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EC News (26th October 2017)

October 26, 2017

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global insurance market with stories from Beazley, Hamilton, Marsh and more.

McGill elected to board of The Hartford

Former Aon group president Steve McGill has been elected to the board of The Hartford, effective 20 December 2017.

The appointment comes after McGill retired as group president of Aon and chairman and CEO of the Risk Solutions segment in January 2017, having joined the firm in 2005 as CEO of Aon Global.

The Hartford also revealed that Greig Woodring, who was most recently president and CEO of Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) until his retirement in December 2016, has also been appointed to the board and will assume the position at the same time as McGill.

The incoming directors will replace Charlie Strauss and Patrick Swygert, who The Hartford said will not stand for re-election in May 2018 after reaching the mandatory retirement age.

“In an effort to be proactive and responsive to the general trend among shareholders seeking more industry expertise on boards, we are pleased to welcome Greig and Steve, who bring outstanding insurance industry experience to our board,” remarked Charlie Strauss, Strauss, chair of the board's nominating and corporate governance committee.

“As former insurance executives with extensive broker and reinsurance backgrounds, they will add insightful perspectives to the board,” he added.

In 2014, McGill was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition for his exceptional service to the insurance industry and also for humanitarian services. He is also a past president of Insurance Institute of London. Prior to Aon, the seasoned market veteran was CEO of rival broker JLT.

Commenting on the two appointments The Hartford’s chairman and CEO, Christopher Swift, said;

“Greig and Steve are exceptional leaders, with deep understanding of our industry and business and what it takes to succeed in the marketplace. Both Greig and Steve will contribute to the board’s success in creating long-term shareholder value, and I look forward to working closely with them.” 

Holt to step down as Beazley chairman

Beazley has announced that former AXA UK chief executive Dennis Holt will step down as chairman of the London-listed carrier in March 2018.

He will be succeeded by David Roberts, who is set to become a non-executive director effective 1 November 2017.

Roberts has been chairman of Nationwide Building Society since July 2015 and during his career served as an executive director at Barclays Bank and deputy chairman at Lloyds Banking Group.

He will take up the position of non-executive chairman following the carrier’s Annual General Meeting next spring, replacing Holt who will step down from the board having served two full three year terms as chairman.

Commenting on the news, Beazley CEO Andrew Horton said: “I am delighted that David has joined the Beazley board, and I along with the rest of the board are looking forward to working with him. David brings extensive financial services experience and throughout his career he has proven himself to be insightful and strategically adept.”

Meanwhile, Roberts remarked: "I am very pleased to be joining Beazley plc. Beazley has an outstanding track record of delivering customer and shareholder value, and I look forward to working with the board and management team to continue this performance in the years to come." 

Albo appointed as Hamilton CEO

Hamilton Insurance Group has named Pina Albo as its new CEO, the company has announced.

Albo, who will assume the position on 1 February 2018, succeeds David Brown, who has acted as interim group CEO whilst a search was carried out for a permanent replacement following Brian Duperreault’s departure to become president and CEO of AIG.

She joins following a 25-year tenure at German reinsurer Munich Re, most recently serving as a member of the board of executive management where her responsibilities included P&C business and operations in Europe and Latin America. She worked as a lawyer in Canada, before starting at Munich Re as a claims expert.

Albo has been recognised for her contributions to the insurance industry and has received numerous awards including the Association of Professional Insurance Women's "Woman of the Year" (2011). She was designated a "Top Influencer" in Insurance Business America's List of "Hot 100" (2014) and placed in Intelligent Insurer's list of 'Top 100 Women in Re/insurance" (2014 and 2015).

Hamilton said that Brown will remain on the board, where he is chairman of the finance and governance committee.

“Our search for a new CEO has been robust and thorough, and we were delighted with the very high calibre of candidates we considered,” said Hamilton chairman William Freda.

“In the final analysis, all of us involved in the search were impressed by what Pina will bring to Hamilton: an accomplished career with extensive experience and contacts in the global insurance and reinsurance markets, a dynamic commitment to change in our industry, and a deep understanding of what we’re building at Hamilton,” Freda continued.

Following her departure, Munich Re said that Peter Ròˆder will take over Albo’s role and responsibility for Europe and Latin America whilst retaining his responsibility for Global Clients and North America.

Albo's appointment is subject to immigration clearance.

Marsh hires former cybercrime director as strategic adviser

Marsh has brought on board former UK National Crime Agency (NCA) cybercrime director Jamie Saunders as a strategic advisor, the broker has announced.

In this newly created role based in London, Saunders will be responsible for providing strategic cyber security and risk management advice to Marsh’s clients, helping them to improve their resilience against cyber-attacks.

His appointment further bolsters Marsh’s dedicated specialist cyber security and risk team, and follows the appointment of Sir Iain Lobban, formerly director of GCHQ, as a senior adviser of cyber risk in 2016, said Marsh.

Saunders joins Marsh after heading the NCA’s national cybercrime unit since April 2014. Prior to joining the NCA, Saunders served as director of international cyber policy for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He began his career in 1988 at GCHQ, the UK Government’s intelligence and security organisation the company said in its statement.

Commenting on the appointment, head of client advisory services of Marsh UK & Ireland, Daniel Max said: “We believe insurance is a vital part of how firms manage cyber risk. As well as insurance being a part of crisis financing, it is a rich source of information and an objective validation of how firms are coping with cyber. As one of the UK’s leading cyber security experts, Jamie will add enormously to how Marsh helps our clients respond to the cyber threat.” 

Arora named Axis Re CEO

Axis Capital has appointed Steve Arora as CEO of its reinsurance business, Axis Re.

Arora joins the company from Swiss Re where he spent 18 years in a variety of senior positions, most recently as head of casualty reinsurance and as a member of the reinsurance executive committee.

In his new role, Arora will head up Axis’ $2.2bn reinsurance business and will become a member of the company’s executive committee. He will report to president and CEO Albert Benchimol when he joins the carrier in January 2018 and will be based in Zurich, but has held positions in the US, Europe and Asia throughout his career.

In addition, the carrier announced that Axis Re interim CEO Jan Ekberg, who took on the role after Jay Nichols stepped down earlier this year, will resume his previous role as president and chief underwriting officer of Axis Re Europe.

Besides his role as head of casualty reinsurance at Swiss Re, he served as president of Swiss Re Japan, managing director to some of its largest global clients, and head of the engineering and construction business across the Americas region.

Arora has been recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

Commenting on the appointment, Benchimol said: “Steve is a remarkable talent and an accomplished and widely respected executive who stands at the forefront of an emerging generation of senior leaders in our profession,”

“He is perfectly suited to be CEO of Axis Re, bringing breadth and depth of experience on a global scale and a client-centric mentality that matches our culture.” 

Lloyd’s puts Maria loss at $900mn

Lloyd’s of London has announced that it is expecting $900mn of claims from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica and Puerto Rico last month.

The announcement came as the Corporation revised its combined loss estimate for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to $3.9bn from a preliminary projection of $4.5bn.

Lloyd's performance management director Jon Hancock said that this reflected more information on the events becoming available since it released a preliminary estimate.

“The claims estimate for Harvey and Irma has reduced approximately 10 percent from the precautionary figure we issued with our half year results last month. This is a developing situation and there continues to be a high degree of uncertainty around any claims estimate,” he said.

He noted that devastation caused by these disasters will “certainly have an impact on the (re)insurance sector as a whole.”

“It also serves as a reminder to all companies that, even in a highly competitive market, they must maintain adequate and sustainable pricing for the risks they are insuring,” he warned.

Hancock added: "We are experiencing one of the most active hurricane seasons this century and I am very proud of the way that the Lloyd's market is responding to these events.”

Highlighting that the entire Lloyd's market had net financial resources of £28bn ($36bn), Hancock said: "The Lloyd's market is built for moments like this, with governments, businesses and communities all relying on us to help them rebuild their lives and livelihoods.” 

Siccardi appointed EMEA & UK head of client services at Aon Benfield

Aon Benfield has hired Leonora Siccardi as EMEA & UK head of client services.

Based in London, Siccardi will report to Aon Benfield CFO Maggie Westdale, Co-CEO of EMEA Richard Posgate and UK CEO Nick Frankland.

In her new role, Siccardi will oversee the strategic direction of the reinsurance broker’s EMEA and UK claims and client services functions to ensure clients receive an outstanding service, both on a day-to-day basis and also post catastrophic events. The new position represents an expansion of her current duties as UK head of client services at Aon Benfield.

Siccardi joined Aon in 2006 and has since held several positions across the company including claims manager for the Southern European group division and team leader for the financial and professional services claims coordinator team at Aon Risk Solutions.

In 2012, she transitioned to Aon Benfield as head of facultative EMEA claims, and served as head of claims advocacy for Aon Risk Solutions from 2014, with responsibility for the development and delivery of a claims strategy for Aon’s Global Broking Centre in London.

During her career, Siccardi has also worked for Munich Re in Italy and Willis in London.

Commenting on the appointment, Westdale said: “Leonora will oversee the strategic direction of our EMEA & UK claims and client services functions to ensure we are effectively responding to our clients’ needs and strengthening our competitive advantage, while driving consistent best practices across our regional hubs.”