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EC News (30th August 2018)

August 30, 2018

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from LMA, Apollo, Canopius and more.

LMA appoints Sheila Cameron as CEO

The Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) has appointed Sheila Cameron as its next CEO, succeeding David Gittings who will be stepping down at the end of the year after 12 years in the role.

Cameron is currently serving as the head of international operations at Navigators Underwriting where she is responsible for leading all operational and change management activity within Navigators International, which includes its Lloyd’s business together with its global platforms in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Cameron is chairman of the LMA Operations Committee and a member of the Target Operating Model board.

Before joining Navigators, Cameron was director of group operations at Hiscox and held a number of roles at Xchanging, including COO of Xchanging’s claims business. She started her career at Accenture.

Speaking of her appointment Cameron said: “I am honoured and excited to lead the LMA, building on David’s immense work. The LMA plays a crucial role in making the market a better place for all its participants. I look forward to working together with Lloyd’s on the evolution of its strategy, a renewed focus on our customers and the delivery of market modernisation.”

LMA chairman Neil Maidment commented: “David has worked successfully over many years to ensure that the interests of market firms have been effectively represented and we will be sorry to see him go. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of our members for all he has achieved. Sheila’s background and experience in the London Market will be invaluable in driving the LMA’s agenda forward. The board very much looks forward to working with her.”

Apollo to buy Aspen for $2.6bn

Alternative investment manager Apollo is acquiring Aspen Insurance Holdings for $2.6bn and is taking the insurer private.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Aspen’s board of directors, the Apollo Funds will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Aspen for $42.75 per share in cash, representing an equity value of approximately $2.6bn.

Alex Humphreys, partner at Apollo said: “We are tremendously excited for the Apollo Funds to acquire Aspen,”

He added: “We believe that Aspen benefits from strong underwriting talent, specialized expertise and longstanding client relationships which makes them well positioned in the market. We look forward to working with Aspen to build on the existing high-quality specialty insurance and reinsurance business and we aim to leverage Apollo’s resources and deep expertise in financial services to support the company as it embarks on its next chapter.”

Glyn Jones, chairman of Aspen’s board of directors, commented: “This transaction, which is the outcome of a thorough strategic review by Aspen’s board of directors, provides shareholders with immediate value and will allow Aspen to work with an investor that has substantial expertise and a successful track record in the re/insurance industry.”

Chris O’Kane, Aspen’s Group CEO, said: “This transaction is a testament to the strength of Aspen’s franchise, the quality of our business and the talent and expertise of our people. Under the ownership of the Apollo Funds, Aspen will have additional scale and access to Apollo’s investment and strategic guidance, which will help us to accelerate our strategy and take Aspen to the next level. We are excited about the future as we embark on a new chapter in our history with a partner that understands our strengths, culture and customer-centric philosophy.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019. Upon completion of the deal, Aspen will be a privately held portfolio company of the Apollo Funds and Aspen’s ordinary shares will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Canopius bolsters specialty unit with new appointment

Canopius has named Sean Redden as underwriting counsel for its specialty division.

Redden joins Canopius from Chubb Insurance where he was global political risk and credit claims manager, supporting a worldwide credit and political risk underwriting team. Prior to this, he was legal and claims counsel for Aspen Insurance UK.

Based in London Redden will report to Canopius head of specialty, Bernie de Haldevang, and support Canopius’ specialty underwriting team, specifically focussing on credit and political risk.

In his new role, Redden will help reduce operational risk, increase efficiency and enhance client support in loss mitigation and potential claims scenarios. He will further assist in managing the legal aspects of debt restructuring and refinancing.

De Haldevang said: “Canopius is committed to offering a first class and comprehensive underwriting service to our clients and brokers, and Sean will play a vital role in delivering on that promise. Attracting an industry leader with a career as impressive as Sean’s is testament to the organisation we are building at Canopius and I am looking forward to working closely with him again.”

Beat Capital to merge with Paraline UK

Beat Capital Partners and Paraline UK are merging in a move designed to "enhance and further build Beat’s platform to support independent underwriting businesses".

Following the merger Paraline Group will join Neon Holdings Ltd as Beat’s strategic investment partner.

In addition, Paraline’s John Struck and Bruce Schnitzer will join Beat’s board of directors, which is to be chaired by former CEO of Willis Re, John Cavanagh.

Beat will also have a new chief financial officer (CFO), Paul Rayner, the active underwriter of Syndicate 4242 and a Paraline Group director.

Paraline’s £110mn Lloyd’s Syndicate 4242 is managed by Asta, a third-party managing agent at the specialist Lloyd’s of London insurance and reinsurance marketplace.

Beat currently has two investments, including cyber insurer Tarian and specialty reinsurance underwriter Chord Re. The underwriting support for both facilities is led by Neon Syndicate 2468.

Co-founder of Beat, Tom Milligan, commented: “Beat has grown rapidly since its formation in 2017. This deal gives us access to a second Lloyd’s platform alongside Neon 2468 that benefits our existing investee companies and enhances our offering to proven lead underwriters who have the ambition to build their own business. We are delighted to partner with Paraline, who have a track record of successful insurance investment.”

Schnitzer added: “This transaction is a great move for our business. It brings together a talented group of established insurance leaders and a powerful shareholder group with a shared, long-term vision.”

Group CEO of Neon, Martin Reith, said: “As a founder investor in Beat, we are thrilled to be partnering with Paraline Group in the next stage of Beat’s evolution.”

THB appoints Durkan as head of UK Risk Solutions business

Specialist insurance and reinsurance broker THB has hired Declan Durkan as managing director of its UK Risk Solutions, the company’s wholesale broking operation that places UK risks on behalf of 1,300 brokers.

Durkan joined THB in 2017 as commercial placement director. Before this he held a variety of senior roles at the likes of; JLT, Marsh, and Arthur J. Gallagher spanning a 25-year career.

In his new role, Durkan will be responsible for delivering THB’s broad range of insurances to UK brokers.

He will report directly to Darren Nightingale, CEO of THB’s marine, energy & transportation (MET) divisions.

Nightingale said: “Appointing a managing director dedicated solely to promoting all our UK classes is a first for THB and demonstrates our commitment to providing meaningful support to Britain’s retail brokers,”

Adding: “We’re a Top 10 Lloyd’s contributor with expert broking teams built over 50 years, and while we’ve long been a recognised force in wholesale motor fleet we’re now bringing our market power and experience to bear in supporting UK brokers with our strongest ever proposition,”

Speaking of his appointment, Durkan commented: “I’m delighted to be leading a strong and experienced team – boosted recently by the appointment of two more business development managers – to assist our retail broking partners in developing new revenue opportunities and supporting them with the placement of both common and complex risks.

“We’re offering not only our THB UK Risk Solutions teams’ expertise across commercial, property, liability, fleet, and professional and financial classes including cyber liability, but also for the first time we will formally work together with our specialist marine, energy and transportation teams including aviation, all of which cater for UK risks.

“Plus we’re building a bigger portfolio of schemes and online options making it quicker and easier than ever for our brokers to meet their clients’ needs. We want THB to be our brokers’ first choice for all their UK risks.”

Axis Insurance names Hamilton as global head of A&H

Axis Insurance, a subsidiary of Axis Capital Holdings, has appointed James Hamilton to the newly-created role of global head of accident & health (A&H), effective immediately.

Hamilton joined Axis in 2010 as executive vice president and CEO, North America Insurance for the company’s A&H unit.

The Chicago-based role will see Hamilton lead Axis Insurance’s A&H business in the US and international markets. He will report to Axis Insurance CEO Peter Wilson.

Before joining Axis, Hamilton spent a decade at Chubb, where he was responsible for the firm’s North American A&H business. He was previously VP of CNA’s Group Accident Insurance and Reinsurance product lines in the US and Canada.

Commenting on the appointment, Wilson said: “Jay has built a strong reputation within the A&H insurance market and is a trusted partner to many of our most strategic A&H brokers and clients,”

He added: “His appointment to global head of A&H insurance reaffirms our commitment to ensuring we remain a valued partner to our clients and brokers in the A&H insurance market. We look forward to the leadership contributions Jay will make in this new role.”

Acord simplifies testing process for Data Standards trading partners

Acord, the industry data standards body, has announced plans to simplify the process of connecting trading partners that use Acord Standards by enhancing the capabilities of its Test Harness.

The enhanced testing process will involve expanding the number of scenarios available in the testing environment, and will make it easier to connect businesses using Acord Standards for the first time, or for those upgrading to newer versions.

The existing model for Acord’s peer to peer acceptance testing requires all parties to run a series of tests bilaterally for every upgrade, but the new process will mean brokers and carriers can complete those scenarios just once, instead of having to repeat the exercise for every electronic partner.

Acord worked with the Ruschlikon community to develop a number of its test scenarios, so that they can be run against the Test Harness with enhanced capabilities.

Chris Newman, managing director of Acord in London said: “More and more insurance businesses are realising the benefits of adopting ACORD Data Standards, generating efficiencies and reducing friction at every stage of the insurance value chain, from quoting, binding, issuing of policies right through to claims handling and payments.

“But the process of connecting with a large number of trading partners across the re/insurance community, especially when upgrading to new standards, can be complex and time-consuming.”

“We want to do everything we can to make that easier for them, and the improved testing environment will significantly lower the cost and effort required,”

Simon Squires, senior operations lead UK & Ireland; international & premium collections at XL Catlin and chair of the Ruschlikon Steering Group, said: “The Ruschlikon initiative has a large community of more than 50 members and, as it continues to increase in size, the volume of tests required also increases exponentially.

“Up to now, every time we needed to run a test we had to repeat it with every one of our electronic partners, which required a significant allocation of resources. With the new additions we will be able to complete those scenarios just once rather than multiple times, making it cheaper, easier and more efficient for everyone involved.”