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EC News (11th October 2018)

October 11, 2018

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

Lloyd’s pledges to honour claims in event of ‘hard’ Brexit

Lloyd’s has committed to paying “all valid claims” even if Britain exits the European Union without a transitional deal in place.

In a statement, Lloyd’s said that it is working on transferring all European Economic Area (EEA) business to its Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary – which is authorised to write all EEA risks from 1 January 2019 - before the end of 2020 via a Part VII transfer.

“In the event that the UK leaves the European Union before then with no transition or implementation period, Lloyd’s underwriters will continue to honour their contractual commitments including the payment of valid claims,” the statement said.

The Corporation said that it expects European regulators to support this approach as it “goes to the heart of treating customers fairly.”

“In the event that it does not, Lloyd’s will direct its underwriters, or take such other steps, to ensure that contractual commitments are met in full whilst the transfer is being completed,” it said.

It added that it has the “full support ” of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The announcement comes just days after outgoing Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale told the BBCthat the Corporation was accelerating its Brexit contingency plans, which include contract transfers to its new subsidiary in Brussels, due to a growing concern that the UK will leave the European Union in 2019 in a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

RFIB taps Aon’s Jenkin as client solutions MD

RFIB has appointed Elizabeth Jenkin as managing director of client solutions for the group.

She joins the Lloyd’s (re)insurance broker following nearly two decades at Aon, where she most recently served as chief broking officer for the EMEA region.

Jenkin boasts 24 years of industry experience, beginning her (re)insurance career in underwriting at Euler Hermes before turning her hand to broking and holding a string of positions during her tenure at Aon including head of international business and chief commercial officer.

Commenting on the appointment, RFIB chief executive Steven Beard said: “I am very pleased to welcome Elizabeth to RFIB. Elizabeth joins us at an exciting time as we look to double the revenues across the group. Appointing someone of Elizabeth’s calibre enhances our ongoing commitment to broaden our capabilities and the services we provide to clients.”

Jenkin added: “Strong, independent, innovative brokers are a vital part of the insurance community and I am looking forward to working with the team to build and grow on their excellent reputation.

“How can we do this? By continually asking ourselves ‘is there a better way to get the best outcome for our clients?’ By asking this simple question across all facets of the business we can pursue RFIB’s goals of being a thriving, successful, entrepreneurial company that makes a difference for its customers and employees globally.”

Aviva CEO to depart

Mark Wilson has stepped down as CEO of Aviva after more than five years in the role.

Wilson will remain with the group until April 2019 and will assist with the planned and orderly transition.

Wilson was drafted into the UK insurer as CEO at the beginning of 2013 to spearhead the turnaround of the company. 

However, with the turnaround deemed successfully completed, the board and executive have declared that it is now “time for new leadership to take the group to the next phase of its development”.

Aviva said that the search for a successor will commence immediately, with internal and external candidates being considered, and expects the process to be completed within the next four months.

In a statement, Aviva said that under Wilson’s leadership the carrier has been reshaped to significantly improve its financial performance and balance sheet strength.  

“During the turnaround phase, the group has been streamlined from 28 markets to 14, grown operating profit, and strengthened the balance sheet with a Solvency II surplus of £11bn as at 30 June 2018. The group has focused on areas of competitive strength and invested in new initiatives such as digital,” it said.

During the search for Wilson’s successor, Aviva’s non-executive chairman Sir Adrian Montague will assume executive responsibilities and lead a chairman’s committee of the three executive directors: Andy Briggs (CEO of UK insurance), Thomas Stoddard (CFO) and Maurice Tulloch (CEO of international insurance).

Following the appointment of a new CEO, Montague will revert to the role of non-executive chairman of Aviva.

Montague said: “The Board would like to thank Mark for what he has achieved in his six years at Aviva.  He leaves the group in a far stronger state than when he joined. Aviva is now financially strong and delivering solid earnings growth.

“There is much further to go in accelerating our strategic development and enhancing shareholder value. We have agreed with Mark this is the right time for a new leader to ensure Aviva delivers to its full potential. Our priority is to ensure, with our new chief executive, that we have the right strategy, focus, capabilities and leadership.”

Wilson added: “When I joined Aviva, the company was in poor health. Aviva is very different today. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve and now it’s time for me to move on to new things. It has been an honour to lead Aviva through this period of immense change.  I am happy I leave the company in a strong position from which it can thrive.”

Ascot’s Brooks named LMA chair

The London Market Association (LMA) has selected Andrew Brooks, CEO of Ascot Underwriting, as its next chairman. 

Brooks, who has served on the LMA Board as a member since 2012, will succeed Beazley’s Neil Maidment, who will be retiring as chairman of the trade body at the end of the year.

He will take on the position from 1 January 2019 and will work alongside Sheila Cameron, who begins her role as LMA CEO next year.

Brooks said: “I am honoured to be appointed LMA chairman and will seek to build on Neil’s successful work in ensuring that the LMA effectively represents the interests of Lloyd’s managing agents.

“I am looking forward to working with Sheila Cameron to influence Lloyd’s strategy on behalf of the LMA membership. I am also keen to see market modernisation delivered effectively and for the LMA to continue to play a vital role providing technical support to the underwriting community.”

Meanwhile, outgoing LMA CEO David Gittings remarked: “I am delighted to welcome Andrew as our new chairman. With around 30 years’ experience within the Lloyd’s market, and six years as an LMA board member, he is well placed to lead the LMA board so as to best serve the interests of our members.”

“I would like to thank Neil Maidment for his vital contribution as a board member since 2011, including his three-year tenure as our chairman, and also for his contribution to the market.”

Travelers partners with Amazon to provide smart home solutions

US-listed carrier Travelers has teamed up with e-commerce giant Amazon to offer smart home kits and discounted home insurance policies through a digital storefront.

The smart home kits will be offered at discounted prices for Travelers customers in participating states in the US and are designed to help protect homeowners from some of the most common causes of loss.

Eligible Travelers home insurance customers will also receive a discount on their policy with the purchase of a smart home kit.

Consumers interested in a home insurance quote will be directed from the Travelers storefront on Amazon to the company’s website or to an independent insurance agent.

On the partnership, Travelers chairman and CEO Alan Schnitzer said: “This is an exciting example of Travelers executing on our innovation agenda to be the undeniable choice for the customer and an indispensable partner for our agents and brokers.”

Michael Klein, executive vice president and president of personal insurance, commented: “Smart home technology is making it easier for all of us to monitor our homes and help protect us from some of the most common causes of damage.”

“Our Amazon digital storefront conveniently brings together smart home devices, installation services, discounts and insurance knowledge in one central location to help our customers and agents manage risk and take a more proactive approach to home safety.”

Klein added: “We continually look for innovative ways to help our agents grow their business, and we’re thrilled that this collaboration with Amazon will give them another way to differentiate themselves and Travelers in the marketplace.”

Willis Towers Watson appoints Thomson-Hall as CEEMEA head

Willis Towers Watson has named Pamela Thomson-Hall as the head of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEEMEA) region.

Concurrently, Thomson-Hall has also been appointed as head of corporate risk and broking (CRB) for the CEEMEA region. She begins both roles with immediate effect and is based in London.

In her new position, she will be responsible for driving business growth across a diverse geographic region of more than 40 countries, with a focus on client engagement and innovation. 

Meanwhile, her CRB role will involve setting strategic and operational direction for an extensive and established network of risk advisory and broking businesses.

Thomson-Hall has been with Willis Towers Watson for nearly 20 years, most recently serving as managing director of international. She initially joined the firm as general counsel for the international region of Willis, a position she held for almost 15 years, before leading the teams involved in the acquisition and integration of major French broker Gras Savoye. She then became chief of staff for the international region of Willis Towers Watson.

She is also chair of Willis Towers Watson’s international council for inclusion and diversity.

Adam Garrard, head of international at Willis Towers Watson, commented: “Pamela is a proven leader who brings dynamism, global experience and strategic vision to this diverse and complex region. We see a lot of potential for growth in the many different markets of CEEMEA, and Pamela’s role is to ensure that clients and prospects, both local and multinational, understand what we are truly capable of.”

Thomson-Hall remarked: “Having worked for many years at Willis Towers Watson across this broad geographical area, with our extensive African footprint and insurance distribution network, I am delighted to be leading this extraordinary team of dynamic and experienced colleagues in the delivery of our combined value proposition to our local and multinational clients."

SSL Endeavour strengthens property team

Specialist Lloyd’s broker SSL Endeavour has expanded its property team with the addition of two new brokers.

Caroline Devane joins the firm as director for property and specialty lines, having spent nearly 15 years at Bell & Clements where she began her career and subsequently rose to become a senior broker responsible for placing and managing a portfolio of commercial property and specialty lines business.

Meanwhile, Geoff Rowland has been appointed as director for property. He joins SSL Endeavour from Aon Risk Solutions where he was a director responsible for developing, placing and coordinating a suite of property facilities into the London Market. Prior to Aon, he was at RK Harrison, where he specialised in North American Property business.

Commenting on the hires, SSL Endeavour co-chairman David Lawrence said: “We are very pleased that two such well-respected producing brokers, with strong relationships in the market and solid experience, are joining our growing team. 

“Global property and specialty lines are highly competitive, and only brokers bringing true value and insight to the process will thrive. Geoff and Caroline demonstrate the expert problem-solving, innovative approach that the London Market champions, and we are delighted to welcome them to SSL Endeavour.”

SSL Endeavour Group CEO David Lawrence added: “Following the milestone SSL Endeavour merger, Caroline and Geoff will further enhance our property and specialty offering as a combined business. 

“We look for proactive team players with an ability to take the initiative, entrepreneurial spirit and a proven strong track record in new business development as well as management of existing accounts, and they both fit the bill perfectly.”

AGCS reorganises alternative risk transfer business

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is set to restructure its Alternative Risk Transfer (ART) business, splitting it into two separate units.

From 1 November, the insurance-linked markets team will become a standalone line of business known as Capital Solutions. It will be led by ART’s current chief underwriting officer (CUO) Richard Boyd. 

Meanwhile, the remaining ART practice groups - which provide corporate solutions, reinsurance, and climate solutions - will continue under the existing name of Alternative Risk Transfer, which will be led by Michael Hohmann who moves to ART from his current position as global head of liability at AGCS.

Hohmann will be succeeded by Ciara Brady, who will join AGCS on 1 January to take up the head liability role. 

She moves over from Swiss Re where she most recently served as global and international head of casualty treaty, having joined the reinsurer in 2005 in Toronto and going on to hold increasingly senior roles within casualty underwriting.

In her new position at AGCS, she will be based in Zurich.

In the interim period between 1 November and 1 January, AGCS’ deputy global head of liability Alfred Henneboehl will assume responsibility for liability, working closely with the global liability leadership team to steer day-to-day operations. 

Meanwhile, the reorganisation will see Paul Schiavone, current global head of ART, become head of long tail corporate lines for North America.

Hartmut Mai, AGCS board member and CUO of corporate said: “Large companies are increasingly seeking to assume more control over their risk management beyond traditional insurance products in property or liability.” 

“With our two new lines of business, we can respond to these needs by designing multi-line, multi-year, parametric or capital-market solutions to protect our clients from earnings and cash flow risks.”

“Our new structure and leadership team will help AGCS to further evolve and grow this important segment of our business,” Mai added.

In its previous ‘combined’ set-up, ART has developed into a major line of business for AGCS globally, contributing EUR 1.135bn of gross written premiums in 2017, including fronting revenues.