Life, accident & health

Chris Branch
Head of life, accident & health

A cohesive team, combined with the strength of the Beazley name, contributed to a 15% growth in premiums.

$78.1m Gross premiums written

Life, accident & health, led by Chris Branch, is Beazley’s newest division. It contributed to the group’s strong underwriting performance in 2010, recording a combined ratio of 97% (2009: 108%) on gross premiums that rose 15% to $78.1m. The majority of our team has worked together for more than a decade, building a recognised presence as a leader in the London market, first through Momentum Underwriting Management Limited (MUM) and, since Beazley acquisition of MUM in 2008, under the Beazley banner. Two renewals have occurred since the team joined Beazley and our business has grown by 42% since that time. We lead 65% of the business we underwrite.

Personal accident business is our biggest class, underwritten on both an insurance and reinsurance basis. This business represented 74% of our total book or, in premium terms, $57.6m, in 2010. The risks we underwrite are diverse, including the crews of ships and aircraft, television crews on assignment to high risk locations, credit card holders and key man cover for corporate executives. The depth of our experience as a direct insurer in this class is often invaluable to us as a reinsurer, giving us a better understanding of the risks we are shown.

The Beazley Life syndicate, 3622, was established in November 2008 and was at that time the first such syndicate to be created in 20 years. Since then a further five life syndicates have been established, strengthening Lloyd’s reputation as a market for specialist Life assurance. A large proportion of our book is annually renewable group life business covering death by natural causes.

Our sports portfolio is smaller but very high profile. The Lloyd’s sports consortium, which we lead with a 40% share, is the largest insurer of sports liability risks for professional athletes outside the US. Rates in this sector have been under pressure but we continue to see profitable business. We insured more than 150 of the players who participated in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In the US, we have pursued a two-pronged approach to business development. Peter Slot has been underwriting accident and health risks on a reinsurance basis from our Chicago office since January 2009. Simultaneously we have been building a team capable of securing us a presence as a specialist US insurer of ‘gap protection’ accident and health cover at a time of great upheaval in the US healthcare insurance market. Gap protection insurance covers exposures not normally covered under heathcare insurance policies. In January last year we appointed Paul Gulstrand to head this team and Paul has been building the team and designing a product suite that will be attractive to brokers, employers and employees. The first of these products will be launched in 2011. We recently contracted with Health Payment Systems, one of the largest third party administrators in the US, to ensure that our online enrolment and claims service is streamlined and easy to use.

For club or country?

Rugby has never been a sport for the fainthearted and the risk of injury when a club player plays for his country is very real.  Fortunately an innovative form of personal accident insurance led by Beazley provides comfort for clubs that their finances will be protected from the effects of such injuries.

The cover protects clubs in more than a dozen countries against the cost of paying salaries to players who are temporarily sidelined due to injuries they sustained while playing for their country. For players up to 29 years of age, the full salary will be covered, up to a limit of £175,000.

The insurance also protects the players themselves or their families in the event of permanent total disability or accidental death while playing, practising or training for the national team.

Prior to the expansion of the cover beyond English clubs in 2010, the months of February and March, when teams from England, Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and Italy battle it out in the Six Nations tournament , could be an anxious times for rugby clubs across Europe. In a single match against Wales in 2010, three Scottish players suffered injuries that resulted in prolonged absences from the game and, in one case, early retirement.

At present around 300 professional rugby players are covered under the programme, alleviating the potential for tensions between club and country over the match readiness of increasingly valuable players.