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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 8th March 2019

08 Mar 2019

Insurance News

Tasker Insurance Group has bought Lincolnshire-based Castle Insurance Consultants for an undisclosed sum. The business will join Tasker’s retail arm, Tasker Insurance Brokers. The acquisition, which has already received FCA approval, took place on 1 March 2019.

European private equity firm Astorg has taken a minority stake in Acturis Group from existing investor Summit Partners. It was revealed in January 2019 that the software house was seeking a new minority PE investor to replace Summit, which initially invested in Acturis in June 2010. Acturis declined to say how much of the business is now PE owned, but noted that its employees will continue to own the majority of the company.

In other news....HSB Engineering Insurance has launched a suite of Construction insurance products through the Acturis e-trading platform. The specialist Engineering and Construction Insurer, part of Munich Re, detailed that the products consist of Annual Construction, Project Construction and Contractors’ Plant insurance, which are aimed at Construction risks. The policies provide cover for contract works, owned and hired-in plant and employees’ tools. 

In further news....Brokers who use Acturis can now access a free to use app provided by the software house on iOS and Android mobile phones. According to the tech provider the app, described as its first native mobile app for Brokers, offers on-the-move access to client, policy and claims information. Acturis also detailed that the offering integrates with mobile devices, allowing for quick communication with current and prospective clients. This includes integration to maps, outbound calling, SMS and email.

Erskine Murray has been awarded Chartered status by the Chartered Insurance Institute. The Leicester-based Broker said it had been working towards Chartered status for some time, with all directors and members of staff “committed to achieving the rigorous standards required”. It added that Chartered status is the industry’s gold standard and a benchmark for professional excellence. The Broker has now committed to maintaining the highest standards of technical competence, integrity and ethical conduct.

Managing general agent Commercial Express has developed a training facility for Brokers which is free of charge for independent operators using its products. The online offering, entitled CE Learning, is aimed at new and experienced insurance professionals. Commercial Express detailed that CE Learning is made up of three elements which consist of the newly created e-learning online, plus webinar sessions and face-to-face in person training.

Gross written premium at Direct Line Group fell by 5.3% in 2018, according to its financial results. The Insurer’s total GWP was £3.2bn, compared to £3.4bn in 2017 and its operating profit also decreased to £601.7m (2017: £642.8m). The provider stated that profit fell despite the figure including a £55m benefit from moving to an assumed 0% Ogden discount rate.

The Financial Conduct Authority is trying to work out whether pricing in the insurance sector is fair or discriminating against certain consumers, according to its Director of competition Sheldon Mills. Industry experts and regulators discussed the issue of dual pricing and transparency at an All Party Parliamentary Group for insurance and financial services meeting in Parliament on Monday (4th March). Following a super-complaint by national charity Citizens Advice, they have called for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair”.

Broker Insights has added 93 Coversure branches to its data sharing platform. The InsurTech start-up was launched by former Aviva Broker Distribution Director Fraser Edmond in January 2018 and claims to put smaller local Brokers, with GWP of up to £12m on to the radar of the major Insurers. Coversure’s Head of Product Development, Chris Jarratt, said: “Broker Insights’ powerful, yet user-friendly technology is an exceptional addition to our offices." 

Arthur J Gallagher is to buy Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s Aerospace business in a deal which is set to go through when the Marsh & McLennan Companies’ $5.6bn (£4.3bn) purchase of JLT is finalised in the spring. The transaction, for £190m, is subject to approval by the European Commission. According to a statement from JLT the divestment move has been made in order to address European Commission concerns about potential overlap in Aerospace following JLT’s acquisition. 

Commercial property MGA, European Property Underwriting Limited has announced the addition of a non-damage Business Interruption cover extension to its UK and Northern Ireland Terrorism policy. The extension is available for no additional premium and EPUL, which is part of the Global Risk Partners stable, detailed that it is also offering enhanced broker commissions and rate reductions on its UK and Northern Ireland Terrorism proposition.  

19 million low mileage motorists in the UK (those who drive less than the UK average of 7,134 miles a year) are in danger of being over-charged for Car insurance. Analysis of 2.5 million Car insurance quotes by pay-by-mile Car insurance provider By Miles on MoneySuperMarket. On average, motorists declaring between 5,000 and 6,000 miles a year are being charged an average of £233 more than those driving up to 12,000 miles a year.

BiB Underwriters have just launched their latest product: Countryside Liability. It is a specialist Liability product designed to complement their Countryside Motor policy. Whilst the product will cater for Agricultural Contractors up to 100%, they are extending their trade list to incorporate a whole host of other trades associated with the rural community.

Aviva’s financial results for 2018 were a mixed bad; for example its general and health insurance operating profit remains flat at £704 million (the exact same figure reported for full-year 2017). Overall, the group’s operating profit rose from £3,068 million to £3,116 million, partly due to an increase in its life business which was up 5% year-on-year at £2,999 million. In general insurance in its home country of the UK, operating profits were up from £447 million to £453 million and its general insurance combined operating ratio was relatively flat at 93.8%, compared to 93.9% a year earlier. Overall, Chairman Sir Adrian Montague described the results as “steady progress.” and new group CEO Maurice Tulloch spoke about “re-energising” the business.

In further news....At the start of last year Aviva launched their Future Leader Programme as part of their ongoing promise to champion Brokers and support Broker independence. Now in its second year, they are pleased to welcome new Broker delegates from across the UK to start the two-year course and form Aviva’s class of 2019.  

Admiral group's profit before tax reached a record £479.3 million for the year ending on December 31, 2018, a leap from last year’s £405.4 million. Group customers were also up 14% and UK insurance customers specifically rising by 13% from 4.62 million to 5.24 million. CEO David Stevens however was willing to admit that amid all the “Yes!” boasts there were a few “Yes, buts…” for the group. “Yes, we delivered record profits and dividends, but we were helped by the UK government’s decision to unwind partially the change in the Ogden discount rate from a couple of years ago,” he explained. “Yes, we grew rapidly pretty much across the board, but growth in the core UK Motor business slowed in the second half as we reduced our competitiveness in the face of rising claims costs.” “There were, however, two unequivocal yes’s,” he added. “The rapid growth and improved ratios from our international Insurers and our first ever ‘First’ in the Sunday Times Best Company to Work For competition.”

Lloyd’s of London will be ringing the Lutine Bell, which is hung from the rostrum in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room, on the day of Sir David Rowland’s funeral. In a letter to members seen by Insurance Business, current Lloyd’s Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown wrote: “To commemorate his achievements, his great service to Lloyd’s and his far-reaching contribution to British life more broadly, his funeral will be held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk on March 13 2019 at 11am.”

In other news... Lloyd’s Brussels, the Brexit subsidiary of Lloyd’s of London, is now authorised to underwrite insurance and reinsurance risks located in Monaco. In a market bulletin, the world’s specialist insurance market said it has obtained authorisation, which will allow it to ensure that business from the city-state will continue to be accessed by Lloyd’s members post-Brexit.

The use of data and analytics in insurance is bringing big changes to the industry. While insurance has always been driven by data, the sophistication of today’s analytical and machine-learning models is allowing insurance companies to begin reaping the rewards of the big data evolution, according to Insurance Nexus (a platform to network, discuss, learn and shape the future of the insurance industry). Govind Balu, AXIS Capital’s newly appointed Chief Analytics Officer also stated “Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques are increasing automation, and accelerating underwriting and claims operations. These techniques help better understand risk exposures, can quickly convert various unstructured data inputs, such as emails, policy documents, and claims records, into structured and digital formats, so that underwriters and claims teams can make decisions in real-time, looking at submission materials in a sensible order”. “This allows more time for professionals to do the jobs in which they are highly skilled, rather than using their time to wade through information.”

From today BIBA members will have access to Marketplace by Worry+Peace, a platform that is designed to connect buyers of both consumer and commercial lines to insurance providers across the market. Not to be mistaken as an aggregator, Worry+Peace describes the offering as a “smart, online search directory where brokers can list any and every product they provide making them visible for buyers to find”. 

The QBE Rugby Predictor has predicted victories for England and Wales this weekend, meaning that the Guinness Six Nations title will likely be decided on the final weekend of play. England are expected to easily beat Italy, with the QBE Supercomputer forecasting a 40 - 16 result. Wales, on the back of their electric performance against England, are on course to beat Scotland 22-16, keeping their Grand Slam hopes alive.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has added Loss Assessor Morgan Clark as an Associate Member. The Broker trade body noted that Morgan Clark has a vast experience of commercial and residential claims, offering free help, advice and guidance to those who have suffered a fire, flood, burst pipe or other natural disaster. It added that the loss assessor will work with its Broker members to reach the joint goal of ensuring their client receives the very best settlement under the terms of their insurance policy.

Market Movers and Shakers

Aviva has promoted Maurice Tulloch to Chief Executive Officer, effective 4 March 2019. This follows on from the departure of previous CEO Mark Wilson in October 2018 who first took up the post in January 2013. Aviva Chairman Sir Adrian Montague, who had been in the role on an interim basis pending the appointment on a new CEO, has reverted to his position as Non-Executive Chairman.

Boutique international insurance Broker La Playa has promoted Hanna Beaumont (FIRM) to Director: Corporate, overseeing its specialist commercial practices across Science and Technology and Media, Arts and Entertainment. Originating from Sweden, Hanna has been with La Playa since 2006 in its Science and Technology insurance practice and specialising in insurance for Life Science businesses.

Marsh has announced that Joe Grogan, who has been with the business for 28 years and was named Marsh Ireland Chairman last September, has been appointed as Executive Chair. JLT veteran Patrick Howett, meanwhile, has been tapped to serve as Marsh Ireland Chief Executive.


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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Citizens Advice calls for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair” at Parliamentary meeting of regulators and trade bodies.

Citizens Advice calls for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair” at Parliamentary meeting of regulators and trade bodies.

Citizens Advice calls for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair” at Parliamentary meeting of regulators and trade bodies.

Citizens Advice calls for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair” at Parliamentary meeting of regulators and trade bodies.

Citizens Advice calls for dual pricing discussion to “begin from the assumption that pricing differences are unfair” at Parliamentary meeting of regulators and trade bodies.

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