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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 6th April 2018

06 Apr 2018

Market News

Business and profits appear to be booming at life and pensions business Royal London. The UK Insurer revealed its full-year results today and announced that business was up 38% - recording £12,002m compared to the prior year’s £8,886m. Its funds under management were up 14% to £114bn, while European embedded value operating profit before tax increased by 17% to £329m. Overall, its new business margins were broadly in line with the prior period – at 1.8% compared to the prior year’s 1.9%.

The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) released a report, alongside its expert opinion, on the current state of the Hull, Cargo and Offshore Energy insurance markets, during its Spring Conference in Hamburg. According to IUMI, the past three years have seen the frequency of total losses within the global fleet stabilise at 0.13% by number (0.05% by tonnage). This is largely attributable to an improved safety climate, improvements in naval architecture and marine engineering; and more effective regulation.

XL Catlin and cybersecurity specialist RedSeal have teamed up to create a tool to measure a network’s resilience against cyber risks. According to a statement by the firms, the tool will help Underwriters assess their client’s cyber exposures and help them improve their cybersecurity and benefit from better insurance terms. While other cyber insurance risk analyses rely on surveys and a general understanding of the network at the time of the initial underwriting, the new approach is more in-depth, accurate and dynamic.

Speciality risk management firm Integro Insurance Brokers is making a swoop for Lloyd’s Broker Tyser & Co Ltd. (Tysers) for an undisclosed sum. It is the international insurance brokerage’s largest acquisition to date. Subject to regulatory approvals, Integro will become the full owner of Tysers’ parent company Hawkes Bay Holdings Ltd. When the deal is completed Integro and Tysers’ wholesale businesses will be combined to trade under the Tysers brand and Tysers’ UK corporate team will merge with Integro’s UK retail unit, under the Integro brand.

Aviva, which back in September confirmed speculation involving its Italian joint venture, has now completed the sale of Avipop Assicrurazioni S.p.A. While the transaction does not affect the British insurance giant’s other operations in Italy, the disposal of its entire shareholding in the JV also means letting go of wholly owned subsidiary Avipop Vita S.p.A. Aviva said the price for the deal with Banco BPM was €268m, or around £236m. Closing adjustments worth €2.9m have been added to the previously announced total consideration of €265m.

MoneySuperMarket has announced it is snapping up a fellow comparison business for £40m. As part of its strategy outlined in February, MoneySuperMarket has agreed to buy Decision Technologies Limited to tap new audiences through business-to-business partnerships. Decision Tech’s home communications comparison is available both as a B2B service and via its own consumer comparison brands. MoneySuperMarket described the white-label provider as having one of the most advanced and scalable B2B comparison offerings in the UK, making it a strong fit with the acquirer’s plans of reaccelerating core growth and driving new market development. Decision Tech, also a mobile comparison specialist, is seen as a profitable and earnings accretive acquisition.

Brokers have criticised SSP after experiencing fresh system outages of the software house’s Pure Broking platform. Frustrated SSP users highlighted the bad timing of the outage as it is the end of the tax year and right before Easter. SSP confirmed a major power outage in August 2016, which left 306 brokers unable to work. In addition, brokers experienced further outages a year ago when SSP’s Pure application caused disruption to service users. An SSP spokesperson said: “We are aware that some customers are having performance issues with SSP Pure Broking and are investigating this as a matter of urgency. “We apologise to those affected and ask them to log and update incidents on the customer portal if they have not already done so.”

Private equity firm Magenta Partners has taken a minority stake in Eaton Gate Holdings and Vigilis Holdings (together EGV). EGV, a Managing General Underwriter (MGU), was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Gary Burke. The business specialises in UK mid-market commercial insurance. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Magenta said its strategy is to make equity investments of between £5m and £20m.

Islands Insurance Group has ditched the SSP Sector system as its tech provider in favour of the Open GI Mobius platform. According to Open GI, the deal, which is for five years, sees 140 users move on to the facility.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned it is to take action against GI firms failing to implement the new rules around renewal transparency. The watchdog has found that some companies are still failing to properly implement the rules despite a warning from the FCA in October last year. The rules, aiming to increase transparency and encourage shopping around at renewal time, which were proposed in 2016, were introduced in April 2017. The regulator stated that they require firms to clearly show the premium a customer paid last year alongside the proposed renewal premium.

Wilby has been bought by PIB Group for an undisclosed sum – its 14th deal in less than two years. Wilby, which is based in Halifax, will keep its existing management team, offices, and staff and continue to be led by CEO Richard Blackburn.

Back in September IFC revealed LSM would be one of two global insurance firms to provide unfunded Credit insurance as part of its Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program. For an insured loan, IFC provides financing for the entire loan and transfers the credit risk on a portion of the loan to the Insurer. “The two Insurers will be insuring IFC loans to financial institutions which will increase their provision of debt financing to small and medium-sized enterprises in their countries,” it said. Now, the first deal as part of the new relationship will see LSM insure a loan of US$185m from the IFC to the Vietnam Commercial Joint Stock Bank to support a host of SME and affordable housing projects in the country. Speaking about the relationship, Peter Sprent, Head of Global Financial Risks at LSM, highlighted that it represents a strategic priority for the Insurer’s global financial risks team.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has unveiled Attract™ for Motor, which it says is the sector’s first market-wide, policy data-based risk score specifically designed for claims losses. In the face of high levels of fraud and escalating claims costs, the need to gain a “consolidated understanding” of individual risk, based on shared intelligence on policyholders, has become a matter of urgency for Motor insurance providers, according to LexisNexis. The tool can deliver the scoring direct to Insurer and Broker systems with “sub-second response times” at the point of quote, said James Burton, Director of Product Management for Insurance, UK and Ireland.

Premiership Rugby, which has been sponsored by British insurer Aviva since 2010, will have a new title sponsor and reports say it’s another insurance big shot. According to reports, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is succeeding Aviva following last August’s one-year renewal. It also cited the possibility of the 2019 US fixture being hosted in Chicago, the city where Gallagher was founded in the 1920s.

Brightside Group has partnered with Data Capture Solutions (A Neopost Company) to introduce robotics for the first time to the South West Broker’s back office. David Holloway, Brightside’s Transformation Director, said robotics is likely to play a growing role in meeting Chief Executive Mark Cliff’s vision of creating a fully digital Broker.



Market Movers and Shakers

Chubb has appointed a new member to its European Personal Risk (PRS) team, coinciding with a couple of role changes within the segment. Alex Craig has been brought in to serve as European Pricing Manager, PRS. Jo Nixon, previously European PRS Continental Manager, has been assigned to the role of European Risk Consulting Manager. James Ellis has taken the position of UK&I Underwriting Manager, moving on from his former role as Account Manager on the PRS national and program Broker team. 

Canopius AG has appointed Rebecca Marsden from AXA Africa Speciality Risks as Credit and Political Risk Underwriter.

Compass Broker Holdings Executive Chairman Alex Alway has joined Broker Network as Chairman. This follows the purchase of Compass by Broker Network-owners HPS Investment Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP). Alway will move into a wider role, replacing Ian Clark as Chairman of both Broker Network and Compass.

Bermuda-based Fidelis Insurance has appointed Alison Clarke as Senior Underwriter in London.

XL Catlin has announced several promotions and appointments to its global Life, Accident and Health team. Simon Hearn has been promoted to Head of Life and Wholesale Accident & Health in the UK. Andrew Maynard has been appointed to the role of Head of Accident & Health in Asia, in addition to his current role as Global Product Leader for Aviation & Marine Employee Benefits and Mobility Health segments. Paul De Vido and David Robotham have also been promoted to Senior Class Underwriters, Accident & Health for Syndicate 2003.

Tokio Marine HCC has announced that Susan Rivera has joined as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer effective April 1, 2018.

Allianz Chief Claims Officer Graham Gibson has been appointed as the Chairman of Thatcham Research.

Marsh has announced the appointment of Sue Woolterton as Head of Specialties in its Norwich office, which is the firm’s largest UK location outside of London.

Atradius has made two high-profile appointments within its UK team. Tom Danson has been appointed as Head of Commercial for Atradius’ Midlands Regional Hub, whilst Richard Reynolds will be taking on the role of Head of Strategic Accounts based in the Cardiff headquarters.

Accelerate Underwriting has welcomes two new members of staff to its team: Lisa Brennan joins as Regional Director and Anna Husband joins as Underwriter.

The Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) has announced four successful candidates for membership of its Board, following the recent nomination process. Effective from the AGM on 31 May 2018, the one new and three re-appointed Board members are: David Croom-Johnson, Managing Director, Aegis Managing Agency Ltd (newly appointed); Stephen Eccles, Chief Underwriting Officer, Argo Managing Agency Ltd; Richard Harries, Chief Executive Officer, Atrium Underwriters Ltd; Matthew Shaw, President, Chubb Global Markets.

Applied Systems has announced that Gail Woodhall has joined Applied as part of the UK Business Development team.

Lockton has announced that Senior Vice Presidents Jon Green and Chris Rofe will jointly assume leadership responsibilities for the UK and International Benefits practice, effective 1st May 2018. 

PIB Group (PIB) has announced the appointments of Tim Brooke and Adrian Colosso as independent Non-Executive Directors. Tim Brooke will also act as Chairman (subject to regulatory approval) for all Group regulated businesses (except Citynet) and the Group’s Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee.

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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