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EC News (24 September 2020)

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author:by Alan Jarque

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Howden, Enstar Group, PartnerRe and more.

Howden acquires A-Plan Group to create new ‘UK Broking Powerhouse’

Howden Broking Group, the international insurance broking group has announced an agreement to acquire A-Plan Group, one of the UK’s largest personal and commercial lines insurance brokers, subject to regulatory approval.

On completion, the deal will create one of the UK’s largest insurance brokerages, managing more than £4bn of gross written premiums for 1.5 million clients, and operating across more than 100 locations.

Hyperion, Howden’s parent company, will become the fifth largest employee-owned business headquartered in the UK with more than 8,000 employees, including 4,500 based in the UK.

The new partnership will bring together Howden’s leading specialty and reinsurance business and A-Plan Group’s best-in-class personal and commercial lines expertise, which it delivers through its A-Plan and Endsleigh brands.

For Howden, the acquisition entails significantly broadening its retail distribution and specialist product capabilities in the UK and welcoming A-Plan Group’s best-in-class distribution model. In the recent press release from Howden, they state that personal, service-oriented approach, delivered through its office network and digital and online channels, and backed-up by industry-leading data and analytics, has led to very high levels of customer satisfaction, driving high retention rates and low customer acquisition costs, alongside robust organic growth.

For A-Plan Group, Howden is a long-term entrepreneurial home with complementary capabilities and culture, and clear ambitions to be the scale independent challenge brokerage.

Following the acquisition, Carl Shuker will continue to lead A-Plan Group as CEO, reporting to José Manuel González, CEO Howden Broking Group. Chris Evans will become chairman of A-Plan Group in addition to his role as deputy CEO, Howden UK. Max Carruthers, chairman, A-Plan Group, will continue to support the business after completion.

David Howden, CEO of Hyperion Insurance Group, said: “I am thrilled that Carl and his team have chosen to join Howden as the place to deliver their ambitious growth plans in the UK.

“This is an incredibly important partnership for Howden and creates a significant opportunity to deliver a better and broader offering to both groups’ clients. Like us, A-Plan Group is a business built on a very strong culture of entrepreneurship with employee ownership at its heart and a relentless client focus. These values have ensured that over a period of more than 50 years it has been able to retain and win new clients by delivering to them the personal service they want whilst embracing the opportunities digital distribution, data and technology provide.

“Our combined groups will be a natural home for talent and entrepreneurs seeking a place to deliver the very best for their clients.”

Carl Shuker, CEO of A-Plan Group, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Howden; it was instantly evident from the start of our discussions that we were very aligned on the central importance of people, clients and insurers, and that we would make for a very natural fit.

“Our track record of sustainable growth is something that we are very proud of, and we have huge ambition to take the A-Plan Group and brands to the next level, without diluting any of the values that have got us to where we are today.

“The markets that Howden and A-Plan serve are highly complementary, and our ever growing regional client reach and access will deliver considerable growth opportunity for the combined Group, and to our existing insurer partners.

“Being part of an entrepreneurial, international Group, is a really exciting next step for us, and we look forward to contributing to the delivery of Howden’s much wider ambitions.”

José Manuel González, CEO Howden Broking Group, commented: “I am proud that our story over the past 26 years has been one of growth, expertise, value-driven acquisitions and above all, a focus on our people. We continue to build a business where entrepreneurial talent can thrive, with the belief that when they do, our people will in turn do great things for our clients. By joining with A-Plan Group we stay true to this story – partnering with a business that truly shares our vision and values. The completion of this deal sees us managing £7bn GWP on behalf of clients across the 35 territories in which we operate. Factoring in our Howden network – which grows that figure to more than 90 – it is a move that will cement us as the international challenger broker, offering excellence, expertise and a different perspective all over the world.”

Enstar appoints former XL global chief actuary, Susan Cross to board

Enstar Group has announced the appointment of Susan Cross to its board of directors as a Class III director, serving on the company’s audit and risk committee, effective 1 October 2020.

Cross currently serves on the board of Unum Group, a Fortune 500 publicly held insurance company. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president and global chief actuary of XL Group Ltd (now AXA XL) from August 2008 to September 2018.

During her career, Cross has also worked at Consolidated International Group as EVP and chief actuary, and spent 14 years with Willis Towers Watson, first as a consulting actuary and then as principal.

Cross's appointment was recommended to the Board of Directors by our Nominating and Governance Committee, which is comprised entirely of independent directors.

As a non-employee director, Cross will be eligible to participate in the Company’s Deferred Compensation and Ordinary Share Plan for Non-Employee Directors. Enstar shares that Cross is expected to enter into an indemnification agreement with the business on the same terms as the indemnification agreements completed with each of the firm’s other current directors.

PartnerRe expands retrocession team with three new hires

PartnerRe has announced the appointment of Nicholas Hughes in the newly created role as head of retrocession, as well as two new hires within its retrocession team.

In his new role, Hughes will lead PartnerRe’s strengthened retrocession team as part of its strategic growth plan for Global Catastrophe.

Based in the Bermuda office he will continue to report to Greg Haft, CEO Global Catastrophe.

Hughes most recently served as head of global catastrophe at Partner Re, having joined the company in 2008.

Aaron Coates and Guy Hengesbaugh will also join PartnerRe’s retrocession team as assumed retrocession underwriters, effective 7 November 2020 and 1 October 2020, respectively.

Coates, who will relocate to Bermuda joins the business from Twelve Capital where he most recently served as executive director, ILS sourcing.

Hengesbaugh joins the firm on a consultancy basis and brings over 35 years of reinsurance experience, having most recently served as managing director at Guy Carpenter Bermuda.

Haft said: “I am excited to welcome Aaron and Guy to the PartnerRe team. As the catastrophe market shifts, we anticipate an increasing demand in the retrocession space for known and trusted providers with well-rated paper. We are thus adding to our incumbent talent to build a powerhouse retro team under Nick’s leadership, to fill this important market need.”

AXA XL names Jonathan Salter as head of risk consulting

AXA XL, the subsidiary of global (re)insurance company AXA, has announced the promotion of Jonathan Salter to head of risk consulting, effective, 1 October 2020.

In his new role, he will be responsible for driving the Risk Consulting’s strategy and value proposition globally, working closely with AXA XL’s underwriting and claims teams.

Salter currently serves as deputy chief executive officer of AXA XL Risk Consulting, a position he has held since 2018. He succeeds Corrine Vitrac, who has moved to AXA Group as head of group P&C risk management.

Salter brings more than 20 years of experience to the role having joined XL Catlin in 2016 as head of property risk engineering. Prior to that, he helped set up and lead RSA’s multi-line risk engineering capabilities and co-founded Elciem Ltd, a private property risk engineering firm.

Nancy Bewlay, global chief underwriting officer at AXA XL, said: “As the COVID-19 crisis continues to challenge the way companies operate, loss prevention has never been more important. Jonathan’s extensive experience, innovative approach and proven track record position him ideally to lead AXA XL Risk Consulting, which has, since March, been offering remote services, including site analysis. Our remote, tech-enabled capabilities have been extremely well received by clients and now form a key part of our product suite.” 

Hive Aero hires Andrew Webster & David Adcock to aviation team

Managing general agent, Hive Aero announced the appointments of Andrew Webster as class underwriter and David Adcock as head of aviation claims, effective 1 October 2020.

Both will be based in London and report to Bruce Carman, chief operating officer.

Webster will be responsible for the Aviation Hull and Liabilities (All Risks) account and Adcock will manage and oversee Aviation claims.

Webster joins Hive Aero with 17 years’ experience, coming from MS Amlin where he was senior underwriter - aviation, specialising in the Aerospace class. Prior to joining MS Amlin in 2017, he worked at Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Catlin Underwriting and Wellington Underwriting.

Meanwhile, Adcock joins the firm on the back of a career spanning five decades in the London insurance market, most recently as an executive loss adjuster – aviation at Chubb. Prior to that, he spent 25 years at Jardine Insurance Brokers and 10 years at Marsh.

Webster said: “I am very excited to be joining Hive Aero at this dynamic stage of their growth and development. Hive Aero is extremely well positioned to broaden and strengthen its offering and proposition to the Aviation market.”

Adcock added: “I’m delighted to be joining Hive Aero at this exciting time in the development of the company. I’m looking forward to building out the claims service for Hive Aero’s Aviation All Risks venture.”

Bruce Carman, chief underwriting officer of Hive Aero, commented: “It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome both Andrew and David to the team here at Hive Aero. Andrew’s leadership qualities and underwriting skillset, together with David’s unrivalled Aviation Claims experience will be of enormous benefit to Hive Aero and further serves to demonstrate our commitment to the Aviation sector.”

Convex names Matt Paskin & Theo Butt CEO’s of core underwriting subsidiaries

Speciality international (re)insurer, Convex Group Limited announced the appointments of Matt Paskin as CEO of Convex Re Limited (Bermuda) and Theo Butt as CEO of Convex Insurance UK Limited (London).

Both of these positions were previously held by Co-Founder & Group Deputy CEO Paul Brand. Brand continues to serve on the board of Convex, Convex Re Limited and Convex Insurance UK Limited.

Paskin brings over 35 years of industry experience and has served as group chief underwriting officer (CUO) Reinsurance since the company’s launch in May 2019, a role he will retain. He was previously CUO of XL Catlin Re, having joined Catlin in 1993 as a class underwriter. Prior to Catlin, Paskin held roles with EF Williams Syndicate.

Additionally, Butt has over two decades of London Market experience and joined Convex as a consultant in April 2020 to lead a number of projects within the business. Prior to this, he was CEO of Neon Underwriting Limited, having joined from Ascot, where he spent over 12 years in several positions. He has also held various roles at Marsh and JLT.

Brand, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Convex, said: “We launched Convex to be the insurance company of the future; an innovative insurance partner that challenges the status quo by putting fairness and honesty at the centre of our singularly client-focused proposition. Our success in achieving this is dependent on the people we work with and we are lucky to have exceptional individuals such as Matt and Theo leading the teams in Bermuda and London.  

“Matt is a highly respected member of the Convex team and has played a key role in our formation and development to date. His experience and understanding of the market make him the natural candidate to take on the role of CEO of our Bermuda operations.

“Theo is well regarded in the London market and embodies the ethos and values that Convex is built on.  He has made a great contribution to the company since he joined in April and has the skillset, expertise and understanding to lead Convex’s London operations.

“It’s an exciting time for Convex and I look forward to continue working with Theo and Matt in their new roles as we continue to grow the business.”