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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 4th October 2019

04 Oct 2019

Insurance News

The race to replace outgoing HSBC Chief Executive John Flint includes RSA Insurance Group CEO Stephen Hester. Flint’s shock exit last month after only 18 months in the role was reportedly due to disagreements with HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker. In thanking Flint for his “dedication” after 30 years at HSBC, Tucker said that the board “believes a change is needed to meet the challenges that we face and to capture the very significant opportunities before us.”

Industry body Insurance Ireland wants Ireland’s Department of Justice to start the process that will lead to the recalibration of personal injury awards. The organisation has called on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to put key sections of the Judicial Council Act to effect in order to enable the establishment of the council and its Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee.

Fines for driving without insurance are now lower than the average cost of a policy, according to a report. While the average cost of car insurance is £485, courts across the UK gave most uninsured motorists an average £362 fine on top of a ban in 2018. What’s more, the number of motorists driving without insurance has hit a 10-year high – with a record of 149,299 convicted this year, up 4% from last year and a whopping 63% from 2012.

Rothesay Life and Prudential have announced that they will appeal a recent court ruling that blocks the transfer of £12 billion in annuities. In August, the High Court declined to sanction the transfer of a portfolio of annuities from Prudential to Rothesay Life following complaints from policyholders. The deal would have been the largest transaction of its type, covering 400,000 policyholders.

H.W. Kaufman Group, the parent company of Burns & Wilcox, has announced its acquisition of Node International, a Managing General Agent (MGA) dedicated to digital, Cyber and technology-related insurance and reinsurance solutions. London, UK-based Node International says its mission is to “stay on the very frontline of technological change … to ensure that emerging digital risks, through technological innovation, are adequately insured and protected against”. The MGA, which was founded by CEO Neil Gurnhill in 2017, will join Kaufman Group’s global network of companies in London, marking the 20th acquisition by Kaufman since 2010. Gurnhill will continue to lead the company as it joins the Kaufman network.

It looks like the 57-year partnership between Gallagher Broker George Burrows and the Metropolitan Police Federation is stronger than ever, with the two camps forging a new exclusive multi-year deal. The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents around 30,000 officers, has again tapped the police insurance specialist to provide coverage to both serving and retired officers as well as their partners. George Burrows was picked following what was described as a competitive tender. 

SSP has signed up to become a corporate member of InsTech London. According to the software provider its membership will enable it to become involved in supporting the insurance community and enable new tech entrants to work with SSP and others which are more established in the insurance market. Adrian Coupland, Customer and Marketing Managing Director commented: “With the continued adoption of our Digital Insurance Platform, partnership with Amazon Web Services and introduction of our powerful new SSP Broking service, SSP’s transformation through development and innovation is well advanced".

Luker Rowe has bought commercial Broker Trident Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. Trident is run by Directors Mike Olszanski, Paul Copas and Tim Sobey and specialises in the SME sector. The business adds around £2.5m in gross written premium (GWP) to Luker Rowe, bringing the Broker’s total GWP up to £19m.

The majority of Brokers believe the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) has been good for the insurance industry, according to research by Ecclesiastical Insurance. 1 October marks the first anniversary of the introduction of the European-wide legislation and the specialist Insurer sought the views of 250 UK Brokers to understand its impact on the industry. The provider revealed almost two-thirds of Brokers (63%) believe the IDD has been good for the insurance industry, with the figure rising to 72% of national Brokers.

Saffron Insurance has completed on the purchase of Essex-based independent Broker and Broker Network member, Sharer Chapman. This latest purchase is Saffron’s fifth acquisition since becoming an Ethos Broking Partner and its third this year. Established in 1983, Sharer Chapman has grown to become a leading commercial lines broker, with a particular specialism in Property Owners insurance for Landlords.

MS Amlin is set to drop nine of its business classes as it announced a fresh underwriting strategy which has been designed to feed into its transformation to the year 2023. The Insurer identified nine classes of business and operations that no longer form part of its future strategic direction.

Lloyd’s of London has revealed a plan to build the most advanced insurance marketplace in the world with the publication of the Future at Lloyd’s Blueprint One. The initiatives will be delivered for customers and market participants during 2020 and follows the publication of the Future at Lloyd’s prospectus on 1 May 2019. Lloyd’s explained that its first blueprint sets out six ideas of improved ways of working, underpinned by a heightened focus on digital, data and technology to deliver greater benefits to customers.

It has not been a good quarter for the global M&A market, according to a new study from Willis Towers Watson. In the third quarter of 2019, the global M&A market recorded its second worst performance since the 2008 launch of Willis Towers Watson’s Quarterly Deal Performance Monitor (QDPM). According to the study, global deals valued over $100 million have failed to add value to share-price performance for eight consecutive quarters. North America recorded the worst performance of all regions, with companies there struggling to unlock value from their deals for an eighth consecutive quarter. In Europe, acquirers ended a run of nine consecutive quarters of positive results.

“Why would I buy a small follower business in a small country that is fully consolidated?”. Those were the words of Allianz Chief Executive Oliver Bäte when he clarified that the biggest Insurer in Europe has no interest in snapping up the Singapore operations of British behemoth Aviva. Bäte, while conceding that this particular Aviva unit is “a good one,” pointed out that it’s the smallest of four large ones in the Asian city-state. Meanwhile Germany’s insurance giant also has no plans of growing its presence on American soil. 

In further news...German insurance giant Allianz is seen as the favourite to invest in the bancassurance business of Spanish lender BBVA. The report follows news earlier in the week that Italian insurer Generali is no longer in the running after its board had doubts concerning the profitability of the investment. However, Allianz still faces competition in the form of a possible bid from US insurer Liberty Mutual.

Dive In 2019 may have already concluded, but the insurance industry’s global diversity and inclusion (D&I) event isn’t done with this year’s festivities. It’s been announced that the Dive In Impact Awards will be held on November 06 to recognise the most impactful people, initiatives and organisations when it comes to D&I in insurance. Nominations are now open for the following categories: employee network making an impact; leadership team or manager making an impact; organisational impact – SME; organisational impact – large; role model – making an impact; and rising star. Those who wish to nominate can do so through this online form.

November 01 will see Brokerbility open its doors to J Bennett & Son Insurance Brokers Ltd. An established business in Buckinghamshire since 1908, the incoming addition to the club signifies Brokerbility’s strategy and manifesto commitment to back independent Brokers. J Bennett & Son, meanwhile, is committed to working in partnership with Insurers and its clients. “We are delighted to welcome J Bennett & Son to our exclusive group which continues our clear vision and commitment to supporting independent broking in the UK insurance market,” said Brokerbility Managing Director Ian Stutz.

What’s in a name? Apparently, Vibe MGA Management believes a rebrand will kick-start a whole new era for the global insurance distribution service provider and MGA incubator. The company has received regulatory approval to become Pro MGA Solutions – a move that takes effect immediately – on the back of Pro’s acquisition of VibeMM in London back in April this year. The switch will see Pro MGA Solutions work closely with Pro Global Holding’s MGA operations with further expansion planned across Europe in the coming months.

If you think the financial services industry has it bad with the number of data breaches the sector has faced in recent months, just look to the local authorities in the UK, which are experiencing an unprecedented number of cyberattacks. According to Gallagher, 49% of councils reported being targeted by cyberattacks since the beginning of 2017. Freedom of information requests filed by the global Broker revealed that from the 203 councils that responded, 101 had been the victims of attempted cyberattacks on their IT systems.

In further news...Global broking and risk management giant Gallagher has snapped up UK-based independent communications consultancy Anthony Hodges Consulting Limited (AHC) for an undisclosed sum. Headquartered in Wakefield, the family-run English firm specialises in pensions and employee benefits and will become part of Gallagher’s communications business in Britain. Outside the UK, AHC also has offices in Minneapolis and Melbourne.

Finally meeting customary closing conditions, Liberty Mutual Insurance has completed the acquisition of both the business and operations of Nationale Borg, Nationale Borg Reinsurance and AmTrust Insurance Spain. In April, Liberty Mutual announced a definitive agreement to acquire the global surety and credit reinsurance operations of AmTrust. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Two months later, Liberty Mutual closed its deal to acquire AmTrust Surety – the US-based surety operations of AmTrust.

With a safety driver present, autonomous vehicles can operate without a hitch in urban settings such as London – that is the takeaway being highlighted by the DRIVEN consortium, which has conducted a week-long demonstration around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford as part of the government-supported £13.6 million initiative. Described as the most ambitious of its kind, the jointly funded programme demonstrated the capabilities of a fleet of self-driving vehicles to confirm that they can perform smoothly, safely and legally under complex real-life situations.

A subsidiary of the Munich Re group has helped develop and implement a new digital underwriting solution for one of Sweden’s leading banking companies. Munich Re Automation Solutions’ ALLFINANZ platform has been integrated by Swedbank Försäkring. This allows Swedbank’s insurance business to deliver auto-underwriting capabilities, make life insurance processing much more efficient and improve customers’ experience when applying for life insurance.

Market Movers and Shakers

American International Group (AIG) is bringing in two senior leaders in London to join its global specialty business. Making the switch from Argo, where he was Chief Underwriting Officer international and active Underwriter for ArgoGlobal Syndicate 1200, is Aviation insurance expert Steve Eccles. The former Travelers Syndicate 5000 active Underwriter will come onboard AIG April next year to serve as Global Head of Aerospace, general insurance. Meanwhile James Langdon has been appointed as UK Head of Energy & Construction, general insurance and will be in charge of developing and executing the UK strategy as well as driving underwriting excellence. Langdon will be joining in December from Chubb, where his more than 16-year stint there included time spent as Global Head of Upstream Energy.

Industry heavyweight Willis Towers Watson has made a key appointment within its corporate risk and broking segment. Joe Peiser, who will maintain his current role as Head of Broking for North America, has been introduced as Global Head of Broking and will be in charge not only of leading Willis Towers Watson’s global broking strategy but also driving its broking-related data and technology push.

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited has announced the appointment of Mohinder Kang as its Chief People Officer. Kang will join the company on November 01. Kang joins Aspen from Post Office Limited, where he served as Group Human Resources Director. In that role, Kang had responsibility for more than 4,500 employees. He has also served as HR Change and Central Services Director at ERS Insurance Group, Group HR and Corporate Communications Director at Hyperion Insurance Group and Group HR Officer at QBE Insurance Group.

Over the summer while most people have been lounging on the beach ARAG has made some changes to its Sales Team. George Bladon has moved up to a new role as Corporate Business Manager so he is now looking after the Corporate Sales Team. This will ensure we are focused on our corporate clients which reflects how important these partnerships are to ARAG. He has a renewed focus on new corporate opportunities with Insurers, banks and MGAs. Jason Howse also joins our Corporate team as our new Corporate Account Manager. Jason has been in the legal or insurance sectors for the last 20 years and brings a wealth of experience with him from his time before ARAG and with our Broker Account Manager team. His new focus will be on developing new and existing client relationships with Insurers, banks and MGAs. Ben Parkinson moves up to his new role as Broker Account Manager. Ben has been working in Legal Expenses Insurance for 12 years and has already got great relationships with a lot of his business partners. His focus will now be on deepening those relationships and forging new ones with brokers in the Midlands, Wales and South West.

Global reinsurance, wholesale and specialty Broker Ed has appointed Richard Laird to the position of divisional Director of the company’s risk solutions team. In his new position, Laird will be based in London. He last served as Executive Director at Price Forbes Risk Solutions, an independent specialist Lloyd’s Broker that has offices in Bermuda, Brussels, Chile, Dubai, London, Malaysia, and South Africa.  Before joining Price Forbes, Laird was a Director at Patriarch Risk Limited. His other previous roles include being a Managing Director at Evolve Brokers Limited and an Assistant Director at Chesterfield Insurance Brokers.

“It is a great honour to serve the institute as president, but somewhat daunting as I have big shoes to fill.”. Those were the words of BPL Global Chairman Charles Berry when he succeeded Willis Towers Watson Great Britain Chief Executive Nicolas Aubert as President of the Insurance Institute of London (IIL). Joining Berry as part of the 2019-20 roster are AIG UK CEO and board Director Anthony Baldwin as well as Pool Re Chief Executive Julian Enoizi as Deputy President and Deputy President Designate, respectively.

November will see the arrival of HB Underwriting Managing Director Kyle Lomas, who is moving from Victor Insurance UK where he is Head of Agricultural Underwriting. Reporting to HB Underwriting Chief Executive Sean McClarron, Lomas will be in charge of heading up the managing general agent’s operations, creating new offerings for a variety of sectors and developing the sales and distribution strategy as well as Insurer relationships. 

Citynet Insurance Brokers has created a marine unit by appointing Christopher Drake as Head of Marine Global Placements. “This is a very exciting challenge in the next chapter of my career,” said Drake, who is tasked to develop the line-up as well as a global portfolio of marine business. “I am looking forward to working with Andy Walsh and the team at Citynet to drive the growth of this newly formed marine department.”.

Sedgwick has announced several changes to its international and UK operations to support its global growth strategy. Stewart Steel, currently CEO of Sedgwick UK, Middle East & Africa, will oversee a newly combined operating division as CEO of Continental Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), the company said in a statement. Succeeding Steel as Sedgwick UK CEO is Paul White, the current Deputy CEO. White’s 32 years of experience and industry knowledge will be “massively beneficial” to the business. Meanwhile, Neil Gibson, currently Managing Director of home claims & Liability claim services at Sedgwick UK, has been appointed COO of Sedgwick UK. Gibson has 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry. In his 14 years as part of Sedgwick, he has overseen a wide range of disciplines including major and complex loss, Property, forensic advisory services, and Liability, the company said.

Willis Re has appointed Donald Harrell as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Willis Re Specialty, effective immediately. In his new role, Harrell will oversee expansion of Willis Re’s international specialty business, Willis Re Specialty’s day-to-day operations, systems, processes, and controls, as well as client retention and acquisition processes. He is based in London and reports to Graeme Moore, CEO of Willis Re Specialty.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) Vice Chairman Martin Gilbert, co-founder and former Chief Executive of SLA predecessor company Aberdeen Asset Management, is retiring next year after having been a Director since 1983. “After an outstanding career with both the company and earlier with Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert has advised that he will not seek re-election at the company’s annual general meeting, scheduled for May 12, 2020, and with the board's agreement he will retire from the company on September 30, 2020,” announced SLA.



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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