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EC News (22nd February 2018)

February 22, 2018

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Lloyd’s, Hamilton, SoftBank and more.

Lloyd’s reveals 27.7 percent gender pay gap

Lloyd’s has revealed that women earn on average 27.7 percent less than their male counterparts as the Corporation published its 2017 gender pay gap report.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the gross hourly earnings for all men and the gross hourly earnings for all women.

On a median basis, Lloyd’s reported that the pay gap was 32.1 percent. The mean bonus pay gap was 36.7 percent whilst the median bonus pay gap was 40.7 percent.

However, the percentage of female employees receiving a bonus is slightly higher than for men, at 87.3 percent versus 84.7 percent.

Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale said: "We know that access to senior roles has historically been limited by the culture of the insurance sector that was much less inclusive and welcoming than it is now.

"While there has been good progress, particularly over the past 30 years, progress is simply not happening fast enough. We must turn this situation around, not just to benefit women, but to benefit the whole sector."

Lloyd’s highlighted that one of the key drivers of the gender pay gap was that there was a higher proportion of men than women in senior roles across the Corporation. Although Lloyd's has a 50:50 gender balance spanning the executive committee, there is almost double the number of men (66.2 percent) than women (33.8 percent) in the highest paying quartile.

In the lowest paying quartile, this is reversed, with over twice the amount of women (66.2 percent) than men (33.8 percent).

Another driving force is that there is a higher proportion of women who work part-time. Lloyd’s said that part-time employees are more likely to experience slower career progression than those who work full time, which can impact remuneration.

Around 11 percent of Lloyd’s employees work part-time, of which 92 percent are women.

Beale said: “Reporting on our gender pay gap is an important step forward in tackling this long-standing and systemic issue. Lloyd’s already has in place a number of initiatives and policies to redress the gender imbalance, particularly in our talent pipeline. These include a senior management gender diversity target of at least 40 percent female and 40 percent male in the next five years. We also have policies that cover inclusive hiring practices, shared parental leave and that support working families.

“These steps are heading in the right direction, but it is clear that we need to expedite progress.” As well as the practices already in place, Lloyd’s outlined four 2018 objectives to reduce the gender pay gap over time, reaffirming that it is committed to closing the gender pay gap by working to increase the number of women taking up senior roles across the Corporation, and improve the gender and broader diversity balance across all levels.

“We will continue to highlight and take decisive action on closing the gender pay gap within the Lloyd’s Corporation, and act as a leader across the global insurance sector. Empowering our talent to fulfil their true potential is crucial to our future. We are committed to celebrating and seeking diversity in all its forms, guided by a gender balanced senior leadership that is as diverse as our global reach,” Beale concluded.

Departures at Hamilton Syndicate 3334 prompt underwriting reshuffle

Adrian Daws and Miles Osorio have been named joint active underwriters of Hamilton Underwriting Syndicate 3334 as part of a wider reshuffle of the underwriting team.

Daws currently serves as head of specialty at the syndicate whilst Osorio is head of direct & facultative property.

The appointments follow the resignation of active underwriter and head of treaty Trevor Carvey, with the firm noting that a search for a new head of treaty is currently underway.

Both Daws and Osorio will report directly to Hamilton Underwriting CEO Dermot O’Donohoe.

Meanwhile, head of space Sima Adhya will assume the additional responsibility of deputy active underwriter and will report to Daws.

Adhya's new role follows the announcement that previous deputy active underwriter Stuart Quinlan has resigned.

Commenting on the changes O’Donohoe said: “Recent changes in the leadership of our underwriting team have presented us with an opportunity to leverage the talent, hard work and commitment at Hamilton,”

We have significant bench strength, and it wasn’t difficult to determine where the skills of our underwriters align with our plans for growth and development.

He added: “Trevor has given us six months’ notice so we’re going to have the benefit of his counsel during the transition period. This will ensure a smooth transition for our brokers and clients and will give those receiving promotions a chance to adjust to their new responsibilities in a timely fashion.

“I want to extend our appreciation to Stuart for his contribution to Hamilton during a period of rapid growth. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Kanye West settles $10mn lawsuit against Lloyd’s carriers

Kanye West has settled his $10mn lawsuit against a number of Lloyd’s contingency insurers over cancelled tour dates, according to reports.

Howard King, the attorney for West’s touring company, told Rolling Stone “the dispute has been amicably resolved.”

West cancelled the final 21 tour dates of his Saint Pablo tour after he fell ill in November 2016. He then checked into a psychiatric centre at UCLA. Two days later, West and his touring company Very Good Touring then filed the $10mn lawsuit against Lloyd’s, alleging that it had not fulfilled its loss claim for the tour.

West's suit claimed that Lloyd's had not paid the claim nor rejected it. The lawsuit alleged that West's insurers and their agents "purposely and maliciously" disseminated "privileged, private and personal information" about West to the press in an effort to undercut his claim.

The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. According to TMZ, West received most of what was due under the policy.

SoftBank seeking board seats at Swiss Re: reports

Ongoing discussions between SoftBank and Swiss Re include Softbank taking “multiple” board seats in the Swiss reinsurer, the FT has reported.

It was recently revealed that Swiss Re is in advanced talks to sell SoftBank as much as a $10bn stake in the reinsurer, almost a third of its near $34bn market capitalisation.

Swiss Re confirmed that it has been in “preliminary discussions with SoftBank Group Corp. regarding a potential minority investment in Swiss Re,” but said at the time that the talks are at a very early stage and that there is no guarantee that any investment will be agreed upon.

The FT recently reported the discussions between the two are ongoing, with a meeting between Swiss Re chairman Walter Kielholz and SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son likely to occur in the next few weeks.

One of the items said to be up for discussion is “multiple” board seats, as SoftBank seeks an element of control from such a major investment.

The FT states that SoftBank wants board seats to “influence how the reinsurer manages its $161bn in investments.”

The FT says that the discussions are focused on SoftBank taking a 20 percent to 30 percent stake, with multiple board seats, becoming an anchor investor in Swiss Re. The deal would be funded by the company, not SoftBank’s investment fund.

UBS is said to be working on the deal, facilitating the discussions for SoftBank, whilst Credit Suisse is assisting Swiss Re.

BMS makes trio of new hires for energy division launch 

BMS Group has launched a new energy division with the appointment of three senior energy brokers.

James Chicken has been named managing director of the division, while Charlie Bowring takes on the role of chairman. Sebastian Graham joins as a director.

Chicken joins BMS following a 15-year career at Price Forbes, most recently a director leading the downstream energy, power and renewables practice. During his time at the broker, he developed and managed a global wholesale account heavily focussed on the US, but recently expanded the geographic footprint of the account beyond the region to the to EMEA and Asia Pacific markets.

Chicken is joined by fellow Price Forbes colleague Bowring, who served as a director since 2010. For the last two decades, Bowring has specialised in the downstream energy and power markets. He began his career as a broker with CT Bowring Reinsurance Brokers and has worked in London and New York with Marsh and was also a founder member of Agnew, Higgins & Pickering.

Meanwhile, Graham joins from Miller Insurance Services where he specialised in power & utilities, renewable energy, midstream and downstream energy.

The new division will report to BMS Group board director Ian Gormley and all three appointees will join upon completion of contractual obligations.

BMS Group CEO Nick Cook said: “The development of a new energy division led by some of the market’s leading practitioners is a strategic investment for BMS as we continue to achieve significant growth in our core markets in the US and internationally. We fully expect the division to expand in the relatively near term as we invest further to bring additional expertise on board for the benefit of our growing client base.”

Lloyds to launch Innovation Lab

Lloyd’s has announced that it is launching an Innovation Lab in the second half of 2018 that will focus on designing technology-driven solutions to meet the unique and rapidly changing needs of the Lloyd’s market.

The Corporation said that the Innovation Lab will enable new concepts and ideas to be tested in a fast-track, fast-fail environment with the support and active involvement of Lloyd’s market participants, adding that it will be appointing an external partner firm to assist in setting up and running the lab.

Commenting on the launch, Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale said: “There are a host of advanced technological solutions involving data analytics and artificial intelligence that enable a better understanding and predictability of risk. By creating a Lloyd’s Innovation Lab, designed to bring in creative talent from around the world to work in partnership with Lloyd’s businesses and the Corporation, we can ensure the market continues to innovate as the world moves into an increasingly digital, data-driven future.”

Lloyd’s chief commercial officer Vincent Vandendael added: “Following the creation of the Innovation team under Trevor Maynard, the Innovation Lab represents a significant next step in driving a cohesive yet nimble approach to idea generation and implementation for the benefit of the Lloyd’s market.”

AFL bolsters wholesale property team

AFL has expanded its wholesale property team with the appointment of Barry Rowland and Chris Cavani.

Prior to joining AFL as director of P&C, Rowland was a facilities and binder partner at JLT Re.

Meanwhile, Cavani joins the carrier from Alston Gayler where he served as head of property and will become a director in AFL’s property practice.

Commenting on the appointments, AFL chairman Toby Esser said: “We are delighted to welcome Barry and Chris to the growing AFL team. They bring rich insurance experience spanning almost 50 years combined, and have excellent relationships with the London market as well as internationally, particularly in North America.

“I believe 2018 will be a year of significant change for the P&C business, with fresh opportunities for independents like AFL to present a real alternative as choice becomes more limited elsewhere. We look forward to further growing our presence in this space.”

AFL launched a new wholesale property practice in October 2017 with the appointment of Lockton’s Neil Crouch to lead the division.