been granted a Class 4 Reinsurer licence. The licence comes courtesy of the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the reclassification will allow the business to bolster its gross written premiums and take on more third-party risks. The move will also mark a reorientation of the Reinsurer, it will now focus on Third Party and Casualty business amid what it describes as an improving rate environment.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has announced the line-up of speakers who will take part in its upcoming BIBA 2021 Conference. ‘Strengthening Resilience’ is the theme of the digital conference and the association has built an agenda addressing several topics including politics, pandemics and connectivity.

London-headquartered specialist Broker McGill and Partners (MGP), has joined the London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA).

Global mergers and acquisitions activity in 2020 hit its lowest level since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, despite an uptick in deal-making over the final three months of the year, according to new research from Willis Towers Watson’s Quarterly Deal Performance Monitor (QDPM).

Tim Harris, the Chief Financial Officer at Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLG), is taking a leave of absence effective immediately. In an update, Direct Line Group said Harris will be away while a family member of his undergoes medical treatment. In the interim, taking over as acting CFO is Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Committee Member Neil Manser.

Aon has announced the launch of a new fuel insurance product designed to help shipping and aviation companies protect against rising fuel costs. The coverage, backed by AAA-rated credit insurance, will be activated if the cost of fuel rises to exceed an agreed-upon limit. The policy will cover the difference between the agreed-upon price and the higher price, paid out monthly.

Currently, international specialist insurance intermediary New Dawn Risk derives about 95% of its business from outside the United Kingdom. However, that may be about to change as the company announced the launch of a new division focused on the UK market, on the back of a demand for alternatives to “big Brokers”. 

The global Reinsurance arm of broking giant Gallagher has partnered up with Arch Mortgage Insurance Company (Arch MI) to secure a sizeable capacity deal for Bellemeade Re 2020-4 Ltd. In the fourth deal of its kind in 2020, Gallagher Re secured US$15,620,000 of Indemnity insurance for Arch MI, on a pool representing around US$33.3 billion in mortgages linked to loans issued by Arch MI and its affiliates.

Warburg Pincus-backed McGill and Partners (MGP) has forayed into Ireland. “We are pleased to announce the establishment of our Irish entity, McGill and Partners Ireland Limited, which marks an important milestone in the growth of our firm,” said the London-based specialist boutique Broker in a LinkedIn post.

Specialist Insurer NMU has formed a new team designed to handle new Cargo & Freight Liability enquiries from Brokers across the UK. “We’re still very conscious of the difficult market conditions and the importance of being available for our Brokers in a remote-working environment,” said NMU Sales & Development Manager Nick Green. “We see this as an additional way of enhancing what is already recognised as a ‘best-in-class’ service.”

It looks like Seventeen Group Chief Executive Paul Anscombe is one happy man – as the London-based insurance group reports positive numbers for 2019. In a release, Seventeen Group said its revenue and EBITDA for the year grew to £22.7 million and £3.1 million, respectively. Part of the result came from acquired firms Walker Persson & Spargo Ltd (WPS) and Graybrook Insurance Brokers, the swoops for which were backed by Beechbrook Capital.

International insurance group, Howden Group Holdings, has invested US$84 million to support Tamesis DUAL Ltd (Tamesis), the reinsurance division of DUAL Group – the world’s largest MGA. The transaction represents the first underwriting capital investment for Howden Group.

Some companies claim to be global if they have operations in some of the world’s largest countries – but Brokerslink is showing what the term really means. The broking business has kicked off the New Year with the addition of independent broker JDB in North Macedonia, while also announcing three new broker affiliates: Juasur in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fidelia in Senegal and Risk Management Services in Pakistan.

Woodgate & Clark Ltd has acquired 100% of Quadra Claims Services Ltd, a loss adjusting firm based in Manchester. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ethos Broking partner Finch has announced that it is expanding its regional footprint in the South of England with the purchase of Headley Group, its first acquisition of 2021. The deal is the 12th acquisition Finch has made since becoming part of Ethos Broking.

After merging with Wilsons Insurance Brokers in 2017 and upholding a consistent acquisition tradition, The Bollington Wilson Group has now itself been purchased, by none other than the global broking giant Gallagher. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

Acquisition season is showing no signs of slowing with Watford-based Commercial and Personal insurance Broker Heath Crawford & Foster Limited (HCF) announcing a trio of acquisitions as part of its 2021 growth plans. HCF has completed the purchase of ABA Insurance Services Ltd (ABA) and Bradshaw Bennett (Lancashire) Ltd (BBL) and has exchanged contracts for the purchase of the clients and goodwill of a London broker which is due to complete shortly. In a press release, HCF noted its intention to continue expanding its business with further acquisitions over 2021 and a fourth deal due to complete in March.

Specialist Risk Group (SRG) has acquired GB Underwriting, a Managing General Agent (MGA) serving the UK Broker market. Founded in 2003, GB Underwriting provides Property and Liability solutions. In particular, the firm specialises in supporting Brokers whose clients are in the building, construction, and associated specialist trades.

 

 AXA XL has announced the appointment of Pamela Rosado as General Counsel, effective February 08. Rosado will report to AXA XL CEO Scott Gunter and will be based in New York. She succeeds interim general counsel Anthony Recine, who will return to his previous position of Global Head of Litigation for AXA Group.

Surrey-based Broker Vizion has added a new Executive to its roster. Joining from Gallagher, former Stackhouse Poland Director Peter Robinson will serve as Broking Director and Head of Commercial. He will be in charge of the broking strategy across all areas at Vizion, which specialises in Commercial and High Net Worth insurance.

Despite having a board already packed with top names from the manufacturing, services and distribution industries, FM Global has managed to find another seat at the table for a well-known name. Colin Day, the Chairman of one of Britain’s largest food manufacturers Premier Foods plc, has returned to the board having previously been part of its line-up when he was Chief Executive of Essentra plc. 

Independent specialist insurance broker Ballantyne Brokers has completed its senior leadership team with the appointment of John Harris as Chief Operating Officer and Will Moore as Finance Director, effective immediately and subject to regulatory approval.

There is a new Global Head at Liberty Specialty Markets. Lesley Harding is taking the role of Global Head of Energy, reporting in to Michael Gosselin, Chief Underwriting Officer, Specialty. Based in the London office, she will be responsible for the firm’s entire Energy portfolio – including the Offshore, Onshore, Power and Renewables sectors. She will also lead the growth and performance of the business.

Insurtech INSTANDA believes that COVID-19 has brought a renewed focus on the life and health insurance industries – and with that focus comes opportunity. As such, the company has today revealed a swoop for Aviva’s former Head of UK SME Strategy Will Wood – bringing him in to lead its life and health expansion, which has grown quickly over the last two years.

The Hartford’s international Chief Claims Officer Michael Phipps is making the switch to CNA Hardy. Slated to come onboard the specialist Commercial insurance Provider towards the end of the first quarter, Phipps will be based in London in his new capacity as Vice President and Head of Claims for the UK and Continental Europe.

Ceta Insurance has appointed James O’Hara as Commercial Director to head-up the company’s Commercial and product procurement requirements. O’Hara takes on the role having previously been Head of Procurement at Ceta, where he has been part of the senior management team for the past 11 years.

Already established as Chair of the Audit Committee at Covea Insurance, Jane Dale has now expanded her list of responsibilities with the new position of Non-Executive Director (NED) and Chair of the Governance and Audit Committee of the board at GRP’s operating company.

Aon has announced two new additions to its Tax insurance practice. Mario Salandra and Doug Brody have joined Aon Transaction Solutions as Managing Directors of Tax Insurance Business Development. Salandra and Brody will report to Gary Blitz, Aon’s co-CEO of Global M&A and Transaction Solutions and Global Head of Tax Insurance.

 
   

 

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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