By Elizabeth Grima, Senior Executive Manager of New Dawn Risk Europe
The dust from Brexit is at last beginning to settle, and it is now possible to see how this will impact the European insurance market in the long term. At first, following the leave vote, predictions were boldly made that little would change as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. But in fact this has not entirely been the case, as many London-based insurers have had to significantly reconsider their European business models at the point of Brexit, including whether to continue doing business in some countries at all.
Therefore, jurisdiction and country of domicile has become more and more of a recognised issue for service providers around the world. As a result, a number of intermediaries, whether managing general agents (MGAs) or intermediary facilities, have set up office in the EU to preserve or to grow their business in Europe. The choice of legal jurisdiction for these offices has varied in reason but generally is linked to a calculation based on proximity, relationship, regulatory constraints, fiscal and speed-to-market incentives.
Though this is a natural development, there is an undertow here that is not positive for London’s reputation as a hub. Much has been made of the growth of the MGA model over the last couple of years, and it is generally agreed that this is an area of the market where creativity and new ideas flourish with the innovation of pricing and customer service being particularly successful. It is much to the detriment of the London Market if we begin to see MGAs being established in Europe at the expense of London.
Though the London Market will always be a hub for insurance business, the recent regulatory changes have created a slow but inevitable shift away from the traditional market with more opportunities for innovation taking place in the MGA and delegated authority space. Watch out for this trend bringing increased critical mass to European markets, to the disappointment of London in 2022 and beyond.
By Max Carter, CEO of New Dawn Risk
If there is one thing that parties on all sides can agree, it is that COVID has stretched and challenged every aspect of our healthcare systems. This is the case not just in the crowded emergency and COVID wards, but also in related fields, such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation, where the requirement for face-to-face interaction has been altered beyond belief by a year of remote treatment.
GP surgeries now only treat 60% of their patients face to face and are working through never-before seen challenges in administering new vaccines, catching up on routine appointments and persuading the fearful back into treatment.
Meanwhile in hospitals, consultants are struggling with huge disruptions to their operating lists, from the last-minute withdrawals of patients due to COVID, a shortage of back-office staff to make and manage patient records and appointments and the continued physical barriers to treatment from operating through layers of PPE.
As an insurance broker specialising in medical malpractice cover, I look ahead and see something different – a flood of claims coming towards us. The ability of consultants, physios, midwives, nurses and doctors to deliver consistent and excellent care has been challenged in so many ways. Though the intentions and effort have been heroic, the results have inevitably included delayed procedures and deaths from diseases that might not previously have been fatal.
History tells us that angry grieving families litigate, and this is what I expect to see happen in 2022. While the health service struggles to catch up, failures not of its making will catch it up, leading to a crisis in claims, a rise in premiums, and quite possibly some challenging restrictions in medical malpractice cover.
In 2020 and 2021, health service professionals were national heroes. They remain heroic, but the results of their efforts may bring them real additional challenges in the year ahead.
Can you describe what your current role involves?
I’m a broker on the Technology, Media and Cyber Team. We find insurance solutions for a wide variety of risks spanning across a plethora of territories from the US to Africa. The classes of business we work with are always evolving so we need to be on our toes!
What is your favourite insurance fact?
In the filming of “A Space Odyssey (2001)”, Stanley Kubrick sought a policy in case a real-life alien invasion came before the movie was released. Lloyd’s of London declined.
What did you do before joining New Dawn Risk?
I joined New Dawn Risk a month after graduating from the University of Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.
Tell us one thing about your career we didn’t know:
I originally wanted to go into the underwriting side of insurance but luckily found New Dawn and I haven’t looked back since.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I am a big sport enthusiast; my main playing discipline is the traditional English game of cricket. I’m also an avid supporter of my childhood football club, Yeovil Town FC. Outside of sport, I love cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
14 October 2021
New Dawn Risk is delighted to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Strange to the new role of Head of Strategic Development within the firm. The role has been created as part of a fast-paced global expansion, which has also seen the recent establishment of New Dawn Risk Europe Ltd.
New Dawn Risk has already built out strong teams in professional liability and financial lines, and within technology, media and cyber. The appointment of Liz as Head of Strategic Development will enable the next stage of growth for the US and International businesses and allow New Dawn Risk to further build strategic relationships with brokers on a global basis.
Liz herself has over thirty years’ experience in the Lloyd’s market, having previously held senior positions at Hiscox, Beazley and Paragon.
Max Carter, CEO of New Dawn Risk Group commented: “Liz will be a fantastic asset to our team. She has incredible relationships in London and the US, and her reputation in the space precedes her. I know that she is the perfect person to develop our business, to identify strategically aligned partner producers and to help fulfil our plans.”
Liz Strange, Head of Strategic Development at New Dawn Risk commented: “The specialist focus at New Dawn Risk aligns perfectly with my own experience, and I believe that together we will make a great team, targeting expansion across all regions and all lines. One of my priorities will be to build upon our high-quality and enthusiastic teams with an ambition to accelerate growth. It is exciting to step into such a fast-moving business, and one that has huge potential to make further impact in the market.”
Notes to Editors
Established in 2008, New Dawn Risk is a specialist insurance broker providing dynamic advisory solutions. We focus on complex, international liability and other specialty insurance and reinsurance. Clients large and small profit from our expertise, creativity and responsiveness – from risk assessment through to claims.
7 October 2021
The region’s economies have been hit hard by the pandemic, but London has the chance to take more business there, if it sorts out its service problems.
The London insurance market’s focus has turned towards the developing economies as it looks for growth opportunities around the world, where increasing prosperity means there is more risk in need of protection. In Latin America, the terrible economic performances of some countries (Argentina, Venezuela) has been balanced by steady growth in others, such as Brazil, Mexico and Chile.
But the pandemic has had a devastating impact on Latin American economies, particularly Brazil’s. The resulting recession has undoubtedly affected insurance buying across the region and while there looks to be a recovery on the horizon — although it is likely to vary significantly from country to country — 2021 may well be a year of building back, rather than growth.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on Latin American economies, particularly Brazil’s.
So, as the economic picture improves, what’s the forecast for insurance in the region?
Global insurance prices have risen this year, with rates in the London market hardening in a way not been seen for over 20 years. Latin American buyers are being impacted by this, and, as a result, local insurers and brokers have set up consortia to pool their resources to cover large and complex risks, which in turn reduces their need to buy cover from markets such as Miami or London.
Although some Latin American governments do not allow foreign insurers to participate directly in the market, international, Lloyd’s and London Market brokers will always be needed to provide essential capacity. For now, the London Market still holds enough cards to attract buyers while, also presenting challenges for Latin American brokers.
In a survey we recently carried out in the region, one respondent commented that the London Market sometimes lacked “knowledge of local conditions” and “interaction could be difficult.” There is a general belief that London has been less responsive since Covid, which has had a negative impact on buyer sentiment. But so far there’s been no substantial shift in business towards local insurers or Miami. It is to London’s advantage that wordings and policy conditions available locally remain unfavourable, while Miami has suffered many of the same service issues as London, despite being in a better time zone to do business with Latin America.
The London Market still holds enough cards to attract buyers while, also presenting challenges for Latin American brokers.
This is the year when London must focus on correcting some of its service gaps — particularly its slow responses to requests — to ensure that international insurers remain the preferred option. If the local market’s expertise and capacity were to build, and if it received support from the right reinsurers, then the London Market could well find its position is threatened. But if it sorts out its service problems, business will continue to flow to London because the local market can’t offer the same expertise on complex risks.
In financial lines, the level of increases should not come as a complete shock to most buyers, as rates have been rising 5-10% year-on-year for some time, with some sub-classes increasing at a higher rate depending on perceived risk. Some classes are under more pressure than others, but the preference of some Latin American buyers for combined policies means these price increases are sometime averaged out.
There are lines where London’s capacity and expertise remain essential. Directors & Officers insurance (D&O) cover, required in the region’s more sophisticated economies , is one, and here the pandemic has had a big impact on pricing. The problems in D&O have been building for some time, and one insurer commented that the coronavirus was the final straw . This, of course, means that prices will not simply soften again once the Covid crisis has passed.
Other factors are at play, and these are unlikely to unwind in the short term. London has led in terms of a hardening market, but many others are now catching up. It is not just rates that are affected, but a drastic reduction in deployed capacity, increased retentions and reduced commissions – all making the renewal process that much more challenging. Globally, insureds are seeing their premiums increased by multiples, making it difficult to retain the levels of coverage previously purchased.
Cyber is the other market most affected by rising rates, where for renewals increases are reaching 30% and more. Latin American brokers are seeing an increasing focus on international cyber solutions as the threats increase. Companies in the region often do not have the controls required to defend themselves against cyber-attacks, and, as a result, some insurers are not willing to underwrite them.
We hope that 2021 will be the year when London binds larger volumes of Latin American business.
The absence of cyber capacity in Miami also means that London must provide almost all of Latin America’s growing international cyber needs, and this is driving renewal-only decisions among some underwriters. First time buyers from Latin America must brace themselves for a lack of options and potentially some limiting conditions on policies. Ransomware is reportedly experiencing the highest spike in claims, which is contributing to rising premiums and coverage restrictions, and, as a result, policies are now commonly sub-limited or co-insured.
Amidst the high levels of unrest and corruption plaguing almost every Latin American country, new local players have stepped up to offer additional capacity where the London Market won’t. But London remains a stronghold and we hope that 2021 will be the year when London binds larger volumes of Latin American business, delivering improved service and much-needed capacity to the region’s brokers.
5 October 2021
New Dawn Risk Group is delighted to announce the launch of its new European subsidiary, New Dawn Risk (Europe), headquartered in Malta. Like its parent company, New Dawn Risk (Europe) focuses on financial and professional lines. The new business will not only directly serve the growing financial and technology services industries in Malta but will also have the capacity to deliver solutions for New Dawn Risk’s global clients who have European operations with complex financial lines requirements.
The new European operation will be led by Elizabeth Grima and Tom Malcolm, respectively appointed as Senior Executive Officer and Managing Director, assisted by Joseph Rizzo who has been in the insurance sector for more than 30 years.
Max Carter, CEO of New Dawn Risk Group said: “The market for professional and financial lines is facing challenges on several fronts, as pricing continues to harden, and the complexity of placing risks increases. Our group has seen significant demand for our services internationally, and as a result we are delighted to be able to bring our offering to market in Europe; both in service of our larger global clients and to support the in-market requirements of Malta’s own financial services industry.”
Elizabeth Grima, Senior Executive Officer, New Dawn Risk (Europe), commented: “Our offering in Malta will be exclusively wholesale, working with local brokers to provide them and their clients with additional (and much needed) capacity to service larger and more complex financial lines risks. New Dawn Risk Group is one of the largest independent specialist brokers servicing professional and financial lines business around the world, and it is great to have access to that team on the ground in Malta.”
Notes to Editors Established in 2008, New Dawn Risk is a specialist insurance broker providing dynamic advisory solutions. We focus on complex, international liability and other specialty insurance and reinsurance. Clients large and small profit from our expertise, creativity and responsiveness – from risk assessment through to claims.
Can you describe what your current role involves?
I am a Management Liability and Financial Institutions Broker at New Dawn Risk. My team specialises in the placement and negotiation of Directors’ & Officers’ Liability and Financial Institutions Insurance, primarily from the Middle East and the US.
What is your favourite insurance fact?
There is a type of insurance called Spooksafe Insurance which provides coverage in the event that you are attacked by a spirit, werewolf or vampire. One woman with this insurance died after she was allegedly thrown over the banister of her home by a poltergeist. The insurer concluded this was a valid claim and paid out $100,000.
What did you do before joining New Dawn Risk?
I joined New Dawn Risk just after graduating from Bristol University with a BSc Geography degree.
Tell us one thing about your career we didn’t know:
I have co-hosted two New Dawn Risk virtual internships with my colleague Amelia Acreman. Both were aimed at educating school and university students about insurance basics and helping them to access the industry.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Over lockdown, I took up guitar and spent the vast majority of this period learning the opening to “Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys. Expecting a band to snap me up in the coming weeks.
New Dawn Risk has today launched its latest white paper on insurance for the US legal cannabis, CBD and hemp markets. The 2021 report is called “Opportunity knocks at last in the US cannabis insurance market”.
Download the white paper here.
Since the publication of the previous report in 2020, US sales of medical and recreational cannabis have grown exponentially, reaching $17.5 billion in 2020, a 46 percent increase from 2019. In addition, the legislative landscape in the USA has been transformed by the arrival of the pro-cannabis Biden presidency, supported by a Democratic majority in both Houses.
A new CLAIM (Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana) Act has been introduced to the Senate, alongside the parallel SAFE Banking Act, and both are expected to pass into law by the end of 2021. This will at last permit insurers to work with the cannabis industry legally; and will also reduce some of the insurance risks that previously dogged the industry. For example, D&O cover will become a legally available option, and marijuana businesses will be able to regularise their banking and cash operations.
The updated white paper examines the key drivers of growth whilst exposing both the potential premiums and the size of the insurance gap for the cannabis industry in the US. Headlines include:
- 36 US states, and Washington D.C., have now legalised cannabis for medical or recreational use.
- Americans now spend almost as much on legal marijuana products as they do on Coca Cola.
- Cannabis dispensaries were deemed “essential businesses” by many states and therefore remained open during lockdown.
Max Carter, CEO of New Dawn Risk, commented: “The legal and regulatory environment of the cannabis industry has transformed over the past year.
“The changing attitude towards the cannabis industry, and new State and Federal legislation present an exciting opportunity for insurers to work with growers and sellers. With legalisation of banking and insurance, the door seems likely to open to what could be a $1bn premium market.
“On the consumer side, cannabis was deemed an “essential business” during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the growth of the sector seems inexorable. New Dawn Risk is committed to working with carriers and clients to share knowledge and insights to help identify and deliver cover for this untapped market.”
Notes to Editors
Established in 2008, New Dawn Risk is a dynamic, specialist insurance intermediary providing bespoke advisory solutions. We focus on complex, international liability and other specialty insurance and reinsurance. Clients large and small profit from our expertise, creativity and responsiveness – from risk assessment through to claims. 95% of our business emanates from outside the United Kingdom.
The article below, by Nicky Stokes, Head of Management Liability and Financial Institutions at New Dawn Risk, was originally published in Middle East Insurance Review in May 2021.
There are signs that significant changes are afoot in the litigation environment in the Middle East – and this could have an impact on the directors and officers insurance market.
The market for directors and officers (D&O) insurance in the Middle East is in something of a state of flux. Historically, regional demand for the product has been relatively limited due in part to the proliferation of large, affluent, family-owned private companies in the area who have simply not seen the need for this type of risk transfer solution. With demand for D&O insurance low, pricing of the product has been relatively cheap, and it has been viewed as something that is a nice-to-have rather than a necessity.
Furthermore, the litigation environment – a potential key driver for claims to be brought against directors and officers – has been comparatively benign in the Middle East. However, there are signs that significant changes are afoot.
Up until recently, there had been a patchwork of litigation regulation across this region. But as Middle East states look to align with global standards and reporting requirements, the regulatory burden is increasing. In Saudi Arabia there is a massive drive to regulate the financial services industry as part of the government’s National Transformation Plan 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030, designed to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors. One key development – among a string of reforms under Vision 2030 – was the introduction of a Bankruptcy Law in 2018, to further encourage the participation of foreign and domestic investors by structuring the business legal framework and putting new regulations around businesses operating in the kingdom. This is having a direct effect on directors and officers as it makes it much easier to identify where obligations have not been met. Where duties are codified into law, it is much more straightforward to bring a claim.
In October 2020, the UAE government made various changes to its Bankruptcy Law to similar effect. In another development in December 2017, one which marked a first for the region, the Capital Market Authority in Saudi Arabia introduced a new class action regime for claims by shareholders of listed companies in the country. Last year, the first lawsuit filed under the regime was brought against the former board of directors of Al-Mojil Group, its senior management and its auditor for alleged violations committed during the subscription in the company’s shares as part of its 2008 IPO. We should expect more to follow.
In fact, the last few years have seen an increase in regulatory investigations across the region, which has changed the claims landscape for the directors and officers of Middle Eastern companies. Criminal or regulatory actions increasingly relate to allegations of financial irregularities or accounting misstatements. There has also been an increase in investigations into alleged fraud, money laundering and embezzlement by directors and officers.
Indeed, the wide range of D&O claims drivers that is apparent the world over is increasingly present in the Middle East. These include investor claims of mismanagement against executives of companies in distress to those that stem from criminal or regulatory action against the directors and officers. We have also seen claims stemming from third parties such as private equity investors alleging financial irregularities prior to their investment. And civil claims have arisen against board management individuals for alleged financial wrongdoing where the company has been unable to repay debt to a lender.
An international market
Meanwhile, recent events have underlined the global nature of the insurance market. A combination of increasing litigation and regulatory risks, more notifications, and profit pressures following years of premium reductions are prompting underwriters to carefully manage the capital they deploy for D&O risks. TI1is has diminished insurer competition fo1· buyers and resulted in higher rates and less favourable coverage terms for most buyers.
Rates for D&O insurance have been hardening significantly in the UK, and latterly in the US, for some time. But prices in the Middle East have followed suit. Increases at renewals are now starting at a minimum of 20% and can rise into triple-digits. Because the D&O market comprises a large number of international insurers, price changes in the region are being driven from a top-down perspective. Those international insurers that have been hit hard in terms of losses, in the UK and US for example, are looking to remediate their books elsewhere.
As insurers’ appetite for D&O has diminished, this has led to a reduction in capacity. For example, an insurer that used to underwrite around $60m of Middle East D&O may now do no more than $10m. Last year we saw placements of $10m on the primary layer and $1Sm on the excess for D&O insurance. This year, placements dropped to around just $2m on the primary and $Sm on the excess.
These factors have led to some difficult conversations and pushback from buyers at renewals this year. For example, an insured who bought $75m worth of cover last year might have got a third of that for the same price. This has always been a price-sensitive market and, as a result, people are buying less cover than they have done in the past. We are starting to see a number of businesses that are clearly underinsured for the exposures that their directors and officers are facing, a trend which may store up trouble for the future.
Interesting times ahead
Looking ahead, the risks facing directors and officers in the Middle East are broadly in line with those that their counterparts are exposed to elsewhere in the world. Cyber is high on the agenda and there are a number of recent cyber events in Saudi Arabia that have hit both government ministries and petrochemical firms, generating significant losses with the potential to impact the D&O market. Saudi Aramco has seen an increase in attempted cyber attacks since the final quarter of 2019, which the company has so far successfully countered. However, the increasing magnitude and frequency of these incidents is a trend that is only expected to worsen over time.
It is unclear at this early stage, but it is likely that we will also see a string of claims against directors and officers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The situation is still evolving, but businesses in the Middle East and elsewhere should brace themselves for a likely flood of shareholder lawsuits. We have seen some massive share price drops, and if investors feel they were not fully informed about supply chain vulnerabilities or distribution problems they may choose to litigate. While there is no guarantee that these claims will be upheld, there is a potentially significant exposure to directors and officers in terms of defence costs.
Potentially an even bigger pandemic-related threat to directors and officers in the Middle East and elsewhere is the ongoing recession. With the near-term economic and political outlook remaining uncertain, D&O claims resulting from company insolvency are likely to increase. Insolvency rates had already been increasing in certain regions prior to the pandemic due to slowing global trade and political threats.
Meanwhile, with COVID-19 vaccines finally being rolled out, dealmakers are hoping for an economic rebound and are targeting vulnerable or attractive assets. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of special purpose access companies – listed vehicles that are pre-funded by backers and set up ready to acquire a portfolio of businesses that look ripe for investment – and blank cheque companies. Anyone and everyone are looking to raise funds, which could lead to bad deals being negotiated and agreed in a rush to market. With rushed deals comes a very high chance of failure – leading to an uptick in D&O claims.
This would, without doubt, prolong the hard market cycle already being experienced, which could continue for another 24 months. Underwriters, brokers and insurance buyers are trackirig D&O developments in the Middle East closely. There could be tough times ahead.
The article below, by Rachel Cohen, Senior Treaty Broker at New Dawn Risk, was originally published in Insurance Day in March 2021.
The market is hoping that as Covid-induced losses start to come through, and reinsurance rates harden, it will drive further increases in underlying liability rates in the region.
Before the onset of the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown at the end of March 2020, the reinsurance sector had certainly seen some hardening of rates in the January 1, 2020 renewals, compared to the recent past.
In the international casualty treaty sector, this hardening was more prevalent on loss-affected programmes. Reinsureds were achieving more and more increases in underlying rates, in particular on directors’ and officers’ (D&O) and the professional lines business, where increases were anything between 25% and 200%, even where accounts were claims-free. However, it could still be argued that rates were still not quite where they should be, mainly because of the abundance of reinsurance capacity in the market.
Modest rate rises
Fast forward to the recent January 1, 2021 renewals and it can be said that for the most part, casualty treaty reinsurers remain fairly subdued about the overall reinsurance rate changes that were achieved. There was certainly a hardening of rates, particularly on distressed accounts, but not the emergence of the hard market that many had speculated would finally occur post-pandemic.
In the Middle East, many cedants during the July 2020 and January 2021 renewal meetings told their reinsurers they were achieving underlying rate increases on bankers’ blanket bond and D&O business for the first time in a long time. These rate increases range from +5% to +30%, which is considered significant for the Middle East.
This certainly brings a glimmer of hope that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market is turning, even if that turn is in its very early stages. Even on general liability policies where rate decreases have traditionally been recorded year on year, cedants were reporting that rates were finally holding flat, which can certainly be described as an achievement.
These rate increases bring welcome news to those reinsurers who participate on proportional placements and therefore directly benefit from these increases. In addition to this, the treaties that New Dawn Risk places in the UAE continue to remain even more profitable because of the absence of significant casualty losses, certainly compared to London market placements.
It was also apparent, particularly during the recent renewal season, that reinsurers were holding firm on the ceding commission and profit commission levels on their casualty proportional treaty renewals; certainly no decreases were being granted to the reinsureds, and reinsurance rate decreases on non-proportional contracts were also rarely seen.
One key trend in the Middle East market at the moment is the growth in single-project professional indemnity (PI) business risks because of the increase in construction projects in the region. ·while rate increases are being achieved on this line of business, many reinsurers remain cautious about the extensive longtail nature of this line of business, and some are reducing capacity, since 10 years of extended reporting period coverage tends to be standard in the territory.
Covid claims expected
In terms of Covid-19-related claims, liability claims are typically long tail with a lag in reporting, so general liability and workers’ compensation claims have not yet materialised. However, the prediction is there will be a significant rise in these loss notifications all over the world over the next few years.
Several outbreaks of coronavirus have already been linked to high-risk environments, such as gyms, hotels and cruise ships. There is a significant likelihood that all these environments will be sued for not taking proper care of their clients by either allowing them to enter against the government rules or failing to provide a Covid-19-safe environment, resulting in clients catching the virus.
The more of these liability losses that come to fruition, the greater the likelihood that underlying rate increases in the liability sector in the UAE will finally turn positive along with more hardening of reinsurance rates.
As a result of the fallout from the pandemic, closer attention is now being given to wording coverages and more questions are being asked in relation to any existing clauses in contracts that could be construed as ambiguous. Certainly, in the UAE, the majority of cedants are imposing the Covid-19 specific or communicable disease exclusions on all their new and renewal business. Most of our clients have informed us that they have not received pushback from their brokers on applying these clauses to the contracts, which is a great comfort for the reinsurers.
Finally, changes in the Middle East market continue, with insurers and reinsurers moving in and out of the Dubai International Financial Centre and some reinsurers making the decision to write the business out of their European offices instead going forward. In addition, new reinsurance capacity continues to be set up, with the capabilities to write Middle Eastern business.
As 2021 continues, time will tell if there will be an increase in casualty losses, particularly in relation to Covid-19, to continue hardening reinsurance rates or if new reinsurance capacities will continue to suppress this.