Here we run through the top 10 most read stories of the year
10. Marsh buys Jelf for £258m (11 September) Link here
Broken exclusively by Insurance Times, Jelf had been rumoured to be up for sale for a while but no official buyer had emerged.
The deal left few mid-sized commercial brokers available to consolidators, while also marking a clear intention by Marsh to enter the SME market.
9. Zurich mulls takeover of rival insurer (28 July) Link here
Another potential mega-merger, the deal would have brought together two of UK’s biggest insurers.
The deal, however, ultimately never went through, with Zurich pulling out claiming that losses from the Tianjin explosions meant it was no longer in a financial position to go ahead.
8. Stuart Reid and Mike Bruce in shock Bluefin exit (15 April) Link here
The executive chairman and chief executive both left the personal lines broker, with former finance director of AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary Robert Organ stepping into the chief executive role.
The news started a string of senior departures at the broker, with chief operating officer Tim Philip and commercial head Neil Thornton following soon after.
7. Facebook opens Messenger app to insurance transactions (11 December) Link here
The social media giant developed its Messenger application to allow users to conduct financial or customer based transactions across the platform.
This left brokers and insurers alike wondering how they could better interact with customers across Facebook, while leaving them worried whether the social media giant was entering the insurance market.
6. Cyber gang steals 15 Range Rovers in Brighton (24 July) Link here
Cyber has been an increasingly hot topic this year, but the take up and the pace at which cyber policies are being created continues to be slow. Back in July, a group of hackers managed to apprehend 15 Range Rovers using just their mobile phones. It has led to many more firms stepping up their plans to develop more effective cyber policies.
The Metropolitan Police revealed that 21,869 cars were stolen through the mobile phone method last year, the equivalent of 17 vehicles a day, highlighting the considerable risk of our digitally evolved world.
5. Osborne to end right to cash payouts for minor whiplash claims (25 November) Link here
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne vowed to end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash claims in his Autumn Statement, hoping to save £1bn in the cost of motor injury claims.
He hoped that these savings would ultimately be passed on to customers, giving them an average saving of £40-£50 a year. Insurers welcomed the changes but personal injury lawyers are lobbying against the plans.
4. Willis and Towers Watson announce $18bn merger (30 June) Link here
Another mega-merger. Willis and Towers Watson agreed to combine companies, creating a new firm with more than 39,000 employees in over 120 countries.
The new company, named Willis Towers Watson, has projected revenues of $48.2bn and adjusted/underlying EBITDA of over $1.7bn.
3. Osborne raises Insurance Premium Tax to 9.5% from 6% (8 July) Link here
The second appearance on this list from George Osborne, the Chancellor sent shock waves through the market when he announced that he would raise insurance premium tax (IPT) to 9.5%.
It sparked industry dismay, with many believing it would have a knock on effect to customers premiums. Insurance Times reported in December that the increase had so far caused motor premiums to rise 10.9%
2. Broker fined £175,000 by information watchdog after cyber criminal’s raid customer records (25 February) Link here
A 2014 Top 50 broker, over-50s specialist Staysure was slammed by the Information Commissioner’s Office for what it labelled as “unbelievable” security failings.
More than 5,000 customers had their credit cards used by fraudsters, with over 100,000 customers also having their medical records breached.
The ICO ultimately fined the broker and claimed that it broke rules by storing customers credit card security numbers.
1. Gallagher’s David Ross primed to take over as Towergate chief executive (9 February) Link here
This was the story that topped the list or the most read story in 2015. Arthur J Gallagher’s (International) now former chief executive David Ross left the broker to join Towergate, but was accused by his former employer of diverting acquisition opportunities and orchestrating the departure of a group of senior executives, all of which Ross denied.
The story was played out in both trade and national press, and Ross finally joined Towergate, after the high profile legal battle concluded with a private settlement.
Ross now has the responsibility of turning Towergate’s fortunes around. One of the areas that will be a big focus for him, will be the broker’s call centres, following news that its small business unit in Manchester shed 36% of its revenue in the first nine months of 2015. In his role Ross will be working hard alongside Towergate broking boss Janice Deakin and Towergate Underwriting chief executive Adrian Brown.