Reinsurance is in a particularly interesting state at the moment.
Industry capital has recovered as capital markets have bounced back after decisive actions from central banks around the world and incumbents and a few start-ups have raised or plan to raise new capital.
But at the same time the industry has shown stronger underwriting discipline as it seeks to correct a poor run of results and tries to get ahead of likely unsatisfactory back year development in casualty classes.
Retro is expensive as the ILS market retrenches and traditional buyers are looking to alternative capital solutions.
Differentiation is everywhere as sellers identify their best clients for support and reduce involvement with lesser performers.
At the same time uncertainty is at an all-time high and this means demand for reinsurance from cedants is very healthy.
Throw Covid-19 into this and you have an outlook full of very big, very difficult to answer and highly correlated questions.
Here to answer them armed with Willis Re’s 1st View mid-year renewals report is James Vickers Chair of Willis Re International.
Links to Willis Re’s latest report and Covid-19 assessment are below – I heartily recommend that you read them.
Willis Re's latest 1st View reinsurance market report:
Willis Re's latest view on Covid-19:
And our supporter Claims Direct Access (CDA)'s website:
This episode's guest is the CEO of one of Lloyd’s standout performers of the past two decades.
Beazley is a blue-chip Lloyd’s business that has consistently maintained top quartile performance while growing fast and continuing to innovate.
Because of this any time in the presence of Andrew Horton is time well spent.
In this episode we talk about the hardening market, the world that awaits the Class of 2020, Lloyd’s reforms, including syndicate in a box, lead-follow and the use of automation to remove costs from the syndicated market.
We also discuss, the prospect of the big three brokers becoming the big two, Andrew’s total aversion to bold transformational M&A – except when it doesn’t involve Beazley and of course, Covid-19 and how long a tail it is likely to be.
It’s a great way of getting a feel for what is front of mind at one of the specialty insurance and reinsurance world’s top outfits.
Today’s episode is very kindly supported by Claims Direct Access (CDA)
and Bolton Associates
Not many people have ever been entrusted with hundreds of millions of dollars and the promise of more to come if it is needed with instructions to go an create a brand new broker from scratch.
But today’s guest has persuaded blue chip investors to do just that.
These investors have also given him the multi-year time horizon he needs to achieve his goals.
With a glittering career right at the top of global intermediaries, he could have stayed where he was and continued to do extremely well for himself. That’s what most people would have done.
But Steve McGill clearly isn’t like you and me.
In this podcast we dissect his vision for a new type of intermediary, we check in on his progress just over a year into his business plan and look at the transformed broking landscape in the wake of the MMC-JLT and Aon-Willis mega M&A deals.
We also talk about building the right culture and get this broking veteran’s take on the extraordinary situation we find ourselves in with Covid-19, the hard global insurance market and the class of 2020.
With thanks to our sponsor Claims Direct Access (CDA)
CDA is part of Prime Insurance Company:
Today’s guest brings with him a difficult message for our industry in this Covid 19 crisis
Quite simply we’re not doing well enough.
We’re not being consistent enough, we are inflexible and some of our decisions are being driven purely by cost and profit considerations.
We are too distant from the customer, we are letting small businesses down and are restricting cover going forwards where we shouldn’t be.
Listening to me say this you would think he was a radical plaintiff lawyer looking to whip up publicity for a class action – but As CEO of the UK risk manager’s trade body AIRMIC John Ludlow is anything but a firebrand.
His members are the global corporations that are the biggest buyers of insurance in the UK and pay billions in premiums. They are sophisticated professionals who rarely raise their voices.
In this podcast John describes AIRMIC as a critical friend of the insurance industry.
This may be painful listening, but IN the next 20 minutes, wherever you are I recommend you take detailed notes of what our friend has to say.
Link to Airmic position paper on Covid-19:
Julian Tighe is the CEO of Asta, the Lloyd’s market’s biggest and best-known turnkey managing agency.
Turnkeys are firms that incubate fledgling Lloyd’s businesses, helping them learn the ropes before they stand in their own right
Because of that anyone looking to enter the Lloyd’s market is very likely to have met with him or people from his organisation before taking their idea any further.
That means he gets an unparalleled view of what ventures are vying to become part of lloyd’s future as well as some of the ideas out there that might not make the cut.
That in turn means he is someone you really must get to know if you want to have you finger on the pulse of what is going on in Lloyd’s
Julian is excellent company and in this discussion we look at the Lloyd’s pipeline of new entrants and the syndicate in a box concept which Asta has just got involved in with the Launch of Carbon underwriting’s Syndicate forty seven forty seven.
We also discuss the likelihood of Lloyd’s getting a bigger share of the upcoming class of 2020 -2021 new carrier formations than it did in 2001 and 2005, Lloyd’s reforms, its reputation under covid-19 and staff moral and management during a pandemic.
It’s a discussion that I can highly recommend
One of the main aims of this podcast is to introduce you to some of the exceptional people I have been lucky enough to meet during the course of my work as an insurance journalist.
Some are not the CEOs and public-facing executives, but the strategic visionaries and innovators who work behind the scenes doing extraordinary things.
Today’s guest is just one such character. Oliver Schofield has had over 30 years in insurance working at brokers Alexander Howden and Aon and then RKH and RFIB.
He is now an independent consultant working in the captive space at a business called RISCS.
As you’ll soon find out Olly is as bright an insurance brain as you will find working in the sector.
And because captives are vehicles that can insure almost anything they allow all his creativity to shine through.
Listen on and you’ll find out how they are an excellent way of covering systemic risk - including pandemics - as well as all sorts of uninsurable enterprise risk that the traditional market would run a mile from because of the problem of moral hazard.
One of the other aims of the Voice of Insurance is to give us all a chance to learn about parts of the market that we don’t often get to interact with.
I think captives fall into that category – we all know what they are but there are a lot of things we think we know about them that just don’t stand up to close scrutiny so we will be doing a bit of myth-busting in this session.
It soon became obvious that I should get back to Olly to talk about Covid-19 and how captives might play a role in filling in the large gaps in pandemic cover that have since emerged.
Dennis Mahoney is a broking industry legend.
A consummate intermediary and negotiator he rose to be a trusted councillor at the top of the global broking world and right at the peak of the Aon chain of command.
Since relocating to Bermuda he has taken on a wider range of executive and non-executive roles.
The latest of these saw him steady the ship at independent London -based wholesale and reinsurance broker RFIB ahead of its eventual sale to Integro/Tysers.
Dennis is always honest and forthright in his opinions and has never been afraid to rock the establishment boat in his career – particularly in his zeal for market modernisation.
He doesn’t duck questions and he always tells you exactly what he thinks, warts and all.
But Despite a fearsome reputation he is actually incredibly easy to get on with and is very happy and comfortable in his own skin as I think this interview shows.
I found Dennis on excellent form and buzzing with ideas about the world in which insurance finds itself and the prospects for its future.
Do enjoy the listen
Tim Gardner is the relatively new CEO of Lockton Re and has been tasked by the Lockton group with building up a challenger reinsurance broking operation of significant scale.
The MMC-JLT and now Aon-Willis M&A activity has given this venture a significant timing boost and there is a palpable sense of a once in a generation opportunity for independents to stake their claim on a share of this lucrative global market.
I quizzed Tim on every aspect of his strategy to make Lockton Re a credible new player in the reinsurance broking space.
He was clear and forthright in all his answers, so I commend this episode to anyone looking to get an inside view of the current reinsurance intermediary landscape.
I spoke to Managing Director of QBE Re Stephen Postlewhite about hardening rates at the mid-year renewals, capital crunches, squeezes in ILS and retro and the long-term insurability of pandemic risk.
I also asked him about what might change at QBE Re now that the former actuary and Aspen executive has taken the reins.
I found someone freshly reloaded with capital and risk appetite and full of expansion plans.
Watch this space – QBE Re is keen to engage with this global hard market.
It was refreshing – have a listen.
We live in incredibly uncertain times and its at times like this that we value clarity above all else.
My interviewee in this episode makes himself crystal clear.
Julian Enoizi is the CEO of the UK’s government backed terrorism insurance mutual Pool Re.
Born hastily as a response to the successful mainland UK bombing campaign of the IRA 27 years ago, it has since evolved into a far more sophisticated entity managing a substantial surplus, opening a commercial relationship with global reinsurers and liaising with similar global terror pools and mechanisms around the world.
In recent years it has immeasurably improved its modelling and underwriting capabilities and also developed new covers in the form of non-damage business interruption.
Julian has in the past made no secret about wanting to broaden the scope of Pool Re to new perils such as cyber and made it clear he would have preferred UK flood to also have come under his remit.
In this chat he sets out his vision clearly and succinctly. I commend the next 20 minutes to you