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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 30th November 2018

30 Nov 2018

Insurance News

Steve White, Chief Executive of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association has urged Brokers to prepare for all eventualities as the government released the 26-page political declaration on how future relationships with the European Union (EU) might work after Brexit. The framework document came out a week after the 585-page withdrawal arrangement terms were published. The two documents work in tandem. The political declaration is a non-binding document, effectively a blueprint and wish list for future terms, whereas the withdrawal agreement is legally-binding and sets out the ‘divorce’ terms. Steve commented "What we are saying to members is to repeat the message from the regulator that firms really have to prepare for no deal..... If there is no deal you can’t start preparing for it on 28 March.... Passporting as we know it is not going to survive, the Prime Minister has made that absolutely clear.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has responded to the government’s developing position on the UK exiting the EU and potential risk of a no deal exit with a retooled set of consultations. The aim is to ensure a sound regulatory framework and avoid significant disruption on exit day (29 March 2019) if this goes ahead without an implementation period. The documents follow the FCA’s October Brexit consultation and the watchdog has already indicated it is preparing for a “hard Brexit”.

In other news... There is no immediate end in sight to the rise in tech and cyber incidents hitting UK financial services, Megan Butler, Executive Director of Supervision – Investment, Wholesale and Specialists at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned. Speaking at Bloomberg in London, Butler told the audience that the FCA starts from a position that innovation has had a fundamentally positive impact on UK finance. However, from a regulatory perspective it also creates new threats which are a “fundamental challenge” for watchdogs.

Motor Broker Sure Thing! has posted a £3.41m loss for the year to 31 March 2018, in line with the £3.48m lost the year before. The Lanarkshire-headquartered firm reported an operating loss of £1.86m for its fourth year of trading, again in keeping with the £1.82m deficit in 2017. The company noted that gross written premium had increased to £32m (2017: £31.7m) as customer numbers increased by 13% to 76,632 following a strategic decision to write more lower premium policies in order to grow overall policy count.

Cyber cover aimed at small and medium sized businesses has been created by QBE Business Insurance. According to the Insurer the product, QBE Cybercrime, has been developed in Partnership with Brokers and designed to protect SMEs from business interruption and financial loss. The cover can be found on Acturis and on QBE’s e-trade platform FastFlow.

In other news... The QBE Office Insurance offering is now available to Brokers using Open GI platforms. According to the software house the product has been set up on Powerplace and in the future will also be accessible across all Open GI platforms including Mobius, which was launched in March this year.

One in five Brokers has thought about leaving the industry due to stress, according to research by Ecclesiastical. Majority of the 250 Brokers taking part in the survey (78%) feel stressed at work, with a third of these experiencing stress at least once a week. In addition, half of Brokers said they feel anxious at work and nearly half admitted to feeling overwhelmed by work pressures.

A dementia guide aimed at insurance and financial services businesses has been launched by the Alzheimer’s Society. The Dementia-Friendly Finance and Insurance Guide has been developed with leading financial institutions in order to help businesses to support and empower people with dementia to manage their finances for as long as possible and stay in work for longer.

Camberford Underwriting is the new name for Bromley-based niche and affinity specialist Managing General Agent (MGA) Camberford Law. The business has also developed its website and Managing Director, Simon Carter, explained that it had been designed “with Brokers in mind” and with a focus on adapting to mobile and desktop services. Carter said: “Our strategic acquisition of insurance underwriting software specialist Cloud Desk earlier this year has provided us with the sophisticated technology we need to deliver competitive pricing whilst ensuring sustainable returns for our capacity providers.”

DAS UK Group’s Customer Contact Centre is shortlisted in the ‘Best Small Contact Centre of the Year’ category at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA). The ECCCSAs are the largest and longest running awards in the customer contact industry. Highly regarded for the integrity and credibility of the judging process, they celebrate and recognise organisations that are leading the way in delivering exceptional service to customers.

The average number of paternity days taken by men at Aviva UK has increased by more than 14 times since the policy was introduced. Since November 2017, almost every new dad employed by the Insurer in the UK has opted to take more than the statutory two weeks of paid paternity leave. Two thirds (67%) of eligible fathers chose to take six months off work with their new arrivals and 95% took more than a fortnight. In the UK, around 500 colleagues have used the policy, including more than 220 men.

Swiss Re were honoured to be awarded the European Risk Management Award 2018 in the category Insurer Innovation of the Year – a great recognition from FERMA and Commercial Risk Europe. On 21 November 2018 during an awarding dinner in Brussels, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Head of Sales EMEA, Loredana Mazzoleni Neglén, received the award from Jo Willaert, President of FERMA.

Hoppy, the UK’s leading home management website, has announced that it has linked up with Seopa to offer consumers an insurance price comparison service. Powered by Seopa’s comparison tool Quotezone, Hoppy users will now have the ability to search for a number of insurances including Buildings and Contents, Car, Van and Bike insurance.

Zurich strengthens its contribution to public-private efforts on cybersecurity by becoming a Partner of the World Economic Forum’s Global Centre for Cybersecurity. The move builds on Zurich’s record of actively contributing to the fight against cyber threats.

Allianz Partners UK has teamed up with Affinity Insurance Solutions for the benefit of smaller travel businesses and their customers. Through the deal, the likes of coach companies and independent tour operators will have access to Allianz Partner s UK’s underwriting and claims handling services.

"I thank the Partners and staff of Moore Stephens LLP London for their contribution, as they prepare to leave the wider Moore Stephens UK business and a global organisation which is in good health.” Those were the words of Moore Stephens International global Chief Executive Anton Colella after it was revealed that Moore Stephens LLP is in advanced merger discussions with accountancy and business advisory firm BDO. Moore Stephens LLP consists of the London, Birmingham, Reading, Bristol and Watford offices of the current Moore Stephens UK network.

Specialist Insurer Markel International has announced that it will Partner with Pantaenius GmbH, a leading European Yacht insurance provider, to strengthen and broaden the capabilities and services that both companies provide their clients globally. Pantaenius has provided Yacht insurance and related protection for more than 50 years through offices in Europe, the USA and Australia and is the leading Yacht insurance provider in Europe. Markel’s yacht and super-yacht team, meanwhile, was established two years ago. Senior Underwriter Mike Wimbridge, who heads up Markel’s yacht business, will become part of Pantaenius while remaining headquartered in Markel’s London office.

European insurance giant AXA has announced that its recently-acquired XL division will adopt its climate change policy and will divest from insuring coal businesses. According to Reuters, XL will cease insuring projects related to the construction of coal-fired power plants and the extraction of tar sands – a move forecast to result in revenue losses of about €100 million (£88.4 million) for the XL unit. Most of these losses are expected to occur in 2020.

In other news... AXA’s switch in focus from life to P&C insurance through the acquisition of XL Group might appear too radical a shift for some investors, but recent figures prove that the decision was a smart move. First announced in March, AXA’s takeover of US-based XL Group brought the French Insurer more exposure to hurricanes and debt. But that gamble has paid off – AXA recently announced during an investor day meeting that it is lifting targets for returns, cash generation and payouts.

New Nordic Advisors has put its wholly-owned Danish subsidiary Qudos Insurance into liquidation with immediate effect. The unrated Copenhagen-headquartered Insurer was closed to new business on 18 October. The investment management company said it had made the latest move after a review of the insurance company’s position.

Newmarket-based commercial lines Broker Yutree Insurance has bought Real Insurance Solutions, located in Cambridge, for an undisclosed sum. This is Yutree’s first deal since it was formed in 2012 and the Broker described the transaction as a “key milestone” for the business. It confirmed it is now looking for further growth opportunities after previously focusing on developing organically. 

Stackhouse Poland has bought High Net Worth specialist Broker Symmetry Private Insurance for an undisclosed sum. This is the Broker’s fourth deal in 2018 and follows the purchases of Caprica Healthcare in January, Honour Point in April and Title and Covenant in October. Group Chief Executive officer Tim Johnson said in June that Stackhouse Poland had more deals in the pipeline.

American insurtech giant Lemonade has announced its intentions to expand into Europe and disrupt insurance as Europeans know it. The New York-based Home and Renters insurance start-up has taken North America by storm since its founding in 2015. The firm uses the latest insurance technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots to “reverse the traditional insurance model” and tailor competitively priced insurance products for homeowners and renters.

While the rescheduled implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standard 17 (IFRS 17) has been welcome news, Willis Towers Watson is urging firms not to push back their respective compliance efforts. In fact, the Brokerage giant is launching new software early next year to aid those who are keen to be more-than-ready for the reporting changes.

Specialist insurance Broker PolicyBee is about to leverage its latest hire’s media production experience. Sarah Ayling-Bate, who has worked as a Floor Manager Assistant on The X Factor finals, is now part of the Ipswich-based team and will be assisting with the production of videos for PolicyBee’s social media presence and website.

Chubb has announced the launch of a new service for multinational companies and large middle-market businesses. Chubb’s new Terrorism Risk Evaluation Services combines the company’s Terrorism and Political Violence (PV) underwriting, risk engineering, global security, catastrophe modelling and digital expertise. Terrorism Risk Evaluation Services was developed after Chubb received feedback from corporate customers who wanted to better understand Terrorism and PV exposures, the company said. Through the offering, Chubb aligns its expertise and data across a series of specialist areas.

Ageas has decided to partially exit from Broker Travel business following a review of its Broker travel model. The provider stated that its online Broker Travel facility was “no longer sustainable” but that it would be keeping its schemes open. The Insurer will close the doors on the online offering at the end of May 2019.

The Ardonagh Group has reported a loss of £48.9m for the nine months to 30 September 2018, compared to a loss of £80m in 2017. According to the company’s investor report, its reported income increased to £403.5m (9M 2017: £290.2m). Using pro forma figures, the business posted an adjusted Ebitda of £90.5m (9M 2017: £89.6m).

In other news... Ardongah Group has posted ongoing organic growth in both its insurance broking and Autonet/Carole Nash divisions. The analysis came as the broking giant delivered a near halving of losses to £48.9m for the first nine months of 2018. And the breakdown of the figures for different units showed particular strength in the Autonet & Carole Nash section.

Insurance green cards are likely for driving in Europe if there is no Brexit deal. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit, meaning no transition period, will mean that insurance ‘Green Cards’ are likely to be required for UK drivers venturing across the Channel or into the Republic of Ireland from 29th March 2019. The AA is gearing up for issuing green cards in potentially significant numbers which may be needed for entry into mainland Europe, to prove that insurance cover is in place. Many insurers including the AA, extend their comprehensive cover to countries outside the UK, typically for up to 90 days and there are no plans to change that in future, regardless of the Brexit outcome. 


Market Movers and Shakers

ARAG has appointed the highly experienced development Underwriter Doug Hunter to its corporate partnerships team. In his new role as Corporate Account Manager, Doug will be responsible for building and maintaining ARAG’s relationships with Insurers, banks, building societies and MGAs.

Allianz Insurance has appointed David Edmunds to the role of Data Protection Officer. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, David will be responsible for providing information and guidance on all data protection matters and will be the liaison for Allianz Insurance, Allianz Group and the Information Commissioner’s Office. David joined Allianz in 2013 as a Project Manager within Claims and subsequently worked as a Claims Risk and Regulation Manager, supporting the business area in all matters related to regulatory compliance.

In other news...Sinéad Browne who first joined Allianz in Ireland in 1993, is about to have plenty on her plate. Currently the Chief Regions and Markets Officer at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS), the company veteran has been appointed to take on the additional role of AGCS Chief Executive in the UK – succeeding Brian Kirwan, who is leaving at the end of the year. Subject to regulatory approval, the appointment will be effective come January 2019.

ERS is pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Boles as Fleet Trading Underwriter for Scotland and Northern Ireland. Stuart brings over 20 years’ of commercial underwriting experience and prior to his previous position at AXA, held senior underwriting roles at LV= Broker and UK General.  He will be based in Glasgow and report to Head of Fleet, Chris Wilson.

AXA UK and Ireland has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer for its AXA PPP healthcare unit. Tracy Garrad will take up the post on January 07, 2019. She will replace Keith Gibbs, who is retiring at the end of the year. Garrad has prior experience leading large financial services firms. She joins AXA PPP healthcare from HSBC, where she was CEO of HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man and prior to that she was CEO for leading UK bank, First Direct.

Christian Noyer joins Lloyd’s Council and Lloyd’s Brussels’ board. We are pleased to announce that Christian Noyer has been appointed Non-Executive Director of Lloyd’s Council and independent Non-Executive Director of Lloyd’s Brussels’ board.

Thatcham Research is delighted to announce the appointment of Jonathan Hewett as its new Chief Executive as of January 2019. Jonathan brings a wealth of senior management, international and strategic leadership skills from across the insurance, automotive and financial sectors at a significant time for the company as it approaches its 50th Anniversary.

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) announced it has made two key appointments to its Lloyd’s Syndicate 5000 Renewable Energy team: Jonny Allen has joined as Senior Underwriter and Head of Offshore Renewables and Charlie Richardson has been appointed Senior Underwriter and Head of Onshore Renewables.

RSA Group Plc has announced the appointment of Geoff Jones as Director of its Specialty and Wholesale unit, part of RSA’s Global Risk Solutions (“GRS”) business. Geoff joined RSA in 2010 following a 15-year career as a Solicitor specialising in defendant litigation, heading up RSA UK Injury leading a multi-disciplinary function of Lawyers, Loss Adjusters and Claims Handlers. He has been UK Commercial Claims Director since January 2016.

Specialist commercial Insurer CNA Hardy has turned to its current workforce for Patrick Gage’s successor as Active Underwriter for Syndicate 382. Come January 2019, Head of Property, Marine and Energy Carl Day will see his remit widen to include liaising with Lloyd’s of London. He will be the focal point for the Lloyd’s underwriting performance team.

Matt Haywood has come onboard specialist Cargo and Freight underwriting agency Lonham Insurance Underwriters. Snapping up the seasoned executive from Marsh UK, where he served as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Marine, Lonham appointed Haywood as Marine Underwriter. He brings over 24 years of specialised Marine experience in the areas of Freight Liability, Logistics and Cargo.

Tokio Marine HCC announced the appointment of Darren Carr as Head of Marine Liability to support its growth strategy in the Marine insurance market as it develops its product offering, including: Marine Trades, Marine Property, Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Reinsurance and Marine and Energy Liability. Darren will report to Simon Button, Chief Underwriting Officer – London Market division.


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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