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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 18th December 2020

18 Dec 2020

Generali Global Corporate & Commercial (GC&C) UK has partnered with US-based renewable energy underwriting Provider, Power Energy Risk (PERse). “We are delighted to announce this agreement that brings together PERse’s capabilities and expertise in the renewables sector with Generali Global Corporate & Commercial’s extensive global network and local knowledge in over 160 countries around the world,” stated GC&C Chief Executive Manlio Lostuzzi.

Insurtech Worry+Peace (W+P) has rolled out its Choices platform, which features provider forms and lead forms as its two mutually exclusive use-cases. Designed to enable Brokers, Insurers, and Managing General Agents to quickly and cost-effectively digitise proposal forms or any fact-find process, Choices leverages W+P’s form technology and is described as one of the “most strategic” releases of the insurtech so far.

The trustee of the Maersk retirement benefit scheme has secured the benefits of around 1,900 deferred members and 3,000 retirees through a bulk annuity transaction with Legal & General Assurance Society Limited.

Ransomware attacks increased in both severity and cost this year compared to 2019, making them the biggest Cyber threat facing organisations, according to specialist Insurer Beazley. According to the latest Beazley Breach Insights report, the total cost of ransom payments doubled year-on-year over the first six months of 2020, based on incidents reported to the Insurer’s in-house breach response team, BBR Services.

Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLG) has introduced a home insurance partner solution designed to offer an instant estimated price to customers. Available either as a white label product or as an affiliate partnership using DLG brands Direct Line, Churchill, or Privilege, the new digital solution was developed by DLG Partnerships to simplify the home insurance buying process. It leverages partner data alongside that of DLG’s.

It’s certainly looking like a rough journey ahead for insurance brokerage giants Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson (WTW), whose proposed business combination is slated to undergo extensive scrutiny by the European Commission.

According to preliminary estimates by the Swiss Re Institute, insurance industry losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters globally were US$83 billion in 2020. This makes 2020 the fifth-costliest year for the industry since 1970.

CFC has upgraded its UK Terrorism and sabotage policy, aiming to deliver a stronger product for brokers seeking standalone Terrorism solutions for their clients. In a statement, the company said that the key enhancements to its existing wording include loss of attraction, covering loss of income after an insured event within one mile from the insured premises which leads to a reduction in business activities, and threat cover for loss of rent or Business Interruption sustained in the event of a threat of Terrorism or sabotage.

Weston-super-Mare based Broker Professional Construction Risks Ltd (PCRL) has been barred from carrying out regulated activities. Without detailing the reasons, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it had imposed various requirements on PCRL. Aside from ceasing to conduct regulated activities, the company must, at the same time, protect client money which it cannot use to finance itself.

Cyber insurance has been identified as a key growth area for London, according to a study conducted by the City of London Corporation and Accenture. Titled ‘The Future of Cyber Insurance – Next Steps for the London Market’, the report found that cyberattacks are now among the greatest risks to the world economy and the ‘new normal’ of post-pandemic life, with digital technologies becoming even more integrated into human society.

Aviva PLC has announced its latest offloading as part of the group’s ongoing portfolio overhaul. Aviva Vietnam Life Insurance Company Limited is to be let go, parent firm Aviva said it is selling the entire shareholding in Aviva Vietnam to Manulife Financial Asia Limited.

It looks like the legal fight between Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC and ex-boss John Quinlan has been put to rest. Quinlan, who took the Insurer to court around the time his successor was named, is said to have filed a notice of discontinuance and will not be pursuing the case anymore. 

Fidelis Insurance Holdings has announced that it raised an additional $60 million (approx. £45 million) in equity capital during Q4. Fidelis raised the capital from existing and new investor relationships including Alfa Insurance and affiliated companies, with which Fidelis has a longstanding relationship. The company has also raised $125 million (approx. £94.5 million) in 6.625% fixed-rate reset junior subordinated notes due in 2041, which are redeemable at the option of the company at each interest-rate reset date, which occurs every five years.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which in October imposed various requirements on Inspire Insurance Services Ltd, has published information for customers of the failed Broker. “Customers making a mid-term adjustment or who have a new or existing claim should contact their iInsurer,” advised the regulator. “Customers who are approaching their policy renewal can contact their Insurer, or another Broker. If a refund is sought from Inspire, rather than the Insurer, customers should contact Inspire’s liquidators, Andrew Fender and Sandra Fender of Sanderlings Accountancy Services Ltd.” Meanwhile, it was noted that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is not currently open to claims against Inspire.

In other news...Needham Insurance Services ‘welcomed’ the clients of Inspire last month. Managing director Neal Lowe stated at the time: “I want to make the transfer from Inspire Insurance to Needham Insurance as pain-free as possible, and we will arrange a simple and smooth transition for you so you can concentrate on your day job”.

Global Insurer QBE Insurance Group has released its financial results forecast for 2020: “Having reported a 1H20 adjusted net cash loss after tax of US$666 million, QBE now expects to report a FY20 adjusted net cash loss after tax of ~US$780 million. This includes the following pre-tax impacts: ~US$470 million of COVID-19 costs, ~US$130 million of elevated catastrophe costs, and ~US$360 million of prior accident year claims development." The statement added "The expected statutory net loss after tax of ~US$1.5 billion (around £1.1 billion) also includes a US$520 million non-cash writedown of North America goodwill and deferred tax assets, and ~US$100 million of IT and real estate related writedowns.”

A huge £4.4 billion is estimated to have been saved in claims payouts by car insurance companies for 2020, because of the coronavirus-related decrease in driving. “After the first national lockdown was eased, we thought that life would go back to normal,” said HelloSafe Chief Executive Antoine Fruchard. “However, with that second pandemic wave that is shaking the UK, road traffic has gone down again, and again the insurance companies save money on claims.”.

Directors and Officers are facing a flood of new and heightened risks thanks to the highly volatile business environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). Among the key risks for which company Directors and Officers could be held liable are risking insolvency exposure, growing cybersecurity risks and persistent securities class-action activity, AGCS said. 

Lloyd’s of London and Parsyl, a supply chain data platform and Cargo Insurer for shippers of sensitive goods, have jointly launched an alliance of insurance and technology partners called Global Health Risk Facility (GHRF). In a release, Lloyd’s said GHRF will make available not only billions of dollars of insurance coverage but also risk mitigation services designed to support the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and critical health commodities.

Almost two-thirds of business leaders in the UK are anticipating an increase in COVID-themed phishing attacks in 2021, according to a study by cyber security firm Centrify. The data also revealed that the majority (52%) of respondents are expecting more cyberattacks to target their organisations, as triggered by the most recent national lockdown in the UK, which ended on December 02.

In the latest big acquisition news to sweep the insurance industry, Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited (LV=) has announced that it has agreed to the terms of a transaction to acquire LV=, with funds advised by private investment firm Bain Capital Credit LP (Bain).

Davies Group has snapped up BMTS, the Motor inspections and engineering business, based in Scotland. It offers vehicle inspection and expert witness services to not only the insurance industry, but also the legal and private sectors too. 

2020 has brought with it a renewed focus on digital opportunities and Global Risk Partners (GRP) is building on this with its latest acquisition. The insurance intermediary has today announced its purchase of a majority stake in Insync Insurance solutions Ltd, a Dorset-based online commercial insurance Broker. The deal has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

Florida-headquartered insurance brokerage Brown & Brown, Inc. is acquiring the general insurance operating companies of Irish family-run business O’Leary Insurances Ltd (OLI) for an undisclosed sum.  With 200 staff in eight locations, including Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford, OLI specialises in commercial and personal insurance broking for clients in Ireland and overseas.

The board of Directors of global reinsurer SCOR has decided to split the Chairman and Chief Executive roles currently held by Denis Kessler, with a major name tapped to take over as CEO in 2022. Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas – who served as Chief of staff to former French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe until July 2020 – is joining SCOR next month as Deputy Chief Executive before assuming the top post in the spring of 2022 following the company’s annual general meeting that year.   

Michelle Cole has joined the Touchstone Underwriting team as London & South East Regional Business Development Underwriter (RBDU). Michelle is an experienced Property & Casualty Underwriter having spent the last nine years at MSAmlin. Prior to that she was with Fusion, ACE Europe and Allianz. They commented "We delighted that we now have a full complement of RBDU’s covering the UK and her appointment fulfils this part of our long term business plan".

In other news....David Fitzgerald has also been welcomed to the Touchstone Underwriting team as a Senior Underwriter. David has worked in Insurance for 35 years and brings with him a wealth of experience. He has worked for Canopius, WRB Ltd, Barbican and Markel International Ltd. 

Insurance Broker and risk advisor Marsh has announced the appointment of Phil Hobson as Affinity Leader for its international division. Effective January 01, Hobson will join Marsh’s international executive committee and report to Flavio Piccolomini, President of Marsh’s international division. Hobson will relocate from Hong Kong to London for the new role.

RSA UK and International has appointed Steve Watson to serve as the Managing Director of the company’s London Markets business – a part of RSA Commercial Lines.

Aviva plc has today announced the appointment of Doug Brown as CEO of UK & Ireland Life Insurance. Brown, who is currently CEO of Canada Life in the UK, will join Aviva’s Group Executive Committee, reporting to group CEO Amanda Blanc. He is expected to join Aviva in April 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

AmTrust International has announced two key senior underwriting appointments to its specialty team. The company has appointed Dean Kiernan as a Senior Underwriter for the Professional Indemnity team and Donna Strougler as an Underwriter for the Property team.

The UK-arm of global giant, Hiscox, has appointed 20-year insurance veteran Tom Shewry as its new CFO, reporting in to CEO Bob Thaker. Shewry originally joined the firm back in 2018 as Director of group finance, and took the CFO role on an interim basis back in September.

QBE Insurance Group Limited has named Fiona Larnach – an experienced leader who has worked across risk management, finance, and treasury for nearly 30 years – as its new Group Chief Risk Officer, forming part of the group executive committee.

Loss adjuster Woodgate & Clark has opened a new office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in response to a “significant increase in business growth,” the firm’s Managing Director Phil Scarrett said. The office will be led by veteran Loss Adjuster Mark Lindsay, who joins from Lucas Claims Solutions after almost 30 years there. 

 

 

Our next issue of the IDEX Consulting General Insurance newsletter will be on the 8th January 2021.

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 

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

 

 


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