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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 23rd March 2018

23 Mar 2018

Market News

Justice Secretary David Gauke has unveiled plans to introduce the Civil Liability Bill through the House of Lords this week. The new bill includes changes to the way the discount rate is set as well as how whiplash claims are paid out. However, it does not give any indication as to whether the Ogden rate will actually be altered as a result.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has confirmed that it is one of the latest signatories to the Woman in Finance Charter. HM Treasury has today revealed the firms that have recently joined the Charter which bring the total signatories to more than 200, employing over 650,000 people.

In further news, BIBA has teamed up with the Worldwide Broker Network (WBN) to help members with their EU clients after Brexit. The trade body said that WBN will facilitate the introduction of Biba members to one of their member firms in an EU state so that they can continue to work with EU based clients.

Lloyd’s has plummeted from a £2.1bn pre-tax profit in 2016 to a loss of £2bn in 2017. The net swing of more than £4bn came as the combined operating ratio worsened to 114% in the past 12 months (2016: 97.9%). The insurance market flagged that the year was “one of the costliest” for natural catastrophes in the past decade. In particular, it highlighted the frequency and scale of the disasters that struck around the world in the second half of 2017.

International General Insurance Holdings Limited has reported earnings for the 2017 financial year. The Group announced a 19% increase in gross written premiums (GWP) from US$231.43 million as of 31st December 2016 to US$275.34m for the same period in 2017, demonstrating growth in GWP in all of IGI’s major lines of business.  This growth came as a result of writing more business in existing lines and an expansion in IGI’s Casualty and Energy classes.

AIG have published a new D&O guide to Directors & Officers Liability in association with Marsh. The purpose of the guide is to explain and provide perspective on the current responsibilities for Risk mmnagers and their senior management in an increasingly unforgiving operating environment.

XL Catlin’s London-based insurance operations have introduced an innovative contract continuity clause. The clause addresses the risk that contracts written by XL’s London-based entities prior to Brexit may become impermissible assuming passporting rights are lost as a consequence of the UK leaving the European Union.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is the latest signatory of the “Time To Change” pledge to end mental health stigma. Time to Change is a growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which supports people to open up to mental health problems. By signing, the CII is committing to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.

Aviva is launching a new mental health service which will help employees of its large corporate clients get quick, specialised support when experiencing mental health conditions. The new service enables employees with a mental health condition to receive rapid access to assessment within 48 hours, and integrated end-to-end clinical treatment with a dedicated Case Manager.

Broker Network has completed the purchase of Knighthood Corporate Assurance Services Ltd, bringing its total number of regional powerhouse acquisitions to five. Broker Network has purchased the brokerage from Sunderland Marine, part of the North Group. The deal sees the business continue to operate from their current location with a retained management team.

Independent underwriting agency MGAM Limited has a new ‘one-stop’ event insurance product that can be white labelled by intermediaries. Called “MGAM Events,” the offering aims to provide coverholders and Brokers the ease of writing essential events cover, as well as extensions, through an integrated management system. Available as standard are Employers’ Liability, Public Liability, Event Equipment, Abandonment, Cancellation, or Postponement, while additional cover includes damage to venue and for overseas work.

Amidst all of the worrying over Amazon’s eyeing of the insurance market, many have been consoled by the idea that entering a complex, highly-regulated industry is no easy feat for a newbie – Google has already had a failed crack at it. However the vast amount of data held by tech behemoths and the insight that it can offer into consumer habits, may well give them an edge over Insurers still struggling to get to grips with technology.

It’s been a busy start to the year for Saffron Insurance: after joining Broker Network in January, the firm announced the purchase of brokerage Grove Financial Management earlier this month, and then quickly followed it up with a second acquisition of Continuum Insurance Brokers.

Insurance pay-outs made by Trade Credit Insurers in 2017 were at their highest level since 2009 according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). High profile company failures in 2017 included Monarch Airlines and Palmer and Harvey, and they were followed in 2018 by Carillion, Toys R Us and Maplin. The ABI has previously said that Trade Credit Insurers will pay out an estimated £31m to help firms in the supply chain recover from the collapse of construction giant Carillion. According to the Insurer trade body, company insolvencies were up by 4% in 2017, which has resulted in “challenging trading conditions at home and abroad”.

Pen Underwriting has confirmed that it has made 11 people redundant from its Chelmsford office following a decision to move its schemes business to other locations.

Applied Systems has announced that its Epic platform now includes a number of additional features. The platform, which was first launched in the UK in late 2016, now offers Brokers the ability to text their clients and receive SMS responses via the platform. It has also had renewal management capability added to the software. In addition, Brokers have begun to adopt the app-based technology on the platform.

Sheffield-based The Floow has launched a production-ready platform that promises to turn months into just days for the likes of Insurers, fleet operators and auto manufacturers who wish to adopt telematics technology. Called “FloowDrive,” the new platform enables a motorist’s smartphone – not handled during a trip – to serve as an in-car data sensor that will monitor driver behaviour and allow the Floow to determine a safety score.

Lorega has launched a new Cyber product called “Cyber 10,”. The low-cost offering features a stand-alone helpline that will support SMEs in times of cyberattacks and data breaches. It pays for up to 10 hours of expert telephone advice from a cyber emergency response team (CERT) per claim that insureds make during the period of cover.

Uber Technologies’ autonomous vehicle testing was brought to a halt this week after a crash involving one of its vehicles killed a woman in Arizona – thought to be the first pedestrian fatality involving the technology. An Uber vehicle operating in autonomous mode with a human driver inside struck Elaine Herzberg on the street in Tempe on Sunday night, and the 49-year old later died in hospital.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has increased its staffing levels as it prepares to enforce the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into force on 25 May 2018. Total staff numbers in 2016 were 442. This increased to 472 by March 2017 and went up again to 537 this March.

“Storm Emma was the worst snowstorm the country has seen since 1982 and an unusual weather event for Ireland.” This was how FBD Chief Executive Fiona Muldoon described the severe snowstorm that hit Ireland on 1st March. In a trading statement, the Property & Casualty Insurer cited significant damage caused to homes, businesses, and farms. “While it is still too soon to present an exact tally of both the final claim count and the gross cost from this storm, our reinsurance programme provides good cover in extreme events such as this,” said the provider, one of the largest in Ireland. “As a result, the overall net cost (after reinstatement premia) to the Income Statement is expected to be in the range of €6m to €8m [£5.2m to just under £7m].”

Big Property Data is rolling out the "first-of-its-kind" insurance product in collaboration withAviva and Henderson Insurance Brokers. The cover protects against the risk of a piece of land being identified as contaminated after being previously cleared in environmental searches.

Zurich UK has announced it has just commenced a “six-week chatbot pilot” called Zara for its first notification of emergency Home and Motor claims. According to the Insurer, “she” is already proving her worth as following the recent nationwide snowfall and high levels of melt water, the Insurer received much higher call volumes than normal – and Zara was able to immediately log the first notifications by working at all hours, seven days a work.



Market Movers and Shakers

RSA Insurance Group plc has announced the appointment of Charlotte Jones as a Non-Executive Board Director effective on 1 April 2018.  Charlotte will join the group audit and board risk committees. 

Liberty Mutual Insurance has appointed Paula Wilson to the newly-created role of Head of Marketing.

South West-based Broker Higos has announced that its Chairman and Founder, Ian Godsen is to retire, stepping down from his role as of 23rd March.

LV= has promoted Kieran O'Keeffe to Chief Risk Officer and will take the role effective from 1 April.

Sharon Beckett, the CEO for retail broking at Complete Cover Group – formerly A&A Group – is to leave her role in September this year.

CFChas announced that it has expanded its global leadership team with the appointment of two strategic senior hires. Katherine Nellums and Peter Samuel have joined CFC as Marketing Director and Human Resources Director, respectively.

Aon UK Ltd has confirmed the appointment of Matt Kimber as Chief Risk Officer (CRO).

REG (UK) Ltd, (REG), the award-winning RegTech solution for counter-party risk management, have appointed Jonathan Rusby to the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer with immediate effect.

TMKappoints Stuart Chamberlain as Senior Casualty Underwriter.

Collinson Group has appointed Marianne Stevens and Michelle Elmore to its Accident and Health team, who join as Head of Underwriting and Head of Business Development respectively. 

Ascent Underwriting has announced the appointment of James Weatherstone as Non-Executive Chairman, subject to regulatory approval.

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from multiple General Insurance Media sources and individual company press releases.

Meet our specialist General Insurance team here.

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