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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 29th March 2019

29 Mar 2019

Insurance News

Aston Lark has bought specialist household Broker Highworth Insurance for an undisclosed sum. Poole-based Highworth was established in 2012 and places over £10m of gross premium annually. The company has 40 staff and is led by Peter Leppington and Toby Green. According to Aston Lark, the business is built around providing advice to clients who have specialist Home insurance requirements.

Ecclesiastical has enhanced its Art and Private Client policy with cyber home systems damage as standard and is now offering the choice of buying Cyber-Crime and Cyber Online Liability as extra covers. It has further added family protection cover featuring automatic cover for fatality at home. This new product will succeed Ecclesiastical’s existing product for new business and renewals on 1 April 2019.

Legal & General, General Insurance has launched SmartQuote for Intermediaries, using big data and technology to enable Brokers to get a Home insurance quote in as little as one question. The provider noted that SmartQuote is a mobile-friendly solution specialised in buildings and contents insurance. It added that if Brokers know basic information about their client including name, address and date of birth, it can find insurance quotes from asking just one question.

The £5.6bn acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group by Marsh parent Marsh & McLennan Companies has received regulatory approval from the European Commission. Late last week Marsh stated that all of the regulatory and competition approvals needed for the completion of the transaction have been met. Now that all of the approvals have been fulfilled, a hearing has been organised at the UK High Court for 29 March 2019. If the court supports the takeover it is expected to close on April 1 2019.

In other news... JLT Specialty has revealed a new Cyber product aimed at the real estate market. It said that it launched the new policy, Real Estate Assurance for Cyber Threats (REACT), to help combat uninsured gaps in the real estate market. The solution caters to property owners, Managers and investors, including pension and investment funds.

Zurich has confirmed it has temporarily withdrawn its direct home proposition for new customers and renewals. A spokesperson for the Insurer said that the changes will have no impact on its Broker proposition. The move follows on from Zurich’s sale of Broker Endsleigh to A-Plan in January 2018.

Arch Insurance International has announced its investment in Archipelago Risk Services, a personal lines managing general agency backed with underwriting capacity from Arch Insurance (UK) Limited (formerly Arch Insurance Company (Europe). The investment and underwriting capacity are both for an undisclosed sum. Archipelago is a new insurtech personal lines provider, created by Angus Simpson who will be CEO and Richard Coleman. Both were previously Aon Executives.   

Ageas Insurance has signed a new five-year deal worth £45m with Broker Darwin Clayton. The provider noted this extends its existing partnership with Darwin Clayton, which has been going on for six years. The two businesses team up on specialist cover across a number of trade sectors including interior contractors, security, cleaning and facilities management and recruitment.

International General Insurance Holdings Limited has reported earnings for the 2018 financial year. The year 2018 saw a strong recovery for IGI following the most expensive year for catastrophe losses on record in 2017. The group has a clear and focused vision of growth in new and existing markets, putting IGI back in track for another robust performance for the 2018 financial year. Gross written premium (GWP) rose by 9.5% to US $301.56 million in 2018, compared to US $275.3 million the year before. The Group announced a 237% increase in net profit to US$ 26.47 million from US $7.86 million as at 31 December 2017. The combined operating ratio was 88.97%, considerably down from last year’s figure of 103.08%.

With the recent ruling in the case of Ceon Broughton, who has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for manslaughter for the death of his girlfriend, Louella Fletcher-Michie, drugs at festivals are centre stage. Broughton supplied Fletcher-Michie with the drug 2C-P at the festival Bestival in 2017 and then did not get help for her when she suffered a fatal reaction to the drug. But when patrons take illegal drugs at a music festival, or hurt themselves while intoxicated, are the festival organisers responsible for what happens? How would insurance get involved? Paul Twomey, Director of special risks at Gallagher, said that it becomes a somewhat complicated issue because it hasn’t come up a lot. What is important when it comes to insurance and liability, in all cases, is risk prevention and how festivals look to do all they can to show they are trying to prevent illegal activity, according to Twomey. However when it comes to the actual insurance, the issue is always liability, and blame - for festival organisers this means if they did anything wrong, if they were at fault or could have prevented what happened. “Now as to where the blame lies, at the end of the day you can’t stop people bringing drugs into a festival, that’s reality,” Twomey said. “You obviously put signs up saying zero tolerance, and if you’re caught with anything you’ll be removed....But from a liability point of view, which is where the Insurers would be involved, they would say as long as you do what you can do, then technically speaking you shouldn’t be held liable.” When it does come to something unspeakable happening, like a death, Twomey said that he was not aware of a case where insurance was involved—not that it may not happen in the future. “As far as I’m aware, no festival organiser has been held responsible,” he explained.

According to statistics, Manchester is one of the worst areas in the United Kingdom to be homeless. More rough sleepers died in the Greater Manchester area in 2017 than in any other local authority area in England and Wales: 21 people losing their lives in total. Manchester has one of England’s highest rates of homelessness and it is sadly increasing year on year. From 2016 to 2018, the amount of homeless people in the city went up by a staggering 40%. When most people think of the homeless, they think of single people—but there are roughly 61,480 homeless families in England alone, mostly living in temporary accommodation. They are the hidden homeless and many are in areas like Manchester. Insurance Broker Swinton, which has its head office in Manchester, has seen this problem first hand and decided that the company wanted to do something about it. It is partnering with charity Shelter, an organisation which helps millions of people every year across England who are struggling with finding housing. Swinton has committed to raising £50,000 in a year to give to the charity by next March - and is going to raise it by Swinton employees participating in events. For example, three Swinton colleagues will run the London marathon in April while Scott Kennedy the MD of Swinton is going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and take on the three peaks challenge.

NFU Mutual has released its full-year results for 2018 and to highlight the positives, the rural Insurer reported its eighth consecutive year of underwriting profit and is rewarding loyal members with mutual bonus rates of up to 17.5%. Last year’s underwriting profit reached £142 million, which is an improvement from 2017’s £102 million. However volatile global financial markets impacted NFU Mutual’s investment returns, whose decline negated the company’s strong showing from its core insurance business. Investment assets under management fell by £1.2 billion to £18.9 billion.

Broker Insights has joined the British Insurance Brokers’ Association as an Associate Member.  The Broker Insights solution will be free for Brokers, with both organisations hoping that it will give regional Brokers more visibility with Insurers including Ageas, Axa, Hiscox, Ecclesiastical, QBE and Zurich. The Broker Insights platform went live October 2018 and now hosts 120 regional Broker offices, securely providing anonymised customer information to Partner Insurers.

A new trade body to represent businesses that look after customers in the civil justice system when they make a claim for insurance, injury, negligence and mis-selling has been launched. The Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) aims to “de-toxify the so-called compensation culture”, according to its Executive Director Matthew Maxwell-Scott. Brokers will also be invited to join the organisation and that ACSO is already in talks with major UK Brokers about membership.

A study by Premium Credit has found that among SMEs 42% plan to borrow more this year to fund their insurance while just 4% intend to use less. Nearly half (47%) of SMEs stated that they are using increased amounts of credit to buy insurance due to rising premiums. According to the report 50% of the SMEs involved plan to borrow £4,000 or more to fund their cover(s) this year.

In other news... Premium Credit has been selected by specialist Travel insurance Broker, Staysure to become its exclusive provider of premium finance, allowing customers to spread the cost of insurance cover in convenient monthly instalments. The award winning specialist focusing on single trip and annual insurance, alongside more niche areas, such as golf travel, medical travel and specific age-related insurance for older consumers, views the link up with Premium Credit as a positive development for their new and existing policyholders.

Lloyd’s has reported a loss of £1.0bn for 2018, following on from a loss of £2.0bn in the preceding year. The corporation said the loss followed a “volatile investment environment” and an expensive year for natural catastrophes where major claims cost the Lloyd’s market £2.9bn. In addition, net investment returns declined to £0.5bn, compared to £1.8bn in 2017.

In other news... In a move that is sure to be welcomed on the back of last week’s reports of sexual harassment, Lloyd’s of London has revealed plans to appoint women as part of its governance committee. In a Sunday Times report, it was also revealed that Lloyd’s would be converting the pub beneath its offices into a coffee shop. It was also said in the same report that Lloyd’s would be calling an emergency meeting with senior underwriters and brokers in an effort to establish how it will address the complaints of bullying and sexual harassment.

The Aviva annual report for 2018 has shown that ex-CEO Mark Wilson took home over £1.8m in pay last year despite going on gardening leave in October 2018. This compares to the £4.3m he received in 2017 and includes salary, benefits, bonus and pension. However the 2018 figure does not include anything from a long term incentive plan. Wilson became CEO of Aviva in January 2013 stepping into the post after Andrew Moss had resigned in May 2012 following a shareholder revolt. His CV included 18 years with Axa’s Asia-Pacific business as well as being CEO and president of AIA Group.

InsurTech Broker Kinsu has used Twitter to announce that it is shutting down and will stop serving its clients on 30 April 2019. In a statement on its website, Kinsu wrote: “After an awesome year of fundraising, tech development and community building we are very sad to announce that we are closing the Kinsu app.

Vince Cable MP has written to Premiership Rugby to urge the organisation to review its relationship with Gallagher immediately, as reported by The Guardian. This follows the ongoing court case where Gallagher is accusing Ardonagh of poaching staff and business. In a letter to the Premiership Rugby Chief Executive, Mark McCafferty, seen by Insurance Age, the leader of the Lib Dems, who is also the MP for Twickenham, referred to racist comments made by Gallagher’s UK Chief Executive Officer Simon Matson.

, a subsidiary of affinity brand SPG Group, has bought Brokers Loyal Insurance Services and Square Pound for an undisclosed sum. Owners of the brands Insurance2Go and Better Buy Insurance respectively, Loyal Insurance Services and Square Pound are providers of online insurance. Both brands focus on mobile phone and gadget cover. The SPG Group stated that the acquisitions should help it to grow and enable it to strengthen their digital marketing profile.

Covéa Insurance is pleased to announce it has been awarded Chartered Status from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) for the fourth year running for its Commercial Lines and High Net Worth business. In addition, its Broker Training Academy has again been granted CPD accreditation from the Institute, in recognition of the quality training it provides. The Academy’s flagship offering is a leadership development programme to identify and fast-track future broking talent. This is run alongside an extensive range of courses and webinars for Brokers on subjects from social media and marketing through to handling large loss claims and Cyber cover.

Allianz Insurance has announced a new kit sponsorship with LGBT all-inclusive rugby team the Wessex Wyverns. Based in Southampton, the Wyverns were established in 2014 and are an LGBT all-inclusive rugby team. Set up to encourage new players as well as develop the skills of experienced players the team now has a membership of 80 from Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. New players (regardless of age, experience or sexual orientation) are welcome throughout the season.

Ripe Insurance has announced that it has signed a five-year capacity deal with Aviva. Under the agreement, effective from January 2019, Aviva will become the capacity provider for the majority of Ripe’s niche insurance products in the sport, leisure and business sectors.

Pukka Insure and Smartdriverclub Chief Executives Sam White and Penny Searles, respectively are collaborating on connected car coverage. The new alliance will see Pukka Insure provide backing for Smartdriverclub telematics policies while enabling the managing general agent to become a market leader in leveraging black box data at FNOL (first notice of loss) as part of its Action 365 motor claims accident management service. In addition, the tie-up will allow Smartdriverclub to tap the area of small van business.

To improve its global reach and its services overseas, The Hartford has launched a new network with its international Insurer Partners. Called The Hartford Global Insurer Network, it is a directly-managed network of Partners supported by a “global technology platform.” The network allows The Hartford to provide insurance coverage to US companies in over 200 countries via local and regional partners and comprises more than 80 local and regional Insurers, including UK-based insurer Aviva, which will service the needs of The Hartford’s customers in the UK and Ireland.

The UK P&I Club has been given the green light for its Brexit subsidiary in the Netherlands. According to the Marine Insurer, the country’s financial regulator has approved the licence for UK P&I Club N.V. (UKNV), which will facilitate continued service to members even with Britain’s departure from the European Union. Based in Rotterdam, the now operational subsidiary at World Port Centre will also be used by other clubs managed by Thomas Miller. 

Nicholas Robinson who recently moved up to become Specialty Head at Neon already has his hands full – spearheading the newly established London Political Risks Insurance Consortium. The Lloyd’s Insurer will lead the initiative, which aims to provide insurance coverage to corporate investors and financial institutions for assets which can be located anywhere. Made up of 100% Lloyd’s capacity, the consortium has a US$100 million limit per policy and a maximum period of seven years.



Market Movers and Shakers

Marsh has announced that Jelf Chief Executive Officer Phil Barton is leaving the business with immediate effect to pursue other opportunities. Barton was CEO of Jelf’s Insurance business between 2010 and 2015 and took over the CEO position from Alex Alway after Marsh bought Jelf in 2015. He had previously been the group’s Head of Compliance, Group Commercial Director and Group Marketing Director. Barton will be replaced by Anthony Gruppo who is taking up the position of Jelf CEO and leader of Marsh’s wider UK & Ireland commercial and consumer client segment in May. According to Marsh, Gruppo has over 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry and has served in a number of senior roles, most recently as Northeast regional CEO of Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) in the United States. In his new role, Gruppo will oversee Jelf’s 68 offices in the UK, reporting to Chris Lay, CEO of Marsh UK & Ireland.

Allianz Insurance has named Gerry Ross as its new Head of Commercial Motor, replacing Jon Dye who has moved to QBE. The provider stated that Ross will be responsible for the Commercial Motor account including the digital motor products. He first joined Allianz in 2002 as an underwriting graduate and has since taken on a variety of roles across the Insurer’s head office and regional teams.

It was in May 2004 that Hilary Weaver made the switch to Lloyd’s of London after working at KPMG for nearly 13 years. Now it’s been announced that the Chief Risk Officer is leaving Lloyd’s at the end of the month. Part of the Lloyd’s Executive committee, Weaver has served in her current capacity at the corporation since 2016. She first came onboard as Head of Internal Audit.

At the annual general meeting of the London and International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA), Nick Cook, CEO of BMS Group, was elected as a Deputy Chairman, taking over with immediate effect. He replaces Barnaby Rugge-Price who stood down in 2018. At the meeting, LIIBA also published its annual report on its work during 2018 and outlining priorities for 2019. While many key priorities carry over from last year – e.g. Brexit preparation, regulation and all-important market modernisation and efficiency – the forward-looking agenda has been widened to include supporting members grow their businesses, with proposals to support the drive for growth from emerging economies such as Latin America.

The Chartered Insurance Institute has made three new appointments to the Professional Standards Committee, which forms part of the Institutes wider governance structure. The Committee was formed to oversee and support professional competence and ethical behavior across the Institute’s membership. Since then, the committee has help to ensure that standards for professional conduct, including disciplinary and membership procedures, are appropriate within the CII’s code of ethics. It predominantly provides independent guidance on accountability, transparency and consumer representation for the professional body. The three appointments include: Kate Wellington, Head of Legal Operations for Which?, who will be serving as an Independent Consumer Representative. James Daley, Managing Director of Fairer Finance, who will also be serving as an Independent Consumer Representative. Mark Butterworth, Managing Director of Condie Risk Consultancy Ltd and formerly Chairman of the Association of Insurance Risk Managers as well as the Chairman of the Institute of Risk Management who will be serving as the Commercial Representative. 

Boutique international insurance Broker La Playa has promoted Hanna Beaumont (FIRM) to Director: Corporate, overseeing its specialist commercial practices across Science and Technology and Media, Arts and Entertainment. Originating from Sweden, Hanna has been with La Playa since 2006 in its Science and Technology insurance practice and specialising in insurance for Life Science businesses. A Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management, Hanna looks after highly innovative high-growth companies, both UK and multinational, from start-up to IPO.

Insurance e-trading specialist Quotall is delighted to announce that leading e-commerce expert Craig Harper-Ashton joins the Quotall board as a Non-Executive Director, effective March 2019. An established leader in designing and implementing e-commerce strategies and ecosystems, Harper-Ashton has led several enterprise-scale multi-channel implementations in both B2C and B2B sectors for brands including Argos, Boots, Game, Halfords, Selfridges, Morrisons and Habitat.

SchemeServe, a leading provider of technology solutions for Insurers and intermediaries, has announced the appointment of Simon Cowling as Head of Engineering and UX. Simon has been recruited to lead SchemeServe’s expanding team of IT Developers. SchemeServe has more than doubled its headcount in 12 months due to the continued demand from the industry for innovative cloud-based insurance software solutions, particularly for delegated authority schemes business.

Markerstudy Group of Companies (MSG) has turned to company veteran Russell Wilson for the newly created position of Group Contact Centres Head. “Russell has more than 20 years’ experience in operations and insurance call centres and has positioned himself as the ideal candidate to lead our group contact centres into a new and vibrant chapter of evolution, ensuring our customers continue to receive an award-winning experience,” said Chief Operating Officer Dan Fiehn.

Aon Plc
, the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, announces the appointment of Edwin Charnaud as EMEA Chairman for its M&A and Transaction Solutions business. Edwin will begin his role on 15 April 2019 bringing his strategic insights to help accelerate the execution of the regional M&A and Transaction Solutions growth plan and will also focus on strengthening relationships with private equity and infrastructure clients.

Michael Lee, former Managing Director at Hastings Insurance, joins First Central as Group Chief Executive Officer. The leadership team is further bolstered by promotions of Jo McGowan to HR Director and Zuzana Clark to Operations Director.

Hyperion Insurance Group has announced that Rebecca Scott has been appointed as Group Chief Operating Officer effective 1st March 2019. In this new role, Scott will report to David Howden, CEO, Hyperion and has joined the Group Executive Committee.

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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