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General Insurance Newsletter - Friday 6th October 2017

06 Oct 2017

Market News

Dive In, the global festival for diversity and inclusion in the insurance sector, has revealed in a survey that 71% of insurance professionals believe the culture in their company needs to change to attract and retain top talent. The survey marks the start of the third annual Dive In Festival which this year has the theme ‘The Diversity Dividend’. According to organisers, the theme ensures the focus stays on the bottom line business benefits to organisations of a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture, driving productivity and innovation across the market.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has launched a new scheme with Lloyd’s Broker Servca to give members access to Medical Indemnity cover for niche risks. The trade body stated that the scheme would be able to deal with business not typically accommodated by composite Insurers. According to BIBA, the new scheme offers exclusive terms on both primary and excess markets for standard and non-standard/distressed medical risks for most medical disciplines.

Hiscox has revealed its first estimate of the combined impact of the two hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, due to the interrelated nature of reinsurance recoveries for the two events. According to an insured market loss of US$35 billion for Irma and US$25 billion for Harvey, it places its new claims at approximately US$225 million. Group CEO Bronek Masojada highlighted that this should be within the group’s modelled range for events of this nature, pointing to the depth of its reinsurance programme.

Swinton Group has relaunched its insurance brand to the tune of £3.7m. Developed with creative agency BJL, the multi-media campaign spans TV, press advertising, social media, direct mail, online display, Pay Per Click and in-branch promotion. The campaign aims to get across the message of reassurance, showcasing the ways the relaunched insurance brand can help customers in their decision-making through readily-available support.

Lloyds Banking Group is reportedly considering taking Lloyds Trade Union (LTU) – derecognised by the bank in 2015 – to court over the “Lloyds” name. Currently, the only trade unions recognised by the bank are Accord and Unite. While LTU is allowed to represent individual employees in disputes, it is excluded from formal talks over compensation and work conditions.

It was announced that AXIS has acquired the shares of Novae at a price of 715 pence per share and now AXIS expects to complete management control of the insurance group no later than October 18, pending approval from the European Commission.

Vantage has purchased West Midlands-based Maybury James, the holding company for Peter D James and Stewart Miller McCulloch & Co, for an undisclosed sum. It is the first deal for Vantage since it was bought by NSM Insurance, a US-based Broker, in 2016. CEO of Vantage, John Collyear noted that a key aspect of Vantage’s growth strategy is to expand its specialist insurance operations and it was attracted to Maybury James because of its specialism in niche business.

XL Catlin’s internal innovation team, Accelerate, announced it is working with Cytora, a UK-based insurtech startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and open source data to improve the way Insurers quantify, select and price risk. XL Catlin said it will use Cytora’s expertise in sourcing and analysing data from multiple sources and combining them to create new insights into risk. Cytora’s Risk Engine captures the online footprint of risks clients are continuously facing by crawling data from company websites, news articles and government datasets, and processes it using AI algorithms in order to predict future claims, attractive risk profiles and quality of risks.

Comparison site, CyberDecider that is targeted at Brokers and covering the cyber market has been launched by cyber risk specialists Storm Guidance. According to the organisation the site covers 16 policies from a range of Insurers and costs Brokers £350 plus VAT for a five-user account pack.

In other cyber news, a group of leading South-East businesses have united to launch a cyber alliance that will provide pro-active support to SMEs to help prevent online attacks by criminals. Law firm DMH Stallard, IT experts and support services company PAV i.t. and insurance Brokers Sutton Winson are spearheading a new task force that gives businesses a fully resourced cyber support partner.

Eldon Insurance, the broking group owned by Brexiteer Arron Banks, has launched an MGA called Somerset Bridge in order to diversify its panel of Insurers. According to the figures, revenue at Eldon rose to £47.2m, from £33.7m the previous year, however profit before tax fell to £165,000 (2015: £281,000). Taxation led to a loss after tax of £21,000 compared to profit of £284,000 the previous year.

Brunel Insurance Brokers has been set up by Brunel Group to focus on corporate and global customers requiring professional advice. According to a statement, the brokerage will be supported by Brunel Group’s risk management and claims support. Matt Harlin has been appointed as Managing Director of the Broker which is set to officially launch in December 2017.

International mortgage Broker Enness is expanding its offering with the launch of a bespoke insurance service. The firm detailed that Enness Global Insurance will work with Insurers including Hiscox and Chubb to cover a global portfolio of assets, including property, antiques, luxury yachts, supercars and private jets, as well as life and medical insurance. In addition the Broker will work on commercial insurance, including Landlord, Employee Liability, Kidnap & Ransom and Cyber insurance.

Verizon Communications has confirmed that the 2013 cyberattack that hit Yahoo (which Verizon acquired last June) was far more damaging than initially reported. All 3 billion of Yahoo’s user accounts were compromised by the attack whereas last year, Yahoo said that the attack had affected only 1 billion accounts. Three months before that announcement, the company revealed that it had suffered a separate attack in 2014, which affected 500 million accounts.

Brokers are well-placed to gain investment in an evolving landscape that is seeing P&C insurers become more and more commoditised, according to Daniel Zilberman, Head of European business at Warburg Pincus. At the Brokerslink annual conference in Marrakesh, he said the power is shifting from carriers to intermediaries in today’s world.

The long-term effects of Brexit could lead to a drift away from the London insurance market and the potential creation of a new hub elsewhere in Europe, according to Mathew Rutter, Insurance Advisory Partner at law firm DAC Beachcroft. As the UK insurance industry puts plans in place ahead of the country’s anticipated exit from the European Union, many Insurers have revealed plans for post-Brexit bases on the continent. Over time, such moves could lead to the emergence of a new European insurance hub, such as Luxembourg.

Speaking at a CII briefing on apprenticeships this week, Lloyd’s CEO and President of the CII, Dame Inga Beale said the industry has a “unique opportunity” to attract new recruits and develop existing talent through the government’s apprenticeship levy.


Market movers and shakers

Markerstudy has confirmed that Martyn Holman will be stepping down from his role as Group Commercial Director with effect from 1 November this year. He will remain with the Insurer in a consultancy role and the firm stated that it was by “mutual consent” that Holman will now be able to take non-conflicting Non-executive Director and consultancy roles outside of Markerstudy.

Ceta Insurance Brokers has been purchased by its Non-executive Directors and management supported by private equity firm Kester Capital. The Broker stated that existing shareholders David Quick, Adrian Waters and Sandie Schofield will retire from the business. The Chipping Norton-based business will be led by Chairman Andrew Blowers, previously CEO of SwiftCover; Chief Executive John Bibby; Chief Operating Officer James Thomson and Chief Financial Officer Andy Elson. In addition, Paul Yates will remain as Non-executive Director, while James O’Hara and Luke Sims-Wilson will stay in their senior management roles.

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) has formed a specialist renewable energy team to expand its onshore energy offering. The team, headed by London-based Senior Underwriter for power and renewables Tom Clifton will integrate underwriting, risk engineering and claims to provide Brokers and clients with tailored insurance solutions. Supporting Clifton is Energy Manager Jose Luis Ruiz-Poveda in Madrid.

Markel International has appointed Trevor McAuley as Subsea Equipment Underwriter and Katie Costello as Hull and War Underwriter in its Marine, Energy and Property business.

Chubb has appointed Hannah Hosking Head of Distribution – Independent Brokers UK&I, while Steve Bear has been appointed as Independent Broker Team Manager – London Corporate.

UKGlobal Holdings has appointed Matthew Bray as Chief Operating Officer, subject to regulatory approval.

European Property Underwriting Limited (EPUL), part of Global Risk Partners Limited (‘GRP’) has announced the appointment of Steve Lawrence to the role of Business Development Director.

Leading Lloyd’s Broker Lonmar Global Risks (LONMAR) has announced the appointment of Charles Ross as an Executive Director in their Lonmart Fine Art & Specie division.

Endsleigh Insurance Services has announced the appointment of Paul Bolton as Head of its Personal Lines business.

Capsicum Re has announced the appointment of Conrad Williams to its Cyber team.

Jane Byde has joined La Playa as Head of Fine Arts in their newly launched Fine Art practice.

Melissa Collett, previously a Tribunal Judge, joins the CII as Professional Standards Director.

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from multiple Insurance Media sources and individual company press releases.

Tagged In: General Insurance
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