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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 6th July 2018

06 Jul 2018

Insurance News

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened Zurich's new state-of-the-art offices in Glasgow. The Insurer has relocated from the Eagle Building on Bothwell Street to the seventh floor of the St Vincent Plaza in the heart of the business district.

In further news, Zurich has completed the acquisition of Oak Underwriting from RSA Insurance, a move that sees it become one of the largest High Net-Worth Insurers in the UK. First announced in March, the transaction enhances Zurich’s High Net-Worth proposition, Zurich Private Clients, giving it a broader distribution platform and enhanced regional presence.

In line with its sustainability risk framework and consistent with the Paris Agreement, Swiss Re has begun implementing a group-wide policy that will see the insurance giant shutting its doors to businesses with more than 30% exposure to thermal coal. Announcing the plan’s effectivity, Swiss Re said the decision to come up with a thermal coal policy was based on its commitment to the Paris Pledge for Action, taking on global warming and supporting what it described as a “progressive and structured” shift away from fossil fuels. Implemented across all lines of business and the (re)insurer’s global scope of operations, the policy applies to both existing and new thermal coal mines and power plants.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could prove a useful tool for Brokers in helping demonstrate to clients the wide nature of cyber exposures facing businesses today, according to Manchester Underwriting Management (MUM). Brokers also need to ensure that they build up a full picture of the spectrum of cyber exposures facing businesses today. MUM has developed two new guidance documents which outline the range of cyber risks affecting businesses today – many of which fall outside the traditional notion of cybercrime and hacking. From breaches of privacy and electronic communications regulations – relating to automated marketing calls, emails and texts – to the disruption of outsourced services or the threat of a malicious insider, there are a number of exposures that many businesses may be unaware of.

The annual festival for diversity and inclusion (D&I) is returning on September 25 -27 in 26 countries, the fourth edition marks the transition from ‘awareness into action’. With this year’s festival theme #time4inclusion, Dive In is embarking on a two-year campaign to make things happen towards D&I.

Peter Cullum-owned insurance group Trimulgherry Investments has bought the commercial business of Hurst Group to create a new Broker, Professional & Medical Insurance Solutions. The new business, based in Essex, is led by Richard McEwen and specialises in a range of commercial insurance products for doctors, dentists and professionals.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has launched its Public Trust Index, designed to measure consumer confidence in insurance. According to the index, the number one issue for consumers is dual pricing, which they perceive as a lack of loyalty from their Insurer. The debate surrounding dual pricing has recently flared up again and the Financial Conduct Authority said in its Business Plan for 2018/19 that it was looking into the issue.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has accepted 29 firms to begin testing in the fourth cohort of its regulatory sandbox. The FCA detailed that the process allowed the chosen organisations to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections were in place.

PIB Group has bought Glasgow-based Albany Childcare for an undisclosed sum. The Broker, which provides insurance for  family run childcare businesses and specialises in providing childcare and nursery insurance for all day nurseries, out of school groups, playgroups and parent and toddler groups, is the 17th deal for PIB. PIB Group has also revealed this week  that it has purchased Wheatley Wright Insurance Services Limited (WWGroup).

Peter Blanc, Group CEO of Aston Lark, has revealed that the Broker is poised to complete two further deals as he confirmed that the integration of Aston Scott and Lark was now complete.

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), the non-profit organisation that unites the insurance industry in helping local communities through grants, volunteer service and leadership, held its third annual Charity Ball, raising over £125,000 for charities championing education and social mobility. The most important fundraising event of the year for the charity was held in the historic surroundings of Merchant Taylor’s Hall on June 21st, 2018 to celebrate the industry’s impact in the community and to raise valuable funds for future grants. Funds raised to-date have allowed IICF, together with the Industry, to help over 900 vulnerable people across the country.

The Association of British Insurers has revealed that the number of Travel insurance claims made in 2017 increased by 30,000 year-on-year to 510,000, costing £385m and amounting to one claim every minute throughout the year. This is the highest amount paid since the £455m Icelandic ash cloud pay-outs of 2010 and was largely driven by a significant rise in cancellation claims.

Aviva, the UK’s largest Insurer, has launched a free dash cam functionality within the Aviva Drive app, making it simpler and easier for motorists to make an insurance claim directly from a smartphone.

Brokers have until 9 December 2019 to get ready for the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR). The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed the implementation date as it published the near final rules for the regime. Firms can now access the guides to the SM&CR – which replaces the Approved Persons regime - to understand what steps they need to take to prepare for its implementation.

Towcester-based Insurance Linx has bought Dunstable-based SP Roberts Insurance Services for an undisclosed sum. Insurance Linx, which was founded by managing director David Green in 2008, stated that the deal was the largest it has ever completed and the 10th in its ten-year history.

MGAM has launched an Employers, Public and Products Liability insurance quote and bind product rated on wages and turnover. The independent underwriting agency stated that the General Liability policy had been designed for smaller businesses or the self-employed where Brokers need an efficient and quick online quote. The new offering is available on MGAM’s portal which can provide a written quote or arrange cover based on a per capita or wages and turnover rating.

Global insurance premiums went up by 1.5% to nearly US$5 trillion in 2017, following a 2.2% increase in 2016, it has been revealed today. Global non-life premiums rose by 2.8% and global life premiums went up by 0.5%, but both showed slower growth than in previous years, according to the latest Swiss Re Institute sigma study.

Voluntary administrators of CBL Corporation have advised that an agreement has been made to sell the UK-based Professional fee Protection (PfP) business to US private equity firms Highbridge Principal Strategies (HPS) and Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP).

While the insurance industry has made some big strides in recent years, there remains some “unsavoury” aspects to working in the City environment, Dame Inga Beale said as industry CEOs came together to sign an inclusivity pledge. Spearheaded by Lloyd’s and Zurich, the Inclusive Behaviours Pledge is designed to change behaviours within the industry and create a more inclusive work environment across the sector. The pledge addresses all forms of potential discrimination in the workplace, including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnerships, pregnancy/maternity, family and caring responsibilities, race, religion/belief, gender and sexual orientation. It sets out a clear framework of desired behaviours for leaders and their employees in the workplace, as well as in their interactions with suppliers and customers.

Planck Re, a start-up based in both Tel Aviv and New York, has raised US$12m in Series A funding. The funding round – Planck Re’s first – was led by Arbor Ventures in Israel; other investors included Viola Fintech and Eight Roads. Planck Re aims to simplify the commercial insurance underwriting process by leveraging artificial intelligence. The company uses an AI-powered platform that aggregates publicly-available data on small and mid-sized businesses looking for insurance coverage – such data includes images, text, videos, social media profiles and public records. That data is then analysed by the platform, providing carriers information on the potential risk of their customers.



Market Movers and Shakers

Following the news of Zurich's acquisition of Oak Underwriting, Zurich has named Mark Peters, currently the insurer’s Head of Market Management for Wealth, as the new Head of Oak Underwriting. Peters replaces former Oak Managing Director Mark Coffey, who has left to take up a new position outside of the business. 

Brokerslink AG has appointed Anne Collette as Director of Business Operations.

Willis Towers Watson has announced the appointment of Jeremy Wall as Head of Global FINEX. Jeremy has been with the business 16 years and will report to Alexis Faber, COO of Corporate Risk and Broking.

RSA has announced Colin Bradbury will retire next year from his role as Chief Underwriting Officer for Commercial Risk Solutions (CRS), RSA UK & International, after more than 40 years with the company.

Castel Underwriting Agencies Limited (Castel), the club-style MGA formation platform, has appointed Bob Cowdell as its first independent Non-Executive Chairman.

Pool Re has announced the appointment of Tracey Paul to the newly-created role of Chief Strategy and Communications Officer.

DUAL, the underwriting arm of the Hyperion Insurance Group, has announced a number of leadership changes which strongly positions them for further growth both in the UK and internationally. Darren Doherty will join DUAL on 1 September as Vice Chairman and Commercial Director. David Ibeson, CEO, Apollo and Non-Executive Director of DUAL, has been appointed as Chairman, DUAL and Richard Clapham as Group CEO, DUAL (both effective from 1 October). Clapham will retain his role as Group CUO and CEO,UK and Europe. Ibeson will replace Clem Booth as Chairman allowing Booth to focus on his role in Hyperion including becoming Chairman of its Remuneration Committee from 1 July. 

Romero Insurance Brokers has announced Karl King will join as Branch Director and Steve Convery will join as Loss Adjuster.

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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