All the top stories on insurancetimes.co.uk
Two arrangements of the letters G, A, and I accounted for the lion’s share of online insurance coverage last week.
The world’s largest insurer, AIG faced something of a triple whammy, led by its colossal $17bn capital raising exercise to shore up its balance sheet.
The event was undermined by the news that one of the company’s UK subsidiaries had been fined £640,000 by the FSA for selling policies from its call centres before the necessary due diligence had been completed.
Much more damaging – and a portent of the dangers that lie in wait – was the revelation that a pension fund in Florida was in the midst of filing a class-action lawsuit against four AIG officials, including beleaguered chief, Martin Sullivan.
The lawsuit, which comes weeks after Sullivan admitted the company had underestimated its sub-prime exposure, accuses AIG of hiding information regarding its mounting losses on products and assets tied to the residential mortgage market, initially highlighted by auditor PwC in February.
Sullivan may at least find a crumb of comfort in the fact that his chief detractor, Hank Greenberg, is under renewed investigation from the regulator over AIG’s reinsurance dealings with Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, General Re, when he was at the helm. Greenberg has previously been accused of inflating AIG’s reserves by $500m.
Meanwhile, the unofficial takeover of IAG by rival QBE is unofficially over. The Australian press took full advantage, capitalising on shareholder discontent to savage the company’s board for its perceived arrogance and lack of transparency. The bottom fell out of IAG’s inflated share price. As this column goes to press, the stock had plummeted almost 10% in the past week to under A$4. Given that QBE’s final approach valued IAG at A$4.60 per share – and it being nigh-on inevitable that the share price will continue to fall – shareholder ire will continue to rise.
On insurancetimes.co.uk, Willis’ inking of a £100m MGA agreement with Norwich Union proved the most popular story of the week. Also featured was the conclusion of talks over rates between insurers and credit hire agencies. Given the amount of bad blood on both sides – heightened recently by Allianz’s UK chief Andrew Torrance, who attributed his company’s inflated combined operating ratio to credit hire expenses – it seems unlikely that this development will be anything other than a temporary respite.
Finally, following Broker Network chief Grant Ellis’ colourful account of the state of market, the video interview with Giles’ distribution director, Leo Gibbons attracted a glut of interest; as did the photos from this year’s Biba conference, which were viewed by thousands of doubtless nostalgic readers.
The most read stories this week on insurancetimes.co.uk:
1. Willis in MGA deal with NU
Insurer to provide up to £100m capacity within three years.
2. Berkshire Hathaway pulls out of RBSI bidding
Move follows bank’s rebuttal of private equity suitors.
3. QBE makes final bid for IAG
Boards to meet to discuss $8.7bn offer.
4. Distribution, underwriting, distribution
Leo Gibbons explains why insurers will start to consolidate, and why Giles’ business model is bound to succeed.
5. ABI raises credit hire rates
Rates will be £36.50 per day for new hire.
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Jim Woods is general manager, business development at Duck Creek Technologies.
Allianz Musical Insurance has appointed Roy Lane as business controller.
He joined Allianz Insurance in 1987 and has since held various senior customer facing positions in the company, spending the last ten years working within Allianz Musical Insurance.
Cardif Pinnacle has appointed Natalie Atkinson as chief underwriting and actuarial officer.
Atkinson joined Cardif Pinnacle in 1999.
Arch Insurance Company has appointed James Weatherstone as president and chief executive.
Weatherstone moves from his previous role as chief underwriting officer.
Chris Powley has joined Norton Finance as group operations manager.
He previously worked at Black Horse as area manager.
Coversure Insurance Services has appointed Julie James as insurance sales administrator.
She joins from DC Sharp Insurance Services.
Matthew Wiles has joined EIS Insurance Solutions as a customer relations manager.
He was previously office and property insurance manager at Cadogan Hanover Park.
ejsSearch has appointed Peter Le Beau as an advisory board member.
Le Beau is a consultant in life and health insurance protection.
Ropner Insurance Services has appointed Frank Hindle as its new chairman.
He was previously chief executive and executive director. He succeeds Gordon Whiteley, who is retiring after 13 years as chairman.