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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 1st June 2018

01 Jun 2018

Insurance News

A new platform called Insurwave has been launched – developed by EY and software security firm Guardtime. The platform, which has been backed by the likes of Willis Towers Watson, MS Amlin and XL Catlin, makes use of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies – bringing together all parts of the insurance value chain within a single platform. The platform aims to support more than 1,000 ships within the next year – and can already count A.P. Moller-Maersk among its pilot customers.

Global reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd has reported a net loss of US$120m (around £99m) for the first quarter of 2018, compared to a net income of US$38m in the same period last year. According to a statement by the company, the loss includes net unrealised investment losses of approximately $222m, mainly driven by an increase in risk-free rates, mainly in the US. Around US$50m of these losses were attributed to a widening of credit spreads in the US and Europe.

Mumbai-based Acko General Insurance, whose model is said to be based on the likes of British Insurer Direct Line, has received a major boost after its parent company Acko Technologies secured a $12m investment led by Amazon, as well as private equity firm ChrysCap founder Ashish Dhawan. Amazon’s investment is said to be its first in an insurance company in India.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in effect, therefore it is expected that Insurers will offer enhanced cyber and data products. While GDPR fines aren’t insurable in the UK, cover for other breach-related losses are available and Hiscox has bolstered its proposition. The specialist global Insurer has introduced new extensions, as well as upgraded the social engineering component of its cyber and data insurance product.  

Allianz has already invested in digital wealth management firm, MoneyFarm and has now announced a further investment that will “deepen its exposure” in the field “amid rising demand.” The investment has already gained traction through a UK pilot which saw the Insurer offer its employees the chance to invest in actively managed funds of the group’s two asset managers – PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors. Now Moneyfarm is expected to further complement these capabilities and Allianz’s insurance entities with its product offering.

The Jersey Financial Services Commission has granted Ed a license to carry out general insurance mediation business, as it continues to expand its Professional & Executive risk offering. Last year it received a commercial insurance intermediary license from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

UK P&I Club has reported that 2017 was “a year of continued progress,” as the Marine Insurer announced its financial results for the year ended February 20. The Marine Insurer had an average combined ratio of 99% for the five-year period. Holding free reserves of $540m, the Club said its combined mutual-owned and chartered tonnage now stands at around 239m gross tons.

AXA has announced the expansion of its partnership with Uber across Europe; now another transport tie-up has appeared – this time involving French carpooling platform BlaBlaCar. AXA and BlaBlaCar, whose collaboration dates back to 2015, initially teamed up to provide the latter’s members roadside assistance during carpooling trips, as well as the option to buy back a franchise. Advancing their affiliation, the two have developed what is described as a unique Motor insurance product for carpoolers. Called BlaBlaSure/AXA, the new offering features no excess charged for damage that occurs while carpooling and will benefit BlaBlaCar’s over 14 million members in France. Worldwide, the app’s community is made up of more than 60 million users, and the plan is to eventually roll out the annual coverage in other European markets.

Spixii is an InsurTech company who designs chatbot conversations for the insurance industry. Their mission is to help more people get better protected through building customer-centric messaging interfaces for Insurers. So far, they have helped Zurich, Allianz, Bupa and BNP Paribas launch chatbots for quote-and-buy and claims. Using a methodology that has been honed over the past two years, Spixii help insurers launch chatbots within six weeks (up to 12 weeks for end-to-end integrated chatbots). This includes vigorous customer development and user testing from the very beginning, ensuring the technology they design is never just for the sake of it. One of the chief focuses at Spixii is to help insurers use chatbots as a data analytics tool. They believe chatbots can be used to personalise products and rapidly iterate digital customer service.

Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded Property-Casualty insurance company, has signed an agreement with CyberCube to use the cyber risk analytics company’s analytics to supplement its ability to better quantify and understand systemic risks across its Cyber portfolio.

Two fraudsters involved in an elaborate ghost broking operation run from their launderette in Tottenham have been jailed for conspiracy to defraud insurance companies. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) detailed that both were arrested in February last year. The organisation noted that what looked like a legitimate laundry business hid an insurance fraud scam. Visitors to the premises were getting fraudulent Motor cover using fake names and addresses.

Market Rasen-based Lincsafe has been bought by PIB Group for an undisclosed sum. The health and safety specialist is PIB’s 15th deal since it began buying in February 2016. The business will continue trading as Lincsafe but become part of PIB’s newly formed risk management division which merged Ford Risk Management and Sigerson Associates in February this year.

Allianz Group is acquiring 8% of African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re) for US$81m or about €69m. Africa Re, described by Allianz as “the premier reinsurer in Africa,” has more than four decades of operational experience on the continent. The Nigeria-headquartered firm was cited for its in-depth business knowledge of the African markets, as well as its expansive commercial network. The stake acquisition will see the two parties collaborating not only on reinsurance but also in areas such as business development, best practices, risk management tools, as well as training and technical support. Allianz said that by cooperating with Africa Re, they aim to jointly support the economic development and insurance penetration in the region.  

Insurtech Wrisk, whose first crowdfunding campaign was a success, has once again hit its target. In just two days on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, the start-up has raised more than its £500,000 goal. A similar campaign back in October was able to garner support from more than 500 investors to the tune of £600,000 in less than a week. Wrisk gained Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation in December and allows users to purchase contents insurance via its app. Accepted to join the FCA Sandbox, the insurtech is poised to expand its offering to include Motor, Buildings, Travel and Business cover.

According to a report by Marsh captive insurance vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity as Risk Managers seek alternative ways to finance emerging risks their organisations now face. Marsh’s 2018 Captive Landscape Report examines 1,100 captives managed by Marsh Captive Solutions globally. The report found that cumulative growth in the number of Marsh-managed captives writing Cyber Liability rose by 240% from 2012 to 2017, while in the same period the number of captives insuring employee benefits across multiple geographies grew by 550%.

A significant milestone in QBE’s Brexit plans has been achieved with the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) granting a licence to QBE’s new Belgian subsidiary, QBE Europe SA/NV (QBE Europe), ensuring QBE will enjoy continued passporting rights across the EEA.

AIG Europe research found that a further surge in data breach and other security failure insurance claims is expected after the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force this week. A record breaking year in 2017 had as many Cyber claim notifications as in the previous four years combined, the equivalent of one per working day.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) received “600-700” complaints about telematics insurance products last year. The organisation’s annual review showed that it had opened 339,967 new complaints across the financial services market for 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. The annual review also flagged the rise in telematics related complaints but did not provide any specific figures.

Markel UK has relaunched its legal services firm, Markel Law, as part of the development of its offering of insurance, legal, tax and specialist sector advisory services, to businesses across the UK. According to the Insurer, Markel Law offers legal advice on a range of business critical areas including business and commercial, employment, disputes, professional discipline, regulatory, care services and health and safety issues.

XL Catlin has launched Corporate CPR (Crisis Prevention and Response for corporate clients). According to the firm the offering is a global risk management and insurance solution designed to help companies of any size prevent, prepare for and respond to crisis situations as well as helping protect people, assets, property and finances.


Market Movers and Shakers

Alan Scott is to join AXA as its new Regional Director for the South, replacing Linda Courtney who is retiring after 28 years with the company.

AEGIS London has appointed Accident and Health Underwriter Tania Patston from Travelers.

Direct Line Group has announced Jessie Burrows, the current Group Financial Controller, as the successor to Steve Dalloz as Claims Managing Director.

AXA Egypt Chief Executive Gilbert Chahine is moving on to assume the top position at AXA Partners. Chahine, who has been with AXA since 2007, will take on his new CEO responsibilities on June 01. 

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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