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EC News (14 March 2019)

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Axa, CRC Group, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty and more.

Axa UK and Ireland unveils management restructure

Axa UK and Ireland has revealed changes to its management structure following the appointment of Shali Vasudeva as chief operating officer (COO).

Vasudeva will be responsible for a several business areas including IT, customer insight, digital, procurement and property including leading the transformation office and the simplification programme.

Vasudeva's tasks will be focused on delivering a strong operational stability across the business and working with the operating companies to remove complications for customers and members.

In addition, Amber Wilkinson, currently finance director at Axa PPP healthcare, has been appointed as chief of staff to CEO Claudio Gienal.

Wilkinson will be responsible for the strategy, brand and communications functions, along with customer proposition and innovation, which will become part of the CEO’s office. Wilkinson will be leading the ‘Beyond 2020’ strategy of the Axa brand in UK and Ireland, which is effective from 1 April 2019.

Within the new restructure, Darrell Sansom, currently chief customer and innovation officer, will move to a new role working with Phil Bradley, CEO Axa Ireland, on supporting plans to diversify the Irish business.

Gienal said: “These changes at a senior level are designed to reflect our desire to focus firmly on our customer experience and simplify decision making. I am confident that the new structure and governance will allow us to deliver against the priorities we have set.”

CRC Group collaborates with AmRisc on new property products

CRC Group has joined with AmRisc to develop and underwrite new property programs, while also announcing a new offering in catastrophe coverage.

The partnership will build products under the name Insurisk.

The first product introduced from CRC, Insurisk CAT+, will offer up to $15mn in catastrophe exposed accounts.

The second product QSP+ is an exclusive quota share facility that will provide a follow-form solution with up to 50 percent participation in primary and/or excess layers.

CRC and AmRisc explained that in the coming month’s additional products that are under development and will be released.

Dave Obenauer, CRC Group’s CEO said: “We have the most actionable data in the wholesale business, and we are using that data to develop programs that help differentiate CRC Group in the eyes of our customers,”

“We have launched more than 10 new exclusive products in the last year, and each one is successfully meeting our customer’s needs in creative ways. We are excited that the Insurisk brand will now be the home for all our exclusives products.”

Neil Kessler, CRC Group’s chief operating officer (COO) added: “When we set out to develop proprietary property products and looked for a partner to help us do that AmRisc, LLC was a natural choice given the results they have delivered for carrier and capital partners over the last decade,”

“We are excited to work with AmRisc, LLC to bring new, creative products to market under the Insurisk name based on the investments we have been making in data and analytics over the last few years.”

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty appoints marine & property duo

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI), has appointed Pedro Mairos and Sean Mannion as head of marine and head of property for the UK and Ireland.

Prior to joining BHSI, Mairos most recently served as UK deputy chief underwriting officer (CUO) and head of marine cargo underwriting at Axa Corporate Solutions, UK branch.

Marios previously held marine insurance roles at Axa in Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai and has two decades of industry experience.

Additionally, Mannion, with more than 35 years’ experience joins BHSI from Zurich where he was head of property & energy lines, Commercial Insurance UK.

Chris Colaham, head of UK and Europe BHSI said: “With Pedro and Sean leading our teams, we are bringing to market marine and property solutions built with deep local expertise, and grounded in stellar financial strength and claims service,”

Adding: “Our new line of flexible marine products marks an important advance in providing broad, multi-line solutions for customers and brokers in the UK and Ireland.”

Hannover Re reveals innovation platform to link the gap between insurtechs & insurers

Hannover Re has unveiled a new online platform to connect insurtechs and insurers by giving them access to a varied range of solutions spanning the entire value chain making it easier for the insurance industry to find and implement new technology.

The new innovation pool, called hr | equarium, will be exclusive to Hannover Re's worldwide network of insurance clients which enables connections with advanced insurtech partners.

In a recent press release from Hannover Re, digital disruption, shifting demographics and evolving buyer preferences have created a challenging operating environment for insurers.

With hr | equarium, Hannover Re offers easy access to product and distribution innovations that are crucial factors for insurers to stay ahead of their competition and to meet consumer needs.

Claude Chèvre, a member of Hannover Re's executive board stated: "We bridge the gap between insurtechs and insurers, because currently the industry has a matching problem. It's difficult for insurers to uncover and select the right solutions. We not only make it simpler to identify the technologies that will add the most value to an insurer's business, but we and the platform community can rate these solutions and quantify their impact, so clients can be confident in approaching them."

Chèvre added: "On the other side, new technology providers can struggle to get their foot in the door with insurance firms, or to position their solutions in a way that really resonates. We help our select community of insurtech partners to refine their value propositions, and we offer the strength of our global footprint and trusted reputation in the market."

Argo Group joins GBN Worldwide (re)insurance network

Argo Group has become a member and network partner of GBN Worldwide, a global network of (re)insurers, independent brokers and specialty suppliers, which operates in more than 140 countries.  

GBN Worldwide grants partners mutual market access across regulatory regimes and adheres to shared compliance and service standards.

Argo explained that the partnership will enable it to provide instant and efficient client services around the world, particularly in under-served emerging markets.

The move also supports Argo’s digital strategy and presents significant opportunities for the company to source new business.

Ewelina Kudla, head of international marketing & producer management at ArgoGlobal commented: “Becoming part of GBN provides us with significant distribution opportunities and extends our global reach in a single step,”

She added: “Connect Marketplace, a Lloyd’s-recognised digital placing platform, gives us an unparalleled virtual presence around the world, which will benefit our existing and prospective clients.”

GBN’s founder and chairman, Jamil Bahou, said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Argo as a member of GBN Worldwide at a global level.

“We have a shared vision when it comes to digital distribution, and through their interaction with GBN Members and their virtual presence on the Connect Marketplace platform, we can help them grow their distribution with access to low-limit, high-volume specialty business, not typically seen in the Lloyd’s and London markets.”

Lloyd’s appoints Spink as head of global operations

Lloyd's has appointed Hayley Spink as head of global operations, succeeding Joe Dainty who's departing Lloyd’s in March to join DXC.

In her new role, Spink will provide operational leadership for Lloyd’s internal and market wide programmes.

She will report to chief operating officer (COO) Shirine Khoury-Haq.

Spink joined Lloyd’s in 2007 and has served in a variety of operational leadership roles where she has implemented and overseen Lloyd's operations all over the world, including in Dubai, India, China, Malaysia, Colombia and Mexico.

Most recently, Spink was Brexit programme director, involved in in establishing Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary to enable the Lloyd's market continued access to the European Economic Area (EEA) post-Brexit.

Commenting on the appointment Khoury-Haq shared: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Hayley is stepping up to become Lloyd’s head of global operations. Her deep knowledge of Lloyd’s and the wider market will prove invaluable as we modernise and improve our operations to ensure Lloyd’s continues to provide the best possible service to our customers.”

Saga appoints Gareth Hoskin as non-executive director

Saga, the UK’s specialist in products and services for life after 50, has announced the appointment of Gareth Hoskin as non-executive director, effective 11 March 2019. 

Hoskin joins Saga from Legal & General where he spent nearly 20 years in a variety of roles, most recently as CEO International, where he was responsible for the North American, European, Middle East, Indian and Far East insurance markets.

Before this he held a number of roles in finance, retail marketing and HR. Prior to Legal & General, Hoskin’s worked at PwC for 12 years, where he trained as an accountant.

Gareth is currently audit chair and senior independent director (subject to regulatory approval) at Leeds Building Society, the UK’s fifth largest building society, with more than 809,000 members and total assets of £19.5bn. He is also trustee, non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committees at Diabetes UK Limited.

Commenting on the appointment, Patrick O’Sullivan, Saga chairman, said: “We are delighted that Gareth will be joining the Board of Saga. We will benefit from his diverse experience at Legal & General across Saga’s businesses and particularly as we continue to develop our insurance business in today’s market.”

Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan reveal new joint venture

Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan have unveiled their new non-profit company, Haven.

In January 2018, the three founding companies announced plans to create an independent organisation aimed at improving healthcare options for their US workers while reducing their overall costs. They said the company would be free from profit-making incentives and constraints.

Haven said it will initially focus on the 1.2 million employees and families affiliated with Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan across the US and over time it intends to share what it learns to help others.

Atul Gawande took on the role of CEO in July 2018 and assembled a leadership team, including Jack Stoddard as chief operating officer (COO), Serkan Kutan as chief technology officer (CTO), Dana Safran as head of measurement to move the organisation’s work forward.

As Haven scales up its operations, the organisation is looking to recruit a range of talented individuals, including software engineers, data scientists, and clinicians to join its team.

In a letter posted on the company's newly-launched website, Gawande said: "Haven will be an advocate for the patient and an ally to anyone – clinicians, industry leaders, innovators, policymakers and others – who make patient care and cost better.”

He added: “We want to change the way people experience health care so that it is simpler, better, and lower cost. We’ll start small, learn from the experience of patients, and continue to expand to meet their needs.”

Gawande explained: “The good news is the best results are not the most complicated or expensive. The right care in the right place is often more effective and less costly than what we get today.”

The company is headquartered in Boston and also has an office in New York.