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EC News (14 February 2019)

February 14, 2019

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Axa XL, Axis, LSM and more.

Axa XL reveals over 700 jobs in Europe at risk through integration

Axa XL has revealed that 711 people across its European operations are at risk of redundancy as it works to integrate Axa Corporate Solutions, Axa Matrix, Axa Art and XL Catlin.

After the closing of the acquisition in September 2018, Axa XL began transferring employees in Europe into a single employing company at the beginning of February. It also started plans for merging certain legal entities.

Axa XL now seeks to perform the next phase of integration in order to redefine its working processes and organisation accordingly.

As a result this could mean a potential reduction of 711 positions in Europe (including France, Italy, Germany and the UK), out of a total workforce of 9,500 employees globally.

The (re)insurer will also put supporting measures in place and may include internal redeployments or voluntary departures, depending on local social requirements or practices.

In addition to proposing a new target operating model and organisational structure, the plan proposes “activities and synergies” to support the division’s combined operations.

Axa XL CEO Greg Hendrick commented: “This is a very important next step for Axa XL in its journey to become a united division,"

"This proposed target operating model and organisational structure will help us to deliver the best services to our customers and provide them with the innovative solutions they need to succeed.”

Doina Palici-Chehab, chief integration officer of Axa Group, added: “Consistent with Axa’s long-term responsible employer strategy, Axa XL is committed to supporting its employees through the change period, and every effort will be made to assist them.”

Axis appoints head of underwriting and portfolio optimisation

Axis has appointed Robert Quane as head of underwriting and portfolio optimisation.

In the newly created role, Quane will be responsible for leading the company’s group underwriting function, while working in partnership with Axis’ business segments at the same time.

As part of his role, Quane will establish and maintain the firm’s group-wide underwriting framework, guidelines and policies, as well as having oversight of its portfolio optimisation process.

He will also manage Axis’ group-wide exposure-management and underwriting risk frameworks and chair its peril/product boards.

Quane will be based in the firms New York office. He will report to Eric Gesick, group chief underwriting officer at Axis.

Quane joins Axis from AIG, where he spent 22 years, most recently serving as head of global commercial property, having previously served as head of global group personal insurance, and chief operating officer for International Personal Lines. Quane commenced his career in the industry with Allstate Insurance.

Commenting on the appointment, Gesick said: “Bob is a proven global insurance leader with extensive underwriting experience spanning a range of business lines across multiple international markets. Working alongside the leadership in our business segments, Bob’s experience and expertise will be key to helping us shape and implement a more rigorous and disciplined approach to underwriting and underwriting risk management.”

Beazley-Ascot launch insurtech linked Lloyd's cargo consortium

Ascot and Beazley have partnered together to launch a Lloyd’s based cargo consortium that uses insurtech solutions to help manage risk and claims performance.

The A2B consortium, which aims to further cement Lloyd’s position in the global cargo market, brings together a range of cargo carriers that will provide a maximum of $50mn capacity.

It is targeted at SME cargo business, which has traditionally faced high associated expenses due to the nature of the subscription market.

The companies said this launch will allow brokers to provide their clients with quality underwriting and claims management in a cost efficient way.

Insureds will have the option of using electronic devices developed by insurtech firm Parsyl (a Denver-based company and a graduate of the Lloyd’s lab program), which monitor cargo accumulation and collect data that can be used to assist risk management and claims.

 Andrew Brooks, Group CEO of Ascot said: “This consortium shows how Syndicates can come together in a subscription market to provide coverage in a cost efficient way for smaller premium business,"

"Recent years have been difficult overall for the Cargo market but this initiative will be transformative for insureds, their brokers and Lloyd’s carriers.”

Tim Turner, Group head of marine at Beazley, said: “The London insurance market’s origins are in marine and over the years it has adapted to the changing needs of the sector. This new consortium shows how the London market can come together to combine underwriting expertise and cutting-edge technology for the benefit of our customers.”

Head of innovation at Lloyd’s, Trevor Maynard, commented: “This is precisely what the Lloyd’s Lab has been set up to do. I’m thrilled to see our syndicates utilising the lab to generate new ideas and deliver the next generation of insurance products and services for the benefit of our customers. The fact that the lab can attract such high calibre tech talent and ideas from around the world just goes to show that Lloyd’s continues to lead the way on insurance innovation.”

LSM hires casualty leader in Italy

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) has entered the casualty market in Italy for the first time, hiring Paolo Pitton to lead the initiative.

Pitton has 18 years’ experience in the insurance sector, beginning his career with Lloyd’s broker WBA in 2000.

Based in Milan, Pitton joins LSM from Chubb Europe, where he served as deputy casualty manager. Before Chubb he also held various senior roles at the likes of; RSA, AIG Europe, Chartis, and QBE.

“Since we launched in Italy in 2012, we’ve been steadily growing our presence, now reaching 35 people in our Milan office,” said Antonio Sacchi, LSM’s general manager for Italy.

He continued: “We’re now adding a local underwriting capability in casualty, which is of real strategic importance to our clients, allowing us to offer a broader range of solutions in the Italian market,”

“Paolo has a tremendous track record. He’s highly experienced with a strong knowledge of the market. He’s also very well-known in our market.”

Aon appoints Lambrou as CEO of Commercial Risk Solutions

Aon has named Lambros Lambrou as its new global CEO of Commercial Risk Solutions, succeeding Mike O’Connor who was named co-president of Aon in May 2018.

Lambrou will take on his additional responsibilities immediately and continue to be based in Aon’s New York office.

Lambrou has worked within the risk management industry for over three decades, assuming leadership roles across a number of Aon lines and regions.

His recent roles in commercial risk included; CEO of Australia, CEO of the global broking centre in London, chief broking officer in EMEA, as well as global chief operating officer for Aon Broking and head of carrier management for Aon.

Most recently he served as chief commercial officer and CEO of global specialties for commercial risk solutions and will maintain those responsibilities.

Commenting on the appointment O’Connor said: “Lambros is a widely respected and collaborative leader with broad industry experience spanning risk management, broking and specialty strategy,”

“He is committed to innovating on behalf of our clients and leveraging data and analytics to help them more efficiently match risk with capital.”

Eric Andersen, co-president of Aon shared: “Lambros has held leadership roles around the world and served our clients across multiple solution lines,”

“His appointment will further strengthen our Aon United growth strategy by increasing collaboration across the firm as we accelerate the development of new sources of value for clients.”

Speaking of his new position Lambrou said: “I’m energized by the opportunity to work across our firm to bring the best of Aon to our clients,”

“I look forward to helping clients minimize volatility and better manage their risk exposure to maximize performance.”

RMS names Nieswandt as managing director, Continental Europe

RMS has named Oliver Nieswandt as managing director of Continental Europe, succeeding Christer Pehrson who is due to move to the company’s office in New York.

Nieswandt will be based in RMS Zurich office.

Nieswandt began his career at Hannover Re developing systems for catastrophe risk accumulation, reinsurance treaty administration, and underwriting. He then joined SAP where his roles included global client director for Allianz and Munich Re, client executive, and manager of custom development projects.

Speaking of the appointment Neil Isford, executive vice president, RMS said: “I am excited to have Oliver joining the RMS team as he brings a wealth of experience in insurance, software, and services to our business,”

“Oliver is viewed by his former managers, employees, and customers as an excellent collaborator who is very focused on developing and supporting his team, as well as being a strong advocate for his clients.”

Nieswandt added, “RMS’s reputation for client service, technological innovation and scientific rigor is second to none.”

“As businesses and organisations increasingly want to better understand the risks they might face, risk modelling becomes even more important, not only in the boardroom but in society as a whole.”

Channel Syndicate 2015 hires Nick Forti as active underwriter

Channel Syndicate 2015 (Channel) has appointed Nick Forti as active underwriter, effective 19 March.

Forti will report to the CEO of Channel, Stuart McMurdo.

He joins from Brit syndicate 2988, where he also served as an active underwriter. Prior to Brit, Forti was a reinsurance broker with both Willis Re and Aon Benfield.

McMurdo said: “We are entering the next chapter of Channel’s development and our key objective is to increase our London profile as a specialist insurer within the boundaries of profitable growth,”

“Nick is a great hire for Channel and I am delighted to welcome someone of his calibre to the team.”

“He brings significant expertise on the specialist product side and his appointment crucially enables Tom to focus on the execution of our recently announced London Specialty insurance platform initiative.”

Beazley merges cyber and executive risk divisions

Beazley has launched a new division called Cyber and Executive Risk, to focus on some of the most challenging risks that businesses face around the world.

Led by Mike Donovan, the new unit combines Beazley’s cyber insurance capabilities and its experience and expertise in executive risk, which includes directors’ & officers’ (D&O) insurance, and also employment practices liability.

Currently, Beazley’s executive risk team insures over 35 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, and over 50 percent of the firms that make up the Dow Jones Technology Index.

According to Beazley, the business lines that are now combined under the new structure, accounted in aggregate, for just over 25 percent of the insurer’s gross written premiums (GWP) in 2018, and is comprised of some of its fastest growing solutions. This includes Beazley Breach Response, and M&A transactional liability protection.

Donovan commented: “We brought our expertise in these areas together for two main reasons. First, they are rapidly changing risks that are growing harder for companies to manage. Technological, social and regulatory changes all impinge on these risks and it is critical for our clients to partner with an insurer that can keep pace with these changes. We provide not simply insurance coverage to respond swiftly to claims, but detailed guidance on risk prevention, mitigation and incident response.

“Second, the stakes are very high. We’re protecting critical assets – our clients’ data, their operations, their senior executives, and their corporate reputations. A cyber-attack can put all of these assets at risk, but a class action lawsuit against a company’s directors can be comparably damaging. And the acceleration and amplification of bad news through social media means that reputational damage can be inflicted faster and with greater effect.”