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EC News (4 April 2019)

April 04, 2019

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Everest, Willis Towers Watson, Nexus and more.

Everest Insurance appoints underwriting duo from Ironshore

Everest Insurance, a division of global (re)insurer Everest Re Group appointed Graeme Mcgeachie and Pete Graham to its International Division to expand Lloyd’s general liability casualty unit.

McGeachie has been appointed as casualty class underwriter at Everest Lloyd’s Syndicate 2786. Prior to joining Everest Insurance he was the lead underwriter within the International Speciality Casualty Practice at Ironshore Insurance. He brings significant experience across the international casualty sector which includes Primary, Excess, and Binder business. 

Meanwhile, Graham joins as a casualty underwriter, most recently holding the position of class underwriter within the International Casualty Practice at Ironshore.

Both McGreachie and Graham will be based out of the company’s London office effective from 8 April 2019.

Vincent Vandendael, CEO of Everest International Insurance commented: “Our International Insurance team is excited to welcome the first‐class talent that Graeme and Pete bring to the General Liability group. With their respective industry experience and underwriting knowledge, I have no doubt both Graeme and Pete will be true assets to our growing International Insurance team, and to the clients we serve.”

Willis Towers Watson names new head of Romanian business

(Re)insurance broker Willis Towers Watson (WTW) appoints Eleonora Geamanu as head of WTW business in Romania.

Geamanu will be based in Bucharest and take responsibility for driving revenue growth and meeting client needs across the Romanian market, for a variety of business lines.

Geamanu joined the company in 2007 and has held several client-facing and leadership roles, most recently serving as head of affinity and motor for Romania.

Eleni Lykoudi, head of Central and Eastern Europe, WTW, said: “Romania is a high-potential market where our clients are increasingly demanding complex solutions to their risk and people needs. Eleonora has excelled in her previous roles with the company, and she has the market insights and leadership experience to help drive our business forward.”

Nexus Group acquires Capital Risks MGA

Specialty Managing General Agent (MGA) Nexus Group has announced the acquisition of Capital Risks (CRML), a London-based Warranty and Indemnity MGA.

Nathan Sewell and Jason Edwards founded CRM in August 2017 to provide transaction liability insurance for small and medium sized deals. The acquisition of CRML will enable Nexus to develop its financial and professional lines (FinPro) products.

The CRML underwriting team will continue business as usual and move into Nexus’ London headquarters.

Sewell will remain on the CRML Board as a non-executive director and Nexus plans appoint group chief executive officer Colin Thompson and a number of other directors to the CRML board. After the acquisition is complete, CRML will be rebranded and trade as Nexus Transactional Risks.

The acquisition of CRML marked Nexus’ 15th transaction and it’s second in a week, after the business bought trade credit broker Credit & Business Finance and launched Xenia Broking Group.

Nexus has also successfully concluded a second capital raise of £16mn that will enable it to further continue its merger and acquisition activity.

Colin Thompson, Nexus founder and group CEO, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Nexus to further diversify into a growing product area with traditionally high barriers to entry through the acquisition of an MGA with highly attractive underwriting margins. Focussing on small and medium sized deals, CRM is a complementary fit with our existing FinPro book, which was the first class we launched in 2008 and now produces gross written premium of £50mn.”

Angus Ogg, underwriting director of CRML, commented: “We are delighted with the acquisition by Nexus which will bring new opportunities to CRML and will increase our scope in terms of capacity and geography. We are very much looking forward to the next stage of development, growing our team and working with the like-minded individuals at Nexus.”

Beach appoints duo to develop their wholesale operation

(Re)insurance brokerage company Beach & Associates have announced two new executives to help grow the Beach Wholesale and Delegated Authority teams in London.

Nick Fearon joins from Miller Insurance Services where he jointly led the US Professional Liability team. Fearer will bring further expertise in the financial lines space and will add significant experience to the wholesale team.

Lee Bonnett joins from Marsh Speciality where he previously served as head of facilities placement. Bonnett will lead the delegated authority team as Beach continues to develop new products and markets for its MGA, wholesale and retail distribution client base.

John Sutton, CEO of wholesale at Beach, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Nick and Lee to our growing London operations; their experience and expertise will add further depth to our capabilities and our ability to offer increased service levels and innovation to our ever-growing client base. We are growing rapidly and our analytically powered platform and strong reinsurance capabilities are attractive both to clients and to broking talent. Our recent hires bring skillsets and vastly different backgrounds that will help grow both the Beach Wholesale and Delegated Authority teams; areas which are of enormous importance to the group. This is an exciting time for us and I am delighted with the quality and range of experience that we continue to attract to our London based team.”

Newline Group launches insurance hub in Germany

Following the authorisation from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, speciality London based insurer Newline Group has announced the launch of its new European establishment in Cologne, Germany.  

Newline Europe Versicherung AG (Newline Europe), a subsidiary of Newline Insurance Company, will be led by Manuel Wirtz as newly appointed CEO. Wirtz was previously Newline’s general representative for Germany.

Although it remains uncertain exactly when the UK will leave the EU, the new unit in Europe is to ensure continuity of services post-Brexit.

Carl Overy, CEO of Newline group commented: “Newline’s history of underwriting German-based insurance risks dates back to 2002, so we are delighted to strengthen our footprint in Cologne and expand our platform by providing seamless and continuous service to our clients throughout Europe in the post-Brexit environment.”

Wirtz added: “We are very pleased that BaFin has approved our application. We have already seen the benefit of having local underwriting and claims handling teams, and this approval will allow us to continue providing our insurance solutions in Germany as well as in our neighbouring countries in the European Economic Area.”

Marsh appoints Anthony Gruppo CEO of Jelf

Global (re)insurance broker Marsh has appointed Anthony Gruppo as the new CEO of Jelf and leader of its wider UK & Ireland Commercial and Consumer client segment.

Gruppo, who will report to Chris Lay, CEO of Marsh UK & Ireland will take up the position in May and will be based in London. He will be taking the place of Phil Barton who is leaving with immediate effect to pursue other opportunities.

He has 30 years’ experience and has held a variety of senior roles, most recently as Northeast Regional CEO of Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) in the U.S. He is also the author of six books focused on leadership and personal development.

In his new role, Gruppo will oversee Jelf’s UK-wide network of 68 offices that provide insurance broking, risk management, and employee benefits solutions to individuals and businesses as well as the firm’s insurance broker networks.

Lay, CEO of Marsh UK & Ireland commented: “With his strong track record of delivering value to clients in our fast-growing US-based MMA business, I am excited to welcome Anthony to lead our UK commercial and consumer team. His experience and dynamism will help us strengthen and enhance our offering throughout the Jelf network.”

Gruppo added: “Across the UK, individuals and companies of all sizes are grappling with unprecedented challenges as they seek to strengthen their risk resilience in uncertain times. With its strong commitment to being the UK’s leading community-based advisory business, I am excited to lead the Jelf team as it delivers the innovative and practical solutions that will enable our clients to manage these risks effectively and thrive.”

Monument Re acquires Irish Insurer from Societe Generale

Monument Re has announced in a recent press release that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Inora Life DAC from Societe Generale.

Inora Life is a life insurer domiciled in Ireland which has ceased all new activity since 2012 but still manages a portfolio of unit-linked insurance products.

The closing of the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will have no impact on Inora Life DAC clients and policyholders.

Change of control of the company will follow satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

Manfred Maske, CEO of Monument Re Group, said: “We are pleased to have been able to work with Societe Generale and to be able to announce this transaction. The acquisition of Inora aligns with our growth and consolidation strategy in Ireland.”

Hyperion promotes Rebecca Scott to group chief operating officer

Hyperion Insurance Group, has promoted Rebecca Scott to the position of group chief operating officer (COO), effective 1 March 2019.

Scott previously held the COO position at Howden Broking Group, parent firm to Hyperion Insurance Group. Scott will report to CEO of Hyperion, David Howden, and has also joined the Group Executive Committee as part of the promotion.

Prior to her COO roles she has also held the positions of internal audit head and chief risk officer (CRO) within Hyperion. Before that, she was CRO at Lloyd’s managing agency and a partner at Chartered accountancy firm Mazars.

Howden commented: “Since Rebecca joined us in 2014, she has led a number of key strategic projects including, most recently, the highly successful and transformational London office move which has seen us take on our new headquarters at One Creechurch Place. She brings important additional strength to the GEC and is extremely well placed to support Hyperion in our next phase of growth as we embrace the changes needed to ensure we earn the right to remain independent while retaining our culture.”