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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 9th November 2018

09 Nov 2018

Insurance News

Announcing its interim results this week, the Bermuda-headquartered global specialist Insurer Hiscox Ltd reported higher gross written premium (GWP) overall and across its retail, London Market and reinsurance segments. For the first nine months of the year to September 30th 2018, Hiscox saw a 14.3% rise in total GWP from US$2.7 billion in the same period last year to 2018’s more than US$3 billion.

Insurance millionaire and famed Brexit donor Arron Banks – who has tweeted that his camp is “issuing a dummies guide to group accounting”, amid a new probe by the UK’s National Crime Agency into the source of funds poured into Leave. EU – is once again in hot water after former Eldon Insurance and Rock Services staff unveiled correspondence supposedly showing that their tasks included work on the referendum campaign. Internal emails leaked to both The Observer and Open Democracy point to an overlap in workers’ duties – contrary to Banks’ assertion to a parliamentary committee in June 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set to fine Eldon Insurance £60,000 for serious breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). The ICO detailed that “more than one million emails were sent to Leave. EU subscribers over two separate periods which also included marketing for GoSkippy services, without their consent”. It also proposed to fine the unofficial Brexit campaign £60,000 in tandem with Eldon.

Former investors, Australian law firm Slater and Gordon and anyone who lost money because of Quindell – now known as Watchstone Group – might not find it welcome news that founder Robert Simon Terry is busy with big plans, even amid the ongoing probe by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office into the embattled insurance company. Terry, who founded OS3 Digital and also serves as its chair and group Chief Executive Officer, has shared what he has been up and it looks like a lot is in the offing for the company, which was renamed from Quob Park Estate just weeks ago.

Zurich UK, which wants to find supplier Partners who share its ethos, is rolling out a flagship Supplier Accreditation Scheme across its entire UK supplier base. The initiative is aimed at increasing transparency in the Insurer’s own supply chain. Designed to encourage its suppliers to adopt sustainable business practices, the scheme measures this through a questionnaire about their community and environmental activities. Zurich said its in-house experts score the responses and award gold, silver, or bronze accreditation based on the firms’ approach to sustainability.

“The support we receive from the Worshipful Company of Insurers (WCI) is invaluable.” That’s how The Brokerage Executive Director Bridget Gardiner described their decade-old partnership with the livery company, which has been instrumental in them helping more than 8,000 young people annually. These disadvantaged Londoners are introduced to financial and professional services and are afforded employability skills and paid work opportunities.

Insurance comparison site ComparetheMarket has been issued with a “statement of objections” by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after an investigation found that clauses in many of ComparetheMarket’s contracts with Home Insurers break competition law and could lead to higher premiums. The CMA has provisionally found that ComparetheMarket’s so-called “most favoured nation” clauses, which prevent Home Insurers from quoting lower prices on rival comparison sites and other distribution channels, could lead to customers missing out on cheaper premiums.

The likes of Ellie Reeves MP and Access to Justice (A2J) have expressed their criticisms when it comes to the Civil Liability Bill… now up north, Scotland’s version of reforms in personal injury claims is going to push costs significantly higher, warns Kennedys. The global law firm cited two key changes that are poised to impact the bill for Scottish Insurers and policyholders: contractual and legally enforceable success fee agreements whose percentage will be capped, as well as qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS).

A cyber attack simulation board game created by Chubb has won a global gaming industry award. The game, “Hacksagon!”, was developed by Chubb’s European Cyber team. It recently won the award for “Excellence in No-Tech Gamification Design” at the 2018 GamiCon awards in Chicago.

Douglas Insurance Brokers, which is based in Swansea, has been bought by County Group for an undisclosed sum. It is the third deal for GRP-owned County this year and follows its buys of Guardian and Rahon earlier this year. Dave Clapp, Founder and CEO of County said: “I am delighted that, yet another fantastic business has chosen to join our family. Thanks to the backing and support of GRP, we have a winning formula for vendors and long may it continue.”

Sutton Specialist Risks (SSR) and Equipsme have announced the launch of a wholesale Partnership. SSR will now distribute the Equipsme health and wellbeing offering across its wholesale network.

Specialist Lloyd’s Broker Bennett Gould & Partners Ltd has bought Advantage Underwriting’s UK book of business for an undisclosed amount. Advantage is part of the Vantage Group of Companies based in Jersey. Focusing on commercial and schemes, Adrian Gyde, Managing Director of Bennett Gould and Partners said the buy was a natural fit for its business.

Leicester-based Erskine Murray insurance Brokers is hoping for £50m of gross written premium (GWP) within three years. Tom Bartleet, Chief Executive Officer confirmed that the business was now one year into its growth plan and had “acquired two businesses, grown and reached £32m of GWP”.

Markerstudy has been tipped as the frontrunner to buy Co-op Insurance in what is rumoured to be a £300m sale. Sky News reported that discussions between the providers were at an advanced stage. However, at the time of writing a deal was yet to be reached. According to the report The AA, Aviva, RSA Insurance and Saga had also been interested in a potential deal.

NSM, which owns Vantage, has launched underwriting brand First Specialty in the UK. The move follows its deal to buy Motor MGA Xpect which happened last month. NSM detailed that First Specialty will offer a broad range of highly specialised and niche Motor insurance products to the market whilst Xpekt will continue to focus on local community business.

Axa’s consultation on 59 redundancies in its claims function is not set to impact on any Broker-facing roles. The provider confirmed that the department reorganisation, first reported by Kent Online, would not affect Brokers and they will receive normal service. A spokesperson commented: “As part of our efforts to modernise our claims function, we have had to take some tough decisions and unfortunately, after consulting with unions and management, 59 roles are being placed at risk of redundancy."

Gallagher's has bought a controlling interest in Purple Bridge Group, the holding company of UK specialist Property insurance provider Vasek Insurance Services, for an undisclosed amount. Michael Rea, CEO of UK retail for Gallagher, said: “As we continue to expand our business through acquisition alongside our focus on organic growth, Vasek is another fantastic addition."

Ticker, a newly launched telematics Insurer, has Partnered with international Broker Willis Towers Watson and will use its Radar pricing software. It was announced last month that Ticker, which was founded by Richard King of Ingenie, would come to market in 2019. Ticker will use Radar Live and Radar Base to deliver decisions in pricing and underwriting.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued final guidance to clarify its expectations about the handling of regular premium payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints. This follows rules and guidance revealed by the FCA in March 2017 in relation to the Plevin judgment.

The shareholders of Broker JLT have approved the deal for Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) to buy the business in a deal worth $5.6bn (£4.3bn) in cash. Marsh revealed in a statement that 99.9% of JLT shareholders had approved the takeover move which was revealed in September 2018.

Men and young drivers are the most likely to be at risk from drowsy driving. Insurance bears brunt of crash costs of at least £175.5m a year. One in eight (13%) UK drivers admit falling asleep at the wheel, according to new research by the AA Charitable Trust. Nearly two fifths (37%) say they have been so tired they have been scared they would fall asleep when driving.

The insurance industry has often been disparaged for lacklustre service and unhelpfulness, which run counter to its stated mission to protect clients from risks. According to Antony Broome, joint Managing Director of the Casualty division at Manchester Underwriting Management, these issues also plague the Casualty market, which is struggling from poor service and a shortage of specialty Underwriters. He stated “This is one area where we need more specialists who build a proposition with focused product offerings and services so that they are providing something different for the market – and don’t just look like the capacity provider with a different coat on”.

Geo Specialty, part of UK MGA Geo Underwriting, announces the launch of its online quote and bind platform for its market leading product. The new system offers quote, bind and policy issuance all at the click of a button. The Geo Specialty product is a bespoke Political Violence cover, which offers quick, efficient and competitive terms as well as access to limits of up to £115 million per property in the UK.

Broker Insights has won the Power Up award in the RBS ‘Future of Fintech’ competition held in Edinburgh on the 29th October. The Times Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland, together with FWB Park Brown and Dell Technologies launched the competition to identify and support the best up and coming leaders in finance technology.

Sun Life has announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 20th 2018, reporting a net income of CA$567 million (around £329 million) and underlying net income of CA$730 million (around £423 million).

More than a month ago the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) took part in the landmark G20 Insurance Forum organised by Argentina’s National Superintendence of Insurance. Now the federation has published its annual report, which outlines GFIA’s role as the voice of the global insurance industry. The nearly 40-page report shines a spotlight on what GFIA has been up to as it supports the Argentinian G20 presidency and its goals, particularly when it comes to infrastructure investment.

Legal & General has a new Partner in the form of Asda Money. Unleashing its first ever Pet insurance affinity, Legal & General said it has entered into a three-year commercial agreement that will see the financial services firm offer its Pet insurance product range for dogs and cats to Asda Money’s clientele. Distribution channels include phone, the Asda Money website and price comparison portals.

London-headquartered HSBC has confirmed that online bank accounts of its customers in the US were illegally accessed about a month ago, with possibly compromised data including account numbers and transaction history. In response to the cyber incident, which took place between October 4th and 14th 2018, the banking giant suspended access to prevent further unauthorised entry; contacted affected clients to assist them in changing their online banking credentials and enhanced its authentication process to add another layer of security.

Gallagher has confirmed it is closing its office in Feering outside of Colchester on 30th November 2018. A spokesperson for the Broker said that around 20 people are involved in consultations. According to the business the aim is for “as many as possible” of the Feering staff to move across to its office in Ipswich which is 26 miles away.

Market Movers and Shakers

Alesco Risk Management Services — the specialist insurance and risk management Broker – announces the appointment of Jonathan Smith as Managing Partner of Energy.

Canopius announces the appointment of Marco Silva as Senior Underwriter, Property Treaty Reinsurance in London. Marco was most recently Senior Underwriter for Scor and has held various underwriting positions in his career, located in the UK, Bermuda and Europe.

Markel International, the specialist Insurer has created two new standalone divisions for Marine and Energy and appointed Chris Fenn and Julian Samuel as Managing Directors of the businesses. The appointments will be effective from January 1, 2019. The move reflects the impressive growth of the Marine and Energy division, under Paul Jenks’ leadership, to become the single largest unit within Markel, with GWP of around $400m.

Occam Underwriting, the specialty lines-focused Managing General Agent (“MGA”) announces the appointment of Daniel Carr to the Board of Directors of the Company and the appointment of Mark Fisher as Chief Financial Officer.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has boosted its global team with the appointment of David Thompson as International Director. David will be based at the CII’s new Middle East and Africa (MEA) headquarters in Dubai but will also oversee operations from CII offices in Mumbai and Hong Kong.

With key departures in the offing at specialist Broker Miller Insurance Services LLP, five Executives have been elevated to serve as equity holding Partners. The appointments, effective come January, involve Chief Operating Officer Ben Speers; marine, energy and transportation liability head Martin Henderson, who joined Miller in 2003; Phil Wheeler, who came onboard in 2012 and is in charge of the marine liability reinsurance team; Charles Lane, whose more than 30 years of expertise helps him lead Miller’s liability wholesale offering to clients; and head of accident and health James Hands, who has nearly two decades of insurance industry experience.

Fenchurch Law has snapped up new members for its coverage dispute team from Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), Clyde & Co and DWF. The City law firm, which works exclusively for policyholders and brokers on complex insurance disputes, now has a bigger roster with the arrival of Senior Associate Laura Steer and Associates James Breese and Daniel Robin

Seasoned Sales Leader Adrian Willmott has made a Willis Towers Watson comeback. Willmott, who was with Willis from 2004 prior to making the switch to Marsh in 2007, has been appointed as Sales Leader for the corporate risk and broking GB retail business. The appointment is part of Willis Towers Watson’s continued significant investment in its UK offering.

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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