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EC News (23 May 2019)

May 23, 2019

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Willis Re, Liberty Specialty Markets, Aston Lark and more.

Willis Re partners with Concirrus to transform specialty (re)insurance products

In a recent quarterly InsurTech press release from Willis Towers Watson they announced the strategic partnership between Willis Re and InsurTech Company, Concirrus to transform specialty (re)insurance products by leveraging data from the Internet of Things (IoT).

Under the partnership, Willis Re will join London-based Concirrus’ Power20, a community of visionaries who are committed to working in partnership in order to achieve long-term success.

Andrew Yeoman, CEO, said: “It’s difficult to overstate the gravitas that Willis Re has in the market. We’re excited to start working alongside the team to apply behavioural analytics to the specialty reinsurance markets,”

Adding: “This is all about ensuring that the building blocks are in place to help the market return to profitability and we’re looking forward to supporting our clients through this transformation journey.”

Printhan Sothinathan, chief of strategy at Willis Re Specialty, shared: “The evolution of the insurance space embracing the digital era has now reached the shores of specialty business lines. Our strategy is to lead this new digital era with like-minded (re)insurance partners. Together, we will develop methods and products that will reward early adopters by delivering positive client results.”

Graeme Moore, CEO of Willis Re Specialty, added: “In the past few years we have seen the commoditisation of pricing and products. Our customers now need reinsurance products that reflect and react to the changing landscape of risk. Combining our analytics expertise and considerable distribution with Concirrus’ enterprise capabilities will shift the operating model for the specialty market.”

Liberty Specialty Markets adds Kunzer to launch its new Trade Credit Multi-Buyer product line

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM) part of Liberty Mutual insurance has names Paul Kunzer as head of trade credit multi-buyer and excess of loss (XOL).

In his new role he will be leading the development of LSM’s new Trade Credit offering for Multi-Buyer and XOL programs. Based in LSM’s Chicago office, Kunzer will report to Alex Montoya, president of LSM, Latam, Bermuda and US and Alex Egnell, head of financial risk solutions in North America.

Prior to joining LSM, Kuzer held numerous managerial roles for 19 years at AIG before most recently taking on the role of global head of multinational & strategic accounts for AIG Trade Credit in 2018.

Montoya, president, commented: “We are very pleased to have Paul join Liberty Specialty Markets and Financial Risk Solution’s team in North America. He has established a very strong reputation in the global Trade Credit insurance market and will further position Liberty Specialty Markets as a leader in credit insurance in North America.”

Peter Sprent, head of LSM’s financial risk solutions global product line, added: “This is a very exciting opportunity for LSM. We have been looking to expand our global financial risks practice to include Multi-Buyer and Excess of Loss credit solutions for some time and I am delighted that a market leader of Paul’s standing and experience has joined our global platform. Paul will build a team capable of providing first-class service and comprehensive solutions to our brokers and their clients.”

James Drew joins Brit as head of outwards reinsurance

Aviva’s James Drew has been appointed head of outwards reinsurance at Brit, effective 1 July 2019.

Based in London, Drew will report to Christiern Dart, Brit’s group chief underwriting officer (CUO) and will be responsible for overseeing outward reinsurance purchasing and also the development and expansion of new and existing reinsurance relationships.

He brings more than 2 decades of experience in the Lloyd’s of London market to the role, most recently working as head of reinsurance at Aviva and prior to that head of reinsurance roles at Insurance Australia Group and Torus Insurance (now Starstone).

Dart, CUO, commented: “We are pleased to welcome James to Brit. His wide range of experience and strong relationships in both the traditional and non-traditional reinsurance markets will be a positive addition to our reinsurance purchasing strategy. James’ expertise will help us to ensure our approach continues to take advantage of both tried and tested and innovative new structures.

Aston Lark acquired by Goldman Sachs

UK insurance broker Aston Lark has announced in a recent press release its acquisition by the Merchant Banking division of Goldman Sachs.

Completion of the transaction is expected to occur following receipt of approvals from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Central Bank of Ireland, and antitrust approval.

Aston Clark said there will be no change in our senior management team and the focus will be to continue to grow the business and look after our clients and protect their interests.

Peter Blanc, group CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce that we’ve now exchanged contracts with Goldman Sachs. When this deal completes it will secure our independence for the foreseeable future to enable us to continue acquiring like-minded brokers and employee benefits advisors to create the UK’s most trusted Chartered Insurance Broker,”

Adding: “We’re extremely proud of the business that we’ve built, and all of our management team are very excited about what the future holds. Our ambitions for the business can now be realised over the coming months and years and I’ll be talking to brokers that want to share in this journey.”

“I’d also like to express my thanks to Bowmark Capital who have been a wonderfully supportive investor over the last four years.”

Julian Masters, Bowmark partner, said: “We have greatly enjoyed working with Peter and his team to deliver on the company’s growth ambitions. Thanks to its continuous focus on innovation and excellence, and its ability to identify, acquire and successfully integrate complementary businesses, we believe Aston Lark is well-positioned to continue its strong track record of growth.”

Michele Titi-Cappelli, head of financial services investing at Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, said: “We have been impressed by what Peter Blanc and the Aston Lark team have achieved, and we are excited to be supporting the company’s growth ambitions both organically and via acquisitions."

HDI Global Specialty names Martin Jackson as head of aviation & space

New specialty lines insurer, HDI Global Specialty SE, created from the merge of specialty lines activities of Hannover Re and HDI Global has announced the appointment of Martin Jackson as head of aviation and space.

Based in the company’s London office, he will take over the role from Tim Slade, effective May 20.

Jackson brings over 3 decades of aviation and underwriting experience to the HDI Global Specialty team. He joins from Neon Underwriting where he most recently served as class underwriter marine and transport overseeing the Marine division’s expansion into Aviation and prior to that he worked as global head of Aviation at Aspen, where he managed the global expansion of its London based Aviation team.

Richard Taylor, member of the executive board of management and UK managing director at HDI Global Specialty SE said: “Martin’s track record speaks for itself. He is well known in the London Aviation market and has an enviable reputation for writing consistently profitable books of business. I am confident in his ability to continue this diligent, technical and profitable approach to underwriting, as we continue to grow our specialty business.”

Mats Westerborn, managing director for HDI Global Specialty SE Scandinavian branch, the main hub for aviation in the group, added: “Martin is highly respected in the Aviation market and will be a valuable resource in the ongoing growth of our global book of Aviation and Space business.”

Sompo International appoints new head of financial lines in Germany

Bermuda-based specialty (re)insurer Sompo International Holdings has named Udo Pützer as head of financial lines insurance as part of its European platform in Germany.

Pützer will be based in the company’s Düsseldorf office and will introduce a range of management liability, professional indemnity, and financial institutions products to the German insurance market.

He will also work in conjunction with the company’s specialised M&A insurance underwriting team in Barcelona to offer transaction risk products. Pützer will report to Mathieu Borneuf, senior vice president, Continental European Professional Liability Insurance.

Additonally, Pützer will also assume the role of underwriting manager with responsibility for the company’s Düsseldorf-based underwriting team, which currently offers a suite of property, casualty and marine insurance products.

Pützer brings more than 15 years professional lines underwriting experience, most recently served as head of field underwriting, financial lines at Amlin Insurance SE in Cologne, Germany.

Thomas Mannsdorfer, executive vice president and head of European specialty underwriting at Sompo International, commented: “As a seasoned underwriting leader with extensive underwriting and operational experience in the German insurance market, Udo is a welcome addition as we broaden our professional lines focus in the European Economic Area (EEA). Udo’s presence in Germany will enable us to quickly extend Sompo International’s growing portfolio and presence in this specialized market.”

Thomas Brazil, CEO of SI Insurance (Europe), SA, added: “Europe is a strategic market for Sompo and we continue to expand our product offerings to our EEA clients. New professional lines capabilities in Germany complement our property, casualty and marine offerings and further enhance SI Insurance (Europe)’s ability to expand our footprint in this region.”

esure Group appoints new chief executive officer

esure announces the appointment of David McMillan who will join the business  as chief executive officer, expected August 2019, subject to regulatory approval.

McMillian will join esure from QBE where he served as group chief operating officer since September 2017. Prior to this, he was chief executive officer Europe and India and chairman of Global Health Insurance for Aviva plc. He also spent time as CEO of UK General Insurance & Group Transformation Officer.

Sir Peter Wood, chairman of esure, commented: “I am delighted that David McMilllan has agreed to lead esure. I’d like to thank Darren Ogden for heading the business during this interim period and he will be working closely alongside David to ensure a smooth transition.

Adding: “David has a strong track record of delivering digital transformation across the insurance market. Under David’s leadership, I am confident the business will deliver on its strategic ambitions.”

Luca Bassi, a managing director of Bain Capital Europe, said: “We are excited to partner with David to take esure to the next level. Our plans for esure are very ambitious and we are convinced David is the right leader to deliver our aspirations with the support of the broader esure leadership team.”