The Intelligent Quarterly from the publishers of The Insurance Insider

Summer 2017

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Around the world

UK

Grenfell Tower fire
Following the devastating fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment block in west London, which left nearly 80 people either dead or missing, presumed dead, a picture has emerged of the (re)insurance coverage related to the building.

Sister publication The Insurance Insider revealed that Munich Re is the lead reinsurer for Norwegian carrier Protector Forsikring, which insures the 24-storey, 120-apartment building that was devastated by the fire on 13 June.

Protector is named as the property insurer for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), and is also believed to write RBKC's liability coverage. Its reinsurance treaties are placed by Willis Re, according to sister title Inside FAC.

Grenfell Tower is owned by RBKC and is run on its behalf by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. The latter has buildings insurance cover with the UK branch of Spanish insurer Ocaso to cover leaseholders, while RBKC's Protector policy covers tenanted housing.

Belgium

Brexit drain to Brussels
More UK carriers are likely to follow Lloyd's and QBE in establishing their EU subsidiaries in Brussels, according to a senior official at the Belgian Finance Ministry.

During a presentation hosted by accountancy firm Mazars, the Finance Ministry's deputy director of economic and financial policy, Tom Franck, said Lloyd's decision to base its Europe subsidiary in the Belgian capital "shows we are back on the map". "Our efforts [to reform the financial services sector] did not previously get promoted and this shows we are attracting the industry we are targeting. It's a sign of appreciation," he said.

Frank predicted that there would be "a few others in the coming months" but did not identify those firms.

During the event, Franck noted that legal reforms are in the pipeline in Belgium to ensure the pan-EU Solvency II framework is not embellished with additional requirements for firms based in the country.

US

NFIP bill proposes agency fee cap
A proposal from a bipartisan group of US coastal state senators that would extend the US National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six years also called for caps on Write Your Own agency fees and limits to premium increases of 10 percent annually.

The proposed measures would significantly reduce the maximum premium increase, currently at 25 percent, and cut fees and other compensation to Write Your Own companies that sponsoring lawmakers say currently amount to at least 31 percent of premiums.

The proposal would limit compensation to 22.46 percent, with agent commissions held at 15 percent. "Our plan will cap compensation to private insurance companies, putting affordable premiums over runaway industry profits," several of the sponsors said in an editorial published in The Wall Street Journal.

The measure also lays out timeframes for processing claims and would create a system to prevent lawyers, contractors and others from gaming the NFIP.

China

Anbang chairman steps aside
Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui has delegated his authority to other executives because of "personal reasons", following indications that the executive may have been officially detained, according to press reports that cited a statement from the giant Chinese insurer.

The statement came less than a day after Caijing, a major publication in China, said that Wu had been detained by officials. But the report, which indicated Wu was under investigation, was removed from the publication's website within hours.

According to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and the Financial Times in London, Anbang's statement was regarded as confirmation that Wu, a billionaire who married a granddaughter of deceased former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, "has been in trouble".

Both publications noted that Caijing had said company executives had met with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and were told that Wu had been taken away.

This article was published as part of issue Summer 2017

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