London May 25th to 27th 2012
|To :||Enrique Belzuz
Bertjan de Lange
Members of Insuralex
|From :||David Brackenbury|
|Date :||1st May 2012|
|Subject :||London Marketing meetings 25 th – 27 th April 2012|
The Board has been planning a detailed visit to the London Market for some time and, after one postponement, we met in London on Wednesday 25 th April to have some internal discussions and also take the opportunity to visit colleagues in the Market.
During the three days, I was joined by Enrique Belzuz, Bertjan de Lange, Amelia Brault, Alessandro Giorgetti as well as Stephen Carter, William Sturge and Bernadette Bailey from Carter Perry Bailey in London.
We were very well looked after by CPB and it was good to have their support and I would also like to thank everyone who attended these meetings. It was a pleasure working with you all!
25 th April 2012
Whittington Capital Management Ltd. – Gary Griffiths – Chief Operations Officer
Attendance: David Brackenbury (DB) Amelia Brault (AB) Stephen Carter (SC)
Whittington have managed a number of Syndicates since their start up in 2007. They assisted in setting up AEGIS, ARC and Arch and currently have under management parts of WR Berkley, the Channel Syndicate, Alterra, Sirrius and Barbican.
Whittington operate a turnkey system, where new Syndicates are nurtured and their operations are assisted until they can operate on their own (as AEGIS, ARC and Arch have done). While they have syndicates under management, they can perform most back office functions, notably (from our point of view with Claims management functions). Their CEO is Stephen Cane.
I have known Gary Griffiths for many years. We were colleagues at JH Minet & Co Professional Indemnity Division in the 1980s and I presented claims to him when he worked for the RJM Syndicate who were leading Underwriters of this contract.
I introduced Insuralex to Gary, explaining the history and growth of the Group and the geographical spread of our Members with the projected expansion of the Group to wider areas, but we were all at pains to point out that standards are high and we would only offer Membership of Insuralex to excellent firms that have been vetted and share our Group’s outlook and values. AB said that we would be very keen to be considered as a Group to join any Panels of Lawyers and Service Providers and could offer fixed fee structures and work with any reasonable Service Level Agreements etc.
I also explained our speciality in cross-jurisdictional issues touching on the recent “Costa Concordia” event and AB gave details about the co-operation between Belgium, France, Sweden and Italy arising from the Mont Blanc Tunnel disaster in 1999.
SC and AB asked about the work Whittington have and their role in the instruction of Lawyers. Gary explained that the Syndicates that they manage do not have a great deal of Lead work, but this can change as Syndicates develop and grow their Markets.
Gary was interested in our presentation and was quite willing to be kept in the picture of our Group. I think he was impressed by the visit we made and by the range and reputation of the Firms that make up our Group. He is an important figure in the industry and well worth keeping up with. DB will follow up.
Aon PLC – Rob Dobson – Cargo Claims Director
Attendance: DB, AB, SC
I have had a number of meetings with Rob over the last year since I joined Insuralex and he is genuinely interested in the firms that are members of the Group and the geographical areas that we cover. Indeed, on my recommendation, Rob visited Vahit Kaya on a recent visit to Istanbul.
This was a comparatively short meeting to introduce Stephen and Amelia to him and give a practical overview of business from their perspective.
Aon need no introduction and Rob is an important figure in their claims operation. He has very good links with the Market and with other opinion formers.
As an old friend, I follow up with Rob regularly and will certainly follow up the meeting we had in terms of his views, as well as any other feedback he may have picked up on his travels in the Market.
QBE Europe – Matt Murphy / Stephanie Matheson – General Liability Claims
Attendance: DB, AB, William Sturge (Carter Perry Bailey) WS
This was the first of three meetings that we had with the QBE during the visit to the Market. After the departure of Paul Cowen, much of the work has been divided between Julius Crosby and Matt Murphy. He is stepping up to the mark very well and we have already established friendly relations together. Matt introduced Stephanie, who is a Canadian legal graduate working in the QBE liability department. Stephanie was well aware of the Arc Group, having worked with Alexander Holburn of Beaudin Lang LLP, our Arc Member in British Columbia.
Again, we had an easy job in explaining Insuralex and our expanding role internationally. As many of you know, QBE have already used Insuralex members and the Group is named on QBE Panels in their Liability practice.
It was a satisfying meeting and we cemented a good relationship with Matt and it was very good to meet Stephanie, who is clearly someone who will wield increasing influence.
Ascot Underwriting Limited – Stephen Chapman – Senior Marine Claims Adjuster
Attendance: DB, AB, WS
Ascot are a specialist Managing Agent that write and lead Property, Energy, Cargo, Terrorism and Political Risk, Marine Hull / Liability, Excess of Loss, and Specie and Fine Art business. I have enjoyed a good relationship with them for many years on both the Underwriting and claims parts of the business. They have been owned by Chartis since 2008.
Claims at Ascot are usually delegated to Xchanging, up to a settlement authority, but are handled in-house when the quantum or circumstances dictate. It would be logical that losses that need legal expertise would normally be considered in house. Stephen joined Ascot a couple of years ago, having handled their claims at Xchanging. He was one of Xchanging’s leading Claims Adjusters and is a very strong addition to the team. I have discussed Insuralex with Stephen before and he is aware of our Group and Membership.
I explained the cross-jurisdictional aspect of the Group, using the Mont Blanc fire as an example and AB raised the Total fire and explosion in Toulouse in 2001 She also explained the creation of Insuralex out of the BILG network and she suggested that an area where we could be of assistance can be giving advice on the legal status of contracts and wordings, where they can be brought into confusion by the application of local law and insurance codes. Amelia particularly mentioned France, where Insurance Codes can override foreign wordings. Stephen agreed that this could be an area of interest to Ascot.
WS explained some of the areas that Carter Perry Bailey is active in and the fact that CBP have strong experience in Specie related matters was of additional interest.
Stephen asked AB about the extent of her firm’s coverage, and Amelia explained the areas of Soulie & Coste – Floret’s practice, particularly mentioning Property as well as Liability and CAR.
Stephen enquired about a matter where Ascot was being asked to pay a fee to a French Insurer, where they participated in an off-slip and whether this was proper. It was explained that there could be circumstances in the Reinsurance Market where this does occur.
According to Stephen, they have less UK law and jurisdiction business and more is written in overseas jurisdictions.
It was pointed out that Ascot have a very restricted Panel of Experts and Lawyers, but this need not matter, as Adjusters could deviate from this as the need arises. Stephen mentioned considering Members of Insuralex on a trial basis.
Ascot is certainly a tough nut to crack, but perseverance is certainly worthwhile. I like them, Stephen and I get on well together and I admire the high standards that are evident throughout Ascot. I will continue to meet with and follow up with them.
This concluded the meetings for the 25 th . Enrique (EB) arrived and we had a useful debrief on the day’s events.
26 th April 2012
Chubb Insurance Company of Europe – Steve Walters – 1 st Party Technical Team Manager
Attendance: EB, DB, AB, Alessandro Giorgetti (AG)
This was a very productive meeting with an important Insurer in Europe. Chubb write a range of business that includes Commercial, Financial Lines, A&H and a highly regarded Personal Lines book, which caters for High Net Worth clients.
They have claims offices in most countries in Europe and Steve asked whether we have existing relationships with them. AG pointed out that he had assisted with the opening of the Chubb office in Italy about 20 years ago. There was some real interest expressed in Fine Art and Contingency business.
We had a useful overview of the Chubb operations. The London office does not handle many instructions of Experts and Lawyers directly but will pass on details of who they have met and any recommendations that they may have. At the moment, the Chubb London office deal with Cozen O’Connor for subrogation matters and RPC as well.
Steve was very helpful in giving us the structure of the London office. The Claims Manager is Katerina Kikillou and Steve heads up the First Party team, with Victoria Smith heading up the 3 rd Party team. It will be good to meet with both of them in the near future.
We discussed assisting Chubb London and offered our services as Expert Witnesses where circumstances offer and we also offered to assist their training and development. The Chubb run a popular series of events (“Lunch and Learn”) and we said that it would be a pleasure to make a presentation to those participants.
A very interesting meeting and one that is well worth following up with Katerina, Victoria as well as Chubb offices in Europe.
Argo Underwriting Group – Ashley Lawrence – Head of Claims
Attendance: EB, DB, AB, AG
Argo acquired Heritage in 2008 and re-structured their business with a view to expand their premium income from US$350M – US$800M in five years. They do a lot of US business, as well as a good Property and Liability account and have recently taken on a new Marine team, headed by Paul Goodison, ex- BRIT. They also are involved in Aviation and Space business that is written in London and Paris.
I have known Ashley for many years and knew him when he was at Kiln, both as a Broker and also as someone who was very supportive when I set up my own business in 2006. Ashley has always had a (welcome) philosophy where he and his team works closely with Brokers, despite the rise of Electronic transmission of Claims files and information.
Argo have a good geographical spread, with offices in Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Malta, Rio, and Dubai. New offices are projected in Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong. AG said that Argo and Insuralex may well benefit from Argo’s new office in Dubai, working with Bin Shabib EB and AG both discussed some of our Members assisting in the provision of educational presentations or training of Argo staff members and pointed out that there are many ways in which Insuralex Members can contribute other than in terms of direct instructions.
Ashley said that Argo would be interested in education / training opportunities and additionally DB will meet with Ashley in the near future to explain the details and locations of all Insuralex Members.
All in all, a thoroughly useful meeting and one which has given the Group a real opportunity to develop a growing relationship with this important Managing Agent.
QBE Europe – Victoria Watson – Claims Manager Financial Lines
Attendance: EB, DB, Bertjan de Lange (BdL), AG AB
We had a good discussion with Victoria over lunch. She is very senior in the QBE Claims team and was well known to AB and AG. She is aware that Insuralex are used as a member of their Expert’s register and was interested in the Group’s activities, as well as where the individual Members are located.
There could be synergies in Europe and the Middle East and Victoria will be interested about the expansion of Insuralex, though it was again emphasised that this would always be with excellent firms, who share our own values and outlooks.
It would be worthwhile to extend an invitation to Victoria for the Chicago meeting, as she expressed real interest.
Kiln Group – Paul Cowen / Christine Williams / Philip Sanders – Claims Managers
Attendance: EB, DB, AG, AB, BdL
I have had a good relationship with Kiln for many years. They are a large Managing Agent and are involved in Marine, Aviation, Direct Property as well as Reinsurance and Excess of Loss lines. They also do Financial Institutions, Political and Cyber risks, Extended Warranty and Trade Credit risks. Kiln also has a US Binder and Property team, so it could be worth targeting this area for Audit work. Paul explained that the liability book can also include offshore energy risks.
DB and EB introduced the Group and explained who we have worked for in the Market. Paul is, naturally, well aware of our activities, having just joined Kiln from QBE Europe… Everyone congratulated him on his new role.
We were asked about the classes of business that the firms in the Group are expert in. We explained that all the firms in the Group are specialist in Insurance and Reinsurance matters and have wide experience, but don’t of course do everything. AG pointed out that if were presented with a situation where a Group Member could not assist the Market then a impartial recommendation would be made to suggest a firm who could deal with the scenario.
AG also pointed out that as well as case instructions, we can work on wordings, translations of wordings and their application in jurisdictional and language matters.
Philip asked whether Members work for the “Dark Side”; in other words, plaintiff work. It was explained that mostly Insuralex Members do not, although AG has been involved in some matters to do with Aviation.
AG raised the prospect that Insuralex Members could be of assistance with educational and training matters with Kiln staff and this was of interest. Additionally, we offered to assist with good information and communication about the differing conditions and hazards of underwriting risks in differing Countries or jurisdictions.
Christine made mention of two other Groups of Experts she has heard of in the USA, the Eagle Group, which is a mixture of lawyers and loss adjusters and the Harmony Group, which is a legal group in the US, but not specifically insurance related.
It was a constructive meeting and it was good to see Paul Cowen, one of our oldest supporters, in his new role. It was also good to have met with Philip and Christine, who clearly are significant players in the Kiln claims world and will be useful contacts in the future.
Mapfre Global Risks London – George Levy Cooper, Octavio Bosqued
Attendance: EB, DB, AG, WS, Bernadette Bailey (BB)
Mapfre are a large and multi-faceted Insurer, based in Spain. They have offices in London, Paris, Cologne and Milan and their main Market is in Property, Energy Marine and Construction risks. As is customary, we took the opportunity to introduce the Insuralex Group and our presence, ethos and structure. We explained that our major role was to handle in partnership complex multi-jurisdictional cases. AG pointed out that we try to keep cases under the view of our own Partners and have clear communications with Insurers, Reinsurers and their Experts and contacts. As with other meetings, AG said that we could offer the services of our Members in training and development and as Expert Witnesses. Also we can assist in pre-risk and underwriting analysis in areas where business is being handled in unfamiliar jurisdictions.
George introduced Mapfre. They are a representative office of Mapfre Global Risks in Madrid. They are a large Insurer that represents multinational Companies that have global reach. (FTSE etc.) The London office produce, analyse and submit business to Madrid for approval and acceptance of the risk. George made it clear that the London office do not at the moment write business on their own account. It is envisaged that London will be come a Branch with Underwriting powers in the future, but at the moment the office act as a filter and do much of the pre-risk analysis.
WS spoke about CPB and its background and explained their expertise in Reinsurance disputes and said that they can advise on Corporate Reinsurance regulatory requirements, tax regimes among other areas. George asked whether we were familiar with Xavier at Mapfre Re, who is known to EB.
BB explained that they do direct liability work that may involve industrial deafness and asbestosis, among other risks.
EB and DB said that working together as a Group enables clients of Insuralex to know that multi-jurisdictional work will be personalised right across the spectrum and will always focus on the importance of good communications with Members of the Group and Clients alike.
27 th April 2012
MGA Capital Limited – Stuart McAlister – Chief Underwriting Officer
Attendance: EB, DB, AG, SC
MGA Capital operates with new Underwriting concerns and works with them to develop their Underwriting business, while providing regulatory, compliance and technical back up. The idea is that MGA manage “pillars”, each containing a team that has ownership shared by the Underwriting team concerned as well as MGA. It is considered important that this ownership is divided to give all parties a substantial stakeholding. Once these teams have been built up, they may wish to buy out and go on their own. Hence MGA can act as an incubator and as a turnkey operation as well. They also have access to venture capital and can assist in obtaining funding for fledgling teams. They also work closely with a firm called IBS, which provides a similar service to Brokers, on a fee basis.
Stuart has a background in liability insurance and is known to AG. His background was at Axa, and then helped to set up Liberty International. He is partnered by Andrew Herbert who is ex Ernst and Young and has a venture Capital background. MGA have two underwriting pillars at the moment with other projects outstanding, including Southern Africa, the USA and the Middle East. The Insurers who back MGA include Amlin, Munich Re, Novae, Hannover and BRIT. Stuart gives his Underwriting “pen” away to the Underwriting teams, but retains close supervision.
We explained Insuralex and SC emphasised the close grouping coupled with the independence of the Members.
AG said that local litigation might require Expert Witnesses in matters involving large and complex issues and other lawyers. He also made the point that we will only put ourselves forward if we can offer the right expertise, depending on the Client’s requirements. If we could not, then we would refer the matter to practises outside the Group. Clearly as Insurance and Reinsurance specialists, we would normally aim to be of direct assistance.
SC, put forward the name of Irsheid Tayab, (Bin Shabib in UAE), the ex Insurance Regulator in Jordon.
MGA is an ingenious operation and as it, and their Underwriting pillars grow, I believe that it offers our Group the potential to get involved with successful Underwriters at the beginning of their operations, as well as having the potential to work with the Insurers and Reinsurers who back this interesting project. I know Stuart well and value his business and his connections.
Navigators London – Anthony Durnford – Marine and Energy Claims Manager
Attendance: EB, DB, AG, SC
I have known and worked with Anthony for about 25 years and have followed his career from Hiscox to the Navigators. He is one of the brightest claims people in the Market and has a very good reputation.
Navigators operate Syndicate 1221 in London, which is a branch of the US parent Insurer. The London operation is specialist in Marine Cargo, specie, and Management and Professional liability risks. Business is also written in offices in Antwerp, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
AG suggested that Navigators were already using his firm in Italy and also Norelid Holm in Sweden. He suggested our educational role and we offered to present to Navigators staff on various themes, cases and jurisdictions. EB and DB emphasised the scope of our Group and its expanding geographical spread and our expertise and established track record in complex issues involving multiple jurisdictions. This was received with interest.
AG also brought forward the potential for Members of the Group to work as Expert Witnesses in cases involving existing litigation. The advantage of this would be the use of informed people who were familiar with local laws or coverage issues.
SC and DB said that we can provide Underwriters with information on feedback from local Reinsurers or other contacts as well as local market conditions and customs.
Anthony said that Navigators have a preferred list of lawyers and other Experts which is regularly reviewed. We offered to put a presentation to Navigators on service, costs and brief details of the Members of the Group.
We made the point that we cannot always do everything, everywhere but would always recommend a good firm to assist, even if it was not a Member of our Group. Anthony asked what plans Insuralex may have in expanding into Eastern Europe. I explained that we have active plans in this area and AG and EB explained the work that is going in on this topic.
Anthony also asked how an instruction from Navigators would be handled, whether it should go to the Group, or the individual Member. We explained that the Client is king and should do whatever suits them best and it will be our task to make sure that communications are handled as efficiently as possible. We could assist as a filter to make sure that communications on multi-jurisdictional issues are made a quickly and clearly as possible to the relevant Claims Manager or Underwriter as may be required.
This meeting was most encouraging. Anthony already works with AG and some other firms and seemed most receptive to us following up with him. We all established a good rapport and I think that the Insuralex Group has made a good impression on him.
CFC Underwriting – Tim Danbury – Claims Manager
Attendance: EB, DB, WS
CFC is another good contact from the recent Rotterdam meeting. They are a MGA operator who have binding authorities from Insurers and these include Kiln (Property) Hiscox, BRIT, Beazley and Canopius. They have just taken on Kate Lyes, who was D&O Underwriter at Chubb. They write D&O, Life Sciences, E&O and Property risks. CFC employ about 50 people.
Tim Danbury has an interesting background, having worked with Kennedys as a TPA Claims Examiner, before taking up his present role.
CFC are involved in a lot of Canadian work and is familiar with the Arc Group Canada and Tim knows Jamie Trimble. Business is also written in the USA, Australia, and the UK, as well as other countries around the world.
We explained the Insuralex Group and gave details of some of the work we do in terms of cases across multiple jurisdictions. We also discussed the other services that could be provided by Insuralex, such as general liaison, education and training and local knowledge and assistance, whether as Expert Witnesses, or otherwise. WS volunteered to work with CFC in the development of wordings in the E&O / D&O classes of business.
This was a useful meeting and one which cemented a good introduction from the Rotterdam Lloyd’s event. CFC are another one of the increasing number of Underwriters who act at one remove from being an Insurer themselves. They do, however, have authority to manage their own claims and Underwriting within the terms of their respective Binding Authorities and, of course, also have influence and good contacts with the Insurers and Reinsurers whose pen they are carrying!
QBE Europe – Julius Crosby / Stephanie Matheson / Matt Murphy Also Grace Maxted – Xchanging
Attendance: EB, DB, WS
A thoroughly useful and productive series of meetings came to an end with a pleasant meeting over drinks with QBE and Grace Maxted from Xchanging. It was good to spend some time with Julius Crosby, who is now the senior Adjuster in QBE’s liability department. It is clear that the QBE are working well together and it seems that they were all happy to see us and interested in what we are doing as a Group and what we hope to achieve in the future.
One of the most positive things about the London Marketing Meetings was the way in which those present at the meetings worked together. We were able to demonstrate that the Group has real international depth and expertise and also that we value the teamwork and ethos of Insuralex. Everyone made very good contributions to the discussions that we had and it made it easy and a real pleasure to promote our Group and the members who have come together to make it such a success.
I hope that you all find these notes to be useful. Naturally, I will be delighted to respond to any comments or observations that any of you may have.
With best regards,