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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 4th December 2020

04 Dec 2020

Specialist Motor Insurer ERS has announced its backing of Arcus, Lloyd’s syndicate 1856, which will give the firm the capability to write targeted specialty commercial and reinsurance lines. Within the deal, ERS will acquire the business capability, but not prior liabilities and will work with Arch Managing Agency Limited, subject to Lloyd’s approval, to transfer Managing Agency responsibilities over the coming months.

Zurich UK has become the first Insurer in the country to publish its disability pay gap data. They have secured ‘leader’ status, the highest accreditation level in the government’s Disability Confident scheme, Zurich said its mean and median disability pay gap in hourly pay for the April 2019 to April 2020 period are 17.6% and 14.6%, respectively.

Premiums have risen across many insurance lines even as “significant pressure” was placed on Broker remuneration in the second half of 2020, according to research from UK insurtech firm SchemeServe. Data from the firm’s bi-annual index tracking the trends and performance of the insurance schemes market showed that several business lines have experienced a “huge increase in premiums at renewal.”.

AXA has warned that there would be a hit to its 2020 results thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but said it hoped that a new strategic plan would improve results in the future. AXA said it hoped to have underlying earnings per share at a compound annual growth rate of 3% to 7% between 2020 and 2023, as well as an underlying return on equity between 13% and 15% over the same period.

The judgement in the employment tribunal case filed by a Mr Vaughan against Talbot Underwriting Services has come back and “The claim of constructive unfair dismissal is well founded and succeeds”. The claimant alleged that his resignation in 2019 was “the culmination of acts of unfair treatment” by the insurance company.

There’s a new Broker in the London market, Lloyd’s Broker Ballantyne Brokers Ltd was launched on 1st December and is an independent brokerage owned by its management team – Co-Founders Ross Ballantyne and Richard Spragg, Non-Executive Chairman David Ledger, and Operations Director Alex King. The company, which will initially focus on SME programme business, enjoys the backing of investor K2 Insurance Services LLC.

Lloyd’s of London has a new council line-up after having previously had to roll over existing elected council members. Following full elections, joining the Council of Lloyd’s as elected members are Ascot Underwriting Ltd Chief Executive Andrew Brooks, Guy Carpenter’s Vicky Carter, and Aon reinsurance solutions Global Chair Dominic Christian. Also elected are Asta Corporate Member Ltd (represented by Karen Green), Flectat Ltd (represented by Michael Watson), and Nameco (No.1249) Ltd (represented by Jeffery Barratt). They are part of the council alongside nominated members Bruce Carnegie-Brown, John Neal, Andy Haste, Angela Crawford-Ingle, Fiona Luck, Neil Maidment, John Sununu, and Burkhard Keese.

Genworth Financial and China Oceanwide Holdings Group have revealed that the latter’s acquisition of Genworth’s Delaware-domiciled Insurer has received confirmation of the extension of the acceptance of filing from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

AEGIS London is serious about expansion – and has set its sights on boosting its underwriting by 27% during 2021. The business has issued a statement confirming that, on a gross premium basis, its capacity will leap from £712 million this year to £918 million in the new underwriting year. This increase will be spread across all lines of business.

The UK Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the appeal in Halliburton Company v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd, ruling in favour of the Insurer in the high-profile case. Halliburton’s appeal related to the Liability insurance arbitration which came to life after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The case revolved around the circumstances in which an arbitrator may appear to be biased.

JB Brokers has chosen Open GI as its software provider, moving across from Applied Systems. According to Open GI, the partnership will enable the Broker to fast-track customer experience as well as policy growth plans. Open GI noted that the implementation had been completed remotely during the pandemic.

An insurance start-up led by industry veterans Greg Hendrick and Dinos Iordanou is launching with $1 billion (around £743 million) in equity capital from Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman and management. Vantage Group Holdings will initially provide reinsurance, and plans to later underwrite other coverage as well. Hendrick, former CEO of AXA XL, will serve as the start-up’s CEO. Iordanou, who previously headed Arch Capital Group, will serve as Non-Executive Chairman.

Insurance provider Marmalade has launched a new “pay as you go” auto insurance to help young drivers save even more on their premiums. The new offering will allow drivers to pay specifically for the miles they use on a vehicle where they are not the main named driver. A release said that the policy is the is the most cost-effective for drivers covering less than 3,500 miles per year.

Barbon Insurance Group has been acquired by PIB Group Ltd. The insurance broking and related services provider with a focus on the UK private rental market and the name behind the HomeLet, Let Alliance, and Rentshield Direct lettings brands, will now be led by new Chief Executive Andy Halstead. 

Sedgwick has acquired the “Expert Solutions” business line of Stericycle, expanding their offering in the end-to-end product recall, remediation, and retention space. Sedgwick gains over 300 new employees from Stericycle’s Expert Solutions service line in the US, Canada, and Europe.

Insurance management, fiduciary, and financial advisory group Robus has been acquired by Geo Specialty Group Holdings. Geo Underwriting – the name behind London Market business Geo Specialty and European Managing General Agent Geo Europe – said it has completed its swoop for Robus, which will continue to operate independently under the leadership of Chief Executive Richard Le Tocq

Co-op has revealed that it has sold its underwriting business to Markerstudy, TwinFocus and funds managed by Blackstone Credit for proceeds of £185 million. The business also announced that it has started a 13-year partnership with Markerstudy to support continued long-term returns.

Insurer Allianz is boosting its position in the Australian market by agreeing to acquire the general insurance business of Westpac Banking Corporation for AU$725 million (around £398.5 million). Expected to be finalised in the middle of next year, the transaction also consists of a new 20-year exclusive deal for the distribution of general insurance products to Westpac clients.

2020 has been a busy year for Brunel Insurance Brokers. Recently it announced its expansion into Scotland and has now revealed the acquisition of Inman & Associates Ltd for an undisclosed sum. The purchase of Coventry-based Inman is the second deal Brunel has made in the last two years.

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) and international private equity firm Cinven have reached an agreement to acquire Compre – a specialist global consolidator of closed books of non-life insurance policies – from CBPE Capital LLP.

AXA has entered an agreement to sell its insurance businesses in the Gulf region to Gulf Insurance Group (GIG) for US$269 million (around £201.6 million).

Vienna Insurance Group AG (VIG) is buying Aegon’s insurance, pension, and asset management businesses in Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Turkey for €830 million (around £745.1 million).

Gloucester-based Numark Insurance Services (NIS), which is headed up by Commercial Director Ian Smith, has been acquired by London-headquartered Tasker Insurance Brokers (TIB). “Ian Smith is undoubtedly a recognised specialist within the pharmacy sector and I am delighted that he agreed to join us to drive this important proposition forward,” said Tasker Insurance Group (TIG) Chief Executive Robert Organ.

AXIS Re has announced the appointment of Emilie Hungenberg as a Senior Underwriter for Property, EMEA and Latin America. She will be responsible for underwriting a Property Treaty portfolio for France, Benelux, Iberia and Africa.

Brokerslink has announced the appointment of Twan Hoste to the role of General Manager. In his new role, Hoste will have overall management responsibility of Brokerslink’s senior team and report to the firm’s board.

Lucy Woods, Chief Executive of AX Group, has been appointed Chairwoman of the Credit Hire Organisation (CHO). She succeeds Kirsty McKno, who stepped down last month.

Momentum Broker Solutions, an AR network, is pleased to announce the appointment of Caroline Fisher as Business Development Manager. Fisher brings extensive experience to Momentum with over 20 years in the insurance industry, developing Broker relationships at Property Initiatives Underwriting Agency (PIUA), Commercial Express, Covea and Broker Direct.

Asset Control Chief Executive Mark Hepsworth has joined the Global Risk Partners (GRP) board as a Non-Executive Director (NED). Assuming the post this week, the new NED brings more than 25 years of financial services experience to GRP.

Allianz-owned LV= General Insurance (LV=GI) has a new Partnership Director in the form of Simon Hird. A familiar name in the industry, Hird most recently served as Director of Broker and intermediaries at L&G General Insurance

First Central Insurance and Technology Group has appointed Richard Marino as Chief Governance Officer, strengthening its leadership team.

Russell Scanlan has welcomed the Deputy President of Nottingham Insurance Institute, Joanne Marriott, on board as its new Commercial Manager. The Broker noted that Marriott, who is set to become President of the Nottingham Insurance Institute in May 2021, has over 30 years of industry experience and is a well-connected and respected individual within the Nottingham insurance network.  

Trade credit Insurer Atradius has hired Damien Dawson as its new Regional Manager for London and the South East. The provider detailed that Dawson joins the business with more than 33 years’ experience in the credit insurance, receivables management and broking industries.

 

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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