Lloyd’s Plans for Post-Brexit Subsidiary

Just one day after the U.K. set in motion its process for withdrawal from the European Union by triggering Article 50, Lloyd’s announced it was establishing a subsidiary in Brussels, intending to be able to write EU business for the Jan. 1, 2019, renewal season.

The new company will write risks from all 27 European Union countries and three European Economic Area states once Brexit is completed. Because Britain remains a full member of the EU for at least two more years, there will be no immediate impact on existing policies, renewals or new policies, including multi-year policies written during this period of time, the insurer said. The Brussels subsidiary will have its own board of directors and, unlike some banks that have said they will move hundreds of employees to the EU, it will only employ dozens of staff in areas such as information technology and compliance.

Hank Watkins, president of Lloyd’s North America spoke to Risk Management about the company’s plans and the why it chose Belgium as its new location.

RM: How did the process of finding a new EU base begin?

Watkins: Within a week or two of [the Brexit vote] last June, Lloyd’s was on its way, looking across Europe for a new domicile, if you will, for our European business. We are not moving out of London—what we have done is set up an insurance company in Brussels, purely to allow us to passport around the European Union. Because we are not necessarily confident that the U.K. will be able to negotiate passporting rights with the other countries, we are assuming they are not. If they are ultimately successful, then we will just close up and go back home, but that probably will not be the case.

RM: How will the subsidiary work?

Watkins: If you are a policyholder with Lloyd’s, where you previously would have received a policy with all of the syndicates subscribed to it, and that would have been stamped by each of those syndicates, you will also receive an identical policy for the European exposures. It will have the Lloyd’s insurance company name on it and the syndicate stamp of that insurance company and the Lloyd’s syndicates. It is just a little more paperwork for us. The policy is the same—it does not change coverage and it does not change pricing—It is more of an administrative effort to align with what the regulator expects. And our ratings are not affected, we are still S&P-, AM Best- and Fitch-rated A or better and the central fund is still very strong.

RM: Why Belgium?

Watkins: We found a regulator there who is allowing us basically to cede 100% of the premium and the risk back to the syndicate in London. Every other country has some variation of wanting to maintain part of the risk in their country but that does not work for us. So Belgium is a very strong regulator centered in the heart of Europe and a great talent pool as we build out the platform—which won’t be that large, by the way, because we are not necessarily moving people there.

RM: How will insureds be impacted?

Watkins: Companies with no risks in the European Union will see no impact, and it will be seamless for international companies with risks in the EU. Also, it is probably not as well known, but because we are not just large, commercial risks, we do insure a lot of homeowners on the coastlines and a number of private yachts and aircraft, so this is a way to seamlessly include coverage for them in Europe as well.

October Commercial Composite Rate Minus 2%

For the first time this year, the composite rate—which includes all lines of commercial insurance—has decreased compared to the previous month. Octoberbarometer rates were down 2% compared to down 1% in June, July, August and September, according to MarketScout.

“Insureds and brokers should carefully examine the rates for coverage and/or industry classifications that are germane to their placements,” Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout, said in a statement.

By coverage classification, two large placement segments, commercial property and general liability, were down 2% in October compared to flat in September. Business owners’ policies were down 1% compared to flat in September, while commercial auto rates moderated from up 3% to up 2%. Among other lines, fiduciary, D&O, business interruption and surety were flat.
coverage-class

By account size, medium accounts ($25,001 to $250,000 premium) adjusted from down 1% in September to down 2% in October.
account-size

The industry classification for contractors and service companies was down 2% in October compared to down 1% in September. Energy adjusted to down 1% in October compared to flat in September, MarketScout reported.
industry-class

Warning: Deer Crossing Ahead

With Oct. 1 just days away, it’s that time of the year, when deer, elk and moose become more active in the United States, increasing the risk of collisions. In fact, the risk of hitting one of these large animals doubles during the months of October, November anddeer-crossing December, according to State Farm.

This is no small matter, as these accidents can cause significant injury and damage. In fact, the average cost per claim nationally for 2015-2016 was $3,995.08, down slightly from $4,135 in 2014-2015. In its annual ranking, State Farm identifies the state where a driver is most likely to have a claim from a deer, elk or moose collision as West Virginia, where the odds are 1 in 41. The state where such a collision is least likely (excluding Hawaii) is Arizona, where odds of getting into such an accident are 1 in 1,175.

“We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,” Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm said in a statement. “However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”

In its 2015-2016 study, State Farm found that the top five states where a driver is most likely to have a claim from a collision with a deer, elk or moose are:
deer-collision-ranking

Safety tips for drivers:

  • Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn
  • If you see one deer, be prepared for more to cross the road
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs
  • Always buckle up, every trip, every time
  • Use your high-beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash
  • Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals
  • Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which could cause you to miss seeing an animal
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven effective
  • If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and stay focused on the road ahead.

Making the Most out of a Crisis

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA—Suppose your company experiences a major hurricane, tornado or fire: Property is destroyed and your business is stalled, meaning customers are left waiting. But there are buildings to be rebuilt and equipment to be replaced, and the claims process hasn’t even started. This is when the risk manager’s skills at placing the company’s insurance coverage and negotiating for the best payout can not only demonstrate their true value, but can put the company back on course, according to experts here at RIMS Canada’s annual conference.

“When there’s a serious property loss, this is the time for the risk manager to shine, because up until then it’s about premium, premium, premium,” Tom Parsons, manager of risk management at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International in Toronto said during a RIMS Canada Conference session. “Up until a serious loss occurs, I don’t think you feel the impact that you can give back to the company. Because what we do is buy insurance, so it has to work. It is what you helped craft and build into your policy through the years. You have created a policy that is robust, and that is going to cover everything—you hope.”

Among the examples cited was a soft drink bottling plant flooded with eight feet of water following a hurricane. While the company’s high-speed bottling equipment was damaged and would need to be replaced, explained Jeffrey Phillips, managing director in PwC’s U.S. forensic advisory practice, the issue was that floodwaters were highly contaminated due to a number of chicken and hog farms in the area. As a result, the company determined that the building could not be used for any type of food processing and would need to be demolished. The insurer, however, argued that the walls could be sealed, containing any contaminants. The company had found a competitor to do some of the bottling, but it wasn’t enough to fill their orders, Phillips said.

Because delivery of the new bottling equipment was slated to take months, there was also a large business interruption period being covered, he said. This is when innovation came into play. The bottling company was able to show the insurer that buying another plant rather than rebuilding would put them back in business sooner, cutting back on their losses. The insurer agreed and sent them a check. As a result, the company purchased a larger facility in a better location.

“They were up and running in six months—the business interruption had stopped,” he said. The better location also meant reduced shipping costs and the company gained market share. Because the company was able to make the case to its insurer, both came out ahead in the long run.

Phillips recommended that companies negotiating after a crisis “communicate, communicate, communicate” with their insurers.

They should also get their insurers to sign off on major contracts such as scope of work, rates and overhead and discuss changes to operations or facilities with the adjustment team and agree on scope of property damage repair or replacement whenever possible.

Insurers will typically push to return the facility to pre-loss condition, “unless you can prove the changes will save them money,” he added. “Insurers will not be creative for you, they don’t know your business or your goals.”