Roundup of the weekly news and developments from the global insurance market with stories from Asta, LMG, Lloyd's and more.
Asta gets approval for Blenheim Syndicate 5886
Asta, the successful third party managing agent at Lloyd’s, announced it has been given in principle approval from the Lloyd’s Franchise Board to set up and manage Blenheim Syndicate 5886. Asta hopes to begin underwriting policies from 1 January 2017. Nick Destro has been hired as active underwriter joining the senior management team of John Lynch and Peter Scales. Destro will be joined by Geraldine McMillan and Michael O’Sullivan to underwrite the treaty account from 1 January. Blenheim will be launched as a new ‘independent’ with a large portion of the operation owned by the team. It wants to provide the desirable trading environment for market-leading expertise and nurture the next generation of Lloyd’s underwriters. Blenheim has a 2017 stamp capacity of £150m, underwriting US and international treaty books, direct insurance (D&F) and some speciality lines. The ambition is to build out the portfolio of lines over time, subject to securing genuine market leading expertise. Blenheim is thought to announce a series of appointments over the coming weeks and months.
LMG appoints permanent CEO
London Market Group (LMG) have revealed the appointment of Chris Beazley as its first permanent CEO. Chris will replace Ben Reid, who was seconded from EY as interim CEO. Ben will re-join EY where he has been promoted to executive director. Chris assumes his position on 7 November and will work with Ben during the handover period. Nicolas Aubert, chairman of the LMG said, “We are delighted that Chris is joining us to take our growth and modernisation agenda forward to the next stage. Ben has done a tremendous job in building out our workstreams and has delivered real progress in our activities around telling the London market story and, working across government and Parliament to help create a better business environment for specialty (re)insurance in London. Ben will continue to push ahead with this agenda through the autumn. These are strong foundations on which to build, and Chris’ deep understanding of the market and experience both here and in other markets, will provide the leadership and drive to do just that.” Chris Beazley shared his thoughts on LMG and his new position saying, “LMG has been transformed over the last several years and it is an exciting time to be taking over as the first permanent CEO. There is no doubt the business environment is more challenging than ever for companies within the London Market. However we have widespread support for the four focal areas of our work which means LMG is very well placed to help London maintain and build on its position as the undisputed global market for specialty commercial (re)insurance.”
Lloyd’s profits grow in first half of 2016
Lloyd’s have released first half figures showing a £0.26 billion profit increase on the same period last year. Lloyd’s also reported an annualised return on capital of 11.7% and a combined ratio of 98%. The key financial figures released were, pre-tax profits of £1.46 billion (H1 2015: £1.20 billion), return on capital of 11.7% (H1 2015: 10.7%), combined ratio of 98% (H1 2015: 89.5%), investment return of 1.8% (H1: 0.6%) and net resources of £26.6 billion. Many witnessed major claim increases in 2016 due partly to the Fort McMurray fires in Alberta, Canada. Premiums continue to be under pressure due to the challenging environment the market is operating in though Lloyd’s financial ratings remain extremely strong with Fitch (AA-), A.M. Best (A) and Standard & Poor’s (A+). Lloyd’s Chief Executive, Inga Beale said, “These results reflect the highly competitive environment we are operating in, but they demonstrate that Lloyd’s is in robust financial shape. Clearly the UK’s referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focussing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd’s continues trading across Europe.” Lloyd’s Chairman, John Nelson, commented on Lloyd’s global access, “Whilst we are operating in difficult conditions, we have continued to make significant progress in growing our presence in the fast-growth markets across the globe. In 2016 we have applied for onshore reinsurance licences in India and Malaysia as well as opening a new office in Bogota, Colombia. This complements the growth we are seeing in Dubai, China and in our more traditional markets, particularly the United States.”
Brit Ltd. receives principal approval to launch a new syndicate
Brit Ltd. has been awarded in principle approval from the Lloyd’s Franchise Board to launch their new Syndicate 2988. The syndicate is expected to begin underwriting business in January 2017, subject to completion of the final stage of Lloyd’s application framework. Syndicate 2988 will be run by Brit Syndicates Ltd. which also runs Brit’s Lloyd’s Syndicate 2987 and holds Chartered Insurer status. Syndicate 2988 will work with a capacity of £52 million for its debut year of trading and is to be bolstered by private Lloyd’s members. The company said in a statement, “Underwriting will be undertaken by Brit’s existing teams and the syndicate will write a well-balanced global portfolio of both insurance and reinsurance across a broad range of specialty lines in which Brit already has well established product offerings.” The launch of Syndicate 2988 reinforces Brit’s continued commitment to the Lloyd’s market and ambition to become the largest Lloyd’s-only insurer. Matthew Wilson, Brit group deputy CEO and Brit global specialty CEO said, “Brit is the largest business writing solely on the Lloyd’s platform, and we believe this focus is a key differentiator for us. The announcement is further evidence of our commitment to this market.”
Two senior executives leave Third Party Re
Shane Hayerstick and Tony Urban have submitted their resignations to Third Party Re. Urban served at executive vice president and chief underwriting officer having joined the company at its launch in 2011. Hayerstick and Urban moved to the new US operation in 2015, relocating from Bermuda. Urban and Hayerstick joined the company from JRG Reinsurance where they worked alongside one another as CEO and COO respectively. Urban was part of JRG from its inception in 2008. The destination is yet to be confirmed for the two executives with some speculating they have moved to an MGA style operation.
Alan McGuire to leave AEGIS after 20 years
AEGIS has announced that Alan J. Maguire has opted to retire as president and chief executive officer following a twenty-year career at the company. He will be replaced by Owen Ryan, who most recently served as chief executive officer of Deloitte Advisory. The change will take place on 27 October, after which Maguire will be supporting the company as a consultant. Ryan joins AEGIS after 3 decades at Deloitte. He offers deep insurance sector knowledge, having lead Deloitte’s insurance practice and advised numerous insurance companies. Maguire said, “With the company in its strongest position ever and with a talented, proven leader ready to take the reins, the time is right for me to retire from AEGIS and I am looking forward to life’s next chapter. I am particularly pleased that Owen, who I recommended the Board engage as an advisor several years ago, has been chosen as my successor. Owen comes to AEGIS with a deep understanding of our company, and he has earned the respect of our directors and management team as a key player in the development of our strategy refresh and the company’s enterprise risk management program. He has extensive experience serving the energy and insurance industries, good judgement, and solid management abilities. Under his leadership, I am confident that the company will continue on its path of success.”
Dual sees more senior departures
A number of senior departures have left Dual, including personnel from its core financial lines business. Financial and professional lines make up about 70% of the company’s portfolio. It is understood that among those who have left the company are Liz Hanlon and Paul Russell, both managing directors of the financial lines operation. In the company’s German business, Manuel Wirtz is set to leave the company having served as managing director of Dual’s German operation.