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EC News (23 April 2020)

April 23, 2020

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

Paul Jardine joins Chaucer as non-executive director

International specialty (re)insurance group Chaucer has appointed Paul Jardine as non-executive chairman, succeeding Chris Stooke, who will retire from the board later this year.

Jardine brings extensive experience in the Lloyd’s and London Markets and has held a number of executive roles at AXA XL. Prior to that, he served as director and chief actuary at Equitas. Before that, he was a partner at Coopers & Lybrand.

Stooke will leave the business having been with Chaucer for almost a decade, first as a non-executive director and then as chairman of the business.

John Fowle, CEO of Chaucer said: “Our Board is delighted to have Paul as our new Chairman. He has a wealth of insurance experience gained over a three-decade career in the industry, which will be a great addition to the collective expertise of the current team. I am sure that Paul’s expertise and insight will be invaluable as we continue our development as a leading specialty international (re)insurance group."

Adding: “Chris Stooke has been a wonderful chairman to work with. He has successfully guided Chaucer through a transformational decade with great care, competency and commitment. He has been a trusted member of the team and hugely liked by all. He has become a friend to many and will be greatly missed. I wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

Ralph van Helden joins Everest Insurance as business development director

Everest Insurance appoints Ralph van Helden as business development director for Everest Global Markets, which includes Everest Insurance (Ireland), DAC (EIID) and Lloyd’s Syndicate 2786.

In his new role, van Helden will be responsible for developing and deepening regional relationships with the firm’s broker partners, while also bringing the full suite of Everest Global Markets capabilities to the Everest Insurance’s EIID clients. 

He spent the last decade as the Lloyd’s representative in the Benelux Region, where he was part of the team involved in the post-Brexit solution for Lloyd’s  and played an key role in setting up Lloyd’s Insurance Company in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior Lloyd’s, he spent ten years at Marsh as a real estate practice leader (EMEA) and placement leader. He also worked for Rabbobank and ING Banks, where he worked in their insurance divisions.

Linda Ryan, CEO of EIID, commented: “We are so pleased to have someone with the deep business knowledge and experience that Ralph brings to our Ireland team, and to our vibrant EIID specialized insurance platform. As we look to expand our international brand and business, Ralph’s twenty plus years in the European insurance market, and the relationships he’s built in that space, will prove invaluable.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions names Matthias Grass CFO

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions announces the appointment of Matthias Grass as chief financial officer (CFO), effective 1 July 2020.

Grass will also join the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Executive Committee and will relocate from Bratislava to Zurich. He is to succeed Martin Mueller who has been appointed head global finance transformation for Swiss Re Group.

In his new role, Grass will be responsible for overseeing Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' Finance function, ensuring the business unit achieves its financial targets and implementing the division’s business strategy. He will also have oversight of a team of around 200 finance professionals in offices around the world.

Grass joined Swiss Re in 2013 where he served as chief financial officer of Group Operations and chief financial officer for Swiss Re’s service companies. During his time, he significantly improved cost management, operations, and steering across the Swiss Re Group. The firm states that he also played a key role in implementing the global operations strategy and expanding the company's presence in Bratislava.

Prior to Swiss Re, Grass spent 8 years with McKinsey & Company where he held numerous positions of increasing seniority.

Andreas Berger, CEO Swiss Re Corporate Solutions said: "Matthias has shown he is an effective leader who has achieved ambitious targets, inspired his people, and helped grow our very successful Bratislava operation. I am pleased he will join Corporate Solutions during this transformative time in our development. Matthias will be a driving force in refining our strategy as we advance corporate insurance for the benefit of our customers."

Adding: "I'd like to thank Martin for his many contributions to Corporate Solutions, particularly his leadership during our strategic review. "By overseeing the successful implementation of our management actions, Martin has helped us make significant progress in our return to profitability, which I am confident Matthias will help Corporate Solutions achieve in 2021, as committed."

Coverys appoints Robert Forster as director of underwriting

Coverys Managing Agency has named Robert Forster as the new director of underwriting succeeding Phil Sloan who is due to retire from the position, effective June 2020.

Forster brings over three decades of specialist underwriting experience to Coverys and most recently served as chief underwriting officer and active underwriter of Novae Syndicate 2007.

Robin McCoy, CEO, said: “Rob is a terrific addition to our senior team, and I am very pleased to welcome him to Coverys. He is the ideal candidate to maintain and build on our success to date and to help continue to drive this business forward. He is renowned as an excellent underwriter with a clear entrepreneurial approach and strategic ability. These characteristics will be key to realising our ambitions for Coverys in the Lloyd’s market.”
 
Forster added: “In a crowded space, Coverys has forged its market-leading position through the quality of its specialist expertise and underwriting strategy. I am looking forward to joining Coverys’ excellent team and developing our underwriting capacity further.”

AXA XL announces new leadership changes 

As part of a strategic review, AXA XL has announced a new leadership team and proposed changes to the operating model of its insurance business.

The proposed changes include the creation of a single global insurance underwriting function and the establishment of three geographical Business Units across Americas, Eurasia and the UK & Lloyd’s market.

The underwriting function will be led by a global chief underwriting officer (CUO), who will be working to design the structure of the proposed model.

The CUO will be responsible for underwriting governance, pricing, P&L and the management of the global heads of business lines in order to define and drive product strategy.

The three geographical Business Units will be led by CEOs, who would be responsible for the balance sheets of their geographies and managing talent.

Scott Gunter, AXA XL CEO, announced the following leadership team who will responsible for the build out of the envisaged operating model:

Nancy Bewlay, CUO; Joseph Tocco, CEO, Americas; Scott Gunter, interim CEO, Eurasia; Sean McGovern, interim CEO, UK & Lloyd’s market; Charles Cooper, CEO, Reinsurance; Brent Hoffman, chief claims officer; Karen le Duc, chief human resources officer; Matthieu Caillat, COO; Noel Richardson, chief risk officer; Rainer Schoellhammer, chief finance officer; Sean McGovern, general counsel.

Gunter, CEO said: “AXA XL is the result of acquisitions and mergers and with our increased scale, now is the time to optimize our structure by striking the right balance between local and global decision making so we remain agile and flexible.”

Adding: “I have spent my first 60 days as CEO considering our priorities and our structure and assembling the right team to drive AXA XL forward.  We want to continue to serve our clients and brokers to the very best of our ability while being a simpler organisation to navigate. The regional structure would mean decisions can be made faster in country, while the global functions would mean our clients and brokers continue to benefit from our global expertise and experience.

“This Leadership Team is an international, highly experienced team of individuals: around half the team have a background at legacy XL Catlin, while the other half bring diverse and valuable experience from across the AXA Group. 

“This is a positive step forward for AXA XL and I strongly believe that this new Leadership Team will ensure we are the insurance partner of choice across business lines and around the world.”

Certa hires Ben Furtick from Deloitte to spearhead US tax insurance offering

Independent specialty underwriting agency Certa Insurance has appointed Ben Furtick as senior US tax accountant to bolster their underwriting team and expand their growing US tax insurance offering., effective 20 April 2020.

Furtick joins from Deloitte where he served as associate director in the financial services reporting and compliance team in London where he was responsible for building a practice advising clients in the on US and global operational tax compliance.

Ben brings 8 years’ experience from Deloitte and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where his practice spanned US corporate and partnership taxation, international provisions of US tax and global operational taxes.

Tom Cartwright, co-founder and head of Certa’s underwriting team said: “We are thrilled to launch the next chapter in Certa’s development after a very successful first year with this exciting appointment. Certa is one of few UK markets able to insure US tax risks and Ben’s expertise will enhance the service we provide to our growing client and broker base in the US and globally”.

Furtick said: “I am delighted to join Certa at this exciting time for the business. I look forward to working to grow and develop Certa’s US tax underwriting offerings, and I am eager to help build on the successes of the tax underwriting business to date.