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EC News (6th September 2018)

September 06, 2018

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Scor, Markel, Swiss Re and more.

Scor opposes takeover offer by Covéa

Scor’s board of directors have unanimously opposed a proposal from French mutual insurance company Covéa offering to acquire a majority stake in Scor as “it is fundamentally incompatible with their strategy of independence.”

Scor has confirmed that on 24 August 2018, Covéa sent a letter to Scor proposing to initiate discussions relating to a project which would see Covéa acquiring a majority stake in Scor’s share capital and voting rights.

On 30 August 2018, Scor’s board of directors reviewed the terms and conditions of the unsolicited proposal in detail and determined it would jeopardize the group's strong value-creating strategy and that it reflects neither the intrinsic value nor the strategic value of Scor.

Scor’s board of directors has reaffirmed its complete trust in its management to continue to create value.

According to an official statement Scor therefore “reaffirms its independence and acknowledges Covéa's decision to withdraw its proposal on a potential combination.”

Markel to acquire Nephila to become largest manager of ILS funds

Markel Corporation is to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Nephila Holdings, the largest manager of catastrophe and weather insurance and reinsurance linked investment funds in the world.

The combined entities will represent some 20 percent of the ILS sector and Markel will also become the largest manager of funds in this sector.

Nephila manages $12.2bn of assets under management (AuM) for a geographically diverse investor base of more than 300 investors. The combination of Nephila and the specialty insurance and reinsurance platforms and operations of Markel, is expected to result in a powerful entity that will drive long-term growth and bring value to the companies’ investors.

Nephila Capital will continue to operate as a separate business unit following completion of the deal, which remains subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The management team, led by co-CEO’s Greg Hagood and Frank Majors, is to remain in place and will continue to be based in Bermuda, San Francisco, CA, Nashville, TN and London.

CEO of Markel, Richie Whitt, said: “We are excited to welcome Nephila to the Markel team. Frank Majors and Greg Hagood have built the industry’s pre-eminent and longest-tenured insurance-linked securities manager. With a proven 20 year track record of success, they bring with them an incredibly experienced and talented management team and a culture of creativity, innovation and excellence that exemplifies the Markel Style.

“The addition of Nephila to Markel’s insurance, reinsurance, insurtech, fronting, and existing insurance-linked securities capabilities will enhance and strengthen the breadth and depth of Markel’s offerings to policyholders, producers and investors.”

Majors added: “We are delighted to be joining Markel, a company with a similar culture, strategic outlook and long-term focus. They have built a great company with a sterling reputation for both outstanding performance and a collaborative business approach, and have a proven track record of successful acquisitions.

“Markel shares our strategic vision for the future of the insurance markets; this transaction will allow us to accelerate our delivery of that strategy, creating additional value for our investors and our trading partners. We are looking forward to working with the Markel team, and are excited by the possibilities from our combined strengths.”

Hagood said: “As the industry continues to evolve, we believe the resources and expertise from both platforms will provide meaningful benefits to our investor base, as it combines the investment independence of a 20 year, stand-alone insurance-linked securities manager with the additional resources of a well-respected and strongly rated insurer.  We are excited about leveraging these joint resources on behalf of our investors in the years ahead.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth-quarter of this year, and is not subject to any financing condition, and Markel plans to finance the transaction using cash balances on hand.

Swiss Re’s CEO for UKI to step down

Swiss Re has announced that Frank O’Neill, current CEO for UK & Ireland (UKI), has decided to step down from his position, to pursue an opportunity outside the company.

Peter Elliott, the current head of life & health UKI has been appointed CEO UKI while the company carry out a search to find O’Neill’s successor.

O'Neill joined Swiss Re in 1998 and worked in a range of increasing senior roles spanning many Swiss Re markets including the regional head for South East Asia, client executive for key North American clients in the global team, the head of Africa and the Middle East. He was named CEO of Swiss Re UK in 2016, one of the group's largest business units.

Russell Higginbotham, CEO reinsurance EMEA at Swiss Re commented: "I would like to thank Frank for his tremendous commitment and contribution to Swiss Re over the last 20 years. We wish him every success in his future endeavours."

Everest appoints Vandendael as international CEO

Everest Insurance, the specialty insurance division of Everest Re Group, has named Vincent Vandendael as CEO of Everest Insurance International.

Based in London, Vandendael will lead all facets of the Everest Insurance operations outside of North America and will join the Everest Insurance global leadership team.

He will report to Jonathan Zaffino, president and CEO of Everest Insurance. 

Vandendael boasts twenty-eight years of diversified global insurance experience to his role. Before joining Everest, Vandendael was chief commercial officer at Lloyd’s of London where he was responsible for all business development.

He also led Lloyd’s global network, which extends to 31 offices that support Lloyd’s licences to operate in over 200 territories worldwide and has been instrumental in establishing Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary, which is due to open in 2019 ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union, according to a corporate statement.

Prior to joining Lloyd’s in 2012, Vandendael spent seventeen years at Zurich Insurance Company, most recently serving as CEO Global Corporate, Asia Pacific.

Zaffino commented: "We are pleased to welcome Vincent to Everest. Attracting world class talent such as Vincent is a hallmark of the Everest Insurance strategy. Vincent’s unique and truly global experiences, particularly throughout Asia and Europe, coupled with his outstanding industry reputation and relationships, will serve to further strengthen the Everest Insurance capabilities outside of North America.

Vincent will have management responsibility for our London operation, Everest’s Lloyd’s syndicate 2786, Everest Insurance Ireland dac, and will lead our further global expansion. Bringing someone of Vincent’s caliber and expertise to our seasoned team of industry veterans furthers our ability to execute upon our strategy of building the premier modern era specialty global insurer."

Tokio Marine appoints global head of cyber risk

Tokio Marine Holdings (TMH) has appointed Daljitt Barn to the newly created role of global head of cyber risk.

Based in London, Barn is responsible for the continued development of Tokio Marine Group’s cyber strategy assisting with cyber risk quantification and control, as well as innovation and partnership opportunities.

He joins the company from Munich Re where he most recently served as head of cyber innovation and consulting services and was instrumental in setting up the cyber team within corporate underwriting, creating a Munich Re-wide cyber community and developing the group-wide cyber insurance strategy, according to a company statement.

Before this he was cyber director at PwC where he built and managed the cyber risk team in the insurance and investment management sectors.

Kuni Fujii, TM Group CRO, said: “We are delighted that Daljitt has joined the Tokio Marine Group. Cyber risk presents the insurance industry with both an opportunity and a threat and he will be critical to Tokio Marine as we continue to develop our presence and understanding in this important area.”

Barn added: “This truly is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get started at Tokio Marine Holdings. The global brand and market reputation are second to none, and I look forward to working closely with the cyber insurance and cyber risk teams to further develop a secure platform for success.”

Guy Carpenter appoints head of strategy and client engagement

Guy Carpenter has appointed Shaun Sinniah as head of strategy and client engagement for its international and global specialties divisions, with effect from October.

Based in London, Sinniah will work with heads of business across these divisions to help deliver on strategic priorities and to ensure full delivery of the suite of Guy Carpenter services to clients.

He will report to James Nash, president, international and Kevin Fisher, president, global specialties.

Sinniah joins the company from Willis Re, where he served as managing director, sales and client management.

He joined the firm in 2012, having previously been a consultant at Willis. Before this, Sinniah was an associate at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, having started at the company in 2005.

Commenting on the appointment, Nash said: “Shaun is a fantastic addition to the team and brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of client engagement. In his new role, he will work closely with myself and Kevin to drive forward a number of client-centric initiatives and product-focused developments that will serve to boost our service delivery capabilities and create opportunities to expand existing client relationships and secure new ones.”

Fisher added: “At Guy Carpenter, we are always working to enhance levels of collaboration with our clients and create a much more connected relationship that helps ensure we can exploit the full range of our capabilities to meet their unique requirements. Our value proposition is an extremely strong one, but there are always ways to make it stronger and Shaun will play a central role in helping us secure these.”

Canopius partners with Anvil Underwriting

Canopius has signed an underwriting partnership with credit and political risk managing general agent (MGA) Anvil Underwriting, effective from 3 September.

Anvil will underwrite credit insurance, contract frustration and political risks on behalf of Canopius.

The partnership enables Canopius to provide policy limits of up to US$25mn and tenor of up to ten years for contract frustration and up to US$15mn and tenor of maximum seven years for trade and non-trade credit risk.

Bernie de Haldevang, head of specialty at Canopius commented: “This agreement provides a great opportunity for Canopius and Anvil to provide a complementary means to access the credit and political risk market and will allow us to show a nuanced risk appetite. I am delighted that we now have this agreement up and running, and encouraged by the interest that Anvil has already been seeing across the market. The agreement is now in force and we look forward to providing the market with increased flexibility and underwriting expertise.”

Navaid Farooq, managing director at Anvil said: “Through this partnership with Canopius we can deliver cover for more credit and contract frustration risks as well as political risks, offering significant benefit to our clients. Through this arrangement Canopius will cover 100 percent of the risks for Anvil’s clients and be able to build a high quality book.”

NewRe appoints new CUO for P&C business

NewRe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Munich Re, has appointed Artur Klinger as its new chief underwriting officer (CUO) for the property and casualty (P&C) business, succeeding Jean-Luc Bourgault who is retiring at the end of next year.

Klinger was most recently managing director of Capital Partners in Zurich, responsible for the group’s global prospective reinsurance structuring teams.

NewRe said the appointment is part of the firm’s strategy to create intense collaboration with brokers on standard P&C reinsurance and reinforces its advanced transaction capabilities to develop customised reinsurance solutions.

The company will continue to write significant lines of treaty excess of loss with a preference for natural perils and motor exposures. The reinsurer foresees further growth in public schemes and in defined casualty classes.

Bourgault, who held the position for 17 years, will continue to serve the company as senior consultant until his retirement.

CEO of NewRe, Renate Strasser said: “I am delighted that we have not only secured a successor whose business acumen is impressive but also brings along deep knowledge of the NewRe portfolio and the core markets and products we focus on.”

Klinger commented: “I am very pleased to be taking on profit responsibility for a significant reinsurance player. I am looking forward to bringing my analytical and global business development experience to the table to shape NewRe’s future P&C portfolio.”