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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 8th November 2019

08 Nov 2019

Insurance News

Specialist Insurer, NMU has changed its standalone Cyber product, CyberSafe to feature a range of new services and extended benefits. These additions include customer payment fraud protection and cover for business interruption loss as a result of reputational harm. NMU has also widened coverage to include court attendance costs, service providers’ extensions and operational error.

Wilby Insurance Brokers has revealed that it has been a victim of phone spoofing. The company took to Twitter late on 1st November to warn members of the public. A since-deleted tweet read: “We have received reports that our main office phone number may be being spoofed to make outbound calls. Whilst these calls appear to be from our number, they are being made by a third party illegally and not being made by a Wilby team member or from our phone systems.”

Get Indemnity, an InsurTech broking service has been launched. The new Broker service has been set up to enable UK companies with a turnover of up to £100m to apply for and manage their commercial insurance online. In a statement, the new Broker’s Founder and Managing Director, Simon Taylor detailed that the InsurTech uses digital on-boarding process and records quantitative and qualitative risk information.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) will auction around 600 fire marks on Tuesday 12 November, with the proceeds being divided between Insurance Charities and insurance-associated good causes. According to the CII, this is being undertaken as a joint venture with the Heritage working group. Members and collectors are welcome to hear the auction live from the CII office at 21 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9AH. Around 200 British and 400 overseas marks will be auctioned off by former Christies auctioneer and fire mark auction specialist Hugo Marsh at Special Auction Services Berkshire premises.

Munich Re Syndicate, has joined the Household underwriting panel of Allianz-owned High Net Worth Broker, Home & Legacy. Alongside existing panel members, Munich Re Syndicate will underwrite Home & Legacy’s Prestige Home and Ultra Home products. According to the Broker, Home & Legacy’s High Net Worth insurance panel business model provides Brokers with access to exclusive rates from a number of Insurers.

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions (KRS) has reported turnover of £14.6m for the year ending 31 January 2019. This marks growth of 20.4% from the £12.2m reported over the previous twelve months. Results published on Companies House also revealed that profit before tax at KRS grew by 27.4% from £4.97m to £6.33m. James Twining, CEO at parent company Kingsbridge Group, said that he credited the growth at KRS to a combination of external and internal factors.

Radius Payment Solutions has bought commercial insurance Broker The Burley Group for an undisclosed sum. Established in the 1950s, The Burley Group is based in South Yorkshire and specialises in Fleet, Transportation and Construction insurance. Radius is behind telematics and fuel card brands Kinesis and UK Fuels. It noted that the deal will give The Burley Group the opportunity to grow its Fleet insurance business through access to 1.2m fuel card holders as well as the development of telematics linked products.

In further news...Burley Group Managing Director Matthew Mawson has pledged to retain staff and the brand following Radius Payment Solutions taking a majority stake in the Broker. Mawson said: “The staff are all secure and the office remains as is. We will become the insurance centre for Radius.”.

Macbeth Insurance Brokers & Financial Services has bought CMJ Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. The move is Macbeth’s first ever acquisition and brings the Reading-headquartered firm’s gross written premium up to £13m. According to the Broker, CMJ works with clients from SMEs to multi-nationals and will bring both commercial lines and private client experience to Macbeth’s existing team of 25.

Gravity Risk Services has bought Hagley Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. The move will see a team of five join Gravity, bringing the total number of staff at the Stourbridge-headquartered Broker up to 30. A spokesperson for Gravity said that the Hagley business will be rebranded over time.

Brokerbility’s latest Insurer satisfaction survey has seen Aviva take the top spot for the second year running. The research is conducted across Brokerbility members and consists of a set of questions rating Insurer performance in claims, underwriting, accounts and overall satisfaction. According to the network, the survey looked at its key Insurer partners Axa, Allianz, Aviva, AIG, NIG, RSA and Zurich. Each Brokerbility member gave feedback on various service criteria using a 1 to 10 rating.

Markel UK, the division of Markel International that provides insurance, tax and legal services for SMEs, has acquired Caunce O’Hara & Company Ltd, following regulatory approval from the FCA. Markel UK announced its plans to acquire the online business from the commercial insurance Brokers on 12th September 2019.  As part of the deal, Caunce O’Hara & Company Ltd will keep its brand and its team of 12 will remain in its existing office in Manchester.

HSBC UK have launched ‘Select and Cover’, a new flexible insurance product that offers seven switchable covers in one subscription. HSBC UK customers can choose a minimum of three of the following types of cover: Mobile Phone, Gadget, Home Emergency, Life, Excess Protection, Motor Breakdown and Travel from £19.50 per month. If their needs or circumstances change, they can add and remove one option during the year, as long as they maintain a minimum of three and change all their options once a year on the policy anniversary.

AIG has reported net income attributable to AIG common shareholders of $648 million, or $0.72 per diluted common share, for the third quarter of 2019, compared to a net loss attributable to AIG common shareholders of $1.3 billion, or $1.41 per common share, in the prior-year quarter. The improvement was primarily due to pre-tax net realized capital gains of $929 million compared to pre-tax net realized capital losses of $511 million in the prior-year quarter and a reduction in pre-tax net catastrophe losses of $1.1 billion compared to the prior-year quarter.

SSP and the RAC have renewed their seven year software and service partnership for a further three years. As one of the UK’s leading breakdown assistance providers, bringing complete peace of mind to its 11 million members, the RAC has long been at the forefront of developing motoring services. In 2012 the RAC entered into partnership with SSP to use its Select Software. The application supports over 400 RAC call-centre colleagues processing in excess of two million breakdown policies. It has the flexibility to enable the RAC to react to changing market conditions such as quickly onboarding new products, pricing adjustments and self-service capabilities – and has become integral to the RAC’s business plans. In the last seven years, since implementation, the RAC has expanded the number of channels to market, with customers able to manage their membership accounts online via ‘MyRAC’. The portal fully integrates with SSP’s Select Software ensuring accurate and consistent information is available to the call-centre colleagues when speaking to customers.

Canopius Group Limited has announced the completion of Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance’s (“SFMI”) strategic investment in the business.  The investment will support Canopius’s growth arising from the recent acquisition of AmTrust at Lloyd’s and merger with its own Lloyd’s interests. In addition to the investment, Canopius and SFMI will actively explore business collaboration opportunities in specialty insurance and reinsurance, particularly in the United States and Asia-Pacific region.

The value of non-life capacity issued and outstanding at the end of the third quarter was at a near-record high of $27.3 billion, exceeded only by the year-end figure of $27.8 billion for 2018, according to the new ILS Market Update from Willis Re Securities. The ILS sector has reached a dynamic equilibrium and is well positioned for growth. Alternative capital in all its forms is clearly growing again, notwithstanding the losses and related loss creep of the past several years.

Simon Badley, CEO at Open GI, has explained how the software provider is changing its approach to general insurance. Badley stated: “We need to think about technology differently and we need to think about the solutions that we offer and how we bring them to market differently. Our goal is to be technology provider of choice in this industry and we need to think innovatively about how our customers will use software.”.

Axa has reported revenue growth across all segments of its UK and Ireland operations. In a trading update published (7 November), the provider revealed that the UK and Ireland business had generated revenue of €4,163m (£3,587m) for the first nine months of 2019. This is an increase of 3% over the €4,027m reported for the same period in 2018.

RSA has stated that its profitability has increased in 2019 in its latest trading update. A document published by the firm  (7 November) revealed that operating profit had also grown in the first nine months of the year. The firm also claimed that its combined operating ratio had improved but did not provide a figure. Its H1 results, reported in August 2019, showed a COR of 94.3% and an improved underwriting performance and indicated recovery from 2018’s shock profit warning.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has urged general insurance firms to develop and preserve a culture which makes staff feel comfortable with speaking up and flagging worries that they may have. Gareth Truran, acting Director for insurance supervision at the PRA, made the recommendations in a ‘Dear CEO’ letter published on 5th November. In the letter, Truran stated that there should be mechanisms put in place to help staff report concerns, which should also involve non-executive board members.

XO, formerly Xbroker, has announced a new Professional Indemnity offering for the self-employed. The provider said the policy, titled ‘freelancer’, is also suitable for SME businesses with turnover up to £1.5m. The product has an Indemnity limit of £2m, with or without retroactive cover.

Insurance schemes software provider SchemeServe has released data from its first annual Schemes Premium Index, highlighting the most and least profitable schemes for Brokers. The Index examined 24 separate lines of insurance as currently managed on the SchemeServe platform during the period from May 2018 through August 2019. The least profitable lines were Household and Caravan, although the provider noted that premiums for Caravan have been rising. Average premiums have risen most dramatically at renewal for excess of loss and Caravan. In other highlights from the data, renewal figures on Cyber were described as surprising with commission rates 20.1% at renewal, up from 4.9% at inception. However, of the 170 policies sold a year ago, only two renewed and they renewed at a lower value.

Orbit Underwriting has had its administration period extended by a year. Documents filed on Companies House revealed that administrators for the wholesale Broker have set a new deadline of 1 November 2020. The administration period was originally due to end on 2 November 2019. Administration proceedings are being overseen by CG & Co.

On Thursday 7 November, the insurance industry united to take on the 21st century's biggest killer. In the five months since the Dementia-friendly guide for Insurers was published to mark Dementia Action Week 2019, there has been considerable activity to raise awareness. The guide outlines what an organisation can do to raise awareness and create positive change for people affected by dementia. The Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on vulnerable customers closed last month and is currently under review. The responses will hopefully encourage Insurers to provide better access to their products and services. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 (Alzheimer’s Society, 2019) and approximately 20% of people caring for someone with dementia are in paid employment (Cebr, 2019). It is therefore likely that both individuals and businesses will be affected by dementia and its impact.

Italian Insurer Assicurazioni Generali SpA posted its largest rise in more than two years on the back of a jump in profits and an increase in its assets under management. Nine-month net income spiked 17% year over year, and assets under management rose 30%, excluding businesses for sale or that have been sold. The company’s stock rose as much as 4.1% in Milan trading, hitting its highest level since January of 2009.

Insurance law firm Minster Law has reported a profit of £1.9 million for 2018 on turnover of £35.1 million. The firm also reported a near 5.0% improvement in gross profit margin to 36.1%, which underlines the “benefits of a programme of transformation to improve operational efficiency.”.

Willis Towers Watson has announced that Atlanta Group, a personal lines Broker that owns Autonet, Carole Nash, and Swinton, has licensed its Radar Live pricing delivery software. In a statement, Willis said that the move is designed to “transform its pricing capabilities for personal lines products. Radar Live will give the insurance Broker improved capability to derive sophisticated insights from valuable data sources and market-leading machine learning models, in real time and from a single platform,” Willis said in a statement.

Swiss Re has confirmed that it is exploring a possible investment in China Pacific Insurance Co. (CPIC). While the reinsurance giant said in a statement that “no definitive agreement” has yet taken place, the investment could take the form of a primary offering of new securities by CPIC.

Sedgwick has launched a new crisis care program – an enhancement to its field case management services. The crisis care program will offer 24/7/365 support and end-to-end resources to help clients better manage all aspects of care after a violent workplace event, catastrophic incident or complex clinical situation, a release said.

QBE has announced the 40 charities that will each be receiving a £2,500 donation as part of its first ever “Charity of Choice” award. The Charity of Choice award, a new initiative by QBE’s charitable arm, the QBE Foundation, saw a total of £100,000 go to Broker-nominated charities across the UK. Qualifying charities were randomly selected to receive a donation. The cash awards were open for nomination from all UK FCA-recognised Brokers, who submitted their nominations last month.

The world is moving towards 5G mobile technology – the fifth generation of mobile network. It’s a new kind of network that will not only interconnect people, but also machines, devices and objects. 5G is expected to have a totally transformative impact on global industry, enabling firms to offer connected services with top performance and efficiency, and at a low cost. According to multinational semiconductor and telecommunications firm Qualcomm, based in the US, the global 5G standard “will advance mobile from largely a set of technologies connecting people-to-people and people-to-information to a unified connectivity fabric connecting people to everything.” The firm expects 5G’s full economic benefit to be realised worldwide by 2035, when it could produce up to US$12.3 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G mobile technology.

Market Movers and Shakers

Blink Intermediary Solutions has hired Russell Bence to the position of Commercial Director. Bence was previously Managing Director of broking at Brightside, but left the Broker in August this year to “pursue other interests”. Prior to joining Brightside in April 2016, Bence spent seven years at Markerstudy Group. He has also worked at HSBC Insurance Brokers and Axa.

Aviva plc has announced the appointment of Jan-Hendrik Erasmus as Chief Risk Officer, reporting to Maurice Tulloch. Jan-Hendrik will start in February 2020 and will be a member of the Aviva Leadership Team. Jan-Hendrik joins Aviva from NN Group where he was Chief Risk Officer for over three years. He was also a member of NN Group’s management board.

Allianz Insurance has appointed James Barclay to Head of Sales & Distribution for Allianz Legal Protection. James will replace Phil Ruse who is retiring at the end of the year. He will be responsible for setting the strategic direction and performance of the Legal Protection business and developing strong relationships with business partners.

AXA XL has announced the following people have joined its UK Life, Accident & Health (A&H) team: Mark Campbell joins as Underwriting Manager, Wholesale Accident & Health and David Walker joins as Class Underwriter, Wholesale Accident & Health.

Lancashire Holdings has made two key appointments to its senior leadership team. The group has appointed Hayley Johnston as Chief Executive Officer of Lancashire Insurance Company Limited (LICL), succeeding the retiring Elaine Whelan. Meanwhile, James Flude will move into Johnston’s previous role as Chief Underwriting Officer of Lancashire Insurance Company (UK) Limited (LUK), the group’s UK regulated Insurer.

A leading global insurance and reinsurance Broker has introduced a key addition to a recently formed operation. Ed has announced that John Turner has been appointed to the newly created position of Chairman of Ed Bermuda. In his new role, Turner will report to Chris Bonard, Chief Executive Officer of Ed Bermuda, and provide “hands-on support” to realise the potential of the new operation.

Marsh & McLennan has named Michael Sevi as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for its reinsurance brokerage unit, Guy Carpenter. Sevi succeeds Michael Borik, who served as Guy Carpenter’s General Counsel for four years. A release said that Borik will be moving into a joint business and legal role as Managing Director and Chief Counsel of Guy Carpenter’s Global Capital Solutions group.

Ensurance, a niche Construction and Engineering MGA, has bolstered its underwriting team with the addition of two – increasing its underwriting line-up to 14 in just two years since its formation. The firm has announced the appointment of Brad Green as Senior Underwriter and Courtney Varney as Underwriting Assistant.

 

 

 

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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