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EC News (26 September 2019)

September 26, 2019

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from GCube, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Travelers and more.

GCube launches new post-Brexit European hub in Amsterdam & names new senior hires

Specialist renewable energy insurer GCube has strengthened its European presence with the launch of its new operations in Amsterdam and announces the appointment of two senior hires.

With the establishment of a new base in Amsterdam, it will serve as a hub to service clients following the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU).

GCube has named Andries Veldstra and Elkhadir El Hammdaoui as senior underwriters in the business.

Veldstra and El Hammadaoui bring more than 15 years’ experience in the insurance industry and join from Nationale Nederlanden (NN) where they both specialised in underwriting European offshore wind projects.

In their new roles, they will support the London-based underwriting team, while establishing the company’s presence in the Netherlands and expanding the reach of the business in Europe.

Fraser McLachlan, CEO, GCube Underwriting Ltd, said: “As GCube continues to expand its international reach, we’re aiming to supplement our European presence as GCube continues to deliver the highest standards of underwriting and claims support to our clients across the continent,”

He continued: “We have been able to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity to bring on board two highly-respected offshore wind underwriters. Andries’ and Elkhadir’s respective track records are impressive, and their expertise will be an invaluable asset to GCube as we strive to continually enhance the service we provide to our renewable energy clients.”

Commenting on his appointment, Veldstra added: “We’re looking forward to working as part of a team who have specialised exclusively in renewable energy underwriting for over a decade.

“As the risk profile of offshore wind in particular continues to evolve, a sustainable underwriting approach and a long-term outlook on risk management are essential, and GCube has built a strong reputation across the entire renewable energy space.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions hires Semprini as Head of Italy

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has announced the appointment of Francesco Semprini as head of Italy, effective 1 November 2019.

Based in Milan, he will be responsible for managing the strategy, development and performance of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' business in Italy.

Semprini brings more than 3 decades of experience in the commercial insurance sector. He most recently served as general manager from another commercial insurer in Italy and has a held several leadership roles and has a strong underwriting and customer-focused background.

Fred Kleiterp, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' CEO Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: "Francesco is a seasoned leader with a wealth of experience and an extensive network of relationships within the industry. We look forward to his contributions. I'm confident that under his leadership, we will continue to build on our success in the Italian market."

Travelers to move EU business to Dublin unit approved in response to Brexit

Travelers Insurance company, part of US primary insurer Travelers has announced that they have received approval from the High Court of England and Wales to transfer the portfolios of all relevant in-force policies and historic liabilities written out of its Irish, French, German and Netherlands branches to its newly established insurance subsidiary, Travelers Insurance DAC.

Travelers Insurance DAC was set up this year to continue servicing policyholders across the European Economic Area, regardless of the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The unit benefits from strong explicit support from Travelers Insurance Company, in the form of a significant whole account quota share and a stop loss “excess of assets over liabilities” cover, that protects its minimum regulatory capital requirement under Solvency II.

Matthew Wilson, CEO of Travelers Europe said: “Receiving court approval for our Part VII transfer is another milestone in our plan to ensure we will maintain high levels of service for our customers and brokers following the UK’s expected departure from the European Union,”

“We are delighted to be able to provide certainty to our policyholders, no matter which part of our business they work with.”

Cyber risk quantifier Cytegic launches own insurance company

Cyber risk quantifier Cytegic has launched its own insurance business in a move that hopes it will support the industry in understanding and tackling cyber risks.

With 4 US Granted Patents, Cytegic's innovative, mature cyber risk platform is the industry's first, end-to-end solution automating cyber risk management and quantifying its financial impact across the entire insurance and risk value chain.

Cyber risk and insurtech expert Steven Schwartz will head up the unit and joins Cytegic as vice president of Strategy & Insurance. Schwartz is the co-Founder of The Data Union, the senior vice president of Business Development & Senior Managing Consultant and was most recently a managing director at CEO Quest.

Schwartz said. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a platform as mature as Cytegic's and the value proposition it brings to the insurance market. We make cyber risk understandable and in the language we all understand; dollars. Imagine a world where insurance is not purely transactional for transferring risk, but advising insureds on mitigating risks with a relationship built on trust. New sources of revenue without customer acquisition costs is where insurers profit. We enable the industry to transform its business model with automated remediation plans to engage insureds with ease and value add with every touchpoint. Cytegic's seamless, integrated information architecture enables the industry to formulate an informed risk appetite perspective while recognizing significant operational efficiencies, underwriting clarity, and pre-breach revenue. It meets the unique needs of what the industry needs to proliferate as expected: transparency, validity, speed, and massive scale."

Elon Kaplan, Cytegic founder and CEO said: "As a company immensely focused on rapid cyber risk quantification and resilience, we know that the insurance industry is fundamental for all businesses to thrive and grow as cyber risk continues to evolve and become more complex. Bringing our patented approach to market now is the right thing to do for partners and for the insurance industry as well."

Zurich appoints Peter Giger as group chief risk officer

Zurich Insurance Group announced the appointment of Peter Giger as group chief risk officer and a member of Zurich’s committee, effective 1 October 2019.

Giger will succeed Alison Martin who was recently appointed chief executive officer Europe, Middle, East & Africa (EMEA) and Bank Distribution.

Giger previously spent four years as head of the insurance decision and deputy CEO of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

Prior to FINMA, he held multiple executive positions at Zurich from 2002-2014, most recently as chief financial officer of its General Insurance Business in 2010-2014.

Mario Greco, group chief executive officer, said: “Peter is a strong leader with global experience in the insurance industry and technical excellence in finance, risk and underwriting. It’s a particular pleasure to announce this appointment as Peter is not new to Zurich. He started his career in our company, and with almost 20 years with Zurich already has an excellent understanding of our business model and risk profile.”

Gallagher names Steve Wilkinson as head of claims for global aerospace practice

Global (re)insurance Broker Gallagher has announced the appointment of Steve Wilkinson as head of claims within its global aerospace practice, effective immediately.

Wilkinson brings more than 40 years of experience and has had exposure to many high-profile and complex aviation claims during his career.

He most recently held the position of managing director of Aviation and Aerospace at Marsh.

In his new role, Wilkinson will be based in London and have the responsibility for leading Gallagher’s 37-strong claims team.

Peter Elson, CEO of Gallagher Aerospace, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Steve has chosen to join Gallagher’s global aerospace practice, now one of the largest aviation brokers in the world.”

Adding: “His reputation as a top market practitioner coupled with his depth and breadth of experience — having handled more than 40 major airline and aerospace losses during his exemplary career — underlines our commitment to investing in the best expertise to deliver first-class claims service to our clients around the globe

“Claims advocacy is a fundamental part of our differentiated proposition and Steve is uniquely qualified to lead our team to new heights for our industry.”

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance expands leadership team in France

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) announced it has expanded its leadership team in France, naming Katell Pouliquen as head of Claims, Louis du Ché as head of Property and Ludovic Ruiller as head of Environmental.

Pouliquen brings 15 years claims experience to the role. She spent most of her career path in senior claims positions at AIG Europe in Paris where she most recently served as deputy head of claims.

Du Ché joins as head of property and brings more than a decade of insurance industry experience. He was most recently global property manager, Benelux, at AIG Europe Limited. Prior to that, he also held senior roles in property insurance at other major insurers in France.

Ruiller brings to BHSI nearly 20 years of experience in the environmental ­industry, spanning both technical consulting and underwriting. He was most recently environmental risks line manager, France & Benelux, at AXA XL. Before that, he spent 12 years specialising in environmental risk underwriting at AIG Europe and ASSURPOL in France.

François-Xavier D’Huart, country manager for France, BHSI, said: “We are pleased to begin expanding our team in Paris with three individuals who are exceptionally well equipped to bring to market the strong value that resides in BHSI’s underwriting expertise, claims excellence, and ­nancial strength. We look forward to continuing to round out our team and our capabilities in France and throughout Europe.”