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EC News (10th January 2019)

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from CFC, Compre, Argo Group and more.

CFC to include business interruption in cyber policy

CFC has expanded its cyber insurance offering to include business interruption triggered by an IT system failure as well as a malicious event.

Also included in the latest version of its cyber insurance product is full supply chain business interruption cover, extending to events that impact the insured’s systems, the systems of technology suppliers as well as those of non-technology suppliers where named.

In a company statement CFC said that it is the only provider of cyber insurance to offer this protection with unlimited reinstatements as standard.

James Burns, cyber product leader at CFC said: “Cyber insurance is about much more than a data breach. The costs associated with system failure or downtime following a cyber attack, like ransomware, can be hugely detrimental to a business and shouldn’t be overlooked when purchasing a cyber insurance policy,”

In addition, crime cover has been included for cryptojacking which is a new type of cyber attack that is on the rise. Cryptojacking is where the hacker hijacks the processing power of a victim’s computer network in order to mine cryptocurrency for their own benefit, leaving the victim to foot the bill for the increased use of bandwidth.

Burns added: “By extending the triggers and breadth of our business interruption cover to address the real-world needs of our clients, CFC is delivering the most compelling first party cyber cover in the market,”

“Cybercrime is the single biggest driver of cyber claims that we see worldwide, with hackers using a variety of methods and attacks to steal money and data from unsuspecting businesses. Our customers need to know they’re covered no matter the threat.”

Benchimol, Grandisson and Driscoll elected as chairs of ABIR

Albert Benchimol, chief executive of AXIS Capital, will serve as the chair of the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR) for 2019.

Marc Grandisson, CEO of Arch Capital, will serve as deputy chair and Kean Driscoll, CEO of Validus Reinsurance, will serve as second deputy chair.

The appointments follow the body completing its biennial election process.

Benchimol, who began his term on 1 January, was appointed as president and CEO of AXIS in May 2012 and has served as a director since January 2012.

He said: “I’m proud to help advance ABIR’s mission and look forward to working with the ABIR Board and member companies to advocate the Bermuda re/insurance market’s interests around the world,”

“I’d also like to thank Kevin O’Donnell for his tremendous service as ABIR Chair during these past two years of challenges and change. The Bermuda market is well positioned, and ABIR will continue to advocate for open, well-regulated, competitive insurance markets globally.”

O’Donnell, president & CEO of RenaissanceRe Holdings, continues to serve as an ABIR officer and currently also serves as chair of the Global Reinsurance Forum (GRF), an international group of companies that advocates for the reinsurance industry.

Compre appoints Hawkins as CFO

Independent insurance and reinsurance legacy specialist, Compre has appointed Simon Hawkins as chief financial officer (CFO), effective immediately.

Hawkins succeeds Paul Matson who held the role three years before departing at the end of 2018.

Hawkins joined Compre as chief operating officer (COO) in 2018 with 20 years of industry experience.

In his new role, Hawkins will retain his responsibilities for the claims function and integration of new acquisitions.

Meanwhile, Rhydian Williams, managing director of operation, will take on responsibility for all other operational areas of the group.

Before joining Compre, Hawkins served as group head of retrospective solutions at QBE, where he developed a new approach to legacy management and was responsible for a portfolio of $1bn of legacy insurance liabilities.

Commenting on the appointment, Mark Lawson, co-CEO of Compre said: “I am delighted to announce Simon’s appointment as CFO, whose experience and expertise will be invaluable in the further development of the group.”

He added: “On behalf of the board, I would also like to extend our thanks to Paul for his significant contribution and our best wishes for the future.”

Everest Re CEO to retire

Everest Re has announced that its president and CEO, Dominic Addesso, is set to retire at the end of his contract term on 31 December 2019.

As a result, the Board is undertaking a search as part of its succession planning process which will include a review of internal and external candidates for the position which will take effect in 2020. 

Joseph Taranto, chairman of the Board, stated: "Dom has done a great job of growing Everest and positioning us for the future. We are thankful for his continued leadership." 

Argo Group appoints Wharton as head of Argo Insurance Bermuda

Argo Group has appointed Bill Wharton as head of Argo Insurance Bermuda, with immediate effect.

Wharton will continue as head of professional lines in Bermuda. Wharton succeeds Nigel Mortimer who moves into a new role leading the company’s international casualty business from its London office.

As head of Argo Insurance Bermuda, Wharton will report to Matt Harris, head of international.

Mortimer will report to Steve Eccles, international chief underwriting officer (CUO).

Harris commented: “We have a strong international platform with a deep bench of high-performing leaders,”

Adding: “This latest change leverages Bill and Nigel’s respective areas of expertise and proven records of success to continue to profitably grow the business.”

Wharton will also continue as head of professional lines in Bermuda.

He moves into his new role leading Argo Insurance Bermuda with over 23 years of industry experience.

He joined Argo in 2015 as an underwriting manager. Prior to joining Argo, he was head of financial lines, Asia at Catlin. Before that, he served as CUO for XL Group’s professional lines, underwriting activities outside the U.S. and Bermuda. He was vice president, professional lines for XL Insurance in Bermuda.

Mortimer joined Argo in 2009. He has been responsible for the company’s international insurance operations (with the exception of Lloyd’s Syndicate 1200), having helped build the company’s insurance operations in Bermuda, Brazil, Continental Europe and Dubai.

Before joining Argo, Mortimer served a number of years in XL’s Bermuda operations as underwriting manager of its casualty operations, as well as SVP and director of product development focused on driving profitable growth throughout XL’s global network. Mortimer has also worked in Bermuda, New York, London and Australia for the likes of; Chubb Corporation, Zurich International and Zurich Re.

Neon renews UK ILS property deal using NCM Re

London-headquartered specialty insurer Neon has successfully renewed its NCM Re sidecar.

The renewal comes a year on from its launch as the UK’s first ILS vehicle to utilise regulations which was passed in 2017.

The deal marks the first reinsurance renewal under the UK’s nascent regulatory regime for alternative capital investment in the reinsurance sector.

The transaction, which was launched on 1 January 2019, is a $77mn collateralised quota share of Neon Syndicate 2468’s property treaty reinsurance and direct and facultative portfolios.

Mark Gibson, alternative capital director at Neon, commented: “We are delighted with the continued support from existing investors and that new investors enabled us to increase the size of the transaction this year. This is quite an achievement given ILS market conditions and we are pleased to have sponsored the first renewal transaction under the UK regime, facilitated by early engagement with the Prudential Regulation Authority.”

Willis Towers Watson appoints senior director to pension de-risking team

Willis Towers Watson has named Costas Yiasoumi as a senior director in its pension de-risking transaction business, effective from 7 January 2019.

Yiasoumi joins the firm from Legal & General where he served as head of core business, focusing on the buy-in and buy-out market.

Yiasoumi has over 20 years’ experience leading teams in developing and implementing de-risking solutions for pension funds. He has previously held senior roles at Partnership Assurance, SwissRe, J.P. Morgan and Mercer.

In his new role Yiasoumi will be based in Manchester.

Commenting on the appointment, Ian Aley, head of transactions consulting at Willis Towers Watson, said: “I am delighted Costas has decided to join Willis Towers Watson and we very much look forward to working with him.

“His unique multi-disciplinary skills and track record will be invaluable to our clients as they seek the right de-risking solutions and he will help us to maintain our market-leading position across this space.”

Willis Towers Watson recently predicted that the bulk annuity market is set to grow significantly in 2019, with up to £30bn worth of transaction expected over the course of the year.

Arthur J. Gallagher to acquire UK broker Stackhouse Poland

Arthur J. Gallagher has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent of specialist insurance broker, Stackhouse Poland Group, in the UK.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

Since it was founded in 1974, Stackhouse Poland has since grown into a large-scale specialist UK insurance broker with over 500 employees and 23 offices across the country, generating over £55mn in annualised revenues.

Stackhouse Poland specialises in high-net-worth private clients, real estate, commercial, healthcare and a wide range of specialist insurance sectors.

J. Patrick Gallagher, chairman, president and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher shared: “Having begun life as a small, general practice broker, Stackhouse Poland has since grown through a well-managed blend of organic growth and targeted acquisitions, just like Gallagher,”

Adding: “With its suite of specialisms and first-class reputation among clients in the UK marketplace, it will make an outstanding addition to our global team.”

Michael Rea, CEO of the UK Retail division at Gallagher commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together our two high-performing businesses. We’ve long admired Stackhouse Poland as an ambitious, well-run insurance broker with an impressive portfolio of specialisms that are highly complementary to our own, such as private clients, real estate, marine, churches and education.

“From our earliest discussions with Tim and the team, it was clear their business, like ours, has been built around a relentless focus on client service and we look forward to creating an extraordinary business together.”

Group CEO of Stackhouse Poland, Tim Johnson, said: “In Gallagher we have found the ideal ally to take the business to the next level. It is clear that the Gallagher team shares Stackhouse Poland values – putting clients first by employing and developing top class insurance professionals. The support we have had from our investment partners at Synova has seen us grow into a significant business in the UK marketplace, and the time was right to find a long-term global partner.”

Jeremy Cary, executive chairman of Stackhouse Poland, said: “For the last 17 years, initially with business partner James Agnew and more recently in wider partnership with Tim Johnson & Synova, we have resolutely focused on building a private client and specialist commercial broking business, where organic growth has been equally important as growth by acquisition. Stackhouse Poland’s success has been a consequence of the fantastic clients we serve and the equally fantastic people we employ. The Gallagher business is infused with a similar culture, where it is all about clients and colleagues, and so I am happy to be passing the baton to a great home.”

QBE post-Brexit plans approved

QBE European Operations, part of the QBE Insurance Group, has implemented its post-Brexit plans, following its Part VII transfers that are coming into effect on 1 January 2019.

A Part VII transfer is a court-sanctioned legal transfer of some or all of the policies of one company to another.

QBE said its post-Brexit restructuring plans were approved by High Court during a hearing in December 2018.

The plans will ensure continuity of service for its customers across the European Union.

As part of the restructuring, QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited, now called QBE UK Ltd., has moved the general insurance business written through its European branch network.

In the meantime, QBE Re (Europe) Limited moved its entire reinsurance business (written through its Belgian, Bermudan and Irish branches) to QBE’s new Belgian (re)insurance entity - QBE Europe SA/NV.

David Winkett, chief financial officer (CFO) for QBE Europe stated: “We are pleased that our post-Brexit plans have been approved by the High Court and the Part VII transfers have completed. Irrespective of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we go into 2019 knowing our customers across the European Union can rest assured of an uninterrupted service.”