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New frontrunners emerge in 2020 Political Risk Rankings

Results from the 2020 Political Risk Rankings have indicated a shift in underwriter-broker preferences as previous winners on both sides have been pushed down the league table to make way for new leaders.

The largest shift in positions was more noticeable on the underwriting side.

However, competition was also strong on the broking side as scores between the top three brokers were very close.

Underwriter rankings – the risers

Axa XL’s Ian Nunn and Beazley’s Richard Hutton won the underwriter rankings this year, both finishing with the same overall score.

Hutton, who came third in 2019, secured 12 votes from political risk brokers this year while Nunn, who rose from seventh last year, garnered 10 votes in 2020.

They both ended up with an overall score of 26, but Nunn – who had fewer votes overall – had more brokers placing him as their top-choice underwriter (when providing their top three underwriter names in the survey) which carries more weight when calculating overall scores.


The makeup of the leaders’ respective votes was slightly different. Hutton’s supporters were mostly less experienced brokers with fewer than five years in the market, while 70 percent of Nunn’s votes came from brokers with over five years’ experience.

Elsewhere, a newcomer to the political risk insurance market took third in this year’s league table, having never featured in the Rankings.

Axa XL senior underwriter Simon Morden, who started underwriting in autumn 2018 after stints at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, finished only two points behind Nunn and Hutton.

He even displaced last year’s winner, Jerome Swinscoe of Tokio Marine HCC, and runner-up James Wilson of The Hartford.

Interestingly, all individuals in the top five this year ranked lower in past editions of the Rankings survey. Mathew Rothwell of Ark took fourth in 2020, up from 27th in 2019, and James Thomas of Antares rose to fifth this year from 14th last year.

Underwriter rankings – the fallers

Looking at past leaders gives another sign of shiftting broker preferences. Two-time winner Swinscoe fell to eighth this year, marking the first time since 2017 that he has finished outside the top two.

James Wilson, who came second last year, descended four places to sixth.


Other big fallers include Chaucer’s Neil Edwards, who fell to 15th in 2020 from fifth in 2019, and ArgoGlobal’s Jeremy Shallow, who dropped from sixth last year to 33rd this year.

Of those in the top 10 in 2019, eight received a lower rank in 2020, while five dropped out of the top 10 entirely.

Broker rankings – the risers

On the brokers’ side, Charlie Radcliffe of BPL Global finished as this year’s winner with an overall score of 41, just one point ahead of three-time winner Chris Wetherell of Lockton. The race for first place was similarly close between the two brokers in 2019, when Wetherell beat Radcliffe by just three points.

Radcliffe, a director at BPL Global, has been a consistent high ranker in past editions of the survey, taking either second or third place since 2017.

When giving their nomination for Radcliffe, one underwriter described him as “being without equal in his market, serving a variety of clients with laser focus, diligence and integrity. Hugely impressive operator”.


It was also a tight race between Wetherell and fellow Lockton broker Matthew Golding, who took third place this year, again with just one point between the two.

Other notable risers in the 2020 rankings include James Reynolds of BPL Global, who moved up to fourth from 11th in 2019, and Miller Insurance Services’ Thomas Holmes, who took fifth place, up from ninth in 2019.

Broker rankings – the fallers

As for the fallers, there was a less dramatic shift in positions than on the underwriting side, although Texel Finance’s Andrew Barr fell from third to sixth and Lockton’s David Coupland dropped from fifth in 2019 to 17th.

In total, 106 brokers made it onto the table this year, up from 96 in 2019.


For details on how to download the full results, including rising star and company rankings, click here.

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