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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 2nd November 2018

02 Nov 2018

Insurance News

Ed, a global reinsurance, wholesale and specialty Broker, has revealed that a subsidiary of BGC Partners is to purchase Ed Broking Group, subject to regulatory approval. The deal to buy Ed, which was originally known as Cooper Gay but rebranded in 2016, is for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of global brokerage and financial technology company BGC will acquire 100% of Ed.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has urged the government to freeze insurance premium tax (IPT) in the Budget on 29 October. The trade body analysed HMRC figures and declared that taxpayers are now paying record amounts of the tax. According to the association, IPT raised £1.35bn for HMRC in August – the highest amount ever and £200m more than it raised in August 2017. The ABI noted that this is more than four times higher than the £300m that the sugar tax is expected to raise in a whole year. Calculations from the ABI also showed that the government has taken in £6.13bn from the tax over the last 12 months, which is more than brought in by any of the sin taxes on beer, wine or gambling.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) has welcomed Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s decision to keep the insurance premium tax (IPT) at 12% in the Autumn Budget. This is the second year in a row that the tax has been frozen at the same level. But the insurance industry has previously seen it double in just two years after it rose in several consecutive Budgets. Biba Chief Executive Officer Steve White said: “We welcome Philip Hammond’s decision not to change the current rate already at a significant 12 pence in the pound of every premium paid."

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that complaints recorded by firms reached a record 4.13 million in the first half of 2018. This is an increase of 10% compared with the previous six-month period, when 3.76 million complaints about financial services products were received. According to the regulator, complaints have been on the rise for four successive half years. Payment Protection insurance (PPI) has continued to be the most complained about product, accounting for 42% of all complaints. Complaints about Motor and Transport insurance products made up 6% of the total. The watchdog revealed last week that £3.7bn has been paid out in compensation to customers since the launch of its PPI campaign fronted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Average ICO data breach fine has doubled to nearly £150,000 in 12 months. The average fine issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to protect against data breaches has doubled to £146,000 in the year to 30 September 2018, according to RPC. The law firm calculated that the total value of penalties imposed by the ICO in the period rose to £4.98m, up 24% from £4 million the year before. It listed three of the largest fines in the last year: Equifax, which was fined the maximum £500,000 for failing to protect the personal information of up to 15 million UK citizens during a cyber-attack in 2017; Carphone Warehouse, which was fined £400,000 for failing to adequately protect customer and employee data; The British and Foreign Bible Society, which promotes the availability of the Bible worldwide, was fined £100,000 following a cyber-attack that compromised personal data of 417,000 people.

FCA issues third insurance scam warning in three weeks. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has flagged Youcompareinsurance as a website which it believes has been providing financial services or products without authorisation. The FCA noted that “some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run investment scams” as it detailed email addresses, an 0333 phone number and a site to avoid. It urged people to be “especially wary” and use a regulated firm. Clicking on the web address, which does not contain the www. prefix, brings up a “not secure” warning in Google Chrome. The website describes its service as comparing “the UK’s leading insurance providers” and offers Business insurance, Home insurance, funeral plans and Life insurance. In the latter category high profile company logos include Aviva, L&G, Zurich, Axa, LV, Allianz, Ageas and many others.

AIG revealed as Insurer in Leicester City helicopter crash. The King Power Stadium won’t be the site of fixtures as kin, players and supporters alike continue to pour in following the helicopter crash that has claimed the lives of five people including Leicester City chair Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. The Lockton-brokered Aviation policy is led by insurance giant AIG. It said the crash will cost the market approximately $38 million. The beloved Thai tycoon, who bought the English football club in 2010 for £39 million, was being transported by an AgustaWestland AW169 when the accident took place about 200 metres away from the stadium after the game against West Ham United. “It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on-board survived,” said Leicester City in a statement.

It looks like Lloyd’s of London is ready for any Brexit eventuality. In an update, the insurance market confirmed its ability to write Facultative reinsurance and Non-proportional Excess of Loss Treaty reinsurance on Lloyd’s Brussels paper from January 01 next year across all markets in the European Economic Area (EEA). In addition, it announced its readiness to process the remaining Treaty reinsurance business through Lloyd’s Brussels from January 01, 2020, in the unlikely scenario that the UK does not secure Solvency II reinsurance equivalence in 2019. “We expect that, following Brexit, the UK will apply for and receive Solvency II reinsurance equivalence,” said Lloyd’s Chief Commercial Officer and Lloyd’s Brussels Chief Executive Vincent Vandendael, who is set to join Everest Insurance next year. “However, we are working to ensure that our reinsurance customers can continue to access the market’s specialist policies in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a transitional agreement or equivalence.” Lloyd’s said the market can continue to write reinsurance in the EEA states until March 29, 2019 with the confidence that all valid claims will be paid. “After this date, if transitional arrangements or equivalence are in place, the market can continue to do business via syndicate paper as they do today,” it noted.

Parametric insurance products are developing rapidly around the world. They’ve been described by global law firm Clyde & Co as “an elegant solution for risk-transfer concerns” and are lauded as attractive alternatives and enhancements to some traditional insurance policies. The Oxford Dictionary defines the adjective parametric as “relating to or expressed in terms of a parameter or parameters”. When applied to insurance, that means coverage is triggered by a parameter – i.e. a metric or an index - that is easy to determine. Pre-agreed payment for a claim is guaranteed upon the occurrence of a triggering event, which needs to be a pre-defined parameter or metric related to the insured’s particular exposure. “Broadly, it’s an insurance program that is triggered and/or paid very simply using an index rather than words,” explained Steve Harry, Risk Finance Consultant in Marsh’s Financial Solutions Group.

The trouble with stockpiling: Marsh lifts the lid on insurance impact. Amid fears that the UK’s divorce with the European Union will lead to trade restrictions, retailers and manufacturers are said to be stockpiling – putting suppliers at risk of having insufficient Trade Credit insurance in the process. Brokerage giant Marsh explains how ramping up inventories could prove problematic. “Stockpiling could reduce cash flow and tie up liquid funds that could otherwise be reinvested into growth, research and development,” noted Tim Smith, Global Trade Credit Practice leader at Marsh. “It also creates further financial burden by potentially forcing firms to increase their spending on storage, in order to house their growing inventories.” Given that buyers normally purchase goods on credit terms and use revenues from selling them to pay their suppliers, Marsh said buyers may be unable to generate enough revenue to cover the credit if they stockpile. This, in turn, greatly increases the risk of non-payment.

ERS has confirmed that a number of people are set to leave the business over the next 12 months, as it moves a total of 56 roles to Swansea. Ian Parker, Chief Executive Officer of ERS, said that the provider would not see a drop in the number of employees as a result and highlighted that everyone affected had been offered the chance to relocate. He noted that the total number of redundancies would depend on how many people wanted to relocate to Swansea. “My anticipation is there will be 19 roles in Brentwood and 37 in London where people won’t relocate,” Parker added.

Ardonagh Group has launched a $225m [£175.8m] new debt round to pay for buying Swinton as well as “general corporate purposes including acquisitions”. The new bond will mirror previous offerings and the pricing is expected to be confirmed in the next five days and close within two weeks. Ardonagh agreed in September to buy Swinton for £165m saying it would pay for the takeover via finance and “cash from monetising certain Swinton assets”. The cash generated from the latest bond will be held in an escrow account while Ardonagh waits for regulatory approval for the Swinton deal. In tandem with the finance round Ardonagh also revealed several buys from its backers HPS Investment Partners (HPS) and Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP). However, these deals will not be funded by cash, instead HPS and MDP will take further equity in Ardonagh.

An insurance fraudster has been jailed for reoffending only weeks after his release from prison. The man was previously jailed for supplying around 150 drivers with fake Car insurance after an investigation by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department. Weeks after his release from prison, the man incepted fraudulent Trade and Personal Vehicle insurance. To incept the fraudulent policies, the man used incorrect details and forged no claims. Jaymz Clarke, 37, of Andover, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. He was sentenced at the Inner London Crown Court to eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay £750 for court costs.

Government identifies ‘big data’ as another potential area for legislation. Hot on the heels of this year’s new general data protection regulation (GDPR), the UK government has identified business use of ‘big data’ as another potential area for legislation. The term ‘big data’ generally refers to the way businesses target customers through the collection, processing and analysis of large and complex data sets from a variety of sources, which often contain personal information. According to the Financial Times, Business Secretary Greg Clark has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to advise on the issue of big data misuse as part of an overhaul of business regulations.

With effect from 1st November 2018 Arc Legal Assistance will be RSA’s support Partner for commercial and personal Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) and will provide: customer support via an advice helpline, claim notification via an online portal, provision of flexible management information. Existing claims will continue to be administered by CIGNA, their previous Partner. Both CIGNA and Arc Legal Assistance use the services of Lyons Davidson Solicitors to administer LEI claims, which also ensures consistency.

Covéa are to provide a ‘cyber support line’ to help children of cyber-crime. Child Focus Groups carried out by Covéa Insurance have revealed the extent to which children are exposed to the risk of cyber-crime as a result of their personal use of connected devices. The research concluded that, although children are skilled at using a range of devices and software and are broadly aware of the risks they face, their extensive reliance on connected devices takes priority over safety considerations. This leaves both them and their families vulnerable to the risk of cyber-crime and other potentially harmful consequences. To address this, Covéa Insurance is providing a ‘cyber support line’ free of charge to customers with its Home insurance with effect from 1st December 2018. In the event of a cyber incident, families will be able to obtain 24-hour support and advice about what to do, including how to restore personal equipment that has been hacked, virus removal, dealing with ransomware and what to do if there has been financial loss.

Bennett Christmas wins ‘Independent Broker of the Year’ accolade. An outstanding culture of personal customer care in a market increasingly driven by chat bots, aggregators and algorithms has won Bennett Christmas Insurance Brokers (BCIB) the prestigious Independent Insurance Broker of the Year Award. The 40-strong team, based at Bennett Christmas’ group headquarters in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, scooped the honour at the recent Broker Network conference. It followed a major focus by the firm over the past year on redefining customer care in the insurance sector, based on a core ethos that it’s people who make the difference. Bennett Christmas Group Managing Director Tom Stripp said: “‘Redefining care’ and ‘Our People Make the Difference’ were the two phrases that drove the relaunch of the firm’s website in 2018. And they really sum up what we are about and what sets us apart from our competitors."

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe £5,280,800. The regulator handed out the punishment for failures between 5 July 2010 and 7 June 2015 in Liberty’s oversight of its mobile phone insurance claims and complaints handling processes which were administered through a third party. Liberty settled at an early stage of the investigation which meant it got a 30% discount. Without the discount, the penalty would have been £7,544,000. Liberty Specialty Markets has responded to the fine: “This fine from the FCA relates to activity undertaken by LMIE (our Company market operation), under an arrangement which began in 2010, before the formation of Liberty Specialty Markets”.

Reich makes first buy for years with LJM Insurance Brokers deal. Reich Group has bought Stockport-based LJM Insurance Brokers. The purchase for an undisclosed sum will add £4m of gross written premium to Reich taking it over the £80m barrier as it targets £100m by 2022. The deal completed on 28 October and the three Partners and four staff will move to Reich’s office in Manchester on 12 November bringing the group headcount to 127.

CFC: Industry is failing firms on Cyber. The UK insurance industry is failing businesses when it comes to Cyber insurance, according to CFC Underwriting Chief Innovation Officer Graeme Newman. “I’m not convinced Insurers or Brokers are getting Cyber,” Newman said. He added that because many Brokers and Insurers don’t have enough knowledge about it they struggle to articulate how Cyber insurance works and why businesses need it. “The product is great, but insurance doesn’t have a great reputation so a lot of clients, particularly small businesses, feel we’re trying to sell them something that they don’t need,” Newman continued. However, he explained that while the United States is a much bigger market for Cyber insurance, the UK is a growing focus for CFC.

Ghost Brokers are targeting the vulnerable through social media. One in three 18-24-year olds have seen a suspicious looking advert for Car insurance on social media, an Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) survey conducted by YouGov has revealed. The IFB noted that while young people are more susceptible, all age groups are affected with one in five people overall having seen a suspicious advert. Despite this, two thirds of people surveyed admitted they wouldn’t even check if their seller had a website before buying Car insurance. Chris Monk, head of fraud at the AA, agreed that there has been a sharp rise in the number of ‘ghost Brokers’ targeting vulnerable people, such as students or ethnic groups who may not fully understand how Car insurance works, via social media. He commented: “We have voided well over 1,000 Motor insurance policies this year with a combined premium value of around £700,000 due to known fraud including ghost broking.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched its investigation into how Insurers charge Home and Motor customers. The move delivers on the promise made last month after the industry was slammed by Citizens Advice in a dual pricing super-complaint. Citizens Advice had hit out against the mobile, broadband, home insurance, mortgages and savings industries for overcharging loyal customers and ripping off consumers. Further to this, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to insurance CEOs to highlight the risks of “significant harm and poor outcomes for consumers” found in its investigation into Household insurance pricing practices. He warned that during the review the regulator identified firms failing to have oversight, governance and control of pricing practices. This meant businesses could not assess or give evidence that they were treating customers fairly. In addition, the letter flagged “differential pricing” meaning some customers were paying “significantly higher prices” than others despite having similar risks. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) board member and Director of Strategy and Competition, Chris Woolard, has admitted it found “less than we would expect” when it investigated pricing controls at Household Insurers “particularly bearing in mind the wider conduct rules in place at the moment”. According to the FCA, customers who renewed Home insurance for five years were paying on average 70% more than new customers and of those who renewed for 10 years one-quarter were vulnerable people.

Axa Insurance has entered a three-year partnership with managing general agent Origin UW which will see the Insurer providing £30m of capacity. The provider detailed that it will work with Origin on Property, Casualty and Motor trade. According to the agreement, the non-motor products will launch in December this year, while Motor Trade will be live from 1 January 2019.

Covered Insurance has partnered with Tokio Marine (TMK) and 3XD to launch FlyCovered, an on-demand Aviation product for manned aircraft. According to the Broker the coverage provides fully comprehensive physical damage protection for the aircraft and the pilot’s liability in accordance with EU laws. A spokesperson for Covered said that they are aiming to start wholesaling the product, which it claimed is the first of its kind, in January 2019. Covered built the online FlyCovered platform, while policies are offered via coverholder 3XD. TMK will supply all the capacity. Ian Grant, Head of Product Development at Covered, said: “Customers are increasingly demanding more flexible, cost-effective insurance and pilot enthusiasts are now able to benefit from on-demand insurance through the Covered on-demand platform."

Liiba responds to speculation of Brexit deal for financial services. The Times has cited government sources in an article stating that the UK has agreed on an arrangement with the European Union giving continued access for financial services companies. According to the newspaper the deal will involve a partnership on services and exchange of data. UK companies would keep access to European markets for as long as British regulation stayed aligned with the EU’s.

Cooking related fires soar 183 per cent during Great British Bake Off. Great British Bake Off spurs 183% increase in claims for cooking related fires in UK homes. Accidental damage claims in the kitchen also rise by 12% during the period. The average claim is over £8,000 for cooking blazes and £900 for accidental damages.

You are 30x more likely to be robbed online than to be burgled at home. With over 4.7 million instances of fraud and cyber-crime in England and Wales alone the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) confirmed that cyber-crime is now the most common form of crime in the UK. Scams are ever changing in the cyber-crime world; from conveyancing fraud to sex extortion the threats can be extremely stressful for individuals targeted, but they are often simply a hoax. The hoax email will be sent to hundreds of thousands of people claiming to e.g. have a recording of the person watching pornography. The email will threaten to send the damaging recording to friends and family unless a ransom is paid, often anywhere between £300-£5,000. The DynaRisk Pro facility in the Geo Private Clients Household policy is able to warn clients of scams like this more than a month before the authorities can and so is able to prevent clients from being exposed to these risks.

Insurance law firms in £34 million mega merger. Ince Gordon Dadds LLP – that will be the name of the largest listed law firm in the UK by revenue once the mega merger between Gordon Dadds LLP and Ince & Co International LLP completes, most likely by the end of the year. Gordon Dadds, whose services include advising on the resolution of large and complex disputes from the London and international insurance markets, announced that members of Ince have approved the terms of the merger. For approximately £34 million, Gordon Dadds will acquire all of the interests of Ince equity partners. A network of affiliated international commercial law firms, Ince specialises in transport, trade, energy and infrastructure and insurance. It becoming part of Gordon Dadds will see the buyer’s international presence grow to nine countries.

The Professional Indemnity insurance (PII) market in the UK for legal professionals is starting to harden, says JLT Specialty following the October 2018 renewal period. The market is currently in something of an “in between stage” but has shown signs of gradual hardening, according to Martin Ellis, Senior Partner and Head of Professional Services and Legal Practices group at JLT Specialty. “Certainly, most Insurers are trying to look for rate increases, but not always necessarily achieving them. I would, however, say that the early signs are that, going into 2019, Professional Indemnity insurance rates are generally on the rise for solicitors,” Ellis told Insurance Business in an interview. But rates did remain relatively stable in 2018 as a result of continued competition for business. Ellis said that a number of Insurers have been looking to grow their share of the market in 2018, while equally others have been focusing on renewal business only and trying where possible to increase rates.

Swiss Re has reported a net income of US$1.1 million for the first nine months of 2018, compared to a loss of US$468 million during the same period last year. The turnaround happened despite an estimated claims burden of US$1.6 billion from natural catastrophes and large man-made events in the reporting period, Swiss Re said in a statement. The reinsurer’s Property and Casualty businesses were particularly impacted by large losses in the third quarter, notably typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan, Hurricane Florence and the Carr wildfire in the US and a windstorm in Canada. Meanwhile, Swiss Re said that its Life and Health businesses continued to deliver a strong performance. The Property and Casualty reinsurance segment posted a net income of US$634 million, impacted by large loss events, while Life and Health reinsurance delivered a net income of US$644 million along with continued gross premium growth. Its Life Capital unit reported a gross cash generation of US$1 billion, with a net income of US$4 million. Meanwhile, the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions unit suffered a net loss of US$5 million, but its gross premium income continued to grow.

Arch Insurance Europe has snapped up the UK commercial lines business owned by The Ardonagh Group and part of its Geo Underwriting operating segment, it has been revealed. The asset-only deal includes the renewal rights for Fusion, Arista and Towergate Commercial Underwriting, which generated more than £150 million of GWP in 2017 and is focused on writing commercial Property, Casualty, Motor, Professional Liability, Personal Accident and Travel. Approximately 250 employees will move to Arch as a result of the transaction. Arch said the move will give it a “meaningful presence” and an extended office network across the UK that will complement its existing London Market business, which is focused on wholesale distribution and delegated authority business, the group said in a statement. It is part of a wider strategy by Arch to grow its regional UK presence and deliver underwriting expertise and a strong customer value proposition through an expanded retail distribution network.

Nexis DaaS launched with goal of improving analytics. It’s no secret that Insurers rely on sophisticated data analytics to improve underwriting accuracy and reduce the time it takes to assess a claim. Recognising this need, analytics firm LexisNexis recently rolled-out Nexis Data as a Service (DaaS) as a way for Insurers and other finance professionals to power and streamline their predictive analytics and machine learning efforts. Leveraging on decades of experience as a content aggregator, Nexis identifies and connects Insurers with petabytes of information from a variety of sources, including global print, broadcast and web news; social commentary; company and industry data; and regulatory and legal data. The information is enhanced by feature extractors and metadata from more than 7,000 subjects and industries.

A new look will soon greet customers of the former 425 Financial Solutions. The specialist financial services company recently received a makeover and changed its trading name to National Friendly Financial Solutions (NFFS). The move is part of an effort to align the NFFS brand with its Bristol-based parent company, mutual Insurer National Friendly. The rebrand includes changes to the old 425 Financial Solutions website, which will now be incorporated into the main National Friendly homepage. NFFS is a telephone-based service that provides financial advice from qualified financial advisers on retirement planning, life and health coverage and investments. Chris Nutt, advice team manager at NFFS, believes that the rebranding efforts will help in their efforts to attract new customers.

Brutal storms in Japan and North America have taken their toll on AIG, with the global Insurer reporting a net loss of US$1.3 billion for the third quarter of 2018. Of consolation to AIG is that this still represents a smaller loss from the US$1.7 billion hit it took in the third quarter of 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused extensive damage to parts of the United States. AIG pointed to a series of global catastrophic events as the reason for its losses, including massive storms that hit Japan and the United States in September. The storm season in Japan was its worst in the last 25 years and catastrophe losses for AIG in the country totalled US$264 million.  In North America, Hurricane Florence caused widespread damage along the eastern coast of the United States. Together with damage claims from mudslides in California, AIG estimated that it has exhausted approximately $700 million of the $750 million retention under its North America aggregate catastrophe reinsurance program. The impact of global catastrophe claims, however, was softened by modest developments in AIG’s core general insurance business.

AXA XL Accelerate boss: Why it's no longer "them versus us". Collaboration seems to have taken over from disruption as the new buzzword to describe the relationship between insurtechs and insurance companies. Out of the 140 insurance and insurtech executives from around the world that were polled by Capgemini and Efma in the World Insurtech Report, most respondents indicated that they believe insurtechs are catalysts of change in redefining customer experiences, delivering efficiencies and creating new business models. While the direct-to-consumer Insurer isn’t going away, there is a sense in the insurance industry that there’s more to be gained than lost from insurtechs. “There’s been a really positive wakening up to the opportunities it creates, [and] I think now everyone’s talking about partnerships, everyone’s talking about how we can help drive the industry forward,” said Vincent Branch, Chief Executive of Accelerate at AXA XL, which drives commercial opportunities for the group by finding disruptive business models and implementing them through new products and propositions. “I still think people are talking about disruption, but it’s less ‘them and us’ between the insurtechs and between the incumbents. It feels much more [that] we’re going to get a lot more out of this by working together and out of that is going to emerge some really strong winners.” It’s not a hard sell to convince insurance companies that technology has a lot to offer, especially when you consider the benefits these solutions can bring to the balance sheet. Recent research by Accenture highlighted that Insurers can boost their collective annual profits by about £15 billion through the application of machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). The Accelerate team at AXA XL has already experienced the benefits of implementing AI in its work and sees more potential in the technology.

In a similar vein, Brokers should take advantage of the opportunities they have to Partner with InsurTech firms, according to Alan Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Simply Business. At a panel debate at the Broker Expo in Coventry on 1 November, Thomas stated that Brokers need to understand what data they are sitting on and find the tools to use it. Simon Harrow, Head of Digital Strategy at iGo4, agreed that it was not too late for Brokers to get involved in InsurTech.

Specialist loss adjusting and claims handling company QuestGates has gone full-blown global. The firm, which operates throughout the UK and Ireland and has a network of international partners, has joined global loss adjuster and claims management provider vrs Adjusters. QuestGates said it has been selected as vrs Adjusters’ UK and Ireland representative. “Our business model of identifying services where technical expertise, innovation and high levels of bespoke service delivery are key has been highly successful, enabling us to grow substantially – organically and by acquisition and selected recruitment,” noted QuestGates managing director Chris Hall. “However, the fact that we were not able to fully service clients’ operations on a global basis has restricted our ability to compete, particularly in the real estate and environmental arenas. “Our acquisition in 2017 of Hyperion Adjusters, which already operated on a global basis using vrs Adjusters, has demonstrated the benefits of being part of a like-minded global organisation.”

Fairfax delivers 98% combined ratio despite cat losses.The earnings fell short of consensus estimates partly due to lower investment returns.

Alleghany reports $140mn Q3 underwriting loss. Catastrophe losses from Jebi and Florence send TransRe into the red.

Neon exits PA and bloodstock to secure 2019 approval. Syndicate 2468 is also expected to make around 30 redundancies as part of a company-wide consultation.

Channel Syndicate 2015 also pulls out of four classes. Channel Syndicate has exited Professional Liability, A&H, Hull and Cargo to gain 2019 approval.


Broker Expo News - 1st November 2018

The recent announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expressing its concerns around insurance pricing practices should act as a “wake up call” for Brokers and Insurers according to Mike Crane, MD of LV Broker. Speaking at the Broker Expo in Coventry, Crane admitted that the report made for a “pretty uncomfortable read” but added that the regulatory focus provided a massive opportunity for Brokers to differentiate themselves in the market. Crane said that by focusing on data, new technologies, servicing a niche and choosing the right Partners, Brokers have an opportunity to undo a lot of the distrust that customers have for insurance.

Brokers have the opportunity to grab a profitable share of the schemes market by mining their data thoroughly, according to Jackie Hyde, Director of Stanmore Insurance Brokers. Addressing delegates in a panel session at the Broker Expo, Hyde shared her experiences of partnering with an Insurer to get a bigger piece of the schemes market. Hyde has now teamed up with Aviva after building her nursery scheme for eight years.

Aviva will grow about 10% in schemes this year in commercial lines and is expected to continue into 2019, said the Insurer’s Managing Director, intermediaries, Phil Bayles. Speaking at Expo, Bayles told delegates in the Ricoh Arena that schemes had become popular due to the way “Insurers and Brokers believe they can grow profitability going forward”. Currently, Aviva has brought over 300 schemes to market that have been developed with Brokers.

The insurance sector needs to focus on professionalism to attract new talent to the industry, according to Sian Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Speaking at the Broker Expo, Fisher said: “We all have to recognise that there is a lack of trust from the public in financial services. It’s up to us to regain it in order to attract talent to us.” Fisher noted that professionals demonstrate competence, integrity and care for the customer, adding: “If we want to have parity of esteem with the other professions we have to focus on all three."

Market Movers and Shakers

AIG appoints Peter Bilsby Global Head of Specialty London. In this new role, Mr Bilsby will report to Christopher Townsend, Chief Executive Officer of AIG General Insurance International, with responsibility for the global Energy, Marine, Aviation and Credit Lines businesses. Since 2016, Mr Bilsby has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Talbot Group, AIG’s Lloyd’s of London insurance and reinsurance specialist which it acquired in July of this year as part of its purchase of Validus Holdings Limited. Mr Bilsby will continue as CEO of Talbot until his successor is appointed. Mr Townsend commented: “I’m pleased to appoint Peter to lead our Global Specialty businesses. Our clients and Partners will benefit from Peter’s deep understanding of this sector and his leadership track record at Talbot.” Mr Bilsby commented: “I am very much looking forward to working with the team to build a market-leading global speciality business. It has been a privilege to serve as CEO of Talbot and to work alongside such talented colleagues.” Prior to serving as CEO of Talbot, Mr Bilsby was Managing Director of Talbot and Director of Underwriting. He joined Talbot in September 2009 as Head of Global Aerospace from XL London Market Ltd.

James Cowen has made the switch from CFC Underwriting to Probitas 1492. The former Casualty Team Leader, whose experience includes time spent at Miller and Gallagher, came onboard the Lloyd’s syndicate as International General Liability Senior Underwriter. He will work with international GL Underwriter Stuart Hollins and report to Chief Underwriting Officer for Casualty Neila Buurman. “We are delighted that James has joined Probitas 1492,” commented Buurman. “His experience, both broking and underwriting, further enhances our international Casualty offering and ensure that the high levels of service we provide our Brokers and clients continues.” Cowen, who started his career at Lloyd’s Broker HMA, brings more than 14 years of industry expertise to the role.

Amelie Breitburd joins AXA UK and Ireland as CFO from AXA Asia. Breitburd takes up her new role on 1st January 2019. Breitburd replaces Bertrand Poupart-Lafarge who becomes CFO of AXA France. Amelie Breitburd has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of AXA UK and Ireland, replacing the outgoing Bertrand Poupart-Lafarge. Breitburd, who has been at AXA for the past 14 years, officially takes up the post on 1 January 2019. Breitburd was most recently CFO of AXA Asia and has held several senior roles at AXA Group in Paris, as well as serving at KPMG and Allianz.

ERS introduces Jim Neild, Regional Trading Underwriter for Prestige.

Swiss Re announced that Thomas Wellauer, group Chief Operating Officer and member of the group’s executive committee, will retire at the end of June 2019.

Directors of the UK P&I Club have elected fellow board member Nicholas Inglessis to succeed Chair Alan Olivier. Inglessis, who was named as one of the Club’s deputy chairmen in 2012, has been a Director at the Marine Insurer since 2005. His industry experience includes serving as Director of Greek ship management company Samos Steamship from 1991.  “Nicholas is an excellent replacement for Alan as our new Chairman, with vast industry experience and an in-depth knowledge of the Club,” commented UK P&I Club chief executive Andrew Taylor. “Alan has navigated the Club through a period of industry-wide turbulence following the global financial crisis."

Zurich has announced two appointments in its General Insurance Broker distribution team. Michelle Taylor joins from RSA as Head of Broker Market for the Southeast and Matt Perkin is promoted to the same role for the Midlands, Southwest and Wales. Having joined Zurich in 2011, Matt was most recently the Strategic Assistant to UK CEO Tulsi Naidu and has held a number of roles sales and distribution roles within the organisation. Michelle was a Strategic Account Director at RSA until recently, following a career of nearly three decades spanning a number of roles in trading and Broker relationships at Aviva and Lloyds Syndicate, ERS.

Willis Towers Watson has announced the appointment of Adrian Willmott as Sales Leader for its Corporate Risk and Broking GB Retail business. Based in London, Willmott will be responsible for developing Willis Towers Watson’s integrated sales approach for the retail business across the UK. Willmott will establish client outreach strategy and engagements across the full range of human capital and risk related retail solutions.

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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