WTW partners with Liberty and Markel; MS Amlin's 3-year sustainability plan; Novidea appoints head of UK delivery

For the record

For the record: Post wraps up the major insurance deals, launches, investments and strategic moves of the week.

From Post this week

Consumer Duty success will be measured against number of complaints going to FOS

Cost of dated technology preventing rate changes revealed

Bank of England director calls for end to elite institutions

Analysis: What do the Resilience judgments mean for ongoing Covid BI claims cases?

Early notification ‘key’ to avoid increasing property damage claims costs

‘Off the shelf’ products and ‘ridiculous’ coverage components driving up insurance prices: Aurora’s Finn

 

From people this week

Q&A: Dan Martin, Markel International

60 Seconds With… Kay Bagley, Allianz

C-suite: Gallagher’s Richard Laver looks at the best ways to move insurer-broker partnerships beyond the fundamentals

 

Pick of the Week

WTW collaboration with Liberty Specialty Markets and Markel moves insurance industry closer to digital-first marketplace

Date announced: 17 November

Deal value: Undisclosed

WTW has announced a new collaboration with insurers Liberty Specialty Markets and Markel, launching the pilot phase of a digital commercial insurance platform.

Digital connectivity and trading of commercial risks between all stakeholders is increasingly recognised by the market as essential to modernise the insurance value chain, maintain competitiveness, drive better client solutions and ultimately sustain the relevance of the insurance industry. But inflexible legacy systems and incompatible digital practices can often lead to fragmented end-to-end operations.

Richard Clarkson, head of London market consulting at WTW, said: “One of the market’s greatest challenges is to make doing business easier from beginning to end – not just one part of the transaction. Developed in collaboration with LSM and Markel, this new platform signals a step-change in digital trading, especially in a market as complex as London. Underpinned by cutting-edge technology that will transform how brokers and underwriters connect and trade, users will benefit from significant operational efficiencies by improving the speed and cost of doing business through digitisation, automation and better use of data.”

Using globally-recognised data standards, the platform has been designed to enable multiple insurers and brokers to trade complex specialty risks in real time. Covering both renewals and new business, the pilot phase of this market-led solution is supported by various insurers, including LSM and Markel, across short-tail and long-tail product lines.

Carol Baker, head of digital strategy, London and global products at LSM, added: “We are committed to embracing technology to transform the way we do business with our brokers and partners. This platform will enable efficient trading with transparent processing in real time that will deliver exceptional customer value and power profitable performance.”

Andrew McMellin, managing director, wholesale at Markel International, said: “As part of Markel’s ambitions to become the leading specialty insurer in its chosen products, we are making important advances in sourcing innovative and more efficient ways of conducting business. We are pleased to collaborate with WTW to pilot a technology platform like this, offering our broking partners quicker access and greater flexibility and establishing Markel as a go-to insurer for digital trading opportunities.”

 

Deals/News of the Week

Send announces £9m Series A funding raise to expand in UK and US

Date announced: 15 November

Deal value: £9m

Send Technology Solutions has announced it has closed a Series A funding investment of £9m. The round was led by Venture Capital firm Breega with participation from Mercia and will enable Send to accelerate growth both in the UK and US.

Send’s core product is a SaaS underwriting workbench designed to streamline operations, automate admin-heavy tasks and free up underwriters to focus on core work. It is a one-stop desktop for underwriters providing a single place for managing new business, renewals, and endorsements.

The composable platform, built for the commercial and specialty markets, already processes over £3.5bn in GWP annually. The additional funding will be used to strengthen Send’s product development and expand the wider team beyond the existing staff of 60.

Send co-founder and CEO Andy Moss said: “We believe we have the most advanced underwriting workbench on the market and want to retain our first-mover advantage. To do this, we need to scale up, both in the markets in which we currently operate in, and in new ones. We want to enable more partner-led growth and delivery as well as bring in exceptional and diverse talent. Talent that will help shape and lead not just customer growth but our product portfolio as well.

“Choosing the right partners for this funding raise was a critical part of the process. Breega and Mercia are both committed to founders, globally ambitious and values-driven. They have strong track records in working with sustainable businesses that drive change. We are really excited to work with them.”

Moss’s fellow co-founder and Send COO, Ben Huckel added: “We have a simple vision to be the market-leading underwriting software platform for agile insurers. We started Send in 2017 and already have a proven track record of improving underwriting processes for commercial insurers. Breega and Mercia have bought into our vision, and we are now in a prime position to accelerate our growth.”

 

MGAA Partners with Searchlight to deliver training programmes to enhance professional development for MGAs

Date announced: 15 November

Deal value: Undisclosed

The Managing General Agents’ Association has partnered with Searchlight Insurance Training, part of the UKGI Group, to deliver face to face and online training solutions for its members. This new relationship builds on the MGAA’s key objective in raising professional standards and building further resilience into the sector, as well as helping its staff to develop new skills to assist with their career development.

MGAs currently underwrite over 10% of the UK’s £47bn general insurance market premiums, and this key relationship will help the MGAA deliver part of its vision, alongside its current educational Insights programme for members, to further enhance the professionalism of this buoyant market segment.

A training calendar for 2023 is being produced that will meet the varied and comprehensive needs of MGAA members, and firms will be able to work directly with Searchlight to deliver bespoke training solutions that supports their own learning & development requirements.

Mike Keating, CEO of the MGAA, said: “We are always seeking to add value for our membership, and we aim to drive professionalism, innovation and high standards across the insurance sector. Providing opportunities for learning and development to our members was a main focus that emerged from engaging with our members during the past twelve months, and it is important that we have found the right training partner that shares our vision for maintaining these standards.

“Post-pandemic, the way in which we work, and the skills needed to successfully grow an MGA business is changing. Firms who take the opportunity to invest, train and increase the knowledge of their workforce are going to continue raising the bar and see a positive impact on their future growth. MGAs can now benefit from access to training specialists at preferential rates as part of their MGAA membership.”

Tom Wood, business development manager at Searchlight, said: “The MGAA has a long history of supporting and representing MGAs, and education has always been part of the benefits they offer in the market. Searchlight is seeing more demand for a return to face to face classroom training, and the flexible training delivery methods that we can offer MGAA members will add new opportunities to support talent management.”

 

Omni:us closes €12m series A+ Extension financing round

Date announced: 15 November

Deal value: €12m (£10.43m)

Omni:us, provider of intelligent insurance claims management automation solutions, has closed its Series A+ expansion financing round with W&W subsidiary Württembergische Versicherung, as well as existing investors. With this financing, the company plans to further invest in its end to end claims automation technology and expand its team and presence in Europe and the UK.

Martin Micko, chief commercial officer & co-founder of Omni:us, said: “This Series A+ builds on an exceptional year for Omni:us. We were able to add leading insurance companies to our customer base in Europe, launch key feature enhancements to our AIaaS offering - the Omni:us Digital Claims Adjuster - and at the same time strengthen our team with outstanding talent. We are particularly excited about the participation of W&W subsidiary Württembergische Versicherung and the strong commitment of our existing investors.”

Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss, CEO & co-founder of Omni:us, added: “The subsidiaries of W&W stand for stability and success for over 100 years. Over the past year of our collaboration, we were able to gain impressive insights into the strong foundation they have built over the last century. With their constant openness to innovate and overwhelming reliability, they have proven to be an exceptional partner. This is an excellent prerequisite for an effective and successful path ahead to help shape the future of insurance together. We are very much looking forward to learning from, and working with, them.”

 

Axa Commercial revamps intermediated SME business to give more to brokers and customers

Date announced: 16 November

Deal value: N/A

Axa Commercial has created a team of 120 experts to focus on the SME market to better equip business owners with the cover they need. The new operating model gives brokers more ways to trade, a wider risk appetite for new sectors and expands the dedicated support provided by SME specialists. For SME customers, it provides bespoke cover for larger, more complex policies, smart risk management with tools and services specific to their needs and faster payments for successful claims.

With a dedicated 120-strong SME team, Axa is now better equipped to support SME customers with the expertise required to cater for their businesses. Brokers can place SME policies online via self-service or through Axa’s team of underwriters providing these businesses with bespoke solutions where required to support more complex risks. With these changes, Axa Commercial has addressed the evolving needs of brokers and customers by providing solutions for however they want to do business.

In addition to trading and underwriting improvements, Axa is also offering expert support services to brokers and their SME customers. This includes eServe, a claims platform which allows brokers to submit and manage their customers’ claims 24/7, helping to speed up support when SMEs need it most.

Deepak Soni, commercial director, Axa Commercial UK said: “We understand that it takes a lot to run a successful business and many SME owners don’t have the resources to focus on insurance and risk management. Our recent research shows the cost-of-living crisis and inflation are among the top stressors for SME owners so it’s essential that we support in lessening other burdens.

“With the help of brokers, Axa can support with expert advice and information to help them reduce risk and grow their business. We hope that our improved proposition makes us easier to do business with and supports brokers to give SMEs the confidence to thrive, today and tomorrow.”

 

Quest Gates acquires SurveyorTech software

Date announced: 16 November

Deal value: N/A

Quest Gates has announced that it has acquired Surveyor Tech software.

Developed by UK software consultancy, Software Solved, the Surveyor Tech software has been built to make surveying and inspection quicker and easier, whilst reducing costs and carbon footprint.

The cloud-based technology allows Quest Gates and its clients to create and access digital surveys including visual walk-throughs of the interior and exterior of properties. Images can either be captured onsite by the Quest Gates surveyor using a 360 degree camera and an app or via a livestream with the client, who only needs a smartphone. Notes and still-shots can be added and amended at any point.

All the information is uploaded to the Quest Gates portal where additional notes and images can be added to explain the detailed survey and the report can then be shared with key stakeholders.

Quest Gates director, Greg Laker, says: “We were early adopters of the Surveyor Tech software and instantly recognised the opportunity it presents not only to create a more connected, digital experience for our clients and their customers but also to help us to achieve our net zero goal through reducing travel. This doesn’t negate the need for personal visits, but rather this technology will allow us to triage each claim and identify when our surveyors and adjusters need to go out, or where guiding the client through the process will be sufficient.”

By integrating Surveyor Tech with its own suite of proprietary technology and supported by Software Solved to continue its development, Quest Gates will continue to streamline and improve the process and create an omnichannel solution for its clients across its entire business.

Laker concludes: “Acquiring this unique technology is a natural step for our business and builds on a number of other exciting projects already underway. We’re committed to driving forward our digitalisation programme to improve efficiency, deliver an ever better level of service and reduce our carbon footprint.”

 

MS Amlin announces 36-month sustainability roadmap to effectively embed ESG into business operations

Date announced: 17 November

Deal value: N/A

MS Amlin, the Lloyd’s global reinsurer, has announced its sustainability strategy. The plan acts as a statement of intent about how MS Amlin plans to support clients, partners, and the business, moving towards a low carbon economy.

The sustainability strategy sets out the steps which the company will take over the next 36 months and provides multi-point plans for how it will embed ESG criteria and monitor performance effectively. This will support MS Amlin’s commitment to minimise the environmental impacts of its operations globally while also building out more robust social and governance practices.

More broadly, the sustainability strategy aligns business strategy with parent company MS&AD’s vision. Equally, it will address an increased appetite from clients looking for support on sustainability as they navigate the transition to net-zero, respond to changing weather risks and evolve their business models.

The sustainability strategy supports MS Amlin’s business plan and underpins the company’s broader ambitions of creating long term enterprise value by doing the right thing, rather than the easy thing, reinsuring the transition to net-zero and implementing a responsible underwriting approach.

During the 36 months period covered by the sustainability strategy, MS Amlin will fulfil the target setting requirements specified by the Science Based Targets Institute and submit targets for validation to the SBTI to confirm that these are based on the latest climate science and aligned with the Paris Agreement.

MS Amlin has already adopted and places additional focus on the UNSDGs around climate action, gender equality, and industry, innovation, and infrastructure. This focus was identified following a poll of employees across different business areas and extensive internal discussion.

Commenting on the plan, Johan Slabbert, CEO of MS Amlin Underwriting said: “MS Amlin has a key role to play in the transition to net-zero. Insurance is one of the enablers of growth and trade, meaning it can spearhead and support with the transition of economies and driving decarbonisation. This document and the subject at its heart, sustainability, touches every aspect of our business. Its scope is broad, the challenge is sizeable and will not be easily solved in a mere matter of years; however, the opportunity ahead of all of us is enormous. We’re immensely proud to have taken this essential step – after extensive consideration and consultation – and are ready for this next stage of our sustainability journey.”

Amir Sethu, head of sustainability and ESG at MS Amlin added: “As the world continues on its journey to transition to a low carbon economy, we recognise that it is our duty to act, and responsibly contribute to these developments. In addition to our corporate responsibility to act ethically, our employees have told us that they are passionate about, and prioritise sustainability, in their personal lives. Our new sustainability strategy sets out our goals, and we are certain that we can rise to the challenge and effectively tackle some of the biggest questions we are currently facing in the world.”

 

Lloyd’s gives final approval to Trium Cyber syndicate 1322

Date announced: 17 November

Deal value: N/A

Asta, the leading third-party managing agent at Lloyd’s, is pleased to announce that Trium Cyber, a new risk carrier backed by Jim Stanard’s Pelican Ventures that was first announced in September, has this week received approval from Lloyd’s to commence underwriting business incepting on or after 1 January 2023. Trium Cyber plans to write $50m (£41.9m) of gross premiums during its first year.

All business will be exclusively written through a binding authority with Trium’s US-domiciled services company, Trium Cyber US Services. In addition to the service company’s broad underwriting expertise, it will also feature highly seasoned claims personnel to provide dedicated adjusting services to policyholders.

Trium Cyber’s executive team includes former Aspen global head of cyber, Josh Ladeau, as chief executive, and Jeff Bores, as chief underwriting officer and active underwriter of syndicate 1322. Together the pair have a successful track record of underwriting leadership with demonstrable technical/security acumen and strong historical performance in the evolving cyber class, which experience they now bring to Trium Cyber.

 

And finally:

  • Motor and personal lines insurance broker, Got You Covered, has announced that Sean Byrne has joined the business as managing director, reporting to CEO Rob Leigh. This appointment takes immediate effect and is subject to regulatory approval.

  • Marsh has announced the appointment of Christos Adamantiadis as CEO, Continental Europe, effective 1 January 2023.

  • Marsh has also announced the appointment of Michael Kolodner as global renewable energy leader, Marsh Specialty. Kolodner, who rejoined Marsh in 2020 as US power and renewable energy leader, will maintain his current responsibilities, while also leading an integrated team of more than 250 renewable energy specialists around the world.

  • Allianz Holdings has announced the appointment of James Maxwell to the newly created position of risk director for its commercial business. Reporting to Allianz Holdings chief risk officer, John Berry, Maxwell will have responsibility for overseeing all risk matters within the commercial lines business and will also serve as a member of the commercial executive committee.

  • Novidea has announced the new addition of Matt Richards as head of UK delivery.

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