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EC News (2 July 2020)

July 02, 2020

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Oneglobal, NewRe, ABI and more.

Oneglobal adds Vanessa Macdonald-Smith as executive director

Specialist independent Lloyd’s broker Oneglobal Broking (formerly SSL Endeavour) has announced the appointment of Vanessa Macdonald-Smith as executive director, responsible for Direct and Facultative (D&F).

Macdonald-Smith will join the Group Executive Committee and will report to Oneglobal’s CEO, Mike Reynolds.

Oneglobal states that the appointment will accelerate the build out of the firm’s D&F capability around the globe with a number of specialists expected to join the team in the coming months.

Macdonald-Smith brings more than three decades of international experience and extensive long-term client and market relationships.

Prior to joining Oneglobal she was CEO of JLT Facultative and has also held senior positions at Willis Towers Watson and Benfield Corporate Risks (Aon Benfield).

Mike Reynolds, CEO Oneglobal commented: “Direct and Facultative insurance design and placement capability is a crucial element of our client offering and our clients need the highest quality broker expertise to craft comprehensive risk management  solutions utilising D&F placements.
 

Vanessa is an outstanding insurance leader who understands the needs of clients in this critical area. She is an inspiring leader of broking professionals and as an Executive Director, will be an advocate for clients and inspire the Oneglobal team as we grow our business together.”

Macdonald-Smith added: “Oneglobal is an exciting and inspiring broking organisation that puts clients at the heart of everything it does. This approach has been lost by many broking firms and I’m looking forward to bringing superior service and market access back to clients around the globe. Over time I know that openminded individuals with the right expertise and that share our values will want to join us as we drive the client agenda forward in the D&F space.”

Dirk Herrenpoth joins NewRe as CUO

NewRe, a subsidiary of Munich Re has named Dirk Herrenpoth as the new chief underwriting officer (CUO) for its non-life business, effective 1 July 2020.

Herrenpoth will replace Artur Klinger, who is leaving the company after 12 years to become head of continental Europe at Everest Re.

He brings more than 24 years industry experience and has held a number of management functions during his nearly 20 years with Munich Re Group. 

Most recently, he was based in London as head of Great Lakes UK Branch in co-function with leading Munich Re’s facultative and corporate business in the UK.

Renate Strasser, CEO of NewRe said: “I am very pleased to welcome Dirk to the company. Having a CUO with the breadth and depth of Dirk’s industry experience is great news for NewRe. This, combined with his personal drive and motivation, will greatly support the achievement of our strategic plans and makes him an ideal leader for the Property & Casualty business.”

Herrenpoth added: “I am really excited to be taking on profit responsibility for a significant reinsurance player. I look forward to joining the NewRe leadership team and building on the great foundation and growth potential the business clearly demonstrates.”

ABI appoints Craig Thornton as chair of General Insurance Council

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has named Craig Thornton as the new chair of its General Insurance Council (GIC).

Thornton is currently general insurance and protection director at Lloyds Banking Group.

As Chair, he will help set the ABI’s strategic direction on issues of interest to the general insurance market.

Currently chair of the ABI’s Audit Committee, and ABI Board member, Craig succeeds Andy Watson, CEO, Ageas UK.

Thornton joined Lloyds Banking Group General Insurance Director in 2013 and became General Insurance and Protection Director in 2016.

He moved from Aviva where he was UK Life CFO and a member of the UK Board, having previously held roles as UK commercial director and UK CRO.

Thornton is a qualified actuary by profession and has significant experience across general and life insurance as well as wholesale markets through spending 11 years at Swiss Re. 

He previously served as chair of the Industry Advisory Board which supported and led to the creation of Flood Re.

Thornton said: “The Covid-19 crisis has put the industry right under the spotlight and it’s more important than ever for the sector to work together on lessons from this and highlight the importance of our role in getting the UK back on track.

“I’m looking forward to taking on the role as Chair of GIC at such a crucial time when alongside the post-pandemic recovery, there are other areas of critical importance including Brexit, regulation and improving the reputation of the industry to build consumer confidence.”

Huw Evans, director general, Association of British Insurers, said: "Craig brings considerable industry experience having worked across reinsurance, commercial lines and personal lines in his career so far. His leadership skills, such as his role in developing the world first Flood Re scheme, will be invaluable in helping the general insurance sector speak authoritatively across the wide range of challenges it faces.” 

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers, added: “I am delighted that Craig Thornton has become Chair of the GIC. This is a key role in helping shape the strategy of the general insurance market – one that plays a pivotal role in the lives of millions of people and businesses. As we start to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, we enter a critical time for the industry. It is a time when highlighting to policymakers, the regulators and customers the key role that our industry plays in peoples’ lives and the UK economy has never been more important.”  

Phoenix Group announces two appointments to its Executive Committee

Phoenix Group has announced two appointments to its Executive Committee. Andy Curran will join as CEO Savings and Retirement, UK and Europe and group director Scotland, and Claire Hawkins has been promoted to the role of corporate affairs and investor relations director.

After more than 10 years with Phoenix Group, and over three decades in the life and pensions sector, Susan McInnes is to retire from her role as CEO of Standard Life Assurance and Group Director for Phoenix’s Open business later this year.

Based in Edinburgh, Curran will join the business in July and work alongside McInnes to deliver a smooth handover before she steps down in the autumn. In his new role he will be responsible for leading the Group’s open book and BPA growth strategy and enhance Phoenix’s position as a leader in the workplace market, helping customers throughout their journey to and through retirement. As well as the Open businesses in the UK, Curran will be responsible for our European operations and SunLife.  

He brings more than three decades of life and pensions experience, most recently as managing director at Aviva UK Insurance, responsible for Aviva’s UK Corporate businesses. Prior to that, he was UK CEO for Friends Life as well as holding senior roles at Prudential.

Additionally, Hawkins has been promoted with immediate effect into an expanded role of corporate affairs and investor relations director, responsible for Phoenix’s external relations activity, including the Group’s Sustainability strategy.

She has worked for Phoenix companies for almost 20 years where she has led a number of transformational projects and enhanced investors’ understanding of the Group and its strategy, notably contributing to Phoenix’s success in joining the FTSE100 index in 2019.

Executive Committee member John McGuigan, group customer director, will also play an increasing role in building relationships for the Group in Scotland.

Both Curran and Hawkins will become members of the Phoenix Group Executive Committee and report into CEO Andy Briggs.

Andy Briggs, CEO of Phoenix Group said: “Susan has been instrumental in the transition of Standard Life Assurance into Phoenix and setting the path for success in our Open business. On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank her for her service, and wish her all the best in her well-earned retirement.

“In Andy, a fellow Scot, we have an excellent successor. He brings significant experience of the life and pensions sector and an exceptional track record of delivering value for customers and shareholders. He will lead Phoenix’s Open book and BPA growth strategy and enhance our position as a leader in the workplace market.

“I’m delighted to welcome Claire to the Executive Committee. Her promotion to this newly expanded position reflects our commitment to enhancing our outreach to stakeholders and how central ESG considerations are to our operations. Claire has taken a leading role in many projects which have transformed the company’s scale and operations, and she will continue to drive development in the Group in this new role.


Adding: “Phoenix will become the UK’s largest long term savings and retirement business following the completion of the ReAssure acquisition. We will have a senior management team with the skills and experience in place to drive the business forward. I’m looking forward to working closely with Claire and Andy as we progress with our strategy and our ongoing commitment to being a sustainable business that successfully supports the needs of our customers.”

Davies strengthens global leadership team with general counsel appointment

Specialist professional services and technology firm, Davies Group has appointed Jeff Chang in the newly created role as general Counsel, effective 1 July.

In his new role, he will provide a lead on all legal matters, with a focus on M&A, commercial and Davies’ strategic growth agenda.

Chang is currently a partner at Osbourne Clarke LLP specialising in M&A transactional services for a variety of clients across a number of sectors.

He will report into Tony Debiase group chief financial officer, as well as joining the global Executive Leadership Team. 

Dan Saulter, group chief executive said: “We have worked closely with Jeff over many years and multiple transactions.  Having the chance to bring him in to Davies for this next phase of our growth was an opportunity I did not want to miss.  I’m delighted to welcome him to Davies and have him join our Executive Leadership Team. We have ambitious global goals over the next few years and having Jeff’s expertise in-house will be invaluable as we execute our plan.” 

Chang said: “I am delighted to be joining the Davies family and having worked with them on a number of interesting projects over the last few years, it seemed a natural fit and an exciting opportunity to pursue.  I very much look forward to working alongside and supporting the Executive Leadership Team during and beyond this next phase of growth.” 

Howden authorised licence to operate in Belgium & CEO appointed

International independent insurance broker, Howden Broking Group (Howden) has announced that is has been granted its licence to operate in Belgium.

Industry veteran Herman Kerremans will lead the Belgium based operation and, with an established team, provide best-in-class specialty solutions to clients across the Benelux region, further strengthening the company’s presence in Europe.

Prior to joining Howden’s earlier this year, he served as chief development officer in Belgium for JLT. He brings more than 30 years’ experience in corporate insurance and specialty business, paired with extensive knowledge of the Benelux region.

Herman Kerremans, CEO, Howden Belgium: “As Howden seizes the opportunity to further invest in this important region, I am delighted to lead this exciting new venture. Howden has a rare culture that embraces change and understands the true value of expertise and care when it comes to client service.  As a group committed to employee ownership, it puts People First, not the shareholder; this is and always has been Howden's credo,” says Kerremans. "If you take care of the employees, they will take care of the client. This is a core belief to us at Howden and has resulted in our track record of stellar growth.”

Adding: “The Covid-19 crisis has ushered in a rise in rates and a hardening market that will impact insurance programmes for many companies. Furthermore, given Howden’s ambitious drive, which empowers people to offer innovative and thoughtful solutions, we are perfectly positioned to offer clients in the region access to wider group resources and a fresh alternative in a consolidating broker market.”

Louise Cable-Alexander, CEO Europe, Howden Broking Group said: “We are thrilled to welcome someone of Herman’s calibre to the Group.  He is an outstanding specialist with renowned experience and deep industry and local market knowledge and along with his team, confirms our position as the natural home for entrepreneurial talent. Howden Belgium represents another significant investment in Europe as we continue to expand further and deeper into this important region. For clients, this exciting move demonstrates our quick anticipation of their need for choice and our commitment to delivering a specialty-led service on the ground.”

Jim Bichard appointed global insurance leader for PwC

PwC has announced the appointment of Jim Bichard as its new global insurance leader, effective 1 July 2020, succeeding Stephan O’Hearn who is retiring after 38 years with the business.

Bichard has served in the insurance sector throughout his 23 years at PwC, most recently leading the firm’s UK insurance practice with responsibility for all the company’s services to insurance clients across every industry segment.

He has primarily worked in the firm’s New York and London offices, serving (re)insurance clients ranging from global groups to start-ups.

During his time with PwC, Bichard has also held various leadership roles across the UK and EMEA including PwC’s London Market and Broking practice, as well as its Solvency II and regulatory team.

John Garvey, global financial services Leader at PwC, commented: “We are so pleased to have Jim as our new Global Insurance Leader. He brings proven business building experience and deep knowledge of the insurance industry. He is well qualified to assist our clients’ transformation journeys in the sector, while driving consistent improvement in the quality and impact of our entire portfolio of services.”