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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 31st January 2020

31 Jan 2020

Hiscox has confirmed it is set to move 300 roles outside of London, in a development that will see the provider open a new branch in a currently unknown location. A spokesperson has said that no Broker-facing roles will be moving out of the City.

In further news...Hiscox has announced extensions to its Technology insurance. According to the provider, the policy, which includes Professional Indemnity cover, now offers: unlimited Business Interruption, Intellectual Property Infringement and pre-claims assistance. The Insurer said the policy is suitable for businesses of all sizes.

Aberdeen-based H&R Insurance Services has purchased APL Insurance Services, the insurance division of Aberdeen Property Leasing. The deal sees the transfer of all APL Insurance Services’ clients to H&R Insurance. Partner Shona Robertson said the acquisition is a strategic fit for H&R Insurance. She commented: “The acquisition of APL Insurance Services is a unique opportunity which unlocks growth potential for H&R Insurance.".

Profits at Clark Thomson grew by 115% in 2019, results filed on Companies House have revealed. Profit before tax at the Marsh-owned Scottish Broker rose from £862,000 in 2018 to £1.85m in 2019. The increase was mainly driven by falling expenses, as turnover dipped slightly over the same period.

Several thousand Aviva customers have received communications from Insurer, Aviva, which refer to the customer as ‘Michael’ in error. Aviva denied that the mailing was a result of any wider privacy issues and confirmed no personal details had been compromised.

In further news...the Co-op Group is finalising a pension risk transfer deal with Aviva. A report said Co-op is close to offloading about £1 billion worth of the mutual’s £8 billion PACE pension scheme to British insurance giant Aviva, which earlier this month was also cited as being in advanced talks with department store chain Debenhams for its executive pension plan.

Gefion Insurance’s solvency ratio for 2018 has fallen from 72% to 49% after it published corrected information for its 2018 annual report. This followed an order from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (DFSA) on 2 January stating that the provider cannot recognise the value of a particular reinsurance contract in 2018. According to Gefion, the order has negatively affected the company’s technical result, result for the year and equity.

Aston Lark has bought Isca Barum Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. Isca Barum offers products for both corporate and private clients across the UK, specialising in smallholding and farm insurance. The Broker, which was established 40 years ago, has a gross written premium of £5m and 20 employees.

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has revealed that it has shed 22 staff in recent months. The number of permanent full-time employees at the regulator has dropped from 100 to 78. No redundancies have taken place and that the downsizing was achieved by freezing recruitment and choosing not to replace departing staff. 

Quick-Sure Insurance has entered administration. Gibraltar-based Motor Insurer informed the GFSC last month that it had been unable to raise enough funding to meet ongoing liabilities. It then applied to be placed into administration on 14 January.

RSA has joined The Valuable 500, an international initiative aimed at promoting disability inclusion in business and have pledged to support its efforts and vision to scale up the charge and show the world how it's done.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is urging the Government in its forthcoming Budget on 11th March 2020 to cut the rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and ease the squeeze on families and businesses who do the right thing by taking out insurance. The Government currently earns more from IPT than it does from many of the ‘sin’ taxes, such as the duties on beer, wine, spirits or betting and gambling.

A 53% chance of emerging as champions – that, says the QBE Rugby Predictor, is what England has in this year’s Guinness Six Nations tournament. QBE Europe has released the business Insurer’s 2020 predictions generated by its supercomputer, which applies techniques used by actuaries in predicting the impact of catastrophes. It simulated the tournament 10,000 times to produce outcomes from 150,000 games.

There was palpable excitement in the air at the recent launch of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)’s 2020 Manifesto at the Houses of Parliament. Speakers at the event emphasised the current strength of the Broker market and MP Craig Tracey said that, when attending last year’s BIBA conference, he was inspired by the great state that the industry is in and how it is not only alive and well, but positively booming.

The asset management arm of insurance giant Sun Life Financial is planning its first middle-market private debt acquisition. The newswire suggests that the move is part of a strategy of aiming to expand into higher-yielding investments. Randy Brown, Head of Insurance Asset Management at SLC Management, said that the firm will focus on higher-quality middle-market issuers with “strong covenant protection” and could also reallocate risk from elsewhere in its portfolio.

How big an impact did the collapse of Thomas Cook have on the insurance industry? While that statistic remains to be seen, the fall of the holiday giant certainly dealt a sizeable blow to Saga Plc. The Insurer have revealed that it will record a £4 million charge related to the collapse of the travel firm – but that didn’t throw it off track from its annual profit target as it reported good news from its insurance broking business.

The first voice skill for Car insurance customers by a direct Insurer has arrived, thanks to LV= General Insurance (LV=GI). One of the largest Personal Lines Insurers in the UK has brought to market a new voice skill that allows customers with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant products to ask questions about their policy via a simple “open LV” command. Described as a ‘first of its kind’, it is initially able to answer more than 500 policy-based questions, with constant updates planned to help add or refine answers. The offering is based on the commonly asked questions on the Insurer’s chat platform and at its call centre.

Research into the value of the employee benefits offered by organisations has highlighted the significance of this factor in both talent acquisition and retention. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently found that 78% of employees agree that benefits are significant in their decision to accept or reject a job and Willis Towers Watson has reported that 75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of the employee benefits package. For Managing Director of the employee benefits division at PIB Group (PIB), David Skinner, this research endorses his own belief that employees are now looking to their employers more than ever before, to help them develop both professionally and personally.

It looks like London-headquartered company Travelex has moved a step forward following the cyberattack that had forced it to provide foreign exchange services manually. A report cited Travelex as saying that its UK money transfer and wire services are now fully operational online. For a while Travelex had to go manual and customers were advised to visit the foreign exchange company in-store.

Total insurance industry deals for December totalled US$14.31 billion, according to analytics company GlobalData’s deals database. The value represented a 233.5% month-over-month spike and an increase of 224.4% over the 12-month average of US$4.41 billion. There were fewer overall deals, however, with a total of 93. That’s a drop of 3.1% over the last 12-month average of 96 deals.

Policy Expert’s van fleet, which is core to the digital Home Insurer’s in-house claims service, is now 22-strong. The number translates to a quadrupling of the fleet’s size, from just five first response vans. Policy Expert said the goal is to provide rapid support to customers, with the vehicles now able to reach 90% of policyholders within hours.

Cargo has been one of the hardest hit by the decile 10 crackdown at insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London – from market exits to reduced capacity. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as explained by NMU Cargo & Freight Underwriting Manager Guy Smith. “This exit of capacity from the London Cargo market has undoubtedly been a key driver in the hardening market environment for Cargo, which, for many Underwriters and Brokers is the first such upturn in the market cycle they will have experienced,” noted Smith in a new post published on LinkedIn. “However, the change in market conditions does present opportunities for some.".

Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Limited has agreed a £10 billion pension insurance deal to protect against the cost of its members living longer than expected. In a statement, it said that the insurance and reinsurance deal, agreed with Scottish Widows Ltd and Pacific Life Re Ltd, covers Lloyds Bank Pension Scheme No.1, Lloyds Bank Pension Scheme No.2 and the HBOS Final Salary Pension Scheme.

Allianz Legal Protection (ALP) and Collinson have become underwriting partners of insurance distribution and claims provider Coplus. The Norwich-based business announced that ALP will underwrite Motor, Family, Landlord and Commercial Legal Expenses lines for Coplus, while Collinson will underwrite assistance products such as excess protection, Home Emergency, Key Cover and Breakdown Assistance.

From March 29 to Halloween, and now we’re here – the final Brexit date of January 31, 2020. Ahead of the UK’s 11pm split with the European Union, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is making sure everyone’s on the same page as to where businesses stand post-divorce. “During the implementation period (until December 31), EU law will continue to apply,” stated the regulator. “Firms and funds will continue to benefit from passporting between the UK and EEA (European Economic Area). Consumer rights and protections derived from EU law will also remain in place.". 

Global insurance brokerage, risk management and professional services firm, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC), has surpassed expectations in its fourth quarter and full-year 2019 results. In what president and CEO Dan Glaser described as “a historic year” for MMC, the firm grew total revenue by 11% and generated 4% underlying growth. MMC also increased its adjusted operating income by 14% and its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) by 7%. This growth sits on the back of MMC’s US$5.6 billion purchase of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, a deal that officially closed in April 2019.

The changes keep on coming at Marsh Commercial. The UK brand, formerly known as Jelf, has announced that its three broker networks will be combined into a single proposition – with Marsh ProBroker, Bluefin Network and Purple Partnership to take on the Marsh Networks name. In a release explaining the move, it was suggested that the combined proposition will “enable members of all three existing networks to have deeper and wider access to expertise, services and facilities as well as greater flexibility and choice in order to build better businesses.” The combined entity will be led by David Hopwood.


Momentum Broker Solutions, a Broker network, has appointed John White as Broking Operations Manager. White joins from Swinton where he spent 15 years, both as a Branch Manager in Nottingham and Leicestershire and latterly in senior operations roles.

Malcolm Payton has joined Gallagher’s London-based specialty division as Managing Director. He will lead its newly Combined Property Casualty & special risks business.

Graeme Trudgill, Executive Director of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), has joined the Board of the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (Elto). As an Elto Board member, Trudgill will oversee the delivery of a service which helps those who have suffered injury or disease in the workplace to identify the relevant Insurer.

Covéa Insurance has announced two new appointments to its executive team, which it said would enhance the team’s capabilities and focus on the critical areas of people and technology. Both are internal promotions; Lisa Meigh as People Director and Graeme Howard as Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO).

Purple Partnership Managing Director Les Brewin is to retire in 2020. It is believed he finishes as Managing Director at the organisation on 31 March this year following a respected and valued career at Marsh.

Romero Group has appointed Graham Coates, Chief Operating Officer of Hamilton Fraser, as a Non-Executive Director. Coates has previously worked as Regional Director at Axa and held Managing Director roles at Stuart Alexander and Bluefin.

Andy Fairchild has left Jensten Group, which recently rebranded from Coversure, to take up a new opportunity. Fairchild joined Jensten Group in July last year as retail MD and was tasked with broadening the organisation’s retail strategy, looking at both organic growth and growth through acquisitions.

Allianz Holdings has appointed Margo Young as Chief Compliance Officer. She replaces Ann Alexander who recently retired from the business.

The Society of Claims Professionals has unveiled Ashton West OBE and William Quibell as the latest additions to its Advisory Board. Ashton West is a Director at Fidu Consultancy and Non-executive Director at national law firm Weightmans LLP. William Quibell is Head of Major Loss & Supplier Management at Legal and General. He is both a Chartered Insurer and Chartered Construction Manager.

Marsh has announced the appointment of Philip Turner as UK Head of Specie within Marsh JLT Specialty. Based in London, Mr. Turner is expected to join the business in the first quarter of 2020.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has appointed Bianca Willauer as Head of Property & Specialty Lines for its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Two senior hires have joined the natural resources team of global loss adjuster McLarens in London. Making the shift from Charles Taylor is Miles Wakefield, who will serve as Head of Renewables, while AqualisBraemar alumnus Mark Macdonald is named Head of Upstream.

Saga has stated that it is “looking at where performance and cost efficiency can be improved” after it recently appointed former Superdry and Co-op boss Euan Sutherland as Chief Executive Officer. He replaced Lance Batchelor who is retiring from the business on 31 January. Ex Swinton boss Gilles Normand also recently joined Saga as group Chief Operating Officer along with Cheryl Agius who took on the insurance CEO role.




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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