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Watkins and Horner lead the 2020 Political Violence Rankings

Results from the 2020 edition of the Political Violence Rankings have revealed fluctuating preferences for underwriters and brokers, as past leaders have been displaced while other familiar names have risen up the league tables.

Podium membership appears to shift more often for the Political Violence market compared to other lines of business covered by the Rankings series. No winner on the underwriting side has stayed top for more than a year since the Rankings started in 2017.

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Underwriters

Last year’s winner Michael Jordan, formerly of Hiscox, was pushed down to sixth in 2020, while Guillaume Watkins of MS Amlin finished first, after having never previously won the Rankings.

Watkins – a senior underwriter at MS Amlin – rose to the top spot this year after ranking fifth in 2019. He garnered some 15 votes from brokers, finishing with an overall score of 35. Most of his supporters – 60% – nominated him as their first-choice underwriter when providing their three votes.

Jordan was an underwriter at Hiscox when the survey ran, but has since moved to Convex Insurance as the start-up, led by Stephen Catlin and Paul Brand, builds out its crisis management team. The timing of his move may have had a downward impact on Jordan’s score in the Rankings this year.

His ex-colleague from Hiscox, Richard Halstead, also fell to sixth after finishing second in 2019.

Charlotte Piller, also from Hiscox, was the most notable riser this year. She came second after finishing 17th in 2019 – the first year in which she received nominations for the Rankings.

Terrorism underwriter Piller is a relative newcomer to the Political Violence insurance market. She started her career at Hiscox in 2012 as an underwriting assistant and becoming an underwriter in 2015.

Piller received the same number of nominations in the survey as top-ranked Watkins. However, she finished six points behind him as she received fewer nominations from brokers placing her as their top-choice underwriter (when providing their top three underwriter names in the survey), which carries more weight when calculating overall scores.

Elsewhere, Wesley Selwyn of Antares took third place in the survey this year, up from sixth in 2019, coming just two points behind Piller.

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Brokers

Results were slightly more stable on the brokers’ pecking order, with Lyall Horner of Willis Towers Watson finishing first for the second consecutive year.

The competition was hardly close in 2020 as second-placed Tom Bradbrook of RKH Specialty was 35 points behind Horner. In contrast, last year there were just two points between Horner and second place.

Horner – divisional director for war, terrorism and political violence – took an impressive 26 nominations from underwriters this year, finishing with an overall score of 64.

When voting for Horner, one underwriter described him as “highly technical, excellent at communicating clients’ needs and solutions focused”.

Although Horner clearly outperformed his peers, it was a tight race between runner-up Bradbrook and third-placed Freddie Tyler of Tysers, with just one point between the two.

Second-placed Bradbrook shot up the table this year after ranking 18th in 2019 and 14th in 2018, while Tyler fell to third place from second in 2019. He won the broker rankings in 2018.

Some of the fallers included Marsh JLT Specialty’s James Lloyd, who fell to seventh from third in 2019, and Price Forbes’ Edward Black, who slipped to ninth from sixth in 2019.

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To download the report containing headline results of the survey, or for details on how to get access to the full results click here.

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