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EC News (11 February 2021)

February 11, 2021

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Liberty Specialty Markets, Argo Group, Optio and more.

LSM names new head of financial and professional lines

Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group has announced the appointment of Terry FitzGerald to the newly created role of divisional head of financial and professional lines (FinPro), effective immediately.

Based in London he reports to Melanie O’Neill, chief underwriting officer (CUO), Commercial. This new FinPro role was created following Melanie’s promotion to CUO last year. 

In his new position, he has strategic oversight of the London FinPro book of business which covers financial institutions, directors & officers, professional indemnity and strategic assets cover, and includes business written in Bristol, Manchester and Dublin.

He will work closely with his team of underwriting managers and the commercial CUO to further develop the FinPro books of business to build the firm’s current market position.

Fitzgerald brings over two decades of (re)insurance experience and joins LSM from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, where he was head of D&O & Financial Institutions UK.

Melanie O’Neill, CUO commercial at Liberty Specialty Markets said: “I am delighted to welcome Terry to the team.  He brings a wealth of experience and his strengths of portfolio management, people management, formulating and executing strategies are pivotal to the success of this newly created role.”

Argo Group hires Scott Kirk as chief financial officer

Specialty insurance underwriter, Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. has appointed Scott Kirk as chief financial officer (CFO), effective 1 March 2021.

Kirk will succeed Jay Bullock whose planned departure was announced in July of last year, pending the identification of a successor.

He joins the business from Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited, where he most recently served as CFO from 2014 to April 2020. Prior to that, Kirk held a number of senior finance roles from 2007 to 2014, including CFO of Aspen’s insurance business.

Before Aspen, he held multiple senior finance roles at Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. between 2002 and 2007, including financial controller for the company’s U.K. operations and group head of internal audit.  

Kevin Rehnberg, Argo Group CEO said: “Scott has a tremendous background serving in similar roles within the specialty insurance industry. This is an exciting time to join Argo as we build on and execute plans to continue to grow as a leading U.S.-focused specialty insurer.

“We would like to thank Jay for his long tenure and numerous contributions to the company. We wish him all the best in the future.”

Optio announces launch of specialty marine market with senior hire

Optio Group, the London-based MGA has entered the specialty marine market led by new senior hire, Angus Bailey.

Bailey will be based in London and report to Paul Western, group chief underwriting officer.

Optio state Bailey’s appointment marks the firm’s launch into the specialty marine market, which aligns with its strategy for accelerated growth and continued enhancement of its specialty capability.

In his new role, there will be an initial focus on Marine War and Kidnap and Ransom risks (K&R) and Bailey will be responsible for developing the company’s marine specialty proposition, harnessing its proprietary technology to provide efficient and reliable insurance solutions for the marine industry.

Bailey joins from previously leading Seacurus, a trading name of Castel Underwriting Agencies Ltd where he delivered specialised solutions and coverages for the marine market. Before that, he served as an underwriter at Barbican, specialising in K&R, Hull War and Seafarer Abandonment.

Western commented: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Angus to Optio, whose appointment further builds upon our specialty market offering, and is indicative of the wealth of opportunities we see in this area. Angus is an established and well-regarded underwriter, with an impressive background in the marine specialty space. His experience in offering innovative solutions to niche risks, coupled with his use of technology to provide clients with fast, efficient and accessible protection, makes him an ideal addition to our ever-expanding team.”

Coverys appoints Joseph Murphy to CEO as Gregg Hanson retires

Coverys has announced the appointment of Joseph Murphy as chief executive officer and president succeeding Gregg Hanson, CEO who will retire on 31 March 2021.

Murphy will take up his position from 1 April 2021.

Hanson began his career with Coverys in 2000 as chief underwriting officer, bringing underwriting expertise and discipline to the MPL carrier. He was promoted to CEO and President in 2012.

Murphy joined Coverys in 2015 as chief operating officer (COO), overseeing the underwriting, business development and distribution, business analytics and risk management, claims, and Coverys Insurance Services.  

Prior to joining the firm, he served as the commissioner of insurance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2009 to 2014. He has also been an active member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and served as chair of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission.

Dr. Brenda E. Richardson, chair of the Board said: “It has been a pleasure, both personally and professionally, to have worked beside Gregg over the course of my time with Coverys. The Board and I recognize that, under Gregg's leadership, Coverys has grown into the successful international medical professional liability company that it is today. We wish Gregg and his wife, Deb, much happiness in this next phase of their lives.”

“Joe came to Coverys with a wealth of knowledge and experience. He has proven to be a great asset as COO, so this was a natural transition and a long standing part of Coverys’ succession planning process. The Board is confident of our continued success with Joe leading Coverys into the next chapter.”

Penny Seach appointed as CUO for EMEA at Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) has announced the appointment of Penny Seach as chief underwriting officer (CUO) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective 1 March 2021.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Seach will report to Sierra Signorelli, group chief underwriting officer and Alison Martin, CEO of EMEA and Bank Distribution.

Seach will have responsibility for the oversight of all aspects of the underwriting function in the region and ensure alignment with the Group’s global strategy and governance. Additionally, she will focus on driving various underwriting initiatives, such as policy wording updates and the rollout of new platforms and enhanced data and analytics tools.  

She brings over 25 years of insurance experience and has a strong track record of leading large diverse teams across geographies and disciplines. Seach joined Zurich in 2017 and most recently served as CEO of general insurance, Zurich Hong Kong.

Signorelli said: “EMEA is a critical region for our business and to Zurich’s overall success, and I am very pleased to welcome Penny to the team. She is a passionate leader and brings extensive operational and business line experience to the role. I am confident that she will be a strong partner to the local underwriting teams while helping us further develop and implement our strategy and deliver the best solutions for our customers’ individual needs.”

Hiscox names Stéphane Flaquet as chief transformation officer

International specialist insurer, Hiscox has appointed Stéphane Flaquet to the newly created role of chief transformation officer for the Group.

Flaquet currently serves as CEO of Hiscox Europe and in his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Group’s multi-year, cross-geography transformation programmes, working with business units as well as functions such as claims and IT to streamline the existing operating model.

He will report to Bronek Masojada, group CEO and become a member of the Hiscox Operating Committee.

Flaquet joined Hiscox in 2010 where he held the position of chief operating officer for Europe, based in Paris. Later in 2012, he relocated to London as chief information officer until 2016 when he became CEO of Hiscox Europe.

Prior to that, he worked across various sectors within financial services for companies such as Paribas, CapitalOne and AIG, in France, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

Additionally, Robert Dietrich, managing director of Hiscox Germany, will become acting CEO of Hiscox Europe, effective immediately.

Masojada said: “There are opportunities ahead in all our business areas and our multi-year investment in technology means we are well placed to grasp them. In his new role, Stéphane will help drive the ongoing evolution of our business model to ensure we are fit for the future. Stéphane brings to the role proven leadership ability, excellent strategic and operational knowledge, as well as a passion for driving digital change and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”