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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 22nd November 2019

22 Nov 2019

Insurance News

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have banned and fined Stuart Malcolm Forsyth, the former CEO of Scottish Boatowners Mutual Insurance Association (SBMIA), £78,318 and £76,180 respectively. This follows a joint investigation where the regulators found that between February 2010 and July 2016 Forsyth transferred excessive amounts of his own remuneration to his wife in order to reduce his own tax Liability.

This year’s Insurance Day of Giving raised £90,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society and the UK Dementia Research Institute. Nearly 60 companies took part in the event on 7 November, which included a static cycle challenge at Willis Towers Watson and a gala dinner hosted by Aon.

Global Risk Partners (GRP) has bought London-based High Net Worth Broker Gauntlet Insurance Services for an undisclosed sum. Gauntlet specialises in insuring historic, fine town and country houses, fine art collections, jewellery, farms & estates, prestige vehicles and yachts.

Marsh Commercial, formerly Jelf, is set to close four of its branches before the end of the year. Its Northampton and Newmarket offices will begin shutting down from mid-December. New Malden is also set to close and one of its Leeds branches will also be shuttered.

Pioneer Underwriting has placed its Lloyd’s syndicate, Pioneer Syndicate 1980, into run-off. The firm explained the decision by its board: “The cost of capital within the syndicate structure is no longer economically efficient when compared with other capital arrangements.” Lloyd’s had already approved the syndicate’s 2020 business plan, which included an increase in underwriting capacity.

Zurich Insurance and its employees were among the big winners at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards. In front of 200 people at Proud Embankment, London, the Insurer picked up the award for progressive recruitment; whilst employees Marianne Skinner and Maxine Goddard were named LGBT+ Champion and Race Equality Champion respectively.

In further news...Zurich UK is selling its retail wealth unit to zero in on its core offering, which is protection. Without disclosing financial terms of the deal, Zurich UK said it has entered into an agreement with Embark Group for the sale. In its announcement, the Insurer pointed to the move as being consistent to Zurich UK’s commitment to concentrate investment on its retail and group protection franchise.

AXA XL Insurance has launched Cube, a risk innovation incubator. Cube, the first of its kind, is a six-week programme designed to enable risk managers to work alongside AXA XL risk and innovation experts to develop innovative risk management solutions for their most complex risks. The programme comprises a series of workshops in which AXA XL and its clients experiment and test new solutions, ultimately resulting in a prototype and a supporting business case. Over the course of the programme, clients have access to a team of innovation, digital and analytics experts, risk specialists and, when relevant, to some of AXA XL’s technology partners.

A new insurance tie-up will see AXA underwriting the 24-year-old “Fleet UK” offering of wholesale Broker THB. Fleet UK Managing Director, Glen McCully noted, “Our new partnership with AXA gives us the opportunity to refresh our commitment to this quality Motor Fleet proposition for our Brokers, with whom we have forged strong relationships over the years. We look forward to working alongside AXA to promote the many benefits of Fleet UK.”.

Lloyd’s has launched the Speak Up campaign to address complaints regarding the market’s culture. The campaign aims to advise individuals on how to speak up if they witness or experience unacceptable behaviour. Lloyd’s said the initiative, known as #SpeakUp, comprises easily accessible guides, online information and resources and a 24/7 advice line for anyone working within the market.

Towergate has acquired Tony Nakonecznyj Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. The Swansea-based firm, established in 1984, specialises in chapels, leisure parks and commercial business. The purchase will also see Tony Nakonecznyj’s employees, Gill Langdon and Joanne Phillips, transfer to Towergate’s branch in Swansea. Both have worked for the business for more than 29 years.

Scientists in New Mexico are working on technology they hope will one day predict earthquakes before they happen, potentially saving thousands of lives. Geoscientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US state of New Mexico have developed technology which uses machine learning to track the acoustic signals emitted by a controlled fault in a laboratory, allowing them to predict the time remaining before their artificial earthquake strikes.

A quarter (28%) of UK drivers surveyed by MORE TH>N have had an accident or near miss as a result of an in-car distraction. The research, released by MORE TH>N to coincide with Road Safety Week, shows that nearly one in ten (7%) drivers claimed on their insurance following an accident caused by an in-car distraction. These claims cost an average of £472 to repair, costing the insurance industry around £1.3 billion in total.

The Insurance Business Global 100 takes advantage of Insurance Business’s unique position as the industry’s true global publication reaching six different markets – the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia-Pacific and the UK – to bring insurance Brokers, Insurers, Underwriters and other industry professionals insights from some of the biggest names the sector has to offer. Featuring professionals from all of Insurance Business’s markets, this list is a collaboration of not just renowned names – but of the leaders who are actually making a difference in today’s market, whether that is by making incredible advancements at their own companies, taking associations to new heights, providing education to drive the industry forward or taking the lead on championing the key issues that can carry the industry into a new era. 

Marsh has announced the launch of an enhanced suite of Cyber risk quantification consulting capabilities that offer clients new insight into the impact of their cybersecurity investments. The suite is powered by Blue[i] Cyber, a Cyber risk analytics engine that integrates the company’s cyber risk quantification models with X-Analytics, a Cyber risk model from Secure Systems Innovation Corporation (SSIC) for which Marsh is the exclusive insurance Broker and risk consulting provider.

Insurers have shown they are serious in supporting the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) initiative Insuring Women’s Futures. It’s been announced that AIG, AXA, Beazley/London Market Group, Scottish Widows, Swiss Re, and Zurich all signed two pledges – one on flexible working for their staff and another involving consumers – to signify their commitment. The first pledge, which was also signed by Vitality, is aimed at ensuring that employees will be prompted to consider the immediate and long-term financial impact every time they make changes to their working arrangements.

Just one day after Aviva announced a significant structural overhaul, that will see its operations simplified into five divisions and a sale of its stake in its Hong Kong joint venture, the group has now confirmed that Aviva Ireland’s general insurance Chief Executive John Quinlan is “on leave.” The Senior Executive from Aviva’s UK parent will step into Quinlan’s shoes and take over his duties, according to the company, in a development that likely took place over recent weeks.

Insurance Broker The Ardonagh Group has released its financial statement for the nine months ended September 30. According to the 71-page document, the British enterprise posted a £67.7 million loss in the period – a worse showing compared to the £48.9 million loss in the same nine-month span in 2018. “Reported loss for the period increased by £18.8 million to £67.7 million, primarily due to additional finance costs, lower gains on disposal of associates, and a reduced tax credit, offset by an improvement in operating profit,” noted Ardonagh, which employs nearly 7,000 people in more than 100 office locations.

Lloyd’s of London Insurer Neon is saying goodbye to Property Treaty reinsurance. “With the significant hardening of retro pricing exceeding the pricing expectations of the inwards reinsurance business and to keep within the constraints of our risk appetite we, along with our parent, AFG (American Financial Group), do not believe that the Property Treaty class of business can provide a sustainable and appropriate risk/reward balance for Neon,” explained the firm, as quoted by an Artemis report.

Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLG), which in September dropped out of the FTSE 100, has released its trading update for the third quarter of 2019. The period saw DLG’s gross written premium (GWP) rise 0.4% to £858 million, of which £457.8 million came from Motor insurance. This particular line posted a 0.3% increase in GWP, thanks to better new business trading. Also enjoying higher GWP were commercial as well as rescue and other personal lines. Their numbers grew 5.3% and 3.5%, respectively.

The County Group, which is under the Global Risk Partners (GRP) umbrella, has acquired Caernarfon-based Bruce Edwards Jones Commercial Insurance. This is County’s fourth swoop of 2019, following deals with Swinford Insurance Consultants, Meadons Insurance Brokers and Eric Rawlins & Company.

Digital innovation is freeing up time in the insurance industry. With insurance technology working on spec, the entire insurance ecosystem – from client prospecting, through policy issuance, claims adjusting and reinsurance transactions – can experience efficiencies through automation. More and more companies are realising this, hence the global boom in adoption of insurance-related technology.“Speed is a big deal,” said Gary Grose, Head of Marketing and Producer Management at Argo Group and interim President of Argo’s Colony Specialty business. “It has real implications both in the market as a whole, and to [insurance companies’] bottom lines.”. A key consideration for insurance carriers looking at digital innovation, according to Grose, is deciding what’s best for transactional partners. Depending on the type of insurance or reinsurance firm, that transactional partner might be an end-consumer, a retail agent, a Broker, a carrier and so on. Grose explained that for Argo, the focus has always been on “making the ability to work with us a much quicker and more significant transaction.”.

Global insurance brokerage and professional services firm Aon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CoverWallet, a US-domiciled digital insurance platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The deal gives Aon access to the fast-growing digital insurance market for SMEs. The brokerage giant will also be able to leverage CoverWallet’s platform to develop and scale innovative digital client experiences that support the Aon United growth strategy.


Market Movers and Shakers

Phil Barton, former Chief Executive Officer of Jelf, has joined MRIB as Group CEO. Ed Finch, Managing Director at MRIB, commented: “I’ve known Phil for a long time and I asked him to come on board as group CEO. Phil is hugely experienced and has been involved in a number of successful businesses. He’s a fantastic individual. I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Phil.”.

Sompo International Holdings Ltd. (SIH) has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer. The global specialty provider of Property and Casualty insurance and reinsurance announced that Mikio Okumura will take the leadership reins on January 01, 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

American International Group (AIG) has announced the appointment of Allison Barrett as Global Head of Multinational, General Insurance. Barrett will join the company Dec. 09 and will report to Michael Price, Head of Global Service Businesses and Global Chief Operating Officer for General Insurance.

A handful of leadership changes are taking place at certain AXA units in the New Year. First off, AXA France Deputy Chief Executive Matthieu Bébéar will become Chief Business Officer of AXA International & New Markets and Strategic Development Officer for Latin America. Currently he also serves as CEO of AXA Particuliers & IARD Entreprises. Replacing Bébéar as AXA France deputy CEO and AXA Particuliers & IARD Entreprises Chief Executive is Guillaume Borie, who at the moment holds the positions of Group Chief Innovation Officer and CEO of AXA Next. Claveranne, meanwhile, will see his group management committee remit widen to include oversight of AXA’s innovation ecosystem and the development of new business models in healthcare across the group.

Sharing economy insurance specialist Pikl has announced the recruitment of Angela Seymour-Jackson to its board as Deputy Chair. Seymour-Jackson is a seasoned insurance industry specialist having held senior positions at AEGON, RAC and Aviva. She is currently a Non-Executive Director with Trustpilot, GoCompare, Rentokil Initial, Janus Henderson and Page Group.

Former Swinton Chief Executive Officer, Gilles Normand, is joining Saga as Chief Operating Officer on 25 November. The over 50s insurance specialist has also hired Cheryl Agius as CEO of insurance. She most recently worked as CEO of Legal & General’s general insurance business, which was bought by Allianz for £242m in May this year. A spokesperson for Saga explained that these are both newly created roles and that they form part of a new organisational structure, which will see the provider bring together its insurance broking, underwriting and claims management businesses.

Scott Bennett takes on role overlooking both Compass and Broker Network but Bravo Group promises that the networks won't be merged. John Lincoln will retire from his role as Chief Executive Officer of Compass Network and London Markets on 31 December as part of a leadership team restructure. Jaime Swindle, formerly Director of Broker e-trade at Insurer NIG, has joined Bravo Group as Managing Director for Networks & Products. According to Bravo she played a key role in developing and driving forward NIG’s e-trade strategy. Prior to joining NIG, Swindle held senior roles at Ace Insurance and Axa.

Markel Corporation has appointed Harold L. Morrison, Jr. to its board of Directors, effective January 01, 2020. After an insurance career that spanned 33 years, Morrison retired from Chubb Insurance in December 2017. His last role with Chubb was serving as Senior Vice President of Chubb Group and Division President of Field Operations for North America insurance, which he assumed in 2016.

Sedgwick has announced the appointment of Wayne Manning as Head of Client Services for its international division. Manning has more than 25 years of experience in insurance, claims and relationship management.

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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