Daily Market Update

North Korea had help with Sony hack says FBI
While North Korea is still the prime suspect in the investigation into the cyber attack against Sony Pictures, it may not have been working alone. As the FBI continues to look into the incident an insider says that North Korea may not have the capability to have launched the attack without help. They are considering the possibility that outside hackers were hired to carry out the cyber breach according to the source, although the official line is still that it was an attack by North Korea and there is “no credible evidence that any other individual is responsible”. Various theories are emerging surrounding the attack with cybersecurity firm Norse suspecting that a Sony insider was involved.

Will 2015 be the year climate change reaches more boardroom agendas?
It’s been an important year for climate change with increased co-operation between many nations, most notably China and the US.… read more > “Daily Market Update”

Daily Market Update

TRIA expires today
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act expires today despite the efforts of many in Congress and the insurance industry to renew it. Writing in The Guardian columnist David Dayen argues against the renewal of TRIA stating that it was meant to be a temporary measure and that it only really benefits big businesses and some insurers. He offers some alternatives to TRIA including a scheme that is completely run by the public sector, cutting out insurers altogether. While Congress will be expected to re-start the process of renewing the act when they return from their break it is likely to cause even more debate than before. An act being renewed is one thing, but an act that has expired is somehow more divisive.

Tech start-ups offered help by insurance industry
The application deadline is approaching fast for the first class of technology entrepreneurs in the Global Insurance Accelerator, which offers seed funding, mentoring from insurance industry professionals and a conduit to potential insurance industry clients worldwide..… read more > “Daily Market Update”

FFIC Personal Insurance Sale Announcement

Dear Valued Partner,

We are pleased to announce that ACE will acquire the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (FFIC) high net worth personal lines insurance business in the United States.* This agreement follows the decision by Allianz earlier in 2014 to integrate the FFIC commercial business into Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), thus completing the future positioning for the Allianz P&C business in US.

Personal insurance continuity The acquisition includes the renewal rights for new and existing business, reinsurance of liabilities, and access to an extensive network of 1,100 agents and brokers. The transaction, which is subject to legal and regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015.

The sale of the FFIC personal insurance business will give it a larger scale and ensure its continuity for you and your policyholders. Like Fireman’s Fund, ACE is dedicated to strong agency partnerships. Its service, underwriting and claims capabilities will be further enhanced by an expanded network of offices across the country that will include San Diego; St.

read more > “FFIC Personal Insurance Sale Announcement”

A Message from ACE Private Risk Services

To valued Fireman’s Fund producers,

On Thursday, December 18, ACE reached a definitive agreement to acquire the high net worth (HNW) personal lines insurance business of Fireman’s Fund. We plan to combine the business with our HNW personal insurance business, ACE Private Risk Services, with the combined entity operating under the ACE brand.

We’re excited about this opportunity to work with you and to support your business at a time when ACE Private Risk Services continues to grow and be recognized as the best High Net Worth Insurance Company in the industry by Private Asset Management Magazine.

When this transaction is completed, ACE Private Risk Services will be one of the largest HNW providers in the U.S. We believe the scale, and the combination of talent, technology and resources, will be a win-win for both you and your clients.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect to experience right away:

  • ACE Private Risk Services is backed by the financial strength, underwriting expertise and global presence of ACE Group – the world’s fifth largest multiline P&C insurance company by market cap with assets of $98 billion and total capital of $36 billion.
read more > “A Message from ACE Private Risk Services”

Congress adjourns without passing TRIA

The 113th US Congress adjourned last night without taking action on a bill addressing two critical insurance industry issues, leaving the future of several lines of insurance in doubt.

The House-passed bill to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and establish a National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers died when Sen. Tom Coburn raised objections to the bill in the final days of the Senate, implementing a procedural move that would have required approximately 30 hours of back-and-forth red tape to bring the bill up for a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, facing a dwindling amount of time to complete a large number of measures, never put the bill on the calendar.

Despite Coburn’s objections, TRIA Senate sponsor Chuck Schumer placed the blame on Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who added controversial additions to the bill that changed portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act.

“Several weeks ago, I warned Speaker Boehner that if he followed Jeb Hensarling’s dangerous gambit, he risked killing terrorism insurance,” Schumer said in a statement.… read more > “Congress adjourns without passing TRIA”

ACE to Buy Fireman’s Fund Personal Lines; Famous Brand Fading Away

Black silhouetted businessman walking one of three paths through Allianz Group has agreed to sell the U.S. personal lines business of its Fireman’s Fund unit to ACE for $365     million by means of renewal rights arrangement.

The merger of the personal lines business with ACE and the planned integration of the Fireman’s Fund commercial business into Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) will mean the fading away a brand name that has been in existence for more than 150 years. The Novato, California company was launched in 1863.

Allianz said the sale of the personal lines business, which is focused on high-net worth customers, allows it to focus on building its commercial P/C business across North America under the Allianz brand, creating a business with combined revenues that are expected to total over $3 billion, based on gross premiums written in 2013.

A new leadership team for this combined FFIC/AGCS business was announced on December 12, with AGCS board member Art Moossmann becoming CEO and president of both AGCS North America (AGCS NA) and FFIC beginning January 1, 2015.… read more > “ACE to Buy Fireman’s Fund Personal Lines; Famous Brand Fading Away”

The five priciest pet-related claims during the holidays

The holiday season is an expensive time of year for most of your clients, but as these six insurance wacky claims compiled by Pets Best Insurance prove, those who have cats, dogs and other critters around the house may have more liability this time of year than you previously imagined.

1. No Gum for You

In 2012, Lily the fox terrier got a hold of sugar-free gum, which contains an ingredient called Xylitol. Xylitol is poisonous to dogs, and Pets Best says it sees thousands of Xylitol-related claims during the winter holidays each year.

Lily was poisoned by sugar-free gum used as a stocking stuffer, and cost Pets Best more than $690.

2. Flowers and Felines Can be Fatal 

Have you got a bouquet of Christmas lilies in your home? Make sure your cat doesn’t go exploring near them. As Woody, an American shorthair cat discovered, lilies can be poisonous to pets even in the smallest amount.… read more > “The five priciest pet-related claims during the holidays”

Terrorism insurance program is likely to die: Senate

Bipartisan opposition in the Senate may be enough to kill a potential renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, several reports indicate.

The renewal bill, which passed the House this week, contains a highly unpopular rider related to the Dodd-Frank Act, which have been decried by both Senate Democrats and the White House. Now, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has announced his opposition on different grounds.

Coburn vowed yesterday to prevent his colleagues from bringing TRIA renewal up for a vote, citing both a lack of concern over the program and a strong objection to the creation of NARAB, a national licensing program for insurance agents and brokers. Coburn wants an opt-out clause included in NARAB provisions, allowing states to choose not to participate in the national program.

That would defeat the purpose of the national licensing board, industry proponents say.

“There may not be any TRIA until January, the next Congress.… read more > “Terrorism insurance program is likely to die: Senate”

Study reveals nearly 60% reduction in car thefts since 1991

According to a new analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), FBI crime figures for 2014 reveal that 699,594 vehicles were reported stolen last year—a 58% reduction—from 1991, when vehicle theft reached an all-time high of nearly 1.7 million.

The NICB analysis compares annual statistics for thefts, population and vehicle registrations from 1960 through 2013. Over the years the single-vehicle family, which had been the norm in America, became the exception as families with multiple vehicles emerged. While in 1960 just over 74 million vehicles were registered across the nation, in 2012 registrations climbed to nearly 254 million. Registrations as a percentage of the population in 1960 stood around 41%, but in 2012 that figure nearly doubled to 80.8%

As the number of vehicles registered across America continued to climb, so did the number of the nation’s vehicle thefts. In 1960, there were approximately 328,000 vehicle thefts. In 1991—the peak year for auto thefts—this number reached 1,661,738.… read more > “Study reveals nearly 60% reduction in car thefts since 1991”