This podcast is a new feature - I’m calling it Voice of Insurance Solo.

It is really an editorial in podcast form – let me know what you think.

Is insurance going to get unfairly punished by governments and judiciaries for the systemic global failures exposed by the Covid 19 pandemic?

And if so might state-backed Pandemic Reinsurance vehicles be the logical result of the new deal that will follow any government raids on our coffers?

Listen on for thoughts and opinion...


How well prepared is the 2020 global insurance industry for the challenge of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic?

The best thing about being a journalist is about being able to access the top minds and experts to make sense of the world.

So today with economies and our clients being forcibly shut down, events cancelled, sovereign and corporate bonds undergoing spectacular gyrations and share prices tumbling globally, (with insurers stock falling more than the market average), I wanted to talk to someone smart to help ordinary people like me and you to understand a little bit of what is happening and what might be at stake.

So that is why I’m delighted that this episode’s guest is David Flandro Managing Director, Analytics at Hyperion X.

Longstanding listeners will remember David from Episode 3 where he was talking about the 1st of January renewals.

I originally had this interview with David slated to be about the fourth quarter and full- year 2019 results season that has just past. But given the circumstances I thought that that would be inappropriate.

Listen on for a state of David’s thinking about how the industry is likely cope with the covid-19 crisis on the risk and the asset side of its balance sheet.

There are plenty of caveats of course but David gives us a lot to think about, somethings to worry about and some measure of assurance.

in times of crisis I always seek out the brightest and most eloquent and David is certainly both...


The hardening market and the upcoming renewals, ILS, the vexing casualty question and of course the mega-brokers getting bigger - this interview doesn't miss anything out.

Jonathan Parry is a highly experienced and well-regarded underwriter with many decades of experience.

He knows the insurance and reinsurance markets inside and out.

If you don’t know him already I think you’ll like him – and you will learn a lot from him

He’s also quite a rare character in that he spent the first half of his career as a broker.

This gives him a really well rounded perspective on how insurance and reinsurance works and what clients really want from their underwriters.

He is always polite and good humoured but he is firm and has strong convictions and he doesn’t pull any punches.

Jonathan is handing over the QBE Re underwriting mantle at the beginning of April and plans to retire next year.

This candid interview gives a career long perspective on what is happening in reinsurance today and what is right and what is wrong...

This episode’s guest is Toby Esser, chairman of independent London wholesale broker AFL.

Toby is a veteran of the London market broking scene and is the former CEO of Cooper Gay which grew manyfold under his ambitious and energetic leadership both organically and by high-profile M&A.

I have interviewed Toby many times over the years and it shows in this interview.

Toby is not shy and his personality shines through.

We have a really wide ranging discussion from growing an independent business and handling the precocious prima-donna-like talent without which no broker could function, AON-Willis and MMC-JLT as well as the coronavirus, insurtech, market reform and culture change in insurance!

I really enjoyed this one and I think you will too!

In this episode I’m talking to Nicolas Aubert, Head of Great Britain at Willis Towers Watson and CEO of Willis Limited.

As a Frenchman who has forged a successful career in London, in many ways he is a personal embodiment of the kind of global, multi-faceted and diverse marketplace that London would like to present to the world.

The insurance market has been through a lot of soul searching in the past 12 months as every aspect of its culture has been examined in minute detail .

Stories of bad behaviour and discrimination have filled the mainstream media and been broadcast all around the world.

But starting quite a few years before the scandals started to break, the insurance sector has embarked on a huge programme of education, self-examination and change around the subject of diversity and inclusion.

Nicolas has been right at the heart of that major shift for many years and that is the topic of our discussion today.

He is also currently in charge of 4500 people, so he is pretty well qualified.

If you’re the sort of person who would rather not engage with this topic I would urge you to tune in.

That’s because you are actually exactly the sort of person who really must listen the most!

Dan Trueman is global Head of Cyber at Axis Insurance and is one of the true cyber market pioneers with a 20 year career centred on insuring unconventional enterprise risks.

He has developed into an industry spokeperson and an ambassador for the cyber class globally.

In our wide-ranging discussion we got to the heart of what has triggered the explosion in cyber growth and the latest in price, demand and loss trends.

Listen and discover why Dan thinks that cyber cover will never again be as cheap as it is today.

We also dissected all the innovations around cyber modelling and the work going on to maximise the reinsurance and alternative capital that can be brought to bear on this potentially systemic global risk so that its growth story can continue.

We also looked at regulation and the thorny issue of silent or non affirmative cyber cover.

I really enjoyed our talk and I’m sure you will too.

If you are not a techie but want to be properly informed about what is coming down the Insurtech track and want to know how analogue insurance folk should be reacting, this podcast is 100% designed for you.

I caught up with Matthew Grant and fellow Instech London founder Robin Merttens earlier in the month.

Matthew and Robin are decades-long veterans of what we now call Insurtech and have spent careers bridging the often sizeable gap between insurance and technology.

They do it so we don't have to.

Back in 2015 they founded Instech London which hosts a regular monthly get-together for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists service providers, early adopters and people working in the incumbent insurance industry who are curious about new technologies and how they will affect insurance.

In this episode we have a wide-ranging discussion that includes a debate about the difference between merely digitising and going fully digital, as well as an examination of insurance’s often difficult relationship with technological change.

I think it's a really useful listen...


Start-up companies mentioned:





There is a lot to play for in 2020

The reinsurance market has a lot invested in the major 2020 renewals and has high expectations of re-pricing in April, June and mid-year.

Japanese Typhoon has been active in the last couple of seasons and loss development has re-written the models and taken everybody by surprise.

Florida has been busy developing its losses of 2017 and 2018 in new and surprising ways.

And of course tension has been building in the US casualty world which renews in mid-year. Original rates have moved sharply upwards and loss trends and reserving have been coming under a bright spotlight.

That’s why I was really lucky to catch up with Steve Arora the CEO of Axis Re at Axis’s fantastic London offices in the shiny and angular new skyscraper in the building opposite Lloyd’s known colloquially as the Scalpel.

Axis Re wrote $3.2bn of gross premium in 2019 and has an ambition to break into the top 10 global reinsurers.

Steve took up his post at Axis Re just over 2 years ago.

In our talk we dissect all the dynamics of the big 2020 renewal seasons in a lot of detail - and much more besides...

The Voice of Insurance was lucky enough to catch up with Phil Smaje the CEO and Marcel Chad the President of newly-launched London-based aviation challenger broker Piiq Risk Partners.

Piiq is part of BGC Partners, which is also the owner of wholesale brokers Ed Broking and Besso.

It is an interesting new addition to the line-up of London specialty intermediaries because Phil and Marcel are both aviation veterans with long careers at the major brokers.

The timing is also fascinating because whilst other segments of the global market are merely hardening, there is no doubt that all parts of the aviation insurance and reinsurance market are in full correction-mode and are experiencing the kind of genuine hard market that doesn’t come along very often.

Do enjoy the listen.

Phil and Marcel tell a really interesting story about their plans for Piiq at a pivotal time for the aviation market.

My first question was to Phil, asking him to tell the story behind the formation of Piiq and explain what it was all about.

The word disprupt is overused in our industry but Phil got straight to the point with his first answer...


Notes and links:

Following Gallagher's deal to buy out 100% ownership of Capsicum Re - the reinsurance broker it founded as a joint venture with former Benfield boss Graeme Chilton and colleagues back in 2013 - The Voice of Insurance caught up with Capsicum Re CEO Rupert Swallow and Simon Matson, the CEO of Gallagher’s UK Broking & Underwriting division.

What were Gallagher's plans now that it had finally broken successfully into reinsurance after decades of trying?

What would Capsicum do with major human and financial resources at its disposal?

Would it stay specialist or have a go at the big three brokers? What would happen to the Capsicum name?

With new owner Gallagher such an accomplished serial acquirer, was more dealmaking a likelihood?

How would the executives keep the Capsicum founding entrepreneurs motivated after the deal?

Tune in for the answers.

This was a relaxed and friendly discussion.

As you’d imagine there’s plenty of talk about what the plans are for Gallagher’s new reinsurance intermediary but there are a lot of other market insights blended in...


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