On an Industry within the Industry

At times the insurance industry seems to defy gravity, growing profitably even in the direst of economic conditions. Yet the recent announcements by Aviva and Direct Line of job losses of 2,000 a piece are a reminder that our workforce is not immune in these recessionary times. As the pricing conditions in UK continue to deteriorate we can expect more companies to pursue cost-cutting strategies … Continue reading On an Industry within the Industry

On Lloyd’s and its Brokers

The early 1980s was a golden era of the Lloyd’s Broker start-up. Men (they were all men in those days) with guile, flair and no shortage of talent, bored by the humdrum of working in old-school-tie broking houses, joined together to create new and exciting businesses. It was no coincidence that the focus for these entrepreneurs was the US reinsurance market where those who were … Continue reading On Lloyd’s and its Brokers

On China Sceptics

The formation in Singapore of Lloyd’s Asia platform in the late 1990s came too late to make an impression in Japan and South Korea. By the time London capacity and capability arrived locally, the industry in those two countries had already developed long-standing relationships with major reinsurers in Europe, USA and Bermuda. Instead underwriters in Singapore set about building a business in the far smaller … Continue reading On China Sceptics

On Tambakha Chiefdom

Just five years ago, when the Street Child charity was founded, Sierra Leone was literally the poorest country in the world according to the UN. Since enjoying a period of political stability and foreign investment, the country has thankfully moved up the rankings. Not that those who live in Tambakha would notice. This large but sparsely populated corner of Northern Sierra Leone remains forgotten by … Continue reading On Tambakha Chiefdom

On Underwriting Endangered

The quota-share, that simplest of arrangement where premiums and claims are split by the parties in a pre-agreed fixed proportion, is losing its innocence. Traditionally constructed as a treaty between an insurance company and its reinsurer, a quota-share offers the purest alignment of interest and remains the favoured approach for those providing risk capital to risk takers. You win, we win. You lose, we lose. … Continue reading On Underwriting Endangered

On Life Business at Lloyd’s

Innovative, profitable and successfully meeting a true social need, the Lloyd’s life insurance sector is rarely in the limelight which is a real pity. Worth less than £100m, not even a half-percent of the market’s overall premium volume, it is easy to see why the five syndicates dedicated to life business fall off the radar. Yet, these underwriters have led the way in developing insurance solutions for … Continue reading On Life Business at Lloyd’s

On RIMS 2013, Los Angeles

The mother of them all, the RIMS convention attracting 9,000+ delegates last week in Los Angeles, demonstrated yet again the enduring appeal of face to face networking in our industry. As ever the exhibitors clamoured for attention in the vast hall: building sand sculptures, handing out odd looking freebies and doing magic tricks. There was even a conference for the diehards with over 100 educational sessions addressing … Continue reading On RIMS 2013, Los Angeles

On Regulation, Home and Abroad

A fresh start for UK regulation this month as dual supervisors, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) open for business yet gripes about the cost and complexity of compliance remain. Official figures revealed that insurers will face a 20% increase in the amount they have to pay, following a 32% up-lift last year. The mountain of red-tape has even led Andrew … Continue reading On Regulation, Home and Abroad

On Insurance in a Recession

Announcing an unemployment rate that could now top 27% and an untamed public deficit of over 6% of output, the news from the Bank of Spain last week could hardly have been more gloomy. Declining retail sales of 10% in January suggests consumer confidence remains weak. Worse still,  recovering investor sentiment looks set to falter following the Cyprus bailout fiasco. Analysts are forecasting GDP to fall … Continue reading On Insurance in a Recession