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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 27th October 2017

27 Oct 2017

Market News

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has confirmed that complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI) have risen since the launch of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) awareness campaign in August. The FOS stated that the number of new enquiries and complaints about PPI during July to September this year were higher by a fifth than in April to June. However, Charlie Sweeney, Lead Ombudsman and Director of Casework for PPI, highlighted that it was too early to tell what the impact of the FCA’s campaign would be in the long run.

Meanwhile the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed the complaints recorded by firms for the first half of 2017 hit 3.32m. This is an increase on the 3.04m reported in the latter six months of 2016 but the regulator noted that this is the first year in which all firms are reporting under new rules which were introduced in 2016.  Prior to 29 June 2016 the FCA did not require firms to submit complaints data for complaints that were resolved by the end of the following business day after they were received. From 30 June 2016, the rule changed so that all complaints became reportable. 

The London Market Group (LMG) has announced the launch of its first-ever campaign to promote London as the world’s insurance hub this week, providing buyers with a clear case for coming to London for solutions to the risks they face. With three days of events based around Leadenhall Market, the campaign aims to present London’s unrivalled credentials as the market for insuring risks and should disaster strike, getting clients back on their feet as swiftly as possible credentials as a market.

A slew of natural catastrophes over the past three months have taken their toll on the XL Group, as it revealed a US$1.03bn operating net loss for the third quarter, versus its US$122.5m operating net income during the same period last year. In particular, the damage wrought by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria drove natural catastrophe pre-tax losses (net of reinsurance, reinstatement and premium adjustments and redeemable non-controlling interest) to US$1.48bn, compared to $97.4m in the third quarter of 2016.

The needs of commercial heritage property owners are changing as businesses look to diversify and as technology and social media fuel emerging risks, according to Ecclesiastical. The specialist heritage Insurer announced the launch of three new products for the sector last week, which allow Brokers to tailor cover to the specific needs of modern clients in a changing environment.

It has been reported that Zurich is looking to sell its UK broking subsidiary Endsleigh. According to reports, Zurich has hired Investment Bankers at Evercore to explore a sale of the Broker, which specialises in insurance for students, however, the process is at an early stage and a deal “uncertain".

Over a month after sacking Bob Mackenzie as its Executive Chairman and Director, AA is reportedly seeking to have him repay over £1.2m in bonuses. The former Executive was supposedly fired for a “personal conduct matter,” according to a spokesperson for the AA. Mackenzie was paid an annual bonus in 2016 of about £700,000 and approximately £500,000 the following year. His contract had entitled him to bonus payments in each year up to a maximum of £900,000.

Overall premium income for the London company market in 2016 was £22.725bn, a new report by the International Underwriting Association has revealed. Gross premium written in London totalled £16.034bn, while a further £6.691bn was identified as written in other locations but overseen and managed by London operations. The IUA’s London Company Market Statistics Report 2017 also analyses income earned by branch operations in the London Market likely to be directly impacted by Brexit. A total of £7.383bn is currently underwritten via such business models which face a change in their regulatory status as the UK leaves the European Union. In addition, the report calculates that £1.554bn of income from Europe is earned by London Market companies that are either UK headquartered or subsidiaries of parent companies in a third country outside of Europe.

Willis Towers Watson has updated its Emblem predictive modelling software with a technique that allows users to model complex customer behaviours involving multiple possible outcomes quickly and with greater pricing accuracy. The company claims insurers can fit models to data sets in seconds thanks to the update. It is 20% faster than the previous version on rich datasets, enabling “significantly reduced” decision cycle times.

Residents from dozens of tower blocks across London may face higher-priced insurance policies the next time they renew, as Insurers consider raising premiums for buildings with flammable cladding panels and no sprinklers. According to Andrew Rose, claims specialist at Miller Insurance, there have been some draft exclusions, or partial exclusions, for claims related to claddings used in tall buildings that do not comply with regulations. This is “something which certain Insurers have put forward in relation to their renewals for construction operations,” he said in an industry briefing. Allison Whittington, Head of Housing at Zurich Municipal, has said that her firm will not be withdrawing any existing cover for its clients and it will work with them “to help them manage these exposures.”

CFC Underwriting has launched its revamped insurance proposition for technology companies. The Lloyd’s managing general agent (MGA) stated that the new offering was a “significant upgrade to its existing proposition”, which aims to protect technology companies against the emerging risks that they face in the running of their businesses.

Kerry London Underwriting, part of the Kelliher Insurance Group, has launched a new roofing scheme in partnership with specialist UK Insurer, ECIC. The scheme is available to Brokers in the sector via Kerry London Underwriting and the provider said it has been specifically designed for roofing contractor tradesmen and incorporates trade specific policy wording and cover.   

Ecclesiastical has launched a standalone Fine Art Policy to be distributed through Brokers. According to the provider, the product gives Brokers the option to place collections held within museums, education establishments, public bodies, charities and other organisations with Ecclesiastical’s specialist Fine Art Underwriters.

The Bollington Group has launched a managing general agent (MGA), Anjuna Underwriting. The Broker stated that Anjuna will provide products for Taxi, Courier, Self-Drive Hire, Goods in Transit and Motor Trade. It detailed that the products will be distributed through Bollington’s existing wholesale network through a new online quote and buy facility, which also includes account servicing and document uploads. Capacity for the new MGA will be provided by Danish Insurer Gefion, in a deal to write £80m of business over a five-year period.

The InsurTech app Wrisk is aiming to raise a further £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. According to the start-up the Wrisk app is designed to help customers buy different types of insurance through one “simple to use” app and cover multiple types of insurance as part of a single plan. The Wrisk team has also developed a Wrisk Score that’s a bit like a credit score, but for personal risk. Wrisk further stated that this will allow customers to really understand the risks they face in their day-to-day lives and lay out steps to reduce those risks and bring premiums down.

Towergate Insurance has secured another marina partnership to add to their portfolio, building their position in the Marine insurance market. The new partnership with Yacht Havens will give customers discounted insurance together with exclusive berth holder benefits, including a zero excess and no claims bonus protection if an incident happens in a Yacht Havens marina. Yacht Havens have eight UK marinas, giving Towergate Insurance access to more than 3,000 berth holders. Combined with existing partners Premier Marinas, BWML and Quay Marinas, this tops up Towergate’s berth holder access to more than 12,000.

Technology-driven insurance specialist Hood Group has partnered with the UK’s first smart Home insurance provider. Under the deal with Neos, Hood Group will provide administration services supporting Neos’s insurance proposition. These include sales support and administrative customer services including customer helpline, policy fulfilment, mid-term adjustments and renewals.

Formed in 2008 by David Green, Towcester based commercial Broker Insurance Linx has completed their 8th and 9th acquisition. They have purchased Leicester-based Specialist Property Insurance Brokers Limited (SPIB) and Swadlincote-based Nelson Insurance Brokers.

Market movers and shakers

Sam White, CEO of claims firm Action365 and managing general agent Pukka Insure has launched a Broker called Freedom Brokers. In addition to this she has also developed Freedom Services Group (FSG) to act as a holding company for all of her insurance businesses. She has appointed Ray Westwick to head up the Broker operation. Meanwhile, Ian Godfrey, formerly Managing Director of Hastings, has taken the role of Chief Underwriting Officer for FSG.

Marsh has announced the appointment of Jamie Saunders as a Strategic Adviser on cyber risk management within its UK specialist cyber security and risk team, part of the firm’s Client Advisory Services division. Dr Saunders will be based in London.

H W Wood has announced the appointment of Steve Redgwell to the UK board and as Head of UK Retail, Elissa Davidson as Head of Professional Lines and David Murphy as Head of Real Estate.

Momentum Broker Solutions has announced the appointment of Jane Mycroft. Joining Momentum from NIG, Jane will head the Small Business Team, which places SME business on behalf of Momentum’s network of 60 appointed representatives.

Allianz has appointed Mark Merrix to the position of Head of Casualty Claims and Nick Kelsall as Fraud Manager.

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

Tagged In: General Insurance
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