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EC News (23rd November 2017)

November 23, 2017

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global insurance market with stories from Markel, LSM, Canopius and more.

Markel’s Crowley and Waleski to step down

Markel Corporation announced that its vice chairman Michael Crowley will be retiring at the end of 2017.

Concurrently, the carrier also revealed that CFO Anne Waleski will step down by the end of the first quarter of 2019 and will be succeeded by Markel International finance director Jeremy Noble.

Through 2018, Markel said that Crowley will transition his duties and responsibilities as well as his relationships with key producers and clients to designated employees of the company. He has agreed to remain as a consultant to the company beginning in 2019.

Crowley was responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing, producer and client relationships and distribution strategy of the company. Prior to being named vice chairman in August 2016, Crowley served as the president and co-COO of Markel from May 2010 to December 2015. In this role, he had oversight for Markel’s US wholesale and specialty insurance operations, global insurance, product line group, human resources, and corporate marketing.

He joined Markel in early 2009 from Willis and its then HRH North America division where he served as president.

“Markel is so fortunate to have benefited from Mike’s industry knowledge, managerial experience, and relationships throughout the insurance industry. He truly has contributed much to Markel’s success. We wish him the best in his retirement,” remarked Markel executive chairman Alan Kirshner.

Meanwhile, Markel said that Waleski plans to transition from her role as CFO over the course of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, handing over her duties and responsibilities to Noble.

Waleski has been the company’s CFO since 2010, and was promoted to executive vice president in 2014. She joined the company in 1993 and served in several management positions before being named the company’s treasurer in 2003.

Waleski’s successor Noble has served as the finance director for Markel International since June 2015. He joined Markel in 2002 and held various roles in the company’s accounting and finance department, including assistant controller, before becoming the company’s managing director of internal audit in 2011, a position he held until 2015.

Commenting on Waleski’s retirement, Richard Whitt the company’s Co-CEO said: “The significant success we have enjoyed at Markel is a direct result of Anne’s many contributions. I want to thank Anne for her willingness to work with Jeremy and our finance team over the next year to assure a smooth transition.

Beard appointed RFIB CFO

The holding company of RFIB Group has named Steven Beard as its chief financial officer, it has been announced.

Additionally he has been appointed CFO of MGA business Limehouse Agencies and he will also become CEO of a newly created services company, George Yard Services (GYS).

GYS will be a specialist central service company, created to provide back office support to RFIB and Limehouse. Its functions will include finance, risk, compliance, HR, IT and company secretariat. It will initially comprise RFIB employees who will transfer to GYS.

Beard begins both roles on 4 December 2017 and will spearhead the launch of GYS.

Prior to this, Beard most recently served as group chief executive of technology and professional services company, Agilisys, which under his management became one of the largest employee owned businesses within the UK.

Prior to Agilisys, Beard served in a number of senior positions in the UK and the US with global business process and technology company, Xchanging. When Xchanging listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2007 he was responsible for the largest part of the group including XIS and XCS. Beard has also served as CFO of Redwave plc, the UK based venture capital business. He began his career working for a series of Lloyd’s managing agents including Navigators, Brockbank and XL Capital.

Commenting on the appointment, RFIB CEO Dennis Mahoney said: "Steven is a landmark appointment for our business. He brings an exceptional track record to our CFO function and is the ideal candidate to launch and build our new central services business. Steven has pioneered the use of new technologies throughout his career and this approach will be central to GYS and across the RFIB and Limehouse businesses.

“GYS will be a key pillar in our business portfolio. It will enable our broking and underwriting teams to focus on what they do best and will ensure we continue to attract leading talent who share our independent, client focused approach."

Beechey promoted to global GFR role

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) has promoted Andrew Beechey to the new role of head of underwriting and strategic development for global financial risks.

Beechey, who currently serves as head of GFR for the Asia Pacific region based in Singapore, will return to London on 1 December to assume his new role and will report to head of GFR Peter Sprent.

Andrew joined LSM in 2014 from Zurich where he was most recently deputy head of the London credit and political risk team. Prior to this, he spent a decade in the credit and political risk division at Marsh, based in both the US and UK.

Commenting on the promotion, Sprent said: “Our GFR book has performed extremely well over the last few years and we’ve been able to establish ourselves as a major player in the global market.

“Andrew has done a fantastic job setting up GFR in Singapore and growing that business into a market leading position over the last few years. His promotion and move to London come as part of the overall expansion of our GFR team and the continued growth in our global business.”

LSM said that an announcement regarding Andrews’s replacement in LSM’s Asia Pacific region will be made shortly.

Canopius inks admitted paper agreement with State National

Canopius has signed an agreement with State National which will enable the carrier to offer specified lines of insurance on admitted paper across the US.

Canopius will be able to provide AM. Best rated A (Excellent) admitted paper - in addition to surplus lines Lloyd’s Syndicate 4444 paper - across its US ocean marine and US management and professional liability business.

The US marine team, which is headed by John Ellis, will be offering broad and bespoke coverage solutions, with tailored product offerings across all ocean marine lines of coverage, with a specific focus on hull and marine liabilities for primary and excess, as well as ocean cargo.

Meanwhile, the US management and professional lines team, which is led by Laurie Banez, has developed various proprietary products including its excess pact, excess policy; private pact, management liability package policies for private companies; and executive pact, public company directors’ and officers’ policy; addressing the various risk management needs for commercial and financial institution risks.

Canopius group CUO Mike Duffy said: “We’ve seen a lot of interest in these products since Laurie and John and their teams came on board. We’re really pleased that we can now capitalise on that interest by offering admitted paper through the State National Group of companies as well as Lloyd’s paper”

In September, it was announced that Canopius would once again become a standalone business after Japanese insurer Sompo Holdings has agreed to sell the Lloyd’s business to a private equity consortium led by Centerbridge Partners in a $952mn deal.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.

Everest Re extends Addesso’s contract until end of 2019

Everest Re has extended the employment agreement of president and CEO Dominic Addesso until the end of 2019.

Addesso became president of Everest Re in 2011, having been CFO from 2009. He then succeeded the previous CEO, Joseph Taranto in September 2012 and has held the position ever since.

In a previous extension that was granted in December 2015, Addesso's contract would have expired at the end of 2018.

Commenting on his extension, Addesso remarked: “I am honoured to have been asked to continue my role as president and CEO of Everest. With the support of our very strong executive team and Board, I look forward to continuing to build on the vision and strategy that drives Everest’s success.” 

Haegeli named as Swiss Re group chief economist

Swiss Re has named Jerome Jean Haegeli as group chief economist, succeeding Kurt Karl who is set to retire at the end of the year.

Haegeli will assume his new role on 1 January 2018 and will be responsible for guiding the company's economic research, associated forecasts and consulting, as well as accelerating Swiss Re's thought leadership in bolstering long-term investing and financial resilience.

He will report to Jeffrey Bohn, director of the Swiss Re Institute.

Haegeli succeeds current group chief economist Kurt Karl, who has held the role since 2011 and has served a total of 17 years at the company, having initially joined Swiss Re in 2000 as chief economist of the Americas, based in New York.

In his current role, Haegeli is Swiss Re's head of investment strategy at group asset management. He began his career at Swiss Re in 2008. Prior to joining the company he held senior roles at Bank Julius Baer, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Executive Board, the Swiss National Bank and UBS Warburg.

He is a member of a number of committees at the World Economic Forum, the Institute of International Finance and the European Financial Services Roundtable, with a special focus on long-term investment, infrastructure and financial resilience topics.

Bohn said: "We are excited to have Jerome joining the Swiss Re Institute as Group Chief Economist. He brings with him deep experience and expertise in financial markets, international economics and central bank policy. This background makes him well qualified to steer our macro-economic research agenda."

"He can build on the success and strong reputation of our economic research and consulting work. For these achievements, we would like to thank Kurt Karl – especially for his commitment and leadership as Group Chief Economist over the past six years."

Bohn added: "All our research plays a pivotal role in providing our clients with a differentiated service offering with the goal to support them in making informed decisions on how to steer their business in a fast changing insurance market environment."

Global cyber insurance market expected to grow to $17bn by 2023: P&S

The global cyber insurance market size could reach $17bn in premium by 2023, growing over 20 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) according to a new report by P&S Market Research Global.

Among all industries, the largest consumer of cyber insurance has been the banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector as these companies are more prone to cyber-attacks – contributing over 35 percent of global market share in 2016.

However, P&S said the retail and manufacturing industries will witness the fastest growth in cyber cover demand between 2017 and 2023, as a result of the numerous cyber challenges and risks such as digital supply chain management and online operations.

Loss of brand reputation from cyber-attacks has been cited as a primary reason by most of the industry leaders for the mainstream adoption of cyber insurance programs in their operations.

The trend of intrusion of unauthorized access entities into critical data and illegitimate access to private and confidential business information has risen along with the threat of cyber-crime, leading to a huge loss of enterprise value, which is expected to continue over a period of time, P&S said.

Over the last few years, cyber analysts have been tracking the rapid increase in criminalisation of the internet. They have identified that individual cyber criminals are uniting into international criminal groups to bolster the impact of their attacks against critical business data. The growing threat landscape has thus led to an increase in the awareness of and interest in cyber insurance, thereby escalating the growth of cyber insurance market globally.

The increasing interconnectivity, commercialization, and globalization of cybercrime are accelerating greater frequency and severity of cyber incidents which includes past data breach incidents, according to P&S, which it said has had a positive direct impact on the growth of the cyber insurance market. From individual companies to government organizations, an attack by hacker can inflict huge financial loss, corporate embarrassment, and business continuity failure.

The growth in demand for cyber cover by business leaders looking to protect enterprise data from cyber-attacks and cyber criminals will continue to encourage (re)insurance innovation and investment into new products as the industry adapts to meet the needs of the growing intangible asset economy.

According to P&S, some of the major companies in the growing cyber risk cover market include AIG, Chubb, Zurich, XL Group, Berkshire Hathaway, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty and Munich Re.

These competitors in the cyber insurance market have been investing in new product launches and strategies to suit the larger market and expand their offerings globally, P&S added.