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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 22nd January 2021

22 Jan 2021

Around 1,500 Aviva employees in the UK will be relocated to the insurer’s Surrey Street premises when the company closes a couple of its offices in Broadland Business Park just over two months from now. Aviva’s Horizon Business Centre and Willow House sites will be shut amid hybrid workplace arrangements. It was highlighted that the affected staff members will only be moved and not let go.

The Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) highlighted the Cyber risk and Cyber insurance awareness initiatives being undertaken by the insurance industry around the world in a recently released report. In the report, GFIA outlined the goals, communication methods, target audiences, and partnerships among the different industry associations across the globe.

Specialist Travel insurance Provider Holidaysafe is the bearer of good news for holidaymakers who are worried they might be denied boarding on their return to the UK due to a failed pre-departure COVID-19 test. “Travellers will be covered for additional accommodation and return transportation costs should they need to stay overseas in the country they had been visiting for an extra 14 days to isolate, as long as they did not travel against government or medical guidance,” said Holidaysafe when it announced the new offering, which is in response to the government’s ‘test to release’ scheme.

“Making any insurance claim is often a time of heightened uncertainty and it is therefore necessary that we as insurers do the right thing for our customers who might already be at the end of their tether due to lockdown.” Those were the words of UK Claims Head David Nichols when insurer Zurich UK announced its mental health initiative for all current policyholders who are in the process of making a claim. Through Zurich General Insurance Support Services, the company is offering five free short-term counselling sessions conducted by independent service provider Workplace Options.

AXIS Capital Holdings – ahead of the insurance group’s release of its fourth quarter results on January 28 – has issued a preliminary Q4 net claims estimate for catastrophes and weather-related events. According to the Bermuda-headquartered firm, its net claims estimate for the quarter stands between US$195 million and US$205 million before tax. The range approximation includes US$125 million for COVID-19.

Charles Taylor has launched its Specialist Investigation Services (SIS) division, which will provide an intelligence-led approach to countering fraud. SIS is a multi-sector investigation division, which draws on Charles Taylor’s experience handling complex cases globally alongside technology to develop counter-fraud identification and investigation tools.

Technology continues to be a primary growth driver in insurance dealmaking worldwide. Notable deals completed in 2020 include investments into US-based startup Openly, Belgium’s Keypoint, and yallacompare in the United Arab Emirates. Last year also saw Lemonade – a mobile-based insurance start-up that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to deliver insurance policies and handle claims – snag 2020’s strongest initial public offering (IPO) debut of a US company, achieving a more than 140% gain.

Claims management Provider Crawford & Company has launched a new online portal for Business Interruption (BI) claims. Launched earlier this week, the portal was created in response to the recent judgement passed down by the UK Supreme Court.

 

If new research by risk management and insurance broker Gallagher is anything to go by, then it looks like businesses in the UK should be bracing themselves for a “surge” in litigation relating to the coronavirus crisis. Referring to polled claims management companies (CMCs), Gallagher noted in a release: “Seven in 10 (70%) have already had claims registered and predict claims will cause a 40% rise in litigation compared to previous years, with the real impact likely to be felt from spring 2021 and continue into summer".

Chubb has announced the launch of a new insurance partnership with Revolut, a financial technology company that provides digital banking services. The partnership will provide a wide range of coverage for Revolut customers, including purchase protection, refund protection and ticket cancellation, where a Revolut account is used. The policy also offers coverage in cases in which a customer has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and is therefore unable to use event tickets purchased with their Revolut account.

More than 80% of insurance professionals would recommend joining the industry to a friend that lost their job due to COVID-19, according to research from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). The poll, conducted in December, found that 178 out of 207 surveyed CII members believe the financial services industry is “viable”, and that they would recommend a potential entrant to undergo retraining.

AXA is deploying what it calls its “smart working strategy” in all of its entities worldwide, incorporating lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it shaped the work environment. According to a company announcement, AXA seeks to institute a hybrid way of working for its employees. The strategy combines remote work and office presence by enabling employees on a voluntary basis to work remotely for two days per week. The global insurer seeks to fully deploy the strategy by 2023, with changes applied by the end of this year affecting over 70% of AXA employees. 

“Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities.” That is what Ashwin Mistry, Executive Chairman of BHIB Insurance Brokers and Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Brokerbility Ltd sees when he looks at the insurance broking sector in 2021. There are several key reasons for this, he said, and first among them is that everybody is in the industry is in the same boat. Secondly, nobody quite understands exactly what the tier system entails. Thirdly, Brexit has created doubts, suspicion and new opportunities. And finally, it is clear that the impact of COVID is not going away for a long time.

With driving levels dropping significantly during the pandemic, car insurance provider By Miles is calling for its fellow insurers to provide fair insurance premium refunds to customers to reflect the reduction in driving activity. Citing data from the Association of British Insurers, By Miles said in a release that car insurance claims nearly halved – a reduction of 48% – in the first pandemic lockdown between April and June 2020. The company speculated that thanks to the latest tiered lockdown measures put in place over the last few months, as well as the full lockdown this year, insurers stand to profit even more - by as much as £4.4 billion.

There’s a new name entering the insurance industry in the form of Corant Global Ltd (Corant). Subject to regulatory approval, Corant will be the holding company for the insurance interests of global brokerage and financial technology company BGC Partners, Inc (BGC). As the new name for BGC Insurance (BGCI), Corant will comprise its broking operations Ed, Besso, Piiq Risk Partners and Junge as well as the group’s MGAs Cooper Gay, Globe Underwriting and Epsilon. Each of these businesses will continue to operate under their separate brands with Corant acting as the overall holding company, as well as the investment vehicle for any future acquisitions for the group.

UK-headquartered RSA Insurance Group Plc is inching closer towards the completion of its sale, having secured the necessary approval from the insurer’s shareholders. According to RSA, which held a court meeting and general meeting virtually on January 18, 99% of its shareholders voted in favour of the scheme of arrangement that will see the insurance group snapped up by Intact Financial Corporation subsidiary Regent Bidco Limited.

Specialty Insurer and Reinsurer, Convex Group Limited, has received US$500 million (£368 million) in committed preferred equity capital from affiliates of global investment firm Sixth Street, bringing its total committed capital to over US$3.2 billion.

FL360, trading under the name handl Group, has acquired Reach Personal Injury Services Ltd. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The handl Group is a collection of start-up businesses seeking to innovate in the insurance, healthcare, and legal industries.

AXIS Insurance has announced the appointment of Nicholas Boswell Brown and Claire Whelan as Renewable Energy Underwriters. In a statement, AXIS said the pair will join in April and will support the expansion of its renewable energy business in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

Claims management giant Sedgwick has given its UK fraud investigation team a boost. Joining as Director and Investigation Services Head is Ian Carman, who most recently led Property claims at an insurance investigation and intelligence services Provider. 

Gallagher has appointed Giles Hambly as a producer under the company’s major risks practice. In his new role, Hambly will focus on supporting clients in relation to tax-related insurance solutions. He joins the major risks practice of Gallagher, specifically the M&A team, which advises on Tax, Warranty & Indemnity (W&I), Contingency & Litigation risks and insurance due diligence, to corporate, private equity, and M&A advisor clients.

A familiar name in the insurance industry has come onboard boutique financial services risk and regulation consultancy Sicsic Advisory. Hugh Savill, who was Regulation Director at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) for 17 years, is now a Senior Advisor at the London-based consultancy. At the ABI, meanwhile, he was replaced by Charlotte Clark CBE.

Tavaziva Chadamoyo Madzinga, who has been Swiss Re’s UK & Ireland Chief Executive since 2019, is moving to African financial services group Britam Holdings Plc. In its announcement, Britam said Madzinga is coming onboard on February 01 as Group Managing Director to succeed Dr Benson Irungu Wairegi. It was noted that an in-depth two-year recruitment process was conducted to find the retiring leader’s replacement.   

The global insurance Broker and Risk Advisor Marsh has today announced that Tom Colraine will be the Chairman of Marsh Ltd in the UK, effective immediately. Colraine, who will succeed Jane Barker, has been a Non-Executive Director of the business since September 2018. He has served extensively as a Non-Executive Director in a variety of roles including as Chair of Hastings Group Holdings plc, the Compre Group and as Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of the wealth management division of Schroders.

London-headquartered Chartered insurance Broker Miller is foraying into the world of private clients. Signifying the market entry is the company’s swoop for High Net Worth specialists Katie Small, Nick Gavin-Powell, and Michelle Suckling. Coming onboard in the second quarter following the completion of their respective contractual obligations, the trio will form Miller’s Private Clients team.

Becky Morris, who most recently served as Operations Director at BQI Insurance, has been promoted to Managing Director.  In its announcement, the firm noted: “Becky joined BQI in 2013 and from leading our corporate department, developing her fellow employees, implementing a strong, professional ethos, and more recently her wide-ranging responsibilities as Operations Director, she has demonstrated the necessary skills to lead BQI into the future".

Chubb has announced that Philip Bancroft, Executive Vice President of Chubb Group and its Chief Financial Officer, will retire from the company on July 01 after 19 years of service. Peter Enns will join the company on or before April 01 as Executive Vice President of finance, and will succeed Bancroft upon his retirement.

It was just last year that Capsicum Re became Gallagher Re, and now the brokerage giant’s reinsurance arm is set for another major change – thanks to the arrival of a new CEO. Simon Behagg is set to take the role from Rupert Swallow in February, subject to regulatory approval. The move brings to the end a seven-year stint for Swallow who helped to oversee the transition to Gallagher Re, with its 180-strong team and operations moving into Gallagher’s UK broking division. 

Sompo International Holdings has appointed Richard Brown to the role of Senior Vice President, Head of UK & international property. Brown will lead Sompo International’s new team, which is focused on Property business through retail distribution channels in the UK, Europe, and selected international territories which include the Middle East and Israel.

 

 

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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