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The Week in 90 Seconds: Howden buys Aston Lark; Property turmoil; Premium flight to company markets

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The articles below are the standout headlines in the insurance industry this week.

Howden deal spree continues with Aston Lark acquisition

This week, expansive broker Howden inked its largest acquisition deal to date, agreeing to buy Aston Lark for a price tag of around £1.1bn ($1.4bn).

The announcement of the deal followed reports from this publication that the two parties were closing in on an agreement. It is the latest in a string of deals for Howden, which has also acquired A-Plan for $700mn and US MGA Align for $800mn.

In an interview with this publication, David Howden dismissed the importance of valuation multiples and emphasised the importance of “teaming up with CEOs who want to do great business with us”.

Property market upheaval continues

Developments continued to come thick and fast in the property market, as Insurance Insider revealed Hamilton is to scale back on its named wind exposure on its international property binders book.

The move followed news last week that Canopius was pulling all wind exposure from its property binders book.

Insurance Insider also revealed that the market is facing a risk loss in the region of $100mn from Hurricane Ida, after Tulane University filed a loss notification for damages to its owned properties.

Premium flight to company markets

In an analysis piece, Insurance Insider examined the phenomena of business moving from Lloyd’s to the company market.

Lloyd’s has dropped billions of pounds of premium in the pursuit of profitability, whereas recent data from the International Underwriting Association shows that premium income was up 20% in 2020.

California oil spill adds to IG reinsurance renewal challenges

A major oil spill in California threatens to inflict a massive loss on the International Group of P&I Clubs reinsurance contract, adding to pressures over ongoing negotiations for the deal’s renewal.

The cause of the spill in Huntington Beach is yet to be determined, but there is evidence to suggest it was caused by a ship’s anchor, which could lead to the clean-up costs being borne by the P&I market.

The fear of another huge claim has reinforced convictions among reinsurers that major remediation is required to make the IG reinsurance tower a sustainable underwriting proposition.

Execs on the move

ERS-owned IQUW has hired Andrew Lewis from Hiscox to lead its growing cyber team.

Marsh has appointed Thomas Burrows from Convex for an upstream energy role.

Dominic Tillyard, head of marine, aerospace and bespoke UK at Fidelis, has resigned.

Beazley’s senior open-market property underwriter John Brown has left to join IQUW.

And finally…

Marco has gained approval to launch a reinsurance-to-close syndicate at Lloyd’s.

ESG is “the biggest growth opportunity we’ve seen for a generation”: Axa XL’s McGovern.

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