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EC News (27 June 2019)

June 27, 2019

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Munich Re, Axis Re, Allianz and more.

Munich Re partners with GIC to assist insurers after major catastrophes

Munich Re, the German (re)insurer, has partnered with reinsurance industry consortium, Geospatial Intelligence Centre (GIC) to help insurers recover quickly after major catastrophes, by giving them access to automated damage classification analytics.

Spearheaded by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), GIC provides its members with access to advanced data and imagery that enhances underwriting assessment, expedites claims and improves fraud detection following disaster events. The collaboration with Munich Re will be able to give its members a damage assessment heat map layer to work alongside its survey imagery post-disaster.

Ryan Bank, managing director of the GIC stated: “This collaboration with Munich Re is a true value-add to our member insurers, providing them with an additional layer of critical insight when assessing damage after a major catastrophe.”

Adding: “We first piloted Munich Re’s remote sensing technology during Hurricane Michael and quickly saw its potential for optimising claims cycle time for our member insurers. In more than 40 percent of all property claims, its damage assessment was delivered before the insurer received the first notice of loss from the policyholder.”

Roman Buegler, head of Munich Re’s Innovation Lab said: “We are proud to team up with the Geospatial Intelligence Centre to help its member insurers - and ultimately their policyholders - get back on their feet more quickly after major catastrophes. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that speed is key. Our lab combines its dedicated resources of global experts and innovative technology to ensure the success of its partners. We look forward to a successful, long standing partnership.”

AXIS Re hires Robert Hands as head of Australia

Axis Re, a member of the reinsurance division of Bermuda based AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, has appointed Robert Hands as strategic account executive and head of Australia, reporting to Ann Haugh, president of global markets at AXIS Re.

Based in Singapore, he will be responsible for leading global client relationships for AXIS Re Strategic Partners in Australia, as well as all client management activities. He will also work closely with AXIS Re’s Asia Pacific team, led by Les Loh.

AXIS Re said the appointment of Hands further expands its commitment to the Asia Pacific marketplace, and to growing its business in the region.

Before joining AXIS Re he spent three years as CEO and principal officer of CNA Hardy Asia, where he managed all lines of business. Prior to that he was at Newline Group for more than 10 years He began his career as financial lines underwriter at Lloyd’s of London Syndicate, Talbot.

Allianz sells its stake in Spanish joint venture ‘Allianz Popular’ to Banco Santander

Allianz, the German insurer, has agreed to sell 60 percent of its stake in the joint venture, ‘Allianz Popular SL’ to Banco Santander for the agreed €936.5mn. It will also terminate its exclusive non-life insurance distribution agreement with the Spanish Bank.

Banco Popular and Allianz entered into the exclusive long-term bancassurance alliance back in 2011. This covered life insurance, asset management and pensions through a joint venture, Allianz Popular SL, as well as distributing non-life insurance products in Spain. Banco Santander acquired Banco Popular in 2017 and the two banks were subsequently merged in 2018.

Allianz will continue to operate in both non-life and life insurance markets through Allianz Compañia de Seguros y Reaseguros, SA and Fénix Directo Compañia de Seguros y Reaseguros, SA, generating gross written premiums of €3.3bn in 2018.

Allianz Popular SL had gross written premiums of €0.3bn and assets under management of €12.5 bn in 2018.

Subject to regulatory approvals, this transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Global & London advisory committees have been formed by Lloyd’s to support new strategy

Global and London advisory committees have been established by Lloyd’s of London to help deliver its new strategy for the future. The members of the committees are comprised of insurance and reinsurance veterans and industry experts.

These prominent industry figures are joining to help the specialist insurance and reinsurance marketplace develop and deliver the future of Lloyd’s, professionals include;

Amanda Blanc, chair of the Association of British Insurers (ABI); Greg Case, chief executive officer (CEO) of Aon; Sian Fisher, CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII); Dan Glaser, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan; Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Chubb; and John Haley, CEO of Willis Towers Watson.

Having been launched in May, the future of Lloyd’s strategy followed market consultation with the Lloyd’s ecosystem, and has resulted in the formation of six ideas. These six ideas show how the market can modernise and remain relevant in a rapidly changing and evolving world.

“This is an exciting time for us all as we drive forward the next stage in Lloyd’s evolution and I am delighted that we have the support of a number of global industry leaders, as well as the market associations representing some of our key stakeholders. Together with the feedback and insights we are gathering from our wide-ranging consultation, the advisory committees will play a critical role in providing guidance and advice as we develop and implement a blueprint for the future at Lloyd’s.” Lloyd’s CEO, John Neal stated.

Case, Aon CEO, added: “Aon is committed to anticipating the needs of our clients and working with leading organizations around the world to innovate on their behalf. With this new strategy, Lloyd’s is accelerating its own evolution and charting a path forward for London to continue playing a significant role in the global insurance market. We’re pleased to contribute to this important discussion.”

Describing its new strategy as bold, Lloyd’s explains that it involves several transformational initiatives that have the potential to shape the future of the global insurance and reinsurance market. The Lloyd’s market has been on a mission for some time now to improve efficiency across the board and seeking to remain relevant and competitive in a very challenging market landscape.

The proposals will not only target the delivery of high quality risk protection, but will also offer ways to simplify access to the international insurance market, while at the same time, lowering its costs of doing business.

Blanc of the ABI and CEO of EMEA and Global Bank Distribution at Zurich Insurance, commented: “Ensuring that Lloyd’s is best placed to meet future challenges and opportunities are vital so that the UK remains a world leading insurance market. I look forward to working with colleagues in the insurance industry in developing a strategy that helps Lloyd’s to deliver best value for customers through cutting edge technology, with an inclusive culture that attracts the best talents.”

CEO of the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) Sheila Cameron, said: “I am looking forward to working in partnership with Lloyd’s, and on behalf of our members, to ensure that the work we undertake now will define the future success of the market and deliver truly outstanding outcomes for its clients.”

Glaser, CEO and president, Marsh added: “The Future at Lloyd’s is a unique opportunity to transform the marketplace and cater to the growing and diverse needs of its customers. Lloyd’s is an important partner for Marsh & McLennan and our clients, and I’m thrilled to help position it for the future.”

Nexus names Marc van der Veer as CEO, European Ventures

Specialty managing general agent (MGA), Nexus Group, has announced the appointment of Marc van der Veer, as Chief Executive Officer, European Ventures.

Joining from The Ardonagh Group, Van der Veer joins Nexus where he most recently served as CEO of International for specialty MGA Geo Underwriting. Holding a number of senior positions previously within the reinsurance industry, including general manager of Partner Re Whole, where he provided capacity to underwriting agencies for SME business.

In his new role, Van der Veer will be focusing on pursuing a buy and build strategy for a pipeline of European specialty MGAs, in which he will be reporting to group CEO Colin Thompson.

“We are very pleased to welcome Marc to the Group and are looking forward to working together on this new chapter in our growth story, having successfully worked with him for many years in the past. Marc has extensive knowledge of MGAs and a vast network of relationships in Europe.” Thompson stated.

Adding: “Coupled with his vision for growth opportunities, this all aligns him very closely with the Nexus ethos as we look to develop our European MGA offering.”

Gérald Harlin retires as AXA CFO; triggers reshuffle

AXA revealed new leadership changes after the announcement that Gérald Harlin is to retire after 29 years with the group where he served as group deputy CEO, chief financial officer and a member of AXA’s Management Committee. He will retire on 1 January 2020.

Etienne Bouas-Laurent will become its new Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO), taking over from Gérald Harlin who is due to retire at the end of the year.

Bouas-Laurent has spent 22 years at AXA as CEO of AXA Hong Kong. Etienne joined the Group in 1997 and has held several financial and operational roles throughout his career at AXA. Bouas-Laurent is due to join its management committee from 1 September 2019.

AXA also announced that Alban de Mailly Nesle who is currently chief risk officer, head of insurance office, and a member of the management committee, will become chief risk and investment officer, taking the additional responsibility of overseeing the Group Investment Department, in addition to Group Risk Management and Ceded Reinsurance.

In addition, Georges Desvaux, previously senior partner at McKinsey & Company, has been appointed as chief strategy and business development officer and will also join AXA’s Management Committee as of 1 September.

Meanwhile, Karima Silvent, chief human resources officer, is also set to join the Management Committee on 1 September.

Alongside the new appointments, from 1 September 2019 AXA Management Committee will consist of: George Stansfield, deputy CEO and general secretary; Benoît Claveranne, CEO International and New Markets; Greg Hendrick, CEO of AXA XL; Antimo Perretta, CEO for Europe; Jacques de Peretti, chairman and CEO of AXA France; Astrid Stange, chief operating officer; and Gordon Watson, CEO for Asia.

Thomas Buberl, chief executive officer of AXA said: “I would like to warmly thank Gérald for his very significant contributions to AXA’s success and development over the past three decades. During his tenure, Gérald has held major financial and operational positions ranging from Treasury to Asset Management, within AXA France as well as the Corporate Center. He has played a key role in establishing AXA as one of the world’s leading insurers. In his latest position as Group Deputy CEO and CFO, he has been instrumental in developing AXA’s transformational strategy and its operational implementation during the past 3 years.

Buberl adds: “The Management Committee is looking forward to start working with the new members of the team, who demonstrate the quality and the depth of AXA’s leadership teams, as well as our ability to attract the best international talents. I wish Etienne, Alban, Georges and Karima all the best in their new roles to accelerate the implementation of our Ambition 2020, as well as the preparation of our next strategic plan.

Jens Voges joins Liberty Mutual Re in new marine & energy underwriting role

Liberty Mutual Re, a division of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group has named Jens vogues as senior underwriter and product leader of marine & energy within its London market risks (LMR) team, effectively immediately.

The new role was created to support Liberty Mutual Re’s growth ambitions and he will be based at the Cologne office. He will report directly to Bernd Burelbach, underwriting manager, Liberty Mutual Re, Cologne and will be responsible for the underwriting and strategy of the LMR Marine and Energy Reinsurance book.

Voges joins Liberty Mutual Re from AXA ART Insurance where he held the position of senior reinsurance specialist for nearly two years where he organised reinsurance cover for art insurance. Prior to that, he served as a reinsurance underwriter for over nine years at Liberty Specialty Markets.

Burelbach said: “I am delighted that Jens has joined the team to further enhance our presence in the Marine and Energy Treaty classes. His experience and knowledge of the London Market will be invaluable for the continuous development of our business, while maintaining the highest service levels for our valued customers.”