Of Special Interest


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7th August 2016

Newslink Global Insurance Trends

This week, further second quarter and interim financials provided most of the headlines. The reinsurance and specialty sector, as usual, have led the way as regards speed of announcements-there were reports from Argo(underwriting profit maintained), Brit(big improvement in operating profit and investment returns), Endurance Specialty(strong underwriting profitability), Hannover Re(ahead of target even after major claims), Markel(strong second half), Novae Group(Fosh says "shows growing resilience"), White Mountains(Sirius sale boosts results), and brokers Aon(Case says "positive performance across each of key metrics"). In Europe, composites and general retail insurers began to publish their interim financials-including Allianz(poor second quarter), Aviva(interim operating earnings up), AXA(net income up), RSA(Hester "delighted" with progress), and UK motor specialists Direct Line(Geddes pleased with interim result), ERS(into profit in first half), and esure(bad weather conditions but good growth). There were also major announcements from North American-based majors-including AIG(Hancock says "on target"), Allstate(net and operating income down), Berkshire Hathaway(underwriting earnings improve), CNA Financial(improvement),Liberty Mutual(impacted by energy losses), The Hanover("within expectations", The Hartford(lower underwriting and investment results), Manulife(resilience of underlying businesses), MetLife(financials impacted by a number of factors), Great-West Lifeco(net earnings up), and Prudential Financial(Strangfeld says "confident of long-term earnings outlook").
Standard & Poor's reviewed trends in asset allocations and business models of 40 rated European (re)insurers, and Swiss Re looked at mutual sector trends with an emphasis on the need to digitise.
The Competition & Markets Authority(CMA) finalised its Motor Insurance Order relating to better information on costs and benefits for motorists over no claims bonus protection. The Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) indicated its intention to consult to update methodology over unsuitable advice on transfers from Defined Benefits occupational pensions schemes, and EIOPA published a Consultation Paper on draft Implementing Technical Standard(ITS) standardising the presentation format of the Insurance Product Information Document(IPID).The International Underwriting Association(IUA) welcomed two new company members.
Guidewire continued its acquisition trail with a definite agreement to acquire US-based FirstBest Systems, which will strengthen their offering to the wider commercial and workers'compensation sectors. Research on blockchain highlighted that the insurance wholesale market is keen to implement solutions utilising the technology, and AXA is to partner with internet giant Alibaba and sister company Ant Financial Services in China.
ANV Global Services increased its Lloyd's capacity for M&A insurance, and Swiss Re announced its involvement in a breakthrough reinsurance protection scheme for Chinese farmers against severe weather conditions. Liberty Specialty appointed a head of Europe.
Articles on the above topics are included in those added to the Insurance Newslink and Financial Newslink global trends database services last Wednesday and today at www.onlystrategic.com -featuring advanced structured search and report facilities and a free 14 day full trial.