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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 20th December 2019

20 Dec 2019

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a call for input on the opportunities of ‘open finance’ in financial services. The regulator explained that open finance builds on the principles of open banking – the sharing of data which provides new ways for customers and businesses to make the most of their money. It added that open finance would extend those principles to other sectors including general insurance, cash savings and mortgage markets.

There has been significant discussion surrounding the role and regulation of claims management companies (CMCs) in recent years and today has offered a watershed moment in the changing responsibility for this regulation. The FCA revealed it has fined Professional Personal Claims Limited (PPC) £70,000 for misleading consumers using its websites and printed materials. This is the first claims management case closed by the FCA since the transfer of regulatory responsibility for CMCs to the regulator on April 01, 2019.

In further news...The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued another warning about a cloned insurance Broker. The regulator said in a statement that unauthorised business Speedy Insurance has been targeting people in the UK claiming to be an authorised firm. The FCA explained that Speedy Insurance is a clone of authorised Stoke-on-Trent-headquartered Broker MEM Insurance Brokers.

 
Former insurance Broker Craig Tracey has been re-elected as Conservative MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth with an increased majority. With a total of 30,249 votes, Tracey got 65.9% of the voting share in the constituency.

Uinsure has added UK General to its Household and Buy-to-let Insurer panels. The business, which white-labels Insurer products and works with UK Brokers, added LV Broker to its list of providers earlier this year. Its panels also include Axa, Ageas and RSA.

Hale Kavanagh has been bought by Belfast-headquartered Willis Insurance and Risk Management (Willis IRM) for an undisclosed sum. Hale Kavanagh, which specialises in general insurance broking, has been operating since 2011 and employs 10 members of staff at its office in Leeds. Willis IRM explained that Hale Kavanagh will shortly begin trading under the Kennett brand.

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions has stated it is not currently up for sale, after rumours of collapsed takeover talks surfaced in the national media. James Twining, Chief Executive Officer of Kingsbridge, said in a statement: “Kingsbridge is a private equity backed business and our investors continually assess our future growth plans and what is best for the company, as they do with all businesses they back.".

As 2019 draws to a close, Allianz Insurance has revealed some of the most unusual claims it has received so far this year. One of which was, a fallen Unicorn: A claim was made to repair a damaged fallen Unicorn which can usually be found on a famous London landmark. Lee Watts, Head of Technical Claims, Allianz Insurance commented: “These cases are just a handful of examples that highlight the breadth of incidents and unfortunate claims our customers are faced with. Insurance provides people and businesses with the security of being protected, no matter how unusual the circumstances may be.".

The future of the NHS was a major talking point during the recently-concluded election campaign – and anxiety around the issue hasn’t subsided in the wake of last week’s Tory landslide. In fact, figures from comparison site ActiveQuote have revealed a staggering 810% increase in private health insurance enquiries immediately following the Conservative election win.

A specialist Insurer for electrical and mechanical contractors has urged Insurers and Brokers who service the UK’s construction industry to put greater focus on supporting health and safety practices among contractors. According to specialist Insurer ECIC, the latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) construction statistics revealed 30 fatal injuries to construction workers in 2018/19, which is only a small improvement on the annual average number of 36 fatalities over the last five years.

NOW: Pensions has become the latest name to lend its support to the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) “Insuring Women’s Futures” initiative. It has announced its commitment to the initiative’s “flexible working” and “inclusive customer financial lives” pledges. The “flexible working” pledge commits firms to helping their colleagues understand and manage the long-term financial implications of flexible working. Meanwhile, the “inclusive customer financial lives” pledge commits firms to adopting an inclusive “whole customer” approach, considering the impact of their life circumstances.

As part of his mentorship work with students in the East End of London, Chairman of the Insurance Museum Initiative, Reg Brown would often take his students into the Bank of England Museum and he would always leave asking himself the same question, “why haven’t we got a museum?”. “The public think of insurance as being boring,” Director of OceanBarefoot, Jonathan Squirrell stated and he outlined how “they need to get underneath the surface to really understand how big it is, how diverse a sector it is and how much depth there is to it.” Squirrell, described this museum as “the most exciting initiative in the insurance world today” and outlined how he became involved as project manager after he pitched the idea for a film about the heritage of the insurance sector.

Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, has been accepted as a member of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (‘ICMIF’). ICMIF is the global representative body of the cooperative and mutual insurance sector. Aviva Investors will become a “supporting member,” joining a group of five other companies from around the world that work in partnership with the ICMIF and its members to help grow and advance the mutual and cooperative insurance sector.

Brokers will not be affected by the changes in Aviva’s Personal Lines business, Chief Distribution Officer, Phil Bayles, has promised. In addition to reshuffling its leadership team, Aviva last month announced a plan to cut its Personal Lines products down to 40 from 400.

Surveyors and banks are preparing to roll-out new fire safety checks for apartment blocks – however, it remains uncertain if Insurers are prepared to provide personal indemnity insurance for inspectors carrying out the checks. While not a legal requirement, the new checks – for apartment blocks that are more than six storeys high – are part of an effort to alleviate concerns about fire safety brought about by 2017’s Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people. However, Nigel Glen, Chief Executive of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, said that Insurers, increasingly concerned about fire risk, would still need to provide workable levels of personal indemnity insurance for assessors.

Pay-by-mile Car insurance provider By Miles has launched a “connected Car” insurance policy for owners of Tesla vehicles. The new policy, developed in partnership with La Parisienne Assurances, takes information directly from Teslas and uses information about the distance driven to price insurance. In a statement, By Miles said that the policy is the “first car insurance policy in the world to take data directly from the car without any black box.”.

With 2019 drawing to a close, predictions for what the year ahead may hold are flying in. In an interview, Rich Sega, Global Chief Investment Strategist at Conning, said the most pressing concern for insurance Managers today, is income. This has been the case since the end of the recession, he detailed and it is not looking like the conditions that held at the beginning of this year have changed much. In fact, he said, they might even have become worse.

Cyber models need to expand their scope in order to cover a much broader range of insurance lines if so-called “silent Cyber” risks are to be identified and analysed effectively, according to a new report. A report from analytics firm CyberCube said that the growing pressure on Insurers to identity non-affirmative Cyber risks hidden within traditional non-Cyber insurance products must lead to changes in the way the industry’s Cyber modelling tools are constructed.

The boutique brokerage that billed itself as the “most progressive in the industry” has reported significant growth over the six months since it launched, following what it called a “successful talent acquisition strategy” and “significant client wins”. McGill and Partners gained prominence earlier in the year for offering employment contracts based on “trust” with no fixed working hours or limits on holiday. Since then, the Broker said that headcount has grown from five to 134 and that the firm will be handling in excess of $250 million of premium flow going into 2020.

The financial services sector, which includes the insurance industry, bucked predictions of a decline after voting to leave the European Union in 2016, with exports rising to £83 billion in 2018. The EU remains the UK’s biggest customer for financial services, highlighting the value of continued access to the European single market.

Global insurance group Sun Life Financial has announced that it intends to acquire a majority stake in London-based infrastructure and real estate firm InfraRed Capital Partners – a deal that reports say was delayed due to uncertainty over the outcome of the UK election. Sun Life will acquire an 80% interest in InfraRed for a closing payment of £300 million. The deal will see InfraRed form a part of SLC Management, Sun Life’s alternatives asset management business.

Global reinsurer MS Amlin has confirmed that it will cease underwriting corporate Property, Real Estate, Casualty and package binders through its UK P&C business, effective January 31, 2020. In a statement, MS Amlin said that the decision follows the outcome of a comprehensive underwriting review undertaken earlier this year which identified product lines and operations no longer aligned to its future strategic vision.

An alleged member of the hacking collective that claimed responsibility for the theft of files from British insurance firms appeared in US federal court this week after his extradition from the UK. Nathan Wyatt, who prosecutors say was a member of “The Dark Overlord” hacking group, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and identity theft related to stealing sensitive information from companies in Missouri and holding them for ransom.

Acturis has announced a partnership with Endsleigh Insurance to support the delivery of certain Personal Lines products. Endsleigh relaunched its student possessions offering on Acturis platforms 19th December, with Landlord and non-standard Home propositions expected to follow soon. The software provider claimed that it had migrated the student possessions business from Endsleigh’s in-house legacy systems to its platforms within four months.

HDI Global Specialty SE UK has announced it is moving into the Fine Art insurance market. The company has hired Nick Brett as Head of Fine Art, effective immediately. Brett joins HDI after 19 years with Axa, progressing from Development Underwriter at the provider to Chief Executive of Axa Art UK in 2015.

Global insurance brokerage and risk management firm, Marsh, recently announced the appointment of Anita Sathe as Global Leader of Bluestream, its cloud-based digital Broker platform for the affinity market and leader of its US Affinity business. In her new role, Sathe will focus on driving affinity and sponsored programs in the US, while accelerating the growth and development of the Bluestream platform globally. 

In further news...Marsh has announced the appointment of John Walsh as Head of Office, Corporate Division, Leeds. He reports to Allan McPherson, Regional Managing Director for North of England & Scotland, Corporate Division.

International General Insurance Holdings Limited (IGI), the international specialist commercial Insurer and reinsurer, has announced the appointment of Vickie Fox as Underwriter, Ports and Terminals, to strengthen the London Marine team.

Scott Taylor has joined Miller to lead its International Wholesale Financial Institutions and Directors’ & Officers’ (FIDO) practice. Scott will have responsibility for managing and developing Miller’s existing international FI and D&O offering and product.

Global reinsurance firm and specialty Broker Ed has announced the appointment of Mark Simons as Head of Business Development and Production, Bermuda. In his new role, Simons will focus on developing and fostering client relationships.

Independent specialist reinsurance Broker BMS Group has announced the appointment of Alex Orloff as Director of Capital Markets Analytics at BMS Capital Advisory, the investment banking division of BMS. Orloff will report to Romulo Braga, BMS Capital Advisory CEO.

The Professionals Standards Committee is responsible for ensuring that standards for professional conduct are developed and maintained in line with the CII’s Code of Ethics. It also provides independent guidance on accountability, transparency and consumer representation for the CII. Now, the CII has appointed Jennette Newman as Chair of this committee.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has named Peter Zaffino as President of AIG, effective January 01, 2020. The industry stalwart takes on the role in addition to his duties as Global Chief Operating Officer of AIG and Chief Executive Officer of general insurance.

Starr Insurance Companies has announced the appointment of Carsten Nawrath as Aviation Underwriting Manager. Nawrath will report to Joost Vink, Head of Europe for Starr.

Pen Underwriting has bolstered its UK sales & distribution team with the appointments of Matt Cannell and Will Roffey as Business Development Managers.

 

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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