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EC News (2 April 2020)

April 02, 2020

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Everest Insurance, Hyperion X, Sompo International Holdings and more.

Everest Insurance hires Dana Lodge as new CFO

Bermuda-based Everest Re Group has added Dana Lodge as the new chief financial officer (CFO) of Everest Insurance.

She will report to Jonathan Zaffino, president and CEO and Craig Howie Everest Group CFO. She will be based at the firm’s US Headquarters in New Jersey.

Lodge joins from Sompo International where she served as senior vice president, director of finance. Before joining Sompo International she held multiple roles at Hiscox Insurance US including director of finance and interim CFO.

Zaffino, Everest Insurance president and CFO commented: “Dana joins Everest with tremendous international finance experience that will be incredibly valuable to our finance organization. Dana is a strong and proven leader as demonstrated through her success covering prior leadership positions held throughout her career. As a global specialty insurance company, Everest Insurance® will benefit from Dana’s technical accounting background, international experience, and deep expertise. She will add depth to this core competency within the broader Everest organization. It is my pleasure to welcome Dana to Everest Insurance®.”

Craig Howie, Everest Re Group CFO commented: “Dana inherits an outstanding team of professionals in Liberty Corner led by Peter Gilhuley. Peter will continue in his position as leader of our North American Insurance Finance organization and will continue to play an instrumental role in our future. Peter has built a strong foundation and will continue to support the growth in the North America book for Everest Insurance®.”

Hyperion X partners with Vario on collateralised whole-account reinsurance offering

Hyperion X, the technology and analytics division of Hyperion Insurance Group, has partnered with Vario Partners LLP to launch a collateralised whole-account reinsurance offering backed by insurance-linked securities (ILS).

Both firms state that during this period of uncertainty, underpinned by financial market turmoil, economic recession, and increased credit risk, demand for less exposed, non-cyclical solutions is rising.

It has been suggested the product has come to the market in good timing with the current uncertainty and challenges faced by (re)insurers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, noted issues in the U.S. casualty space and the impacts of heavy catastrophe loss years.

With the backing of Hyperion X’s analytics, Vario Partners’ unique approach to combined, multi-year stop-loss reinsurance will be deployed in the provision of scalable, investor-backed capacity, they both explain.

An announcement on the new whole account cover states that carrier financing costs are on the rise while retrocession rates are elevated. In this operating landscape, the pair mentioned that whole account risk transfer insurance-linked securities (ILS) are an attractive contingent capital alternative.

Founding Partner of Vario Partners, Bryan Joseph, commented: “Whole account risk transfer insurance linked securities meet the needs of insurers and reinsurers seeking to reduce underwriting and credit concentration risks. We believe that including a layer of contingent capital in a reinsurance structure provides companies with enhanced shareholder returns and protection in those years when an accumulation of events and reserve development can impair shareholder value.”

Elliot Richardson, chairman of RKH Reinsurance Brokers, Hyperion X’s sister firm, said: “This important collaboration makes new capacity available at a time when reinsurance and retrocession cover, particularly whole account stop-loss, is at or near all-time lows.”

David Flandro, managing director, Hyperion X Analytics, added: “This structure uniquely benefits earnings volatility and balance sheet strength at a time when retrocession rates-on- line have increased, and carrier financing costs are rising sharply. We are bringing this to market now to give (re)insurers access to a new source of stable, competitive capacity during this volatile period which enhances balance sheet strength for future profitable growth.”

Sompo appoints Michael Carroll as SVP and deputy head of life sciences

Bermuda based specialty (re)insurer Sompo International Holdings appointed Michael Carroll as senior vice president and deputy head of life sciences for Sompo Global Risk Solutions (GRS).

In his new role he will be responsible for driving the growth of Sompo’s Life Sciences platform and brings over 3 decades of technical underwriting experience having spent 19 years at Chubb building and leading underwriting practices focused on serving the biotechnology as life sciences industries and served as Chubb’s subject matter expert for contract research organisations.

Lisa Davis, executive vice president of Sompo Global Risk Solutions, commented: “Whether through the introduction of new products and services or adding new talent to our team, we continue to expand our capabilities to further differentiate our Life Sciences vertical in the marketplace.

“Michael’s deep industry expertise and technical underwriting experience will play a critical role in further enhancing our ability to anticipate and meet the risk management needs of our clients. We are excited to have him be a part of the Sompo GRS Life Sciences team.”

Michael Chang, chief executive officer of Sompo Global Risk Solutions added: “Michael’s extensive industry knowledge and leadership experience will accelerate the profitable growth and expansion of our Life Sciences industry vertical.

“His proven track record in leading and growing client-focused underwriting teams in this space will enable us to offer our innovative underwriting approach and white-glove service model to even more Life Sciences clients. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Sompo GRS team.”

SCOR’s Channel Syndicate names Caroline Coulson as a senior underwriter

Reinsurer SCOR and its Channel Syndicate announced the appointment of Caroline Coulson as senior underwriter on the political and credit risks team within SCOR Specialty Insurance, effective immediately.

In her new role, Coulson will report to Kade Spears, global line head of the political and credit risks team.

Prior to joining the company, she served as a senior political risk underwriter at Lancashire Insurance where she had the responsibility for underwriting their contract frustration and political risks book. Before joining Lancashire in 2009, she was a senior analyst at Aegis Defense Services.

Stuart McMurdo, chief executive officer of Channel said: “We are pleased to have Caroline join the political and credit risks team as a senior underwriter. She brings a wealth of experience to SCOR Specialty Insurance as it continues to build its capabilities in this core specialty line.”

Blenheim Underwriting receives ‘approval in principle’ to launch managing agency

Blenheim Underwriting, a wholly owned subsidiary of White Bear Capital announced it has been granted ‘approval in principle’ by the Lloyd’s board to launch a new managing agency.

Following the approval, Blenheim Underwriting can now submit an application to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for their regulatory approvals, enabling them to progress to the next stage.

Blenheim Underwriting specialises in property treaty, D&F property, specialty reinsurance, contingency and accident & health.

Blenheim Syndicate 5886 at Lloyd’s has been managed by Asta Managing Agency since its launch and started underwriting for the 2017 year of account.

The syndicate has a capacity of £250mn for 2020 provided by third party capital ranging from private individuals to insurance-linked securities (ILS) funds and trade capital.

Peter Scales, CEO of White Bear and Director of Blenheim, commented: “This is one of the principal stepping stones that we targeted in building a modern independent underwriting business based on our first class underwriting teams.

“It marks a further development in our ability to best serve clients and their brokers, as well as a wide variety of capital providers in the evolving Lloyd’s, wider insurance and capital markets.

Towergate Insurance Brokers expands Cardiff team with Jamie Chambers

UK’s Towergate Insurance Brokers has announced the appointment of Jamie Chambers as an account executive to their Cardiff team.

Chambers brings 23 years industry experience and joins the broker from Marsh Commercial (formerly known as Jelf Insurance Brokers) where he spent 8 years. He has worked in a number of sectors including property investment, rail, professional services, media and technology.

Chambers said: “I’m thrilled to have joined Towergate in Cardiff. I’m really glad to have the opportunity to work for an insurance broker who are embedded within their local communities and that have a culture and ethos I believe in. It’s been great so far and I’m really looking forward to seeing what else is to come.”

Justin Newton, commercial business director at Towergate Insurance Brokers said: “I am delighted to welcome Jamie to the team. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. His appointment further demonstrates our commitment to invest in recruiting talented individuals to complement our existing teams in Cardiff, Swansea and Haverfordwest. It’s great to have Jamie here and I look forward to working with him.”