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EC News (11 June 2020)

June 11, 2020

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from AXA XL, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, HDI Global Specialty and more.

Xavier Veyry appointed CEO Asia & Europe at AXA XL

AXA XL has announced the appointment of Xavier Veyry as chief executive officer Asia & Europe. Veyry will join the company’s newly configured leadership team, reporting to to CEO, Scott Gunter.

Veyry currently serves as country CEO of AXA China and chairman of AXA Tianping in China and AXA general insurance in Korea. He has worked at AXA for 24 years and during his tenure has held numerous CEO and leadership position around the world.

He will step down from his role as CEO of AXA China later this year to lead AXA XL’s Asia & Europe business from Dublin, Ireland.

Throughout his career, Veyry has had a focus on business performance and innovation. He notably built AXA’s healthcare practice in the Middle East and led the operational transformation of AXA Global Direct. Most recently he oversaw the process towards full ownership of AXA Tianping, making it the largest foreign-owned P&C insurance company in China.

Scott Gunter said: “Xavier’s extensive international experience positions him ideally to lead AXA XL’s business across Asia & Europe. When we think about Asia & Europe in terms of a business unit, we know that it’s incredibly diverse in terms of economies, business and culture. I believe Xavier has the knowledge and, importantly, the first-hand experience and mindset to lead our teams in these incredibly important markets.”  

Adding: “Having the right talent in the right places is key to ensuring AXA XL is the insurance partner of choice across business lines and around the world. Our newly appointed regional CEOs are going to ensure we are an organisation that is easy to navigate, so that we can continue to serve our clients to the very best of our ability.”

Gordon Watson, CEO of AXA Asia, said: “I would like to thank Xavier for his superb leadership while in China. I am delighted he will continue to support the growth of the AXA Group in China as Chairman of AXA Tianping and through his directorship at ICBC-AXA.”

Allianz (AGCS) names Jonathan Milford-Cottam as head of aviation

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) a division of (re)insurer Allianz has appointed Jonathan Milford-Cottam as head of aviation for its regional unit London.

He succeeds Tom Fadden, current global head of Aviation, who has had a dual role since June 2019.

Based in London, Milford Cottam will report directly to Tracey Hunt, AGCS UK Deputy CEO, and Tom Fadden.

Milford-Cottam will now have responsibility for leading AGCS’s Aviation RUL team and overseeing strategic development, execution and financial performance.

He brings over 25 years’ experience in the aviation insurance space and 17 years’ experience with Allianz having joined in 2003 as an aviation claims adjuster. In 2005 he moved over to underwriting to join the Airline team within Regional Unit London.

Since then he has held the role of senior underwriter and more recently underwriting manager – Airlines with AGCS where he was responsible for managing a high-profile global portfolio.

Fadden commented: “I would like to welcome Jonathan to my leadership team, and I look forward to working with him to further develop the already strong Regional Unit London portfolio,”

“His track record in technical excellence and market leadership role will be invaluable in these unusual times in the market. I am confident he will drive this part of the RUL business forward and work even closer with our clients to provide new and innovative solutions.”

Hunt commented: “I’d also like to express congratulations to Jonathan and extend my welcome to the Regional Unit London leadership team. He is known and respected both within our team here, and the Aviation market, and I know he will continue to have a positive impact.”

HDI Global Specialty SE launches London Political & Credit Risk team with new hires

HDI Global Specialty has announced the launch of its Political and Credit Risk team in London and named Nick Robinson as head of political risk & structured credit and Anthony Vaughan senior analyst and underwriter.

The new London team will work in collaboration with HDI Global Specialty’s existing Political Risk team based in Stockholm.

Both Robinson and Vaughan join from Neon Underwriting.

Robinson brings over 20 years of political risk insurance experience to the business, including the establishment and development of a successful PRI book at Marketform, latterly Neon Syndicate. This included Confiscation, Expropria-tion, Nationalization and Deprivation, Contract Frustration and Structured Credit insurance.

During his tenure, Robinson has also worked at AIG London, Wellington Underwriting and JLT.

Vaughan is a CFA charterholder by training and started at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in 2002.  He then spent nine years with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in several positions, lastly serving as a credit analyst in London. He joined Neon in 2017 and played an essential role in setting up the firm’s Structured Credit business plan.

Richard Taylor, HDI Global Specialty SE UK managing director, said: “I’m pleased to be welcoming Nick and Anthony to the London team at HDI Global Specialty SE. Since the creation of the business at the start of last year, we have said we will be looking for opportunities to expand our offering to the market which now extends to Credit products including both public and private obligor default and lenders protection alongside existing Political Risk coverage. This is another example of the business delivering on its stated strategy of organic and inorganic growth.”

AXIS Re promotes Leahey to head of agriculture reinsurance

AXIS Re, the reinsurance business segment of AXIS Capital, has promoted Michael Leahey to head of agriculture reinsurance, effective 1 July 2020.

In his new role, Leahey will be responsible for setting the strategy, optimising the firm’s portfolio and leading the underwriting of the agriculture business.

He will continue to be based in Zurich and will report to Ann Haugh, president global markets for AXIS Re.

Leahey has worked at AXIS Re since 2017, most recently as a senior property underwriter.

From August 2019 to January 2020, he was interim head of property EMEA LatAm. Prior to his work at AXIS, Leahey held various senior underwriting property and casualty positions in the industry.

Haugh said: “Michael brings considerable underwriting experience to this role and has a proven track record of success. I am excited for the potential of our agriculture reinsurance business under Michael’s leadership, and congratulate him for this well-deserved promotion.”

Castel adds Gert van Middelkoop as head of Marine 

Managing general agent (MGA), Castel Underwriting Agencies has appointed Gert van Middelkoop as head of its new marine centre of excellence.

In his new role, Van Middelkoop is responsible for the oversight and development for a marine book of business in the UK and continental Europe. The newly established Marine Centre of Excellence with teams in London and Rotterdam will focus on all classes of marine business including cargo, hull and liability.

He joins Castel from Navigators where he was head of marine international division where he oversaw all marine operations in continental Europe, Asia and Latin America. Prior to that, he has held numerous senior marine underwriting roles, with AIG, CV Starr and Torus (now StarStone).

Mark Birrell, CEO of Castel, said: “Gert brings Castel an unrivalled track record and reputation in the marine insurance market. His experience and knowledge will be important as we build our presence in this market and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the prevailing conditions.”

Van Middelkoop commented: “Castel has a proven model that supports entrepreneurial underwriters to build profitable books of business. For the marine market, the current hardening of rates together with the withdrawal of some carriers and capacity creates the opportunity for a one stop marine shop which our new centre of excellence will be. Castel provides us with flexibility, strong capacity and backing to be able to respond to these opportunities.”

Chubb expands global Marine team with key appointments

Global (re)insurer Chubb has announced a series of key appointments of its expanding Marine team within Chubb Global Markets (CGM).

Frank Chu joins the team as marine cargo underwriter, reporting to David Kirk, product head for cargo, effective immediately. In his new role, he will be responsible for strengthening the overall capability of the existing Cargo team within CGM, which comprises the firm’s London market wholesale and specialty business including the company's Lloyd's platform.

Chu has more than two decades of experience in the insurance industry and has previously held senior Lloyd's cargo underwriting positions with several large insurers.

He joins the growing Marine team, which includes three additional recent hires:

Emily Bryant has joined as yacht underwriter. She is responsible for managing and developing the CGM Yacht portfolio.

Ian Precious joins as marine liability underwriter. He will have oversight of the management and development of the Marine Liability portfolio within CGM and support the development of Chubb Overseas General's liability capabilities across the wider Chubb network.

Additionally, Jack Buchan joins as hull underwriter. Buchan has responsibility for growing and diversifying the hull and wider marine portfolio including underwriting brown water and specialist tonnage.

All three will report to James May, product head for Hull, Liability & Yacht.

Mark Edmondson, head of marine for Chubb Global Markets, said: "I'm delighted with the specialist knowledge and experience that Frank, Emily, Ian and Jack bring to already well-established Marine teams at Chubb Global Markets. Their technical appreciation of the marine and logistics industry and its associated risks will enable us to further provide excellent service to our clients and grow the business and footprint not only within the London market, but further afield across the Chubb Overseas General network."