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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 18th September 2020

18 Sep 2020

The Competition Markets Authority has said Ardonagh and Bennetts have five working days to address concerns, after it found that the merged company would face “only little competition” from other much smaller motorcycle insurance specialists. Ardonagh’s purchase of Bennetts could lead to higher prices, less choice and worse services for UK motorcyclists, according to the CMA.

CFC has upgraded its Cyber incident response mobile app, which now provides proactive cybersecurity alerts for policyholders and immediate access to Cyber security risk mitigation experts.

It looks like the more than 170 different products and services offered by Post Office will be lessened. Fenchurch Advisory Partners has reportedly been tapped to conduct a strategic review of the company’s insurance operations which span Travel, Protection, as well as Home and Motor.

There has been a grey area looming over Personal Injury claims, surrounding the issue of fundamental dishonesty. However, a High Court appeal victory for Allianz and Keoghs may have changed that. The Pegg v Webb and Allianz appeal ruled the claimant to have been fundamentally dishonest and ordered him to pay 70% of Allianz’s costs. The decision, according to a Press release issued by insurance law firm Keoghs, means that failing to disclose essential information and lying about the extent of injuries does go to the root of a claim and therefore should be deemed fundamentally dishonest.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) wants to ensure that the profession meets the expectations of consumers going forward – and to facilitate this, it has created a new forum. Known as the Chartered Transparency Forum, the idea is to bring together legal experts, consumer representatives and practitioners across the profession.

Newcastle-based risk management solutions provider Assurant will have a new, bigger home in the first half of next year. Assurant’s Tunstall Trade Park lease for a 30,000 sq ft property which will be fitted out in time for a March move from Holditch House.

A 22-year-old Slovenian woman is headed to prison for lopping off her own hand in order to commit insurance fraud. A court in Slovenia sentenced Julija Andlesic to two years in prison for allegedly cutting her hand off with a circular saw in order to make a fraudulent claim.

Registration is now open for Dive In, the insurance industry’s diversity and inclusion festival, at Dive In will take place from September 22-24. Due to the festival’s new virtual format, participants will now be able to attend any one of more than 90 events taking place in more than 30 countries. Each event has a capacity of 600 to 1,500, making it the most accessible diversity and inclusion festival in the world.

“A new generation insurance business.” That is what Kingfisher Holdings is proclaiming to be as it takes on its new brand. The artist, or rather insurance company, formerly known as Vantage Holdings, has now been relaunched with a renewed focus on the UK specialist risk sector and with an ambitious growth strategy in place.

SSP is delighted to announce that Old Mutual, the largest Insurer in the Zimbabwean territory, will be extending its long-standing relationship of over 26 years and upgrading to the new SSP Insurance Platform.

In line with the recently announced strategy, Aviva plc (“Aviva”) has agreed to sell a majority shareholding in Aviva Singapore to a consortium led by Singapore Life Ltd (“Singlife”) to support the creation of one of the country’s leading insurance companies. The combination brings together Aviva Singapore’s scale and leading franchise with Singlife’s innovative and digitally focused capabilities. In Singapore, the new business will be initially branded as Aviva Singlife.

Legal expenses and assistance provider ARAG is relaunching its Family Legal Solutions product to offer the widest available range of covers, including a 'dark web' monitoring and ID theft restoration service.

Willis Towers Watson has announced a partnership with the University of Oxford to conduct research into the cost of equity arising from severe Cyber breaches. The Willis Research Network will engage with the University to develop research looking at three key areas of Cyber security risk.

Acturis has announced that it has become a digital partner for Tasker Insurance Group. The software house stated that Tasker had migrated its retail broking business to Acturis in early September, after a three-month implementation during the coronavirus lockdown.

A whopping 178% and nearly 200% – those have been the average increases in directors’ and officers’ (D&O) insurance premiums for UK FTSE 350 companies in the first half and second quarter of the year, respectively,  according to a Marsh JLT Specialty market update. The difficult market conditions for commercial directors’ and officers’ liability insurance seen at the start of 2020 continued and increased in the second quarter,” noted Marsh JLT Specialty in its report.

DUAL Asset, part of DUAL, the underwriting arm of Hyperion Insurance Group, has formed a “long-term collaboration” with Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited – an arrangement that DUAL Asset said would “further consolidate” its position a top international legal indemnity Underwriter.

As it looks to write its first risk incepting in January, 2021, new digitally driven Lloyd’s syndicate Ki is gearing up for action with a major investment. The company has raised US$500 million courtesy of funds managed by Fairfax Financial Holdings and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. The investment is set to assist Ki’s expansion as it looks to grow at a significant scale.


The eight Insurers involved in the Business Interruption test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on behalf of policyholders have issued mixed responses to the judgment. RSA stated that it expected an additional financial impact from the judgment of around £104m on a gross basis across its portfolio of relevant BI policies. QBE issued a statement, saying that the court had ruled in its favour with respect of two out of three of its notifiable disease policy wordings examined and in favour of Insurers generally with respect to denial of access policy wordings. Zurich welcomed the judgment, which it said confirmed that the wordings represented by the provider do not provide cover for BI in relation to Covid-19. Similarly, Ecclesiastical stated that it did not expect to pay out any claims as a result of the court case, after the court found that the infectious disease carve-out applies. Meanwhile, Arch said in a statement on its website that it expected the judgment to be appealed and that the next decision would be taken in late 2020 or early 20121. Argenta detailed that the parties are now waiting for a consequentials hearing where the judges will comment on the judgment and “will likely also address the parties’ rights of appeal”. MS Amlin pointed to the complexity of the judgment and stated that it would go through the full detail in the coming days and communicate with clients who were impacted. Hiscox had revealed it expects its additional Covid-19 claims arising from Business Interruption to be less than £100m following the judgment.

Further reactions to the judgement...the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) has welcomed the judgment in the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Business Interruption test case. Hospitality Broker NDML and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have stated they are “both pleased and frustrated” at the judgment in the Financial Conduct Authority’s Business Interruption test case.

Mishcon de Reya, which represented the Hospitality Insurance Group Action (HIGA) in the business interruption test case, has stated that it wants to expand its group action to include more policyholders. The move comes after the court ruled in favour of policyholders in relation to the QBE 1 policy wording as well as the Marsh Material Damage and BI – Resilience wording, which has been used by Aviva and RSA, as well as QBE, Allianz, AIG and Zurich. Pertinent dental businesses are being encouraged to join the QBE group action.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has called on the insurance industry and government to act now to reduce the need for legal proceedings like the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Business Interruption test case in future.

The Society of Insurance Broking (SIB) has published plans to offer support to Brokers on the long road to recovery from the initial impact of Covid-19. SIB was launched by the Chartered Insurance Institute in September 2018 and is designed to support Brokers by providing good practice guidance, thought leadership and a programme of continued professional development. Revealing its plans for its third year, the society stated it would offer guidance to help members manage difficult conversations, emphasise the value of professional advice and improve their sales and renewals.

In the first half of 2020, the group of 17 reinsurers tracked by Fitch Ratings – featuring the European big four: Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Rebroker and SCOR – shifted to an underwriting loss, posting a reinsurance combined ratio of 105.8%, compared to 94.5% in the first half (H1) of 2019. This quite dramatic shift in operating performance was driven largely by losses related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. According to Fitch, pandemic-related losses for Reinsurers on the non-life side added 11.2 percentage points to the combined ratio for H1 of 2020, equating to US$6.1 billion pre-tax.

Almost six months to the day that LV= first dropped Travel cover amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Insurer has resumed travel insurance sales to new customers. The business revealed that its new cover will reflect the changes to the Travel market caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Middle-market organisations have been especially hard-hit by online social-engineering attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by specialist Insurer Beazley. In the second quarter, Cyber criminals targeted businesses where many employees were working remotely, Beazley said. Of all the social-engineering attacks reported to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services during Q2, 60% of targeted companies were in the middle market (defined as more than US$35 million in annual revenue), up from 46% in the first quarter.


The acquisitions just keep on coming for Davies Group. The professional services and technology business has announced its fourth deal of the year, this time swooping for specialist cloud application provider ContactPartners.

Well-established as the digital operating system behind the likes of Stella Insurance and Homelyfe, Aventus is now ready to expand on a new venture with a launch into the wholesale market. The operation has previously focused on Retail Brokers and MGAs, but the firm is looking to expand.

The four institutional investors holding Series B preference shares in Sirius International Insurance Group aren’t going anywhere, even when the multi-line Insurer and reinsurer becomes SiriusPoint Ltd as a result of merging with specialty reinsurer Third Point Reinsurance Ltd. In a release, Third Point Re announced having reached a definitive agreement with the cornerstone Investors who will stay put and convert their existing Sirius Series B preference shares into up to US$260 million (around £203 million) face value of newly issued Series B preference shares of SiriusPoint.

International insurance intermediary New Dawn Risk, which already sees 95% of its business emanate from outside the UK, has extended further in Asia thanks to a new partnership. The company has struck a deal with SpecialistRe, the Singapore-based firm, to boost its reach across Japan, China and South-East Asia.

Global Risk Partners (GRP) have announced the completion of its majority share purchase of the leading Irish commercial Broker, Crotty Insurance Brokers Ltd (Crotty). Founded by Finbarr Crotty in 1994, Crotty provides tailored insurance solutions across a range of sectors including Renewable Energy, Construction and Professional Services.

Insurance group NFP Corp is giving its brokerages in the UK and Ireland a unified identity. In a release, NFP said UK-based Mackenzie Taylor Benefits Consultants Limited, Linkfield Corporate Solutions Limited, and Wentworth Employee Benefits Limited are taking on their parent firm’s branding. Recently acquired Johnson Fleming Group Limited in Bromsgrove, meanwhile, will follow suit in 2021. 

Casualty underwriting business Medical & Commercial International (MCI) will now be majority owned and controlled by its management team after completing the management buyout (MBO) from club-style Managing General Agent formation platform Castel Underwriting Agencies Ltd. Launched via Castel in 2015, MCI specialises in life sciences, health sciences, and international general liability. Across these main classes, the firm writes in excess of US$50 million (around £38.6 million) in annual gross written premium.

What would you do with £80 million? A new house, a new car – or maybe 10 of them? If you’re White Bear Capital, however, you’re going to use the money to boost your MGA business. The firm has picked up the cash influx from Alchemy Partners’ Alchemy Special Opportunities Fund IV – the move sees Alchemy take a substantial stake in the firm alongside strategic Investor Nephilia and the company’s staff.

Elaine Dixon has joined Prestige Underwriting as Commercial Relations Manager.

Argo Environmental, a member of Argo Group International Holdings, has announced the appointment of David Corry as Senior Vice President and Head of Environmental.

AXIS Re, the reinsurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, has announced the promotion of Camilo Rodriguez to Head of International Credit and Surety in its Global Markets division.

In further news...AXIS Insurance, the specialty insurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, has announced the hiring of Filip Vandeputte to lead its AXIS Specialty Europe Aviation business in continental Europe.

It was in July when Ryan Specialty Group (RSG) announced the planned retirement of RSG Underwriting Managers (RSGUM) Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Rice. Now it’s been revealed who will be taking over. Appointed as RSGUM Chair & CEO is Nick Cortezi, while tapped to serve as President is Matt Nichols

Ian Wainwright spent close to 30 years of his career with the Ecclesiastical, most recently as Broking Sales Director, before becoming Divisional Director of Broker E.Coleman & Co and spending five years with Broker Network. Now, he is moving to a new challenge on the advisory board at SchemeServe.

Senior reinsurance specialist Jerry Blake has joined Gallagher Re as a Partner.

Whatever your passion, the insurance industry offers the opportunity to become a specialist and to build a fruitful career in that area. For Lee Mathewson, VP of international insurance products for Hagerty who recently moved to the UK to take up the position of Head of Hagerty UK, working for this classic car Insurer was always a dream and when the opportunity came to join the business, he jumped at the chance.

Accident management solution provider Activate Group has bolstered its ranks with a new Head of Commercial. Taking the newly created position is Lorna Turner, who joins the firm as it enjoys a period of sustained growth. It has now recruited Turner to help support and engage clients.

American International Group, Inc. has announced that James Nash has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.

Worry+Peace, the reviews-led marketplace for insurance, announced that senior insurance figures Mark Cliff and Andy Hawkes have joined their Advisory Board. Mark Cliff, recently appointed Chairman of Avid Insurance services. Andy Hawkes, who founded Evolution Underwriting Group, has been CEO of Cardinus Risk Management for nearly 13 years and is a Partner of THB Group.

Angus Milgate, formerly Head of UK and Ireland for Aon’s Reinsurance division, will join McGill and Partners as Head of Treaty Reinsurance in September.

As part of their expansion plans, Aventus have brought appointed two new senior Business Development Managers (BDMs). It has brought in Nihat Hassan, who was Head of Product Development at Source Insurance, as well as Adam Harrison, who was Sales Manager at Charles Taylor InsureTech.

Latent defects specialist London Belgravia Brokers has created a Construction All Risks division and appointed Henry South at the helm as Head of Construction insurance.

Touchstone Underwriting has hired Michelle Cole as London and South East Regional Business Development Underwriter (RBDU).

Allianz Partners has announced several senior appointments and promotions within the sales team of its international health line of business. Alex Bender has been named Head of Client and Broker Relationship Management; Patrick Lawlor is now Head of Sales and Distribution for UK, Ireland and Northern Europe; Craig Norrey takes on the role of Middle East and Africa (MEA) Regional Manager for individual, SME and mid-corporate business; and Ciaran Finn has been appointed business performance lead with responsibility for the sales technology and intelligence unit. 


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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