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EC News (13th December 2018)

December 13, 2018

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Ed, RFIB, Hyperion and more.

Ed names Draycott as Hearn’s replacement

Andrew Draycott has been named CEO-designate of Ed Broking in London.

He succeeds incumbent group chief executive Steve Hearn, who will go on to become head of BGC’s insurance division. 

Both appointments will become effective once the global brokerage and financial technology company completes its previously announced acquisition of Ed.

Draycott has been an integral member of Ed’s executive team since its launch in 2016, and currently serves as global head of sales and retention. Prior to this, he was CEO of the global specialty and wholesale broker’s energy, marine and construction division. 

He began his career in 1990 as an energy broker before becoming the managing director of Newman Martin and Buchan’s energy division.

Hearn commented: “At the time we announced Ed’s acquisition it was clear that my role would change and that I’d take responsibility for leading BGC’s wider insurance industry efforts. 

“I am therefore delighted that Andrew has agreed to take on the leadership of Ed Broking’s London operations and have every confidence that the business, to which I have an obvious and passionate connection, is in great hands and has a bright future.”  

Draycott said: “The insurance landscape is developing from a number of perspectives. It is an excellent time to be a high-quality independent broker with the financial backing to power growth and technological development. Ed has come a long way in just over two years, the strength and relevance of our disruptive approach has never been greater, and I am proud to be leading our London business at a time of such historic opportunity.”

BGC’s acquisition of Ed – which was announced at the end of October - expands its insurance division, which was established in 2017 when the firm acquired Lloyd’s broker Besso.  

With the addition of Ed 's brokers and back office personnel, Ed and Besso combined are expected to place approximately $2bn of premium in 2018 and have approximately 300 combined brokers operating across 10 countries.  

RFIB taps Willis Re for specialty MD

RFIB has appointed Kevin Stratton as managing director of specialty business, effective 1 January 2019.

With over 30 years’ (re)insurance experience, Stratton joins the Lloyd’s (re)insurance broker following four years at Willis Re, where he most recently served as global head of accident, life and health. Before that, he led the London based accident, life and health division at rival Aon Benfield.

In his new role, he will report to RFIB chief executive Steven Beard.

Beard commented: “I am delighted to welcome Kevin to RFIB. Kevin is an accomplished leader and will further strengthen our capabilities across this fast-growing division.”

Stratton added: “I look forward to joining RFIB and to working closely with Steven in growing the specialty team and business during this exciting stage of the company’s growth plan”.

Hyperion appoints Houghton as interim CFO

Hyperion has announced that Richard Houghton will succeed Oliver Corbett as group CFO on an interim basis.

Effective 10 December, Houghton will serve as interim CEO and will undertake a full handover from Corbett before he leaves the group later this month.

Houghton was most recently interim CFO at the Co-Operative Insurance Society, prior to which he served as group CFO at RSA and Aspen Insurance. 

He began his career at Deloitte, after which he spent a decade in the banking sector undertaking a number of senior finance roles with National Bank of Australia and RBS, where he held the position of finance director for Direct Line RBS Insurance.

Hyperion CEO David Howden remarked: “I am delighted to welcome Richard to the Group. His experience in the financial and insurance sectors, including 10 years as CFO in FTSE 100 and S&P 500 companies, make him a strong addition to our executive committee.”

Corbett announced his intention to leave Hyperion to “pursue the next stage of his career” in July, following completion of the investment by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and debt refinancings in late 2017 and the earlier part of 2018.

WTW adds Rowley and Harvey to London market P&C team

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has strengthened its London market property and casualty (P&C) arm with two new senior hires.

Tom Rowley has been appointed senior vice president (SVP) for North American property, whilst Matt Harvey has been named SVP for international property.

Both Rowley and Harvey will sit within WTW’s P&C centre of excellence (CoE), which is responsible for the placement of US, international and UK retail risks into the London and international markets.

A former senior executive at Brit, WTW said that Rowley will be responsible for the design of a “cost effective and efficient platform” to bring middle-market, low-catastrophe exposed, low attrition property business in to the London market.

Meanwhile, Harvey joins from Aon where he was mostly recently responsible for the design and placement of international property risks. 

In his new role, Harvey’s remit will include developing opportunities in the Asia Pacific region. He will also focus on identifying sustainable property business that can be placed into the London market for the long term as well as finding innovative solutions for hard to place risks, the broker said in a statement.

WTW said that the appointments were “designed to deliver strategic market growth harnessing the extensive range of Willis Towers Watson data, analytics and technology to enable the global insurance market to provide solutions to complement local market placements.”

Commenting on the hires, Garret Gaughan, head of P&C CoE said: “External issues such as Brexit, increased regulation and market volatility means our global clients are facing significant challenges. 

“We recognize that continued innovation is necessary across the London market and these two appointments will ensure we can continue to bring depth of expertise and a compelling value proposition for our clients, as well as supporting the London market capability.”

Coverys to provide capacity for DTW Syndicate 1991

Coverys Managing Agency, the Lloyd’s managing agent for Syndicates 1975, 1991, 3330 and 1110, has agreed to become a capacity provider for DTW Syndicate 1991.

The managing agent said that it will join DTW’s panel of capacity providers as one its largest backers from 1 January 2019.

The news comes as the business plans of both Syndicate 1991 and Coverys Syndicate 1975 received the green light from Lloyd’s, with the Corporation approving respective 2019 stamp capacities of £126.8mn (flat year-on-year) and £48mn (up from £34.4mn in the year prior).

Coverys Managing Agency chief executive Robin McCoy said: “We have stated consistently that our goal is to utilise underwriters with specialist expertise and businesses in which we ourselves would be prepared to invest,”

“Providing capacity to Syndicate 1991 is an example of this approach in practice.”

“Coverys Syndicate 1975 has had a successful first year and we are pleased that, despite the testing market conditions, we have received approval to cement our status as a go-to market for medical liability business in Lloyd’s,” he added.

Gregg Hanson, CEO and president of Coverys, also commented: “Coverys launched London about a year ago and we are now primed to embark on the next stage of our strategy. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to provide capacity to the DTW syndicate and support its plans by providing capacity.”

US medical malpractice insurer Coverys completed its acquisition of R&Q’s Lloyd’s managing agency - which manages Syndicate 1991 and reinsurance-to-close (RITC) Syndicate 3330 and also provides back office support to China Re Syndicate 2088 – in December 2017.

Brit announces K&R partnership with Schillings

Brit has inked a partnership with Schillings Critical Risk to create a new kidnap for ransom offering.

The new product will be led by class underwriter Stephen Quinton, who joined Brit in September 2018 from Travelers Syndicate 5000.

Schillings Critical Risk is part of Schillings – an international issues and crisis law firm – and is led by Schillings partner, John Chase, who brings over 20 years of experience in kidnap for ransom, extortion, illegal detention, blackmail, hijacking and cyber-attacks worldwide.

“In today’s rapidly changing geopolitical and economic climate, extortion and kidnap for ransom are extreme and endemic risks for individuals and businesses operating in many countries around the world. Privileged sources and anecdotal evidence estimate about 30,000 incidents of kidnap for ransom alone per year, with about 1,000 of these involving foreign nationals,” Brit said in a statement.

The carrier added that by combining specialist underwriting capabilities with award-winning privacy, security and reputation expertise, both it and Schillings are committed to building innovative solutions for clients that mitigate and respond to the kidnap for ransom and extortion threats they face.

Brit CEO Matthew Wilson commented: “We are pleased to announce this partnership with Schillings Critical Risk. At Brit, we are always looking for new ways to both enhance the solutions we are able to offer our clients and evolve our capabilities in response to changing risks. This partnership is a strong example of this focus, combining Brit’s and Schillings’ respective expertise to give clients a comprehensive crisis management offering in one place.”

Rod Christie-Miller, chief executive and partner at Schillings, said: "Crises happen with more frequency and with more long-term repercussions than ever before. With over 35 years’ experience as an international issues and crisis law firm, this joint partnership will ensure that we continue to protect clients from the reputation, privacy and security threats of today, as well as the issues and crises of tomorrow”.

US to sign post-Brexit (re)insurance agreement with UK

The US Treasury and US Trade Representative’s office have announced that they intend to sign a new bilateral agreement with the UK that aims to provide regulatory certainty and market continuity for the UK and US (re)insurance markets following the UK’s departure from the European Union in March 2019.

The new US-UK covered agreement will uphold the terms of the US-EU covered agreement, signed in 2017, which outlined prudential measures for (re)insurers operating between the US and EU member states.

The agreement aims to protect insurance and reinsurance policyholders and other consumers while respecting each country’s existing system for supervision and regulation.

It will provide for the exchange of confidential information between US and UK supervisory authorities and make other practical arrangements for cross-border cooperation following Brexit.

In a letter to Congress, secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer explained that the agreement would ensure the continued benefits of the US-EU agreement to US (re)insurers operating in the UK or assuming business from UK ceding insurers.

The US Department of the Treasury also claimed that the agreement would provide market stability, make US companies more competitive in domestic and foreign markets, and make regulations more efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored.

Commenting on the news, Dave Matcham, CEO of the International Underwriting Association said: “The IUA warmly welcomes the US Treasury’s announcement that it intends to sign a US-UK covered agreement.”

“This move is the result of close cooperation between regulators on both sides of the Atlantic and provides important certainty for companies as they look to service their clients’ needs post Brexit,” he continued. 

“It reflects both the strong trading relationships between the London Market and the US and the international nature of our industry,” he added.

Malcolm Newman, chairman of the London Market Group’s (LMG’s) government affairs workstream, said: “The LMG welcomes the news of a new bilateral insurance agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, which will provide much needed certainty and market continuity for UK firms operating in the US.

“It is a vindication of London’s position as the world leader in providing specialty insurance and reinsurance and offers a significant opportunity for the London Market to continue to grow over the coming years, a case that LMG member associations have been making to HM Treasury over the past year.”

Axis extends CEO Benchimol’s contract by five years

Axis has extended the contract of its chief executive Albert Benchimol by a further five years.

As a result, the executive is now set to remain as CEO of the Bermudian carrier until the end of 2023.

Benchimol became president and CEO of Axis in May 2012 and has served as a director since January 2012. He joined the company as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) in January 2011. 

Prior to that, he was CFO of PartnerRe for a decade. During his career, he also spent 11 years as senior vice president and treasurer at Reliance Group Holdings and was with the Bank of Montreal from 1982 to 1989.

The extension of Benchimol’s term was revealed alongside Cheryl-Ann Lister’s decision to retire from Axis’ board of directors as of 31 December 2018.