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28 Feb 2019

Incumbent insurance companies must buy their way into insurtech, or risk getting blown away by a “technological typhoon”, an expert warns.

Munich Re Digital Partners CEO Andy Rear told the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) Insurtech Conference in Sydney today that insurtech “hype” is set to become reality.

He predicts insurance will have its own “Uber moment”, and some incumbents will disappear – but adds the process will take much longer than many assume.

Mr Rear used the example of Toys R Us to indicate potential timescales. The toy market giant was first challenged by online retailers in the late 1990s, but did not...

27 Feb 2019

Australian premium increases have driven a 16% jump in Pacific commercial pricing in the fourth quarter, supporting a pick-up in global gains, a Marsh market index shows.

Property insurance pricing in the Pacific region rose 14.5%, the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year double-digit increases.

Pricing for catastrophe and non-catastrophe risks rose in Australia and New Zealand, with many increases topping 10% and directors’ and officers' (D&O) cover again surging.

“Financial and professional liability pricing increased more than 20%, continuing a string of double-digit increases observed over the last six quarters,” Marsh says.

“Pricing and deductib...

26 Feb 2019

QBE is back in the black, reporting a $US390 million ($545 million) after-tax profit for last year following a $US1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) loss in 2017.

All key divisions improved as the insurer quit underperforming markets and streamlined its structure under CEO Pat Regan’s “stronger and simpler” turnaround program.

Lower catastrophe losses and rate momentum also bolstered the business.

“Overall, I am encouraged by the progress we have achieved… and the momentum we have going into [this year],” Mr Regan said today.

“The actions we have taken to simplify the group, implement a rigorous performance management framework and upgrade core capabilities in pri...

25 Feb 2019

Industry losses from the Townsville floods are climbing as insurers continue to assess the damage.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says the damage bill was at least $606 million by Friday, based on 15,571 claims lodged. About 10% of claims are from businesses.

Insurers have dispatched hundreds of disaster recovery experts, assessors and claims staff to the north Queensland town as the clean-up continues.

“The deployment of resources and expertise by insurers has been the fastest response to a catastrophe on record, despite Townsville being inaccessible in the aftermath of the floods,” ICA CEO Rob Whelan said. “There is no doubt in my mind that To...

22 Feb 2019

Higher premiums and acquisitions have driven operational revenue growth at PSC Insurance Group as the company expands in Australia and the UK.

Revenue rose 22% to $54.7 million in the first-half while net profit increased to $9.5 million from $9.1 million on an underlying basis.

The group reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance and says the pipeline of acquisition opportunities continues to be strong.

Distribution business revenues were up 26% to $31.7 million in the half, while profit increased to $7 million from $5 million, with the “impact of higher premiums evident”.

The business includes broker networks, life broking and workers' compensation consu...

21 Feb 2019

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has written to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) asking for a prompt response outlining “when and how” members will implement Hayne royal commission recommendations.

“It is imperative that ICA members commit to putting customers at the heart of their business, so that the community’s trust in our financial institutions can be restored,” Mr Frydenberg says in a letter to CEO Rob Whelan dated February 12.

ICA says it has already responded to the Treasurer’s letter.

“The ICA will work in both the short and long term with its members to address the royal commission’s recommendations in order to improve outcomes for consumers a...

20 Feb 2019

NSW emergency personnel are still working to control bushfires in the state’s north, which have destroyed at least 74,750 hectares and 32 homes.

And a severe fire danger forecast has been issued today for the Upper Hunter Region due to strong winds and dry and hot conditions, the NSW Rural Fire Service says.

A total fire ban has been declared for the northwestern and northern slopes tomorrow as the outlook continues for more strong winds and hot, dry weather.

The Wallangarra blaze near the Queensland border registered “an increase of fire activity” this afternoon and residents in the area have been told to be ready to take action if their properties are a...

20 Feb 2019

NSW emergency personnel are still working to control bushfires in the state’s north, which have destroyed at least 74,750 hectares and 32 homes.

And a severe fire danger forecast has been issued today for the Upper Hunter Region due to strong winds and dry and hot conditions, the NSW Rural Fire Service says.

A total fire ban has been declared for the northwestern and northern slopes tomorrow as the outlook continues for more strong winds and hot, dry weather.

The Wallangarra blaze near the Queensland border registered “an increase of fire activity” this afternoon and residents in the area have been told to be ready to take action if their properties are a...

18 Feb 2019

Losses from the Townsville floods have risen quickly to at least $606 million as claims continue to pour in.

Insurers have so far received 15,571 claims, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said today as it seeks to assure affected communities the industry will respond “swiftly, fairly and compassionately” to the catastrophe.

About 10% of the claims lodged are from businesses, which explains the sharp rise in insured losses from the $186 million previously reported.

About 457 residential properties deemed unlivable are on the insurers’ high priority list. The industry has already provided $17.5 million in support, emergency accommodation and repairs.

...

17 Feb 2019

Devastating flooding in Queensland’s northwest is feared to have killed about 500,000 cattle and left farmers with estimated costs of $5 billion – but most is not covered by insurance.

The Cattle Council of Australia says the full extent of losses is difficult to calculate, but feedback from affected properties suggests more than 500,000 animals have died.

“Overall costs associated with on-property losses, including livestock and infrastructure, are estimated at $5 billion,” a spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Some 800 properties have been affected over 13.25 million hectares – an area twice the size of Tasmania. Due to prohibitive insurance costs, it...

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