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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 22nd February 2019

22 Feb 2019

Insurance News

Optis Insurance, an MGA based in Ireland which focuses on the Irish SME sector, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by PIB Group. It is PIB’s 19th deal and according to the Broker, forms part of its European growth plans. The move follows Aston Lark also moving into the Irish market following its acquisition of Robertson Low. PIB Chief Executive Brendan McManus stated “It won’t be the last acquisition we make in Europe, but it suited us to be in Ireland first."  

On demand insurance provider Tapoly has launched software as a service platform for Brokers. The InsurTech Managing General Agent (MGA) stated that the offering gives Brokers access to a range of on demand insurance products that are otherwise difficult to obtain. According to the MGA, the platform also allows Brokers to tap into new revenue streams from the UK sharing economy.

Niche Travel insurance provider to the over-50 market, Staysure, is set to recruit 200 new members of staff as it looks to grow the business following it's move to new offices located in Britannia House, Northampton.

The Government has earmarked £13m to develop professional services in the UK as it looks to tackle £3bn cost of insurance fraud. A project to develop breakthrough artificial intelligence technology for the anti-fraud sector is one of a number of new projects set to receive funding to enable the UK accountancy, insurance and legal services industries to transform how they operate. The artificial intelligence software, being developed by Intelligent Voice, Strenuus and the University of East London will combine AI and voice recognition technology to detect and interpret emotion and linguistics to assess the credibility of insurance claims.

RSA Group plc has announced that The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. is joining RSA’s Global Network as a Strategic Network Partner in the U.S. RSA Global Network provides multinational customers with local expertise and service through a combination of owned operations and network Partners, operating in more than 180 territories worldwide. The Hanover is one of the largest insurance businesses in the United States, distributing its products through a select group of independent agents and Brokers. It offers standard and specialised insurance protection for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as for homes, automobiles and other personal items.

UK based InsurTech’s bucked the global trend in 2018, seeing over $1bn of investment activity, up from $792m in 2017, according to KPMG's latest Pulse of Fintech Report. Whereas, despite thirteen $100m+ InsurTech deals taking place globally, overall investment levels declined year-on-year by almost half, standing at $5.7bn for 2018. Simon Ranger, Head of Insurance, KPMG UK commented: “Claims management and the unbundling of services and processes were magnets for investment through 2018 and I expect that to continue. Exciting technologies like AI and Machine Learning are going to redefine insurance, but it will be almost impossible to see their full potential until firms have dealt with the basics - their data and legacy systems - and that for most, is still a work in progress."

ERS improves Classic Car insurance pricing with introduction of IHP technology. “As we continue to look at new ways of improving the service we offer to Brokers and their customers, we’re excited to announce a change to our pricing of Classic Car risks, with the introduction of Insurer Hosted Pricing (IHP) technology.

Digital Risks, the digital-first insurance provider for fast-growth technology and media businesses, has achieved Lloyd’s coverholder status, following an application sponsored by Beazley, an investor and partner in the business. The new status enables Digital Risks to cover more specialist risks and insure UK businesses that trade internationally. 

With a hard market looming, Gallagher reveals prime targets for D&O insurance claims. The back end of 2018 saw a dramatic re-focus on underwriting discipline as carriers continued to combat record numbers of class actions and increasing numbers of “event” based claims, triggered from things like missed earnings, cyber breaches and sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. In order to address the ill health of their books, many carriers will be demanding higher D&O insurance premiums in 2019, according to Dr. Phil Norton, Senior Managing Director, Insurance & Risk Management (North America), Gallagher. Norton recently published a white paper on 2019 D&O market conditions, entitled: ‘Harder Market for D&O Arrives as Most Trends Support Concerns.’

Global Risk Partners has secured a deal for Shearwater Insurance Services based in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, which is a specialist in Equine and related business. It was originally founded back in 1992 by Managing Director Jeremy Lawton and now offers a number of targeted schemes to its clients. Lawton, who is to continue to run the business once the move is completed and will stay on with the rest of his 36-strong team, outlined that it was GRP’s “excellent track record” with fellow Bloodstock-Broker Lonmar that made the deal attractive.

New research by specialist Insurer Ecclesiastical found that less than a third of heritage organisations – the likes of museums and art galleries – are protected by Cyber coverage. According to Ecclesiastical, 71% have no cyber insurance, 64%, no cybersecurity plan and 70%, no cybersecurity training. This is despite growing apprehension over the threat of being targeted by cyber criminals. Museums, for instance, are worried most about fraud, data loss and cyberattacks, while art galleries are afraid they might be victimised by phishing emails.

Sir David Rowland, who served as chairman between 1993 and 1997 and was credited for saving Lloyd’s of London from collapse, has passed away. “With great sadness,” current chair Bruce Carnegie-Brown made the announcement in a market bulletin. Carnegie-Brown wrote: “As many of you will remember, he played a critical role in safeguarding the future of the Lloyd’s market through perhaps its most difficult period."

Juliet Martinessa, who was convicted in January 2015 for claiming £44,000 in benefits through fraudulent means, has now been handed another jail sentence – this time for taking out insurance policies without disclosing her prior conviction. In the previous case, Martinessa – who had starred in a Playboy film and was known at the time by her birth name Julia Martinez – pleaded guilty to obtaining the benefits by lying about her ability to continue working as a model and an actress. She was then sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months and given a confiscation order for £50,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Sybaris Legal & IP, which specialises in Lloyd’s and the London Market, has developed a hybrid Litigation Funding and After-the-Event Insurance Package which is available to the regional Broker market. According to Sybaris this means that funding and insurance options are now available for clients that previously could not protect themselves and their intellectual property. Sybaris explained in a statement: “Litigation funding and After-the-Event (ATE) insurance has traditionally not been a viable option for clients involved in IP disputes, as normally the funder takes a proportion of a client’s damages and the ATE insurance may require an upfront premium."

The Financial Conduct Authority has published a warning about a clone of authorised Gadget and Jewellery Broker, Protect Your Bubble. The clone is operating online with a similar website address to the authorised company. The FCA stated: “This is what we call a ‘clone firm’ and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called. They may use the name of the genuine firm, the ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) we have given the authorised firm or other details.”

Hedgehog, the new online Motor insurance provider, has teamed up with Premium Credit, the UK and Ireland's number 1 supplier of premium finance. Premium Credit will offer market leading premium finance options to thousands of anticipated customers in Hedgehog's first year of business. The new entrant is offering Motor insurance products aimed at drivers who face higher than average premiums for reasons such as holding points on their licence, a driving conviction or being declined by certain Insurers because of their postcode.

Technology provider Open GI has reported steady turnover for the full year 2018. Its results, posted to Companies House, showed that turnover remained at £44.7m, the same as 2017. Ebitda excluding exceptional costs was revealed to be £28.7m, up on the previous year’s £27.2m.

Qatar Reinsurance, which is a subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Company, bought Markerstudy for £107.8m, according to its financial results for the full year 2018. As part of the deal it also picked up £70.0m in cash assets from Markerstudy, which means the deal actually cost Qatar Re around £37.8m.

NIG has added a Brexit-related stockpiling extension to all of its products with stock cover. The addition applies to all of those policies with a seasonal stock increase already in place. The Insurer detailed that at the point of claim, where the policy benefits from a seasonal increase extension, NIG is prepared to extend that extension to include the period 30 days before and after 29 March 2019.

Digital managing general agent, Azur, has developed Smart Home, a product for Brokers to sell to clients in the emerging wealth sector. The MGA described it as a comprehensive product that gives clients blanket buildings cover, unlimited contents and global all-risks cover, as well as tackling emerging risks with the addition of personal cyber cover. The product is also warranty free. Azur Smart Home is the first product available on the Azur Hub which is also being launched by the MGA.

Momentum Broker Solutions has teamed up with claims management specialist FMG to launch a new claims proposition to its appointed representative (AR) network. The business noted that Momentum Motor Claims is aimed at clients with a Private or Commercial Motor or Motor Fleet policy and will be available to all of Momentum’s Broker Partners.


Market Movers and Shakers

Ageas UK has appointed Jonathan Price as Chief Financial Officer, taking over the role from Fernley Dyson who has moved to Allianz. Price was previously UK CFO of Aspen Insurance Group. In his new role at Ageas he will be responsible for financial planning, management of financial risks and financial reporting for the UK business. Prior to joining Aspen three years ago, Price worked at Aviva for over six years, where he held various positions, the last one as UK Chief Accountant for the general insurance business.

Gareth Howell, Executive Managing Director of Axa Retail, is set to leave Axa UK at the end of February 2019. The Insurer stated that Laurent Matras, Managing Director for Personal Intermediary and Corporate Partners will take over the role on an interim basis while it considers the long-term options. Matras will join commercial intermediary MD Jon Walker and Waseem Malik, Executive MD, claims, on the Axa Insurance leadership team with effect from 1 March 2019.

Antares Active Underwriter Jonathan “Joe” Battle is moving up to the top post at the Lloyd’s managing agency. Battle, who started his career at C.W. Rome in 1985, brings more than 30 years of insurance industry experience to the role. Meanwhile the QIC Group member has appointed Managing Director Stephen Redmond to the newly created position of Group Transformation Officer.

THB Group, the specialist insurance and reinsurance Broker which just celebrated its 50th birthday, today announces four senior board appointments. Kay Smith joins THB as group Chief Financial Officer, taking over from Rob Wilkinson, who transitions to commercial Director. Kay has held a number of senior financial positions in the insurance broking sector, most recently at Arthur J. Gallagher in London. Prior to that, she was at Towergate, as well as directing the financial planning and analysis operation of a large fin-tech business. 

The Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) has announced the appointment of Gary Humphreys, group Underwriting Director at Markerstudy Group as a new Board Director at its annual general meeting yesterday. Humphreys is co-founder of the Markerstudy Group, the UK’s largest MGA. The Group, a member of the MGAA, includes Zenith Insurance and Markerstudy Insurance Services and recently acquired the Co-op’s underwriting business, CIS General Insurance Limited, subject to regulatory approval.

Chubb has announced the appointment of Louise Joyce as Life Sciences Manager for the UK and Ireland. In this role, Louise will have responsibility for leading Chubb’s Life Sciences team and overseeing strategic development and execution. The appointment is effective immediately.

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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According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report, UK insurTech’s saw over $1bn of investment activity through 2018, up from $792m in 2017.
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report, UK insurTech’s saw over $1bn of investment activity through 2018, up from $792m in 2017.
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report, UK insurTech’s saw over $1bn of investment activity through 2018, up from $792m in 2017.
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report
According to KPMG’s latest Pulse of Fintech Report
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