Bahrain insurance market being overtaken by neighbours

Insurance Business Magazine | July 11, 2019

Bahrain’s re/insurance market is traditionally considered one of the most advanced in the Middle East, but an industry report has revealed that it has already been overtaken by several regional peers. The report from insurance ratings agency AM Best, titled “Bahrain’s Insurance Market’s Shine Fades, but Segment Still Prospering,” outlines that Bahrain used to have the most comprehensive and forward-looking regulatory environment in the region, but it has since stagnated due to limited innovation. Other Middle Eastern markets were able to develop risk-based regimes, outstripping Bahrain’s slightly outdated regulations. However, the report also identified bright spots in the Bahraini market, where it thrives and remains the domicile of choice for a number of foreign operations. It noted that the takaful segment in Bahrain remains strong. Bahrain was the first Middle Eastern market to implement specific takaful regulations, and it now has the highest level of takaful penetration in the region, excluding Saudi Arabia.

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INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY

Mercury Insurance Launches MercuryGO for Illinois Drivers

Mercury Insurance | April 07, 2022

Today, Mercury Insurance announced that the company has made its usage-based insurance app, MercuryGO, available to drivers in Illinois to help improve driving skills and traffic safety. The app acts as a virtual driving coach, providing skill scores that give real-time feedback about driving behavior. Mercury auto insurance policyholders who enroll to use the app immediately receive a 5% participation discount and teen drivers will receive up to a 10% discount. Then, when MercuryGO customers renew their policies, they could receive a discount of up to 40% in addition to their participation discount, depending upon their driving score. Safe driving is a very important issue for Mercury and we seek to innovate driver education of all ages on the importance of being alert behind the wheel, while also equipping them with the skills to avoid potentially dangerous driving behaviors, Most auto collisions are preventable, so MercuryGO is a practical way to help keep drivers focused on the road, which as a result, reduces fatalities and serious injuries. Plus, they could also end up saving a lot of money with this program. So it's a win-win situation." Barbara Glenn-Rader, Marketing Manager for Illinois at Mercury Insurance. The MercuryGO app generates a driving skill score, which is calculated based on categories that are closely correlated with car crashes: excessive speeding, hard braking, distracted driving (i.e., phone motion and screen interaction), and road type. Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), Mercury's technology partner, is the world's largest smartphone telematics provider, winning multiple awards. CMT is the pioneer of: usage-based insurance with smartphones (in 2012); the measurement of phone distraction (2013); behavior-based insurance (2014); and real-time crash alerts with roadside assistance (2015). Mercury Insurance is utilizing the DriveWell platform to help drivers reduce distracted driving, speeding, and hard braking by keeping them engaged and providing timely feedback, MercuryGO will help make Illinois roads safer and has the potential to reduce the number of car collisions, injuries and fatalities." Ryan McMahon, CMT's Vice President of Insurance and Government Affairs CMT's research shows that 37% of all car trips in the U.S. in 2019 involved significant driver phone distraction; between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., that figure rises to 41% of all U.S. car trips. MercuryGO will help solve that problem by using technology that has reduced distracted driving by 29%, speeding by 45%, and hard braking by 17%. MercuryGO provides useful in-app tips to help users become safer drivers. Added benefits include: A sharing option for families, which allows all participating drivers to see who is the safest. The ability for parents to receive real-time feedback about their teen's driving behavior, including when, where and how fast they're traveling. Licensed teen drivers, 18 years and younger, who are registered for MercuryGO will instantly receive a 10% participation discount on auto insurance. The opportunity to earn up to an additional 40% discount at renewal. It's important to remember that driving is a privilege and one that shouldn't be taken lightly, Every driver can benefit from sharpening their skills and MercuryGO can help them become a safer driver, while also putting money back in their pockets." Glenn Rader. About Mercury Insurance Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices.

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LIFE INSURANCE

Finally, a variable universal life insurance product built for fee-based investment advisors

Nationwide | March 07, 2022

Nationwide has launched a new variable universal life (VUL) insurance product built specifically for fee-based investment advisors that allows for management of funds within the product without a life license. Nationwide Advisory Variable Universal Life is a permanent life insurance policy with a customizable guarantee that keeps the cost of the protection separate from the rest of the investment. This is the first fee-based VUL fully integrated within the registered investment advisor's operating system and it can also be sold by dually registered and hybrid advisors. With no surrender charges Nationwide Advisory VUL keeps your clients' investment money completely liquid, It also has an investment component and allows you to integrate the policy's subaccounts into your assets under management and collect your customary asset management fee." Holly Snyder, president of Nationwide's life insurance business. The product features a diverse fund lineup comprised of over 30 of the most recognizable fund managers in the industry such as Vanguard, DFA, PIMCO, American Funds and Fidelity. Because the cost of protection is separate from the rest of the investment, it can give investment dollars the opportunity to grow more quickly and efficiently. There are fewer fees associated with this product compared with a traditional VUL, There are also no surrender charges upon full surrender of the contract, and no sales loads, which allows more money to be contributed and go to work for your client faster." Snyder. Nationwide Advisory VUL also provides clients the ability to authorize their investment advisor to take their advisory fee from the policy as an advisory loan or as a withdrawal. About Nationwide Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities, mutual funds and ETFs; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; and pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.

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INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY

Cogitate further expands Digital Solutions for the P&C insurance sector with the acquisition of Axiom, Inc.

Cogitate | May 10, 2022

Cogitate, a leader in accelerating digital insurance for Wholesale Brokers, MGAs, and Carriers, has announced the acquisition of Axiom, a Claims & Billing software provider for Property and Casualty Insurance. With this acquisition, Cogitate will offer full stack, cloud native digital underwriting, distribution, billing and claims solutions within its DigitalEdge insurance platform. Cogitate DigitalEdge is an industry-leading insurance digitalization platform that incorporates digital underwriting and distribution capabilities across the value chain, including third-party data and carrier integrations, core system integration capabilities. DigitalEdge also includes powerful low code no code functionality and analytics for business users. Cogitate's digital insurance solution supports complete policy life-cycle functionality from rating and quoting to binding and post-sale services including renewal and endorsement processing and more for personal and commercial lines products. Axiom's DotClaim & DotBill solutions when integrated with DigitalEdge will complete the full stack digital underwriting, distribution, billing and claims software with true native cloud capability. Exciting times! We are delighted to add Axiom to our Cogitate family. This acquisition is a significant milestone in our mission to accelerate digitalization of insurance and bring greater efficiency, ease of doing business, speed-to-market, with an incredible user experience (UX) for all customers across the value chain, With the addition of Axiom's claims and billing solutions we are enhancing Cogitate DigitalEdge Insurance Platform, and we will be positioned well to bring modern core system capabilities for any personal and commercial product with an end-to-end digital platform to insurers of all sizes." Arvind Kaushal, CEO & Co-Founder of Cogitate. Harnessing the synergy, the experience and the potential of both sets of technologies at Cogitate and Axiom is very thrilling, We will quickly capitalize on this synergy to expand our systems functionality to enable us to provide more comprehensive solutions to our insurance partners and their users. We are very excited to begin this new journey and to be part of this team which holds innovation and customer expectations at its core." Samir Salem, CEO of Axiom. About Cogitate Technology Solutions® Cogitate Technology Solutions, Inc., is a full stack, cloud native digital underwriting and distribution software provider for Property & Casualty Insurance Industry. Cogitate develops modern and innovative technology products and solutions to transform insurance business models to create a competitive advantage in a time of rapid industry change. Cogitate's next-generation technology integrates seamlessly with existing core and legacy systems to accelerate digitalization and expand business for insurance carriers, wholesale brokers, MGAs, and agents of all sizes.

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WORKERS COMPENSATION

Orchid Insurance Announces Acquisition by Brown & Brown, Inc.

Orchid Insurance | March 01, 2022

Orchid Underwriters Agency, LLC (“Orchid”), a specialty underwriter of catastrophe-exposed property insurance, announced that its financial sponsors, led by TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. (“TowerBrook”), an international investment management firm, have entered into a definitive agreement to sell the company to Brown & Brown, Inc. (“Brown & Brown”), an insurance brokerage firm. The sale comprises all of Orchid’s Managing General Underwriter (MGU) and wholesaling business, along with its High-Net-Worth segment and CrossCover Insurance Services, LLC (“CrossCover”). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Established in 1998, Orchid is a leading administrator that represents insurance and reinsurance providers and partners with qualified independent retail brokers and select wholesale brokers. Orchid delivers proprietary and customized insurance solutions for homeowners in coastal zones and for high-net-worth customers. The Orchid management team partnered with industry veteran Scott Hanson to establish CrossCover, which provides Excess and Surplus (E&S) commercial property solutions for customers across the United States. Orchid and CrossCover will be joining Brown & Brown’s National Programs segment. Orchid and CrossCover will continue to operate as independent entities within National Programs, including maintaining principal operations in Vero Beach and Tampa, Florida and Cypress, Texas. “We are proud of what we have achieved at Orchid and the carrier support and confidence we earned in doing so. Brown & Brown recognized our continuing success and the value we have built. It is especially gratifying to know that our leadership group that made this possible will have the opportunity to continue growing Orchid and CrossCover as part of the Brown & Brown National Program segment.” -John Lumelleau, Chairman of Orchid Today’s announcement will help to further advance the company’s strategic growth initiatives that have been developed under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Steve Carlsen, President & Chief Operating Officer Kathy Cody, Chief Financial Officer Michael Garamoni, Chief Underwriting Officer Ross Bowie, Chief Information Officer Carey Smith and in partnership with Scott Hanson, President of CrossCover. Steve Carlsen added, “The announcement today is a function of the incredible work done by the Orchid team and its sponsors. We are grateful for the financial support and guidance from our partners at TowerBrook and for John Lumelleau’s counsel and mentorship. Orchid and CrossCover have ambitious plans, and we’re eager to join the team at Brown & Brown.” “On behalf of TowerBrook, I would like to thank the entire leadership team at Orchid for their partnership over the past several years. It has been a pleasure working with them and we are grateful for the significant contributions made by Steve Carlsen and the rest of the management team in developing a number of initiatives that have grown Orchid’s business under our ownership, We believe Brown & Brown provides the right platform to foster Orchid’s continued success.” -Jonathan Bilzin, Co-Chief Executive Officer of TowerBrook Capital Partners. The transaction is anticipated to close by April 2022 and is subject to standard closing conditions. About Orchid Insurance Orchid is the largest personal lines E&S managing general underwriter, providing specialty homeowners insurance for coastal risks in the Gulf, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic states. In partnership with CrossCover Insurance Services, Orchid also offers specialty commercial coverages to middle-market insureds. Orchid was founded in 1998 and is based in Vero Beach, FL. TowerBrook Capital Partners TowerBrook Capital Partners is a purpose-driven, transatlantic investment firm that works to grow and improve large and middle-market businesses by partnering with management teams and employees to build excellent companies that make a positive impact on society. Since inception in 2001, TowerBrook has raised a total of $18.7 billion and invested in more than 85 companies on both sides of the Atlantic. TowerBrook operates as a single, unified team of experienced investment professionals focused on unlocking value in complex situations. The firm’s highly synergistic family of funds make control and non-control investments across the capital structure, providing capital and resources to transform the capabilities and prospects of its portfolio companies.

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