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newsmakers at

Reinsurance ‘stable’: Australian cedants hoping for lower reinsurance costs from July 1 could be disappointed, with Munich Re expecting a “stable price” in the region’s key renewals period. The country has once again made a significant impact on Munich Re’s claims expenditure, with January’s Queensland floods causing a loss “in the mid-double-digit million euro range”, according to the company’s

The best fit: Roger Abel and Steadfast Chief Executive Robert Kelly announce the purchase of 30% of Rothbury

Steadfast’s bold move: New Zealand consumers will have access to more capacity following Rothbury Insurance Brokers’ decision to become the country’s founding member of Australian-based broker group Steadfast. The Canterbury earthquakes have made “well-priced insurance cover” harder to get, and Rothbury decided it needed an international partner, Managing Director Roger Abel says. Directors looked at possibilities in Singapore, London and Australia before deciding Steadfast was the best fit. Steadfast will acquire a 30% cornerstone shareholding in Rothbury, comprising 17% cash and 13% Steadfast shares. The deal is conditional on Steadfast proceeding with its plans to list later this year. Insurers have grown more selective about New Zealand risk following the Canterbury event, and brokers face problems advocating for clients when capacity and pricing are challenged, Mr Abel says. The tie-up will give Rothbury more choice in a market with tight capacity, according to Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand Chief Executive Gary Young.

Ebix Australia says local market reaction to the impending sale of its USbased parent to an affiliate of investment bank Goldman Sachs has been positive. The $US820 million deal is being explained to Australian customers in material being sent out by Ebix Australia. Managing Director Leon d’Apice (pictured) says it supports the comment he made last week – “that there will be no impact on the local market and people probably won’t notice any change at all”. Ebix Australia is the local industry’s largest


– Willis Research Network Chairman Rowan Douglas explains what’s keeping underwriters awake at night

No doom, no gloom:

technology company, operating the dominant Sunrise Exchange transaction platform, broker system WinBEAT and the iClose e-commerce transaction platform. Pundits have suggested the acquisition will boost the long-term capacity of Ebix to expand and could lead to new acquisition opportunities. Positive reception greets Ebix sale deal, May 6

Brokers hit back at survey findings, April 29

‘No change’ for Ebix:

July reinsurance prices to remain flat, May 13

“A changing climate, an imperfect understanding of seismic hazards, new vulnerabilities and shifting patterns of exposure.”

Brokers insist their future is bright, despite recent surveys indicating a shift towards the direct purchase of insurance through online channels. While some business is being lost to the direct market, brokers contacted by say it is insignificant and their genuine value to key clients is not in doubt. However, they accept the need to adapt to changing times, work harder than ever for customers and promote themselves to the general public more effectively. “There is a generational change in business-owners and they buy insurance differently,” National Insurance Brokers Association Chief Executive Dallas Booth says. “But this is an opportunity rather than a threat. I am more convinced than ever that there is a strong future role for brokers.” It comes after the Vero SME Insurance Index released [in March] reported a drop in small and medium enterprises’ use of brokers, from 65% in 2011 to 61% last year. Business-owners aged below 40 are most likely to buy direct, it found. A Roy Morgan survey seemed to confirm the shift, showing the direct market was having its greatest impact in industries such as construction and professional services.

Steadfast-Rothbury deal raises NZ capacity, April 29

first-quarter results. The Asia-Pacific region provides “profitable growth opportunities”, Chief Financial Officer Jorg Schneider says. There may be “slight price erosion” for natural catastrophe covers in the US from July 1 because of growing capacity, while prices “moved sideways” at the April 1 renewals.


June/July 2013

Nobody wins: New Zealand’s insurance brokers organisation has cancelled its November industry awards celebration in the face of a similar event to be staged two weeks before by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). Insurance Brokers of New Zealand Chief Executive Gary Young announced the cancellation of its event, saying that considering the small size of the New Zealand insurance market, “it is not in the best interests of the insurance industry” to have two competing events. ANZIIF last year decided to move into the New Zealand market with its own awards event. After a standoff that lasted several months, IBANZ negotiated to include ANZIIF as a partner in its awards, “as we believed it would be inappropriate to have a second awards event introduced”, he said. However, the brokers’ group found its ability to be involved in the organisation of the joint event last year was compromised. Negotiations between the two groups to modify this year’s event to make it “more of a true joint venture” failed to reach agreement on a number of aspects. IBANZ bows out of NZ awards, May 27

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

JUN/JUL 2013 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The wide world of insurance is well illustrated in the latest edition of Insurance News (the magazine), which will be posted out to subscrib...

JUN/JUL 2013 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The wide world of insurance is well illustrated in the latest edition of Insurance News (the magazine), which will be posted out to subscrib...