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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 26th February 2021

26 Feb 2021

AXA’s revenues were resilient in 2020, down just 1% compared to the previous year, reflecting the relevance of our strategic choices and business mix,” said Chief Executive Thomas Buberl when the Insurer released its full-year earnings. “Our preferred segments – P&C (Property and Casualty) commercial lines, Health, and Protection – continued to perform well, growing by 3% in 2020 and accelerating in the fourth quarter (+5%)". The group’s underlying earnings were €4.3 billion in 2020, notably impacted by €1.5 billion of COVID-19 related claims.

SCOR ended 2020 profitably and solvently.” Those were the words of SCOR Chair and Chief Executive Denis Kessler when the major reinsurer released its full-year financial results, which show sustained profitability despite the blow dealt by the coronavirus pandemic. In the 12-month period, SCOR’s group net income amounted to €234 million (around £201.2 million). The corresponding figure in 2019 was higher, at €422 million.

Zurich Insurance Group has rolled out an online platform designed to simplify the process of structuring international insurance programmes. The new Zurich Global Placement Support (GPS) Tool provides large multinational businesses with valuable information to assist in the design of international programmes and reduces uncertainty and complexity in the decision-making process, the insurance giant said in a statement. 

Ecclesiastical Insurance and the Charity Finance Group (CFG) are once again calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak – who is making the next Budget statement to the House of Commons on March 03 – to grant charities an exemption from Insurance Premium Tax (IPT).

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has released new information from its annual talent and diversity data collection, which the trade body believes is an indication of the progress made within the insurance and long-term savings industry when it comes to female representation at the most senior level. According to the ABI, women now hold 29% of board roles – an improvement from 2019’s 25%. Meanwhile preliminary figures show that 24% of executive level positions in the sector are held by women. 

A Munich Re subsidiary will no longer insure the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Europe. The reinsurer isn’t the first to drop the pipeline amid fears of sanctions by the US government. The US has been threatening to sanction European companies that support construction of the gas pipeline. Zurich Insurance Group dropped out of the project in January.

Conduit Holdings Limited, the parent company of Conduit Re, has announced its preliminary results for the period ended December 31. During the period, the company launched a successful IPO with net proceeds of US$1,057 million. It posted a loss after tax of US$4.6 million, and a basic and diluted loss per share of US$0.03. Book value per share was US$6.37, and the company posted a negative return on equity of 0.4%. The company commenced underwriting on January 01.

Insurance and legal professionals expect to see an increasing number of run-off deals this year, according to a new report by Global Insurance Law Connect (GILC). The report looked into the drivers of legacy business in both mature and emerging markets, collecting data from member firms in 20 countries.

London-based THB Group – the international broking arm of US wholesale insurance distributor Amwins Group, Inc. – has rebranded and will now be known as Amwins Global Risks.

The UK no longer has – and does not intend – to implement the Vnuk Motor insurance rule of the European Union, following the country’s split from the bloc. Not surprisingly, both the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) have since welcomed the announcement by Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, but it turns out certain camps aren’t pleased with the move.

A new independent Broker serving the London market has launched, with an industry veteran at the helm. Former Endeavour Divisional Director David Price has founded the new Fenchurch and Partners Ltd. – a representative of Bennett Gould & Partners (Dorset) Ltd., with a specialist focus on US, Canadian, and European P&C lines. These lines include Catastrophe Property, Trucking, Binding Authorities, Parametric Covers, and Accident & Health.

Lloyd’s of London is in hot water for its diversity practices yet again. This time, a new survey has revealed that less than half of Black Lloyd’s staff say they believe senior leaders in the insurance market create opportunities for everyone. Additionally, just two-thirds think they mean what they say, according to Lloyd’s second annual culture survey. By comparison, 74% of all respondents report feeling that senior leaders create opportunities for all, while around 64% of Asian and mixed ethnic groups and only 46% of employees who identify as Black or Black British say they feel this way.

Romero Group’s NDML is the bearer of good news. The late night leisure Broker – which has been fighting, on behalf of its clients with Hiscox policies, alongside the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and 11KBW’s Philip Kolvin QC – has confirmed having received the first offer of settlement from the Insurer, which was a defendant in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Business Interruption (BI) test case. 

Developed with UK insurance Brokers and Property customers in mind, Modus Underwriting has launched a new proprietary Broker platform. The new TryModus platform offer Brokers the ability to immediately obtain quotes, negotiate price, and bind cover for high property risks, which include unoccupied properties, high-risk trades, or multi-tenure risks. 

 

Munich Re has become the latest (re)insurance giant to reveal the impact of COVID-19 on its full-year 2020 results and while the company has posted a profit of €1.2 billion (around £1.034 billion), this is substantially down from the €2.7 billion (around £2.32 billion) figure for 2019. The reinsurer noted that the 2020 financial year was marked by high losses in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and that, in reinsurance, pandemic losses totaled €3.4 billion, with over €3 billion of this attributable to Property-Casualty Reinsurance.

For Ageas UK, the effect of Covid was significant enough to cut its income – but the company could still celebrate a much-improved combined ratio. For the full-year 2020, gross income came in at £1,484 million, a drop from the prior year’s £1,517 million. Much of the fall was attributed to reduced volumes from the Tesco Underwriting divestment during the final quarter, as well as lower mobility on volumes and reduced Motor pricing during the lockdown. However, the positive impacts of the pandemic on earnings were also there for all to see with the firm’s combined ratio improving from 2019’s 98.7% to 95.2% this time around, thanks largely to a reduction in Motor claims with less traffic on the road because of the various lockdowns.

Jensten Group (Jensten) has announced its second acquisition of the month, as the group has acquired Wiltshire-based Advance Insurance Agencies (Advance) for an undisclosed sum. Advance, a specialist personal and commercial lines Broker with 82 staff, has offices in Chippenham, Swindon, Westbury, and Trowbridge and currently handles £16 million gross written premium (GWP).

Global Risk Partners (GRP) is keeping up the momentum with which it has started 2021 with its latest acquisition – the purchase of Ipswich-based Five Insurance Brokers Ltd. Five Insurance, which was founded in 2010, is a specialist provider of commercial insurance to the Construction, manufacturing and process, Haulage, Motor trade and warehousing sectors. The deal completed on February 16 and the consideration is undisclosed.

Aviva has revealed it has agreed to sell its entire 40% shareholding in its joint venture in Turkey, AvivaSA Emeklilik ve Hayat AS (Aviva SA), to Ageas Insurance International N.V. for a cash consideration of £122 million.

In other news... This week, Aviva has confirmed the next step in its strategic refocus on the UK, Ireland and Canada through the sale of Aviva France to Aéma Groupe for €3.2 billion (approx. £2.76 billion) in cash.

Aston Lark has continued its acquisition spree – and this time, the brokerage group has snapped up Sennocke International Insurance Services in Sevenoaks, Kent. The latter, founded in 1990, operates as a general insurance Broker that serves both commercial organisations and private clients. It also owns two brands that are part of the acquisition – Self-Build Zone and Build-Zone.

SSL Insurance Brokers Ltd will be reunited with its Founder, Andrew Sturdy. It’s been announced that newly formed holding company Sturdy AGI Holdings Ltd, which has been chaired by Andrew since December 2020, has been granted approval by the Financial Conduct Authority to acquire the entire share capital of the Lloyd’s Marine Broker from Oneglobal Holdings Ltd.   

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has announced the appointment of Andy Barberis as Senior Vice President of claims.

Specialist Risk Group announces executive changes, with Group Chief Operating Officer Lee Anderson promoted to Group Deputy Chief Executive.

Brit
has appointed Wayne Page as Head of Inclusion & Diversity (I&D). He will report to Shane Kingston, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Actuary and main proponent of the company’s I&D initiatives.

It’s been revealed that Clare Lebecq’s reign as London Market Group (LMG) Chief Executive is coming to an end when she steps down on April 30 to join an insurance intermediary. According to the trade body, Lebecq is making the switch to Specialist Risk Group where she will serve as Group Chief Operating Officer.

Hive Underwriting has appointed Christine Dandridge as Non-Executive Director, effective immediately. Dandridge is a veteran of the specialty insurance market, with experience spanning more than four decades.

 

 

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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