Roundup of the weekly news and developments from the global insurance market with stories from Markel, Towergate, PIB and more
MGA Galleon bought by Markel
Markel International has aquired Galleon, for an undisclosed sum. Galleon specialises in marine professional indemnity and cargo liability business. Founded in 2010 Galleon is an approved coverholder and has a client base of ship managers, surveyors, consultants, freight forwarders, logistics providers and other similar businesses. The business will be integrated into Markel's marine, energy and property division headed by divisional managing director Paul Jenks. Markel said that the acquisition will mark its entry into the specialist marine professional indemnity market. Jenks commented, "We have known and supported the Galleon team since the business was founded and have had relationships with its principals going back 20 to 30 years. It's a high quality team which will fit well with our existing marine portfolio and with our culture. There are strong synergies between our portfolios. The acquisition continues our strategy of adding niche marine products to our core portfolio. At the same time, we think we can really support the business with the strength of our marketing proposition, our international distribution capabilities and our London and US relationships."
Towergate's London Market arm rebrands as Bishopsgate
Towergate's London Market broking business has been rebranded as Bishopsgate prior of its relocation to the area in February. The broking business has committed to giving regional brokers better access to market, better service and better deals. Central to that commitment is a promise to provide quotes within a guaranteed timeframe and be innovative at developing new facilities for specialist products. Bishopsgate specialises in property, liability, motor, professional indemnity and jeweller's block insurance. Neil Pearce, managing director, will lead Bishopsgate. He joined in August and was previously managing director at Windsor Insurance Brokers. Pearce has the backing of broking and distribution director Paul Longhurst who ran the London Market broking team at Bluefin for 25 years, seeing the business grow from £45m to £75m GWP.
PIB buys Carmichael & Partners
PIB Insurance Brokers has aquired Aberdeen-based Carmichael & Partners in their fifth acquisition of the year. Its previous acquisitions are Fish Insurance, Cooke & Mason, Channel Insurance Brokers and QPI Legal. In addition, the broker is poised to bid for wholesale schemes broker TFP Schemes. Carmichael & Partners is a general insurance broker specialising in all forms of business insurances and servicing businesses in Aberdeen and North of Scotland. Brendan McManus, CEO of PIB, commented, "We are delighted to have acquired Carmichael, a firm which has an excellent reputation in the Aberdeen market. Carmichael will bolster our existing presence in Aberdeen working closely with our existing local PIB office led by Graeme Cant. Working together I am excited by the potential for both businesses to continue their success. We look forward to welcoming Carmichael to the PIB team."
Aon appoints UK leader from Guy Carpenter
Aon has appointed Nick Frankland as CEO of its reinsurance business in Britain. Based in London, Frankland will be responsible for driving growth strategies, building client relationships and strengthening collaboration across the brokerage firm. Reporting to Aon Benfield CEO Eric Andersen, Frankland will oversee Global Re Specialty, Specialities, ReSolutions and broking teams in the UK and Ireland. Anderson said, “Nick is an impressive addition to our executive leadership team and joins us with an admirable track record of industry experience and knowledge. He will provide strong leadership to our UK team and bring a unique global perspective and a wealth of expertise.” Prior to the move Frankland was CEO of Guy Carpenter's EMEA operations, where he led for the firm’s regional business and offices in the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was a chairman of Guy Carpenter & Company Limited and a director of Marsh Limited in the UK.
Axa appoint Brendan McCafferty as insurance CEO
Axa have appointed Brendan McCafferty as CEO, Axa Insurance. McCafferty most recently served as CEO of Flood Re, where he set up and launched the industry-backed initiative to bring more affordable and accessible flood insurance to those living in flood prone regions. In his new role, he will be reporting to Amanda Blanc, Axa UK group CEO. Blanc moved into her current position in July and said at the time that she would look to hire a replacement. McCafferty will adopt responsibility for the four strategic business units and £2.4bn of gross written premium that make up Axa Insurance. Blanc commented, "This is an excellent appointment for Axa Insurance. Brendan brings dual underwriting and distribution experience in both commercial and personal lines, which will be invaluable to us.”
Facebook stops planned launch of insurers discount plan
Facebook has stopped plans by an insurer to use young drivers' profiles to structure their car insurance premiums. Admiral, in a planned trial, wanted new motorists' permission to view their posts and likes to judge their safety as a driver. If a young driver was thought to be low-risk, a discount would be applied. Facebook said, on the day of the launch, that Admiral would not be able to determine discounts on the basis of Facebook posts and likes. Facebook has given approval for people to use their accounts to log in to the Admiral app and for verification purposes, but will not allow the insurer to view users' posts to work out discounts. Facebook said, "Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us. We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about eligibility.”
Bluefin Network joined by EG Murray
Bluefin Network is to be joined by Lanarkshire-based broker E G Murray Insurance Services as a new partner broker. The network highlighted that E G Murray was its first Scottish broker and that it will be helped by Craig Finnie as the new development manager. Finnie joins the company from Blink Underwriting and has previously worked for RSA. David Hopwood, managing director at Bluefin Network, commented, "We're proud to extend our services to our new partner broker, E G Murray. Working with ambitious brokers is what we are here for and we look forward to supporting the team to help maximise their considerable potential and push on to the next level. I would also like to welcome Craig to the team whose wealth of experience will help us support our latest partner broker in Scotland. With his extensive local experience he will be an invaluable asset to us both as we continue to grow."
Hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation to buy controlling stake in Aeolus
Aeolus, one of the leading insurance-linked investment managers specialising on collateralised property catastrophe reinsurance and retrocession is set for a capital injection with Elliott Management Corporation set to purchase a majority stake. Aeolus founder, Peter Appel, and Allied World Assurance Company are both selling shares to Elliott, meaning the hedge fund manager will obtain a controlling stake in the Bermuda-based ILS management firm. The transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of the year. Elliott oversees two hedge funds with combined assets of around $29 billion and has interests in the reinsurance sector already via its investments. Both Peter Appel and Allied World Assurance Company will continue to own significant minority stakes in Aeolus. Appel will serve as a Non-Executive Chairman of Aeolus and Allied World will keep its investments in Aeolus funds, leaving it as one of the more substantial capital providers to Aeolus’ ILS and reinsurance-linked investment funds.