Swinscoe and Wetherell retain lead positions in the 2019 Political Risk Rankings

Tokio Marine HCC’s Jerome Swinscoe has claimed the top underwriting position in the 2019 Political Risk Rankings for the second consecutive year.

Moreover, Lockton’s Chris Wetherell has defended his title as the best political risk broker for the third year in a row.

Underwriter ranking

Swinscoe, the CUO for the credit group at Tokio Marine HCC, held the number one underwriting position for the second year running with an overall score of 33.

However, competition was close this year, as Swinscoe only came out two points ahead of runner-up James Wilson of Chubb. This compares to a 13-point lead in the 2018 ranking.

Swinscoe has been a London market underwriter for almost 14 years, with previous roles at Wellington Syndicate 2020 and Catlin Underwriting Agencies.

The third annual survey invites underwriters and brokers to nominate who they believe to be the top professionals in the London market – underwriters vote for brokers, while brokers nominate underwriters.

Brokers were asked to rate their preferred underwriters on six key attributes. Swinscoe was rated highest for his knowledge of the market and creativity.

This was somewhat surprising as creativity has been an attribute that has consistently been a low-scoring attribute for underwriters, on average, in all lines of business the Rankings team has studied.

In the 2017 ranking, Swinscoe came in second as Chaucer’s Nick Kilhams took the top spot. This year, Kilhams ranked in joint-seventh position.

Indeed, there was a shake-up at the top of the underwriting ranking this year. Second-ranked James Wilson of Chubb and third-placed Richard Hutton of Beazley have not featured in the top three before.

Wilson was placed in seventh position last year while Hutton took rank 14. Furthermore, Hutton didn’t make it to the overall league table in 2017.

Meanwhile, Liberty Specialty Market’s Peter Sprent was runner-up in 2018, but this year fell to number 27.

In addition, Patricia Mills, formerly at Chaucer, did not feature in this year’s ranking after claiming the third spot in 2018. Mills now works in Bermuda, at Validus Re, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Broker ranking

Competition was similarly close on the broking side. Lockton’s Chris Wetherell did secure first place in the broker rankings but it was a close race between first and second.

In fact, the same number of underwriters voted for Wetherell and BPL Global’s Charlie Radcliffe, who ranked at number two, for the second consecutive year.

However, Wetherell received more votes from underwriters placing him as their top broker, which led to the Lockton broker beating Radcliffe by three points overall.

Under the Borda count method, a nominee gets three points for being named a respondent’s top choice, two points for second place and one point for third.

Wetherell is a market veteran in the political risk and credit insurance market – he has been working in the industry and at Lockton for over 17 years. Unsurprisingly, he captured most of his votes – 44 percent – from underwriters who have been in the political risk market for between 10 and 20 years.

One underwriter described Wetherell as “an absolute Titan of the broking market”, and added that “he lives and breathes the market. He understands what the client wants and needs”.

Meanwhile, third place in the broker ranking was shared this year, by Texel Finance’s Andrew Barr and Lockton’s Matthew Golding.

Barr and Golding finished with an overall score of 25 – 16 points behind Radcliffe.

  • This ranking was based on 497 validated nominations collated through the Political Risk Rankings survey 2019, which ran from 20 March to 3 May
  • This year’s ranking consisted of 182 political risk insurance professionals – an 8 percent year on year increase
  • The league table was made up of 97 underwriters and 85 brokers
  • Headline results for the Political Violence Rankings survey have also been revealed 

Rising stars

In its third year, the survey welcomed nominations for underwriters and brokers that are thought to be the rising stars of the market.

Some 59 young underwriters and brokers made it into the rising stars ranking.

On the underwriting side, Argo Global’s Francesca Thompson emerged as the top rising star, coming out ahead by just one point.

Thompson was one of 24 underwriters that made it to this ranking. One broker described her as “diligent, quick to respond and approachable”.

Considerably more brokers were nominated in the rising star category than underwriters. In total, 35 brokers made it to this league table.

There were two winners. Lockton’s Ben Beebee and Willis Towers Watson’s Jessica Murphy shared the top spot, again winning by just one nomination.

Of the three winners, Thompson was the only individual to feature in the overall ranking of political risk underwriters and brokers.

The importance of independence

The rankings work is undertaken by experienced research staff who share the ethos and values of The Insurance Insider, under the ultimate oversight of editorial director Mark Geoghegan.

However, just as The Insurance Insider jealously guards its editorial independence, so does the standalone research team, operating autonomously from editor-in-chief Adam McNestrie and his team of journalists.

As such, the rankings and editorial businesses respect the necessary distance between the very different work they do.