London broker moves to boost aviation market share

Jardine Lloyd Thompson has won the $15m China Airlines account from Aon, writes Angelique Ruzicka.

The account is due for renewal in July and has not been placed yet but is currently insured by Lloyd’s syndicates as well as London and international companies.

Alan Griffin, chairman and chief executive officer of JLT Reinsurance brokers, said: “We are now the broker to insure the hulls, liability, and other ancillary covers. The deal does not include hangars or property.”

Aon refused to comment.

Griffin said a recruitment drive was under way to increase JLT’s aviation insurance market share. “The three majors [Aon Benfield, Marsh, Willis] share 70-75% of the world’s airline market and we have about 15%. We are on the road to recruit capable people to whip up production. I’d like to see us with a 20-25% market share,” he said.

“We want more of the big ticket clients and smaller general aviation accounts.”

JLT has appointed Jonathan Harris, former managing director of Lockton’s aviation unit, partner for its aviation reinsurance division.

“We are hoping he will bring in business from Lockton and elsewhere. We have had some success already,” said Griffin.

Lockton confirmed that Harris had left to join JLT but would not comment further.

JLT’s aviation business currently employs 65 staff but Griffin hopes to increase this to 100.

“I will be employing more people, both through headhunters and conventionally, for our London and Asian business,” he said. “We have senior people; we just need more of them.”

Griffin confirmed that JLT had placed the cover for the Air France Airbus that crashed over the Atlantic early this month with Axa.

At the time of going to press, reports in the UK media confirmed that a Brazilian search team had recovered a large tail section of the aircraft. The Airbus 330-200 has a hull value of about $100m.

“Underwriters will use this as an opportunity to increase rates,” said Griffin. “Until now we have been seeing increases, but they were offset by reduced exposure because a number of aircraft were being kept in hangars as fewer passengers were flying.

“Underwriters were just maintaining their premiums.”