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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 5th October 2018

05 Oct 2018

Insurance News

Broker business optimism has swung back into positive territory according to the latest financial services survey by CBI/PwC for the third quarter of 2018. The research found that a net 3% more Brokers were positive than negative about the overall business situation in the sector. While the figure indicates a very slim majority it marked a significant reversal from the negativity of three months ago when 25% more Brokers were downbeat than upbeat.

Bupa has been fined £175,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) for inadequate security measures relating to customer data. The ICO revealed that between 6 January and 11 March 2017, a Bupa employee was able to extract the personal information of 547,000 Bupa Global customers and offer it for sale on the dark web. The employee accessed the information via Bupa’s customer relationship management system, known as SWAN. The system holds customer records relating to 1.5m people.

Research from Dive In, the festival for diversity and inclusion (D&I) has revealed that the vast majority of insurance professionals believe Managers have got the message that D&I is good for business. Out of 2,500 respondents from across six continents, 93% said that their Managers were now taking positive action on diversity. In addition, more than three quarters (82%) said that their views on the importance of D&I have changed positively since the festival started in London in 2015.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has promised to launch a market study looking at how general insurance firms charge their customers for Home and Motor insurance. According to the regulator the terms of reference for the market study will be published in “a few weeks’ time”. The commitment to investigate dual pricing was first flagged in the watchdog’s 2018/19 Business Plan published this April.

Following news of Amazon’s plans to open “cashier-less” convenience stores in the near future, an insurance expert has weighed in on the implications of this innovation on the Cyber market. Bloomberg reported last week that Amazon is seriously considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 of its new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years. These stores allow customers with a proprietary app on their phone to enter the premises, choose which items they wantand simply walk out the door – as cameras and sensors track the items customers take and charge their Amazon accounts accordingly.

The insurance industry admits there is a pricing issue impacting loyal policyholders, in response to the super-complaint filed by Citizens Advice with the Competitions and Markets Authority. This isn’t the first time the sector is acknowledging the concern though, as it has already taken steps to address the issue. “In any market where there is regular switching and fierce competition for new business, good deals are available to those who shop around but this does mean long-standing customers can lose out,” noted Association of British Insurers (ABI) Director General Huw Evans following Friday’s lodging.

AXIS Specialty UK Holdings Limited is GCHQ-approved. In an announcement, the firm said it is now a GCHQ-certified training provider for its course “Understanding Cybersecurity and Insurance,” which is offered to Brokers and client risk Managers through the AXIS Cyber Centre of Excellence.  

In a landmark move for the insurance industry, Zurich has established a new in-house Cyber Risk Engineering team. The Insurer is leveraging its global risk engineering practice, comprised of 700 risk professionals across different lines of business and industries, to provide “a comprehensive approach to Cyber risk through risk insights, industry expertise and claims mitigation,” a release said.

Youngson Insurance Consultants, based in Turriff, has been bought by Scottish Broker, Bruce Stevenson, for an undisclosed sum. According to Bruce Stevenson the acquisition adds around £2.5m to its annual GWP and the branch and seven staff will remain. Bruce Stevenson Chief Executive Officer, Edward Bruce said: “Youngson is a great fit culturally and they have a loyal, local client base that helps to provide us with a firmer foothold in the North East of Scotland. We fully intend to grow the team to take advantage of the opportunities we see in the region.”

Hine Insurance Brokers has bought Cheshire-based family Broker W Brian Wilson & Son Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. Wilson & Son’s previous owner Stephen Wilson has retired from the Broker, while the three remaining employees, along with the Broker’s business and clients, are moving across to Hine’s Didsbury office.

The County Group has bought Derby-based commercial Broker Rahon Insurance for an undisclosed sum. This is County’s second purchase since it was bought by Global Risk Partners (GRP) in January this year and follows its deal to buy a majority stake in Guardian Insurance Brokers in July.

MGA Azur has launched Azur Works, a new offering in its suite of High Net Worth products sold through Brokers. The business, which describes itself as a managing digital agent (MDA), said the new product provides cover for private clients undertaking home improvement and building projects in the UK.

Thousands of Aviva colleagues across the UK are being given the chance to gain qualifications as they work, thanks to a new learning agreement between the Insurer and Unite the Union.

Scheme anticipates that households in flood-prone parts of the country will pay less for flood cover insurance from January 2019. Flood Re has announced that it will reduce the reinsurance premiums it charges to Insurers from 1st January 2019.

PIB Group delivered Ebitdae of £4m for the year ended 31 December 2017, according to a filing at Companies House. The profitable figure reversed the £2.5m loss of 2016 which actually covered 13 months due to changes in the reporting timing. For 2017 turnover soared to £59.7m (2016: £15m) as the consolidator continued its buying spree. Headcount also rose dramatically from 343 to 710.

Ansvar has added Cyber cover to its policies for churches. The provider said that the cover protects churches against all manner of cyber-related risks including cybercrime such as data theft or breaches, computer viruses and malware attacks, as well as damage to computer systems sustained through the loss or corruption of data. The Insurer, which is part of Ecclesiastical, noted that the cover premium starts at £95 and sums insured go up to £100,000.

RSA Group
Chief Executive Stephen Hester has stated that the Insurer’s UK and London market business is a “substantial headache”. The comment followed RSA’s shock warning last week that its UK underwriting business had suffered a loss of £70m in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, the combined operating ratio for the UK and London market business deteriorated to 110%.

Swinton has reported a pre-tax loss of £31.7m for the year ended 31 December 2017 (2016: profit of £13.1m). According to a document filed on Companies House, the Broker also posted an operating loss of £31.4m in 2017, which is a significant fall from the £14.9m operating profit it achieved in the preceding year. Its turnover also fell to £168.8m in 2017 from £222.8m in 2016, while the number of live policies fell to 1.6m (2016: 2.1m).

Aviva launches Mergers and Acquisitions Underwriting. As part of their commitment to the Global Corporate and Specialty market, Aviva has expanded their underwriting capability to include Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A).

AXA XL has announced it is working with Parsyl Inc., a Denver, Colorado-based supply chain data platform that helps shippers, insurers and their clients understand the quality of the conditions that sensitive or perishable products are kept in. Parsyl’s affordability means it is now possible to cost effectively place sensors alongside sensitive cargo, providing insights into the travel of a product through the entire supply chain, from the first mile to the last.

Allianz Insurance’s claims service has received the Gracechurch marque for ‘outstanding quality‘, which recognises commitment to exceptional customer service. The acknowledgement, announced in Gracechurch’s Mid-Market Claims Report, is an industry benchmark study based on the views of specialist claims Brokers and independent research.


Market Movers and Shakers

Jane Anderson
has moved up from her position as Senior Environmental Risk Underwriter for the UK and Ireland at Chubb. Effective immediately Anderson will serve as Environmental Manager and report to UK&I Property and Casualty Chief Underwriting Officer Mark Roberts. She is now in charge of developing the firm’s environmental portfolio and leading the UK&I environmental team with responsibility for financial performance.

Trade Credit Insurer Atradius is better placed than ever to deliver crucial support to North West businesses. A world leader in Trade Credit insurance with an established local presence in the north west, Atradius has created a new and larger team to enhance its offering in the region. Thomas Murphy and Chelcee Witkowski have joined Atradius as Business Development Managers alongside James Armitage and Lisa McMillan as account Managers. They join Senior Business Development Manager Sally Nolan and Account Managers Sarah Seddon and Nicola Hinchliff. The team, which is based in Atradius’ Manchester Regional Hub is headed up by Regional Manager Mike Rowan who is already very well known in the region. 

NMU are pleased to announce the appointment of David Lumley, who assumes a Development Underwriter position, based out of their Birmingham regional office. Having been in the insurance industry for nearly 15 years after joining Zurich as a graduate, David opted to specialise in Marine Cargo in 2009. Since then, he's played a lead role within Zurich Marine that culminated in a national development role, within which he's built relationships with Brokers across the UK. 

Independent Lloyd’s Broker AFL Insurance Brokers Ltd (AFL) is pleased to announce the appointment of Julia Moretti as Director – Casualty, effective September 2018. Moretti joins the AFL team from JLT Reinsurance Brokers Limited, where she was Partner and Senior Casualty Producer in the Facultative division. She has 18 years of market experience, including nine years at United Insurance Brokers Limited.

Ascent Underwriting, the Cyber and specialty lines MGA, announces the appointment of Caspar Stops as Head of Cyber. Stops, who will take up the role at the end of November, joins from Brit where he held the position of Global Cyber, Privacy and Technology Underwriter. Previously he served at Aegis and Hiscox, also in underwriting roles. 

Markel International’s Trade Credit, Political Risk and Surety business has expanded the role of Simon Philpin, Senior Underwriter, to manage new business development for the Trade Credit operation across the UK and Europe. In this role Simon will work closely with Arjan Van de Wall, Global Development Director, adding strength and depth to their Broker relationships, focusing on growing with their major trading Partners.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has strengthened its London-based Financial Institutions (FI) team with a series of promotions and new appointments. Sam Adamson has been promoted to Underwriting Manager – Financial Institutions, UK and Ireland. He was formerly a Senior Underwriter within the team.

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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Market Movers and Shakers

Market Movers and Shakers

Market Movers and Shakers

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