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EC News (10th May 2018)

May 10, 2018

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Lloyd's, Swiss Re, Aon and more.

Lloyd's instructs underwriters to withdraw from NRA programmes

Lloyd’s has told underwriters to stop writing any programmes associated with the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).

The Corporation said that it had given “very careful consideration” as to whether Lloyd’s syndicates should continue to insure programmes offered, marketed, endorsed or otherwise made available through the NRA.

“This is now subject to an inquiry by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Therefore, Lloyd’s Corporation has decided to direct underwriters in the market to terminate any existing programmes of this type and not to enter into any new ones”, Lloyd’s said in a statement.

The move comes after insurance giant Chubb was fined $1.3mn by the DFS earlier this week for its involvement in an NRA ‘Carry Guard’ insurance programme, which a DFS investigation found “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners who may be charged with a crime involving legally possessed firearms”.

The Carry Guard programme provided coverage in any criminal proceeding brought against the policyholder or their family - including bail money, expenses incurred during the investigation and any defence costs.

Weinstein battles Chubb over legal defence cover

Harvey Weinstein has filed a counterclaim against Chubb for denying legal expense cover connected to alleged sexual assaults, according to reports.

In an 8 May report, Reuters said that lawyers for Weinstein, in a countersuit against Chubb - which is refusing to pay for Weinstein’s defence against several lawsuits that accuse him of sexually harassing or assaulting women over the past three decades - said that Weinstein has paid a group of Chubb insurers more than $1mn in premium for coverage designed to protect against “a wide variety of liability claims,” according to court documents filed on 7 May.

“Moreover, they promised to perform their defence obligations even if allegations against Mr. Weinstein proved to be groundless, false or fraudulent,” the Weinstein lawyers said in the document.

In February, Chubb sued Weinstein and asked New York State Supreme Court to issue a judgment declaring that the policies’ terms exclude defending charges in the lawsuits, specifically sexual assault, discrimination and intentional acts, according to Reuters.

Weinstein was one of Hollywood’s most influential men before more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct, including assault. He denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Units of Chubb have together issued 80 policies to Weinstein and his family between 1994 and 2018, including coverage for personal liability, Chubb reportedly said in its February suit.

That would normally cover legal costs to defend against claims of damage or injury caused accidentally, but the carrier said Weinstein’s conduct was intentional.

The policies include millions of dollars in “broad liability coverage,” $300,000 of “crisis assistance” coverage, and unlimited coverage for Weinstein’s legal defence, Weinstein’s lawyers said in the countersuit.

Talks between Softbank and Swiss Re faltering: reports

Softbank’s interest in acquiring a stake in Swiss Re is said to be waning, according to FT reports.

On 6 May, the FT said that talks between Swiss Re and SoftBank over an investment in the reinsurance company are close to collapsing after three months of discussions.

“People close to the situation say the Japanese company’s enthusiasm has waned in recent weeks,” the publication said.

This follows an earlier report from Bloomberg that SoftBank’s talks with Swiss Re had stalled due to disagreements on the price and size of the stake and how much management control would be handed to SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, citing sources close to the matter.

When news first broke of discussion between the two parties regarding a minority investment, it was reported that Japanese conglomerate was considering taking up to a third stake in the reinsurer, as well as seeking multiple seats on the board.

However, last month Swiss Re said that the stake was not expected to exceed 10 percent and that the two parties are exploring areas of potential strategic cooperation in parallel.

Speaking on the reinsurer’s first quarter media call last week, Swiss Re CFO John Dacey confirmed that discussions between the two companies were continuing and that the outcome was still open. He also said the company “was constantly in discussions with current and potential investors and with corporates and other groups about business ideas”, signalling that there could be wider investment interest aside from SoftBank.

Willis Re taps TransRe for global engineering deputy head

Willis Re has named Andrew Vince as deputy head of its global engineering practice.

Vince moves over to Willis Re from TransRe, where he most recently served as manager of engineering treaty and onshore energy. During his career, he has also held senior underwriting positions at Chaucer, GE Frankona Re, RSA.

Willis Re International CEO Tony Melia said Vince is a “major addition” to its global engineering practice.

“His extensive expertise and contacts in the engineering and construction arena will be invaluable in building Willis Re’s offer, at a time when global demand for (re)insurance solutions in construction and engineering is growing rapidly,” he added.

“We see huge growth potential in this vital specialist segment, and Andrew’s arrival will further enhance our market-leading position,” Melia concluded.

Aon names Lambrou as Chief Commercial Officer & CEO of Global Specialties

Aon has appointed Lambros Lambrou to the newly-created position of global chief commercial officer and CEO of Global Specialties for the broker’s commercial risk business.

Lambrou has held several positions with Aon internationally, most recently serving as CEO of Aon Risk Solutions Australia. Prior to that, Lambrou served as CEO of the Global Broking Centre in London and chief broking officer for Aon Risk Solutions EMEA. He has also held the position of global COO for Aon Broking, head of Aon Analytics and head of carrier management.

Commenting on the appointment, Aon Risk Solutions CEO Michael O’Connor said: “Global Specialties is a critical element of how we identify and address our clients’ most pressing needs.

“Lambrou has a strong international perspective and this together with his innovative mindset and understanding of the insurance marketplace will add significant value to our overall offering.”

Lambrou said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this new role at Aon. I very much look forward to working with my colleagues to accelerate the development of innovative solutions and services across a broader definition of risk that help our clients navigate through the unprecedented volatility and complexity we expect to see well into the future.”

Tokio Marine Group gets green light for Luxembourg base

Tokio Marine Group has received regulatory approval to establish a new subsidiary in Luxembourg as part of its plans to safeguard access to the EU following Brexit.

Tokio Marine Europe S.A., which has been authorised by the Commissariat aux Assurances (CAA) and the Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), will operate as a Tokio Marine HCC subsidiary in partnership with Tokio Marine Kiln.

Thibaud Hervy, currently chief underwriting officer for specialty lines at Tokio Marine HCC, has been appointed as the CEO of the company.

The new company is expected to be “operationally ready” in the second half of this year.

Tokio Marine Group said that its new base in the Grand Duchy will ensure that, regardless of the outcome of current Brexit negotiations, it will be able to continue servicing its clients in the European Economic Area (EEA) and offer them stability through a seamless transition.

Tokio Marine HCC International CEO Barry Cook said: "It is important that Tokio Marine Group ensures that the relevant steps are being taken to allow the business to continue to grow throughout Europe. Setting up the Luxembourg company is a crucial step to achieving this."

Charles Franks, CEO of Tokio Marine Kiln added: "Tokio Marine Europe S.A. will provide a long-term solution to the uncertain developments around Brexit, and the company will provide all brokers and coverholders with continued security and high service levels going forward."

Lloyd's CFO Parry to depart

Lloyd's has announced that its CFO John Parry will leave the Corporation after 17 years of service.

Parry joined Lloyd's in 2001, taking the reins as CFO in December 2014. He is a member of both the Lloyd's Board and Executive Committee.

In a statement, the Corporation said that Parry's leaving date has yet to be confirmed and it will begin the search process for his successor immediately.

Commenting on his departure, Lloyd's CEO Inga Beale said that Parry had made an "exceptional contribution" to Lloyd's Corporation and market.

"In a period of unparalleled change in the insurance industry, his knowledge, experience and great commitment to the Lloyd's market have earned him the respect of all those who work with him. I have very much enjoyed working with John and value the support he has given me. I wish him every success in the future," she said.

Meanwhile, Parry remarked: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Lloyd's and working for this great market. I have though decided that now is the right time to leave and look for new challenges. My passion for Lloyd's is undimmed and I am keen to ensure a smooth transition."