DAU News & Blog

NEWS | DUAL Asset Underwriting nominated for Innovation Award

DUAL Asset Underwriting are delighted to announce that they are a Finalist in the Innovation in Practice category at this year’s Scottish Legal Awards in recognition of their online platform My Defective Title Shop.com.

The service allows Scottish conveyancers a quick and easy way to find and buy online a choice of legal indemnity policies for residential property transactions in Scotland.

Their innovative and user-friendly portal - provided by DUAL Asset Underwriting - offers three quotes for residential property, enabling conveyancers a choice of cover options and cost. It drafts and issues policies for over 40 different residential title defects, covering up to £5m at a few clicks of the mouse.

Kirstin Nee, Senior Underwriter at DUAL Asset Underwriting, commented: “We are thrilled that our online platform has been recognised for its innovation. Our aim with the platform was to make the lives of Scottish conveyancers that little bit easier with a choice of policies covering a wide range of risks.”

You can read more about My Defective Title Shop here: https://my-defective-title-shop.com

You can read more about the Scottish Legal Awards 2018 here: http://kdmedia.co.uk/legalawards/2018-finalists/

NEWS | Evolution Insurance joins My Legal Indemnity comparison site

Recently Elite Insurance have stopped writing legal indemnity insurance. As a result we have now replaced Elite with Evolution Insurance Group, so the My Legal Indemnity Shop is now back up to providing quotes from three different insurers.

Evolution have been providing legal indemnity insurance capacity for Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions (GCS) for several years, so will already be a familiar name to many of you.

In addition to the above change, we have worked hard to improve the functionality and offering that the site provides. Key benefits are:

  1. Premiums have been revised, offering still greater value and particularly so on higher limits of indemnity.
  2. Contingent Buildings, Maisonette/Flat and Contaminated Land Indemnity all now have extended periods of insurance.
  3. ‘Live Chat’ has been added, giving you ‘real time’ access to underwriters.

Existing policies provided by Elite Insurance are unaffected and all claims will be honoured by Elite, who will continue to meet its liabilities to policyholders and claimants alike. Any questions or feedback on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

NEWS | Meeting at MIPIM? DUAL Asset Underwriting will be there!

DUAL Asset Underwriting will be at MIPIM between Tuesday 14th and Friday 17th March. We would be delighted to arrange a meeting to discuss how our insurance solutions can assist and add value to your real estate transactions. Our team specialises in legal indemnity, defective title, title to shares and W&I insurance.

In the last three years, we have insured in 25 countries, so if you have a rights of light issue in England, a donation issue in Italy, a challenge to building permit in France, an ongoing restitution claim in CEE or a zoning problem in Spain, we will be able to tailor a bespoke insurance solution to facilitate your real estate deal.

Please contact a member of our team to arrange a meeting:

Ian Keith Managing Director
Mobile: +44 (0)7846 572 524
Tel: +44 (0)207 337 6477
Email: IKeith@dualgroup.com

Fergus Davey Senior Underwriter
Mobile: +44 (0)7779 320 327
Tel: +44 (0)207 337 6492
Email: FDavey@dualgroup.com

Kirstin Nee Senior Underwriter
Mobile: +44 (0)7894 867 476
Tel: +44 (0)20 7337 9875
Email: KNee@dualgroup.com

Natalie Leversedge Head of Operations
Mobile: +44 (0)7917 367 698
Tel: +44 (0)207 337 6462
Email: NLeversedge@dualgroup.com

BLOG | PWC's Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2017

Very well done to Gareth Lewis and the PWC team for producing their Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2017.

Here’s a link to the report and a quick summary of the main findings:

  • Most participants continue to see real value in Real Estate
  • Unsurprisingly given political developments, many are happy to sacrifice yield for less risk
  • The main urban destinations for investors - German cities dominate; Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich sandwich Dublin (yes Dublin-great recovery guys) in the top 5
  • By 2030 demographic changes will transform the real estate market (see my post of 09/01/17)
  • 92% of participants think that UK will fall, but how much of this contribution was before the Trump vote and clear signals that the UK’s Special Relationship (and not the EU) is a priority for the USA?
  • The Nordics are on the rise again

Happy hunting in 2017 - but be careful out there!

BLOG | The results are in!

In 2013, we started DUAL Asset Underwriting with a simple, but audacious goal. By now, we wanted to be the most international asset insurer, with the broadest level of coverage.

We came to the end of that initial 3 year business plan at the end of September.

During this period, we have insured over £70billion worth of real estate, mortgage and inherited assets, spread across 24 countries around the world. In our third financial year alone, we wrote £17.2million of premium!

As you can imagine, with the team that we have at DUAL, we are not ones to sit back and rest on this success. In the last 2 months, our team have been with our customers in the UK, India, US, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Kenya, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania! Please do not hesitate to call us if you need assistance on a property, share or probate transaction anywhere in the world.

It has been a hugely successful 3 years and I have just picked out a few of the key highlights below.

A massive thank you has to go to our business partners at Hyperion, XL Catlin, Fidelis, Elite and RSA for all their support - and most of all to our brilliant insurance brokers, lawyers and customers - we certainly couldn't have done it without you!

We look forward to more fun and games with you over the coming years.


The DUAL Asset team

Share Ownership Insurance

With more and more property deals now being transacted through a share purchase, the ownership and title of shares is just as important as the title to the property. We are the first insurer to combine a property ownership insurance with a share ownership insurance. This can work as a standalone product or as a hybrid product with a warranty & indemnity insurance.

Comparison Site

We waited 2 years to look closely at residential property risks, because we wanted to introduce something of real value for brokers and conveyancers and not just launch the same old online purchasing site. Over the next few years, consumer and micro SME regulation will demand that consumers understand options around insurance. Legal defence cost variants, the option to have an excess and pay less and the option to insure their lender and not themselves will become easy choices. Tied agency, single insurer solutions will become as "current" as self-issue packs...

We launched my-legal-indemnity-shop.com in England & Wales earlier this year to provide exactly this solution – a choice of 3 insurers online with different coverage options makes the purchase of legal indemnity insurance a much easier, compliant and attractive solution. Northern Ireland will be launching this month, Scotland in January and then commercial to follow shortly after.


The DUAL team has worked with the Indian market since 2005 to try and introduce Title Insurance there. India is now ready! The Real Estate Bill 2016 introduces it, the regulator and insurers are nearly there and REIT legislation is on the way. Please get in touch if you act for any investors looking at the Indian property market.


The Title Insurance industry was born in California in the 1880s and has been dominated by three major players. DUAL is now shaking up the norm, bringing financially strong, rated reinsurance capacity to this market, whilst delivering innovative underwriting solutions for property investors.

NEWS | Title Insurance arrives in India

As part of the much heralded Real Estate Act 2016, the Indian government encouraged the insurance industry to offer Title Insurance for investment in Indian Real Estate.

The government expects the security that Title Insurance provides to boost Indian Real Estate investment and help buyers and sellers better manage their liabilities.

I am delighted to announce that DUAL & Fidelis, with our local partners, are ready to start Title Insuring Indian Real Estate.

If you would like to discuss your projects with us, please get in touch.

BLOG | 2017 Uncertainty, 2030 Megatrends

So happy new year everyone! What will 2017 bring?

  • More Trump Bump or a Trump Dump?
  • A Brexit Bounce or a Brexit Bundle?

Of course no-one knows any more and one thing that 2016 should have taught us, is that we should be wary of people who think they do.

Over the long run, only one thing about real estate is certain; demographics will influence property prices over time.

So here is a link to an interesting piece of work from TH Real Estate which analyses macro demographics and come to a “Famous Five” conclusion.

The view is that by 2030:

  • 2/3 of the world’s population will live in our cities
  • Asia will contribute more to the global economy than US and Europe combined
  • The number of middle and high income households will double
  • The elderly (>64) will double as a % of the global population
  • Internet users will double (>4.3BN)

Happy hunting in 2017!

BLOG | Making Land Work?

Remember the Law Commission report of 2011? It’s been dusted off and we can now expect a draft Property Bill courtesy of Her Majesty in the Queen’s Speech of May this year.

This together with other measures such as the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill are designed to simplify the law relating to ownership and use of land.

The Neighbourhood, Planning and Infrastructure Bill will provide new provisions to better enable the development of land, including eliminating the misuse of planning conditions and enhanced CPOs, plus more relevant levels of compensation.

The Property Bill will, amongst other things, streamline the creation of easements and will rephrase restrictive and positive covenants as “land obligations.” It will purportedly be clearer that both types will bind successors. The intention is to deal with some specific issues including contributions to payment and maintenance of communal areas. The legislation will need to very carefully consider the wider implications of misuse of such positive obligations, not allowing any provisions that are too onerous.

I cannot help feeling this is a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. I need not remind the reader that we find ourselves in uncertain times.

It is very important to protect the value and amenity of land and the law relating to covenants should facilitate that. The claims with which we deal are chiefly about money and legal mechanisms whose original motives were to protect and are now being used to create a ransom scenario or nuisance in this increasingly litigious age. Rarely is the principle the actual concern.

The current law relating to covenants and easements is complex, is that rightly so? The human mind is infinitely complex, it evolves and times change. The law must surely do likewise to reflect this.

Cases that no longer work should be examined and overridden by specific statute if the status quo is unsatisfactory. We’ve seen this already concerning Village Green legislation. The pendulum of favour has swung from dog walker to developer more than once; the latest position enabling the latter to build, to generate jobs and help the economy without being thwarted by spurious claims.

I find it difficult to understand why the same swift action has not been taken to rights of light. The courts are slowly assisting with new thinking about injunction versus damages and the profit driven developer versus the little person. Nevertheless, we are still left with an unsatisfactory Court of Appeal decision that realistically will not be challenged as a commercial agreement, and will always be the preference to the legal costs of a Supreme Court ruling.

Will new high level legislation help or hinder us? If the new thinking overrides the way easements to light are established will a balance be found?

We will of course be operating two systems: the old based on established and presumably ongoing case law and the new ‘simpler’ version.

Jurisprudence 101 tells us that statute is the bare bones of the legal system, whereas case law adds the flesh. It is highly likely that the new system will require interpretation of its wordings both to establish the meaning of the intention of Parliament and the impact of the provision on the specifics of the case at hand. In order to reach a satisfactory solution will we be tempted to slip back into established thinking, or will we start to build a new library of case law to run concurrently with the run off of the old?

Ending, perhaps, on a positive note; there’ll certainly be a lot more work for all of us...

Wesley Timothy | Senior Underwriter, Real Estate Trading, DUAL Asset Underwriting

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of DUAL as a whole.

BLOG | Strong Year Ahead for Real Estate

Happy new year to all of our friends and customers!

Here's the good news about 2016 from Forbes Investors:

"Investor sentiment toward real estate is projected to remain positive this year, according to Colliers Global Investment Outlook, released on Monday. Primary target markets will continue to draw the most interest, with moderating risk appetite, stable economic conditions, and low interest rates driving increased investment in secondary markets. Transactional activity in the first 9 months of 2015 brought in $625 billion of direct property investment worldwide, representing an 11% increase over the same period of 2014, according to Real Capital Analytics. This year, it is expected to be even more.

“Our report suggests that…long term secure investment in core markets will be the norm,” says John B. Friedrichsen, CFO of Colliers International. “Large volumes of capital already raised will increasingly seek out opportunities in tier-two cities and in recovering markets.”

Of the more than 600 investors surveyed, 52% said they will increase allocations towards real estate this year. Only 11% will decrease. Real estate investment worldwide is on track for continued demand growth. It’s the one asset where investors are almost unanimously bullish. London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Sydney are the main targets for direct cross-border real estate acquisitions over the next 12 months."

Three cheers for Real Estate - but let's be careful out there!

The Forbes article can be found here.

NEWS | DUAL scoops MGA of the Year at the Insider Honours

DUAL and the Hyperion Group swept the board at last week’s Insurance Insider Honours Awards in London. Scooping three awards: the Group won MGA of the Year for DUAL; M&A Transaction of the Year for the merger between Hyperion and the R K Harrison Group; and Broking Initiative of the Year for Howden’s Cyber Academy.

DUAL CEO, Shane Doyle commented, “I am absolutely thrilled that DUAL and the Hyperion Group have won these awards, the Insider Honours are among our industry’s most prestigious accolades. DUAL’s entry included examples of achievements from around the globe and the hard work and innovation of our teams in Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe all contributed to this win. I would like to thank everyone at DUAL for their efforts which helped us to beat some very tough competition.”

NEWS | DUAL M&A liability team is open for business

DUAL, the underwriting arm of the Hyperion Insurance Group, announced today that its Frankfurt and London-based M&A Liability team is open for business. Niki Demirbilek joins as Global Head of M&A Insurance supported by up to EUR/USD 50m of A-rated capacity from DUAL’s Global Partner. The team will focus on European business initially with ambitions to move into Asia Pacific and the US.

DUAL’s M&A products will provide protection against the risks associated with a merger, acquisition or capital restructuring. DUAL believes its products will help fill a significant gap in the market. M&A liability insurance is underserved in Germany while even the London market has few insurers with the specialist underwriting expertise necessary to support the largest transactions.

Niki Demirbilek said, “This is a great opportunity to bring our specialist M&A expertise to DUAL’s exceptional distribution network. This sector is in need of support and I hope our credible proposition will help to fill that gap.” A qualified lawyer, Niki began her career at Norton Rose before moving into insurance. Previously, Niki held senior roles in Germany at AIG and then Zurich, where she headed their M&A business.

Shane Doyle, DUAL CEO commented, “M&A is a critical new class of business for us and yet another opportunity for DUAL to demonstrate the breadth of our product offering and responsiveness to the needs of our customers. We have been fortunate to attract Niki and her team, some of the best known and most respected underwriters in these lines.”

Niki will be joined by Janin Kauffmann, a lawyer specialising in M&A who also joins from Zurich, and Jaco van der Merwe who joined DUAL last year having held a number of senior roles in AIG Financial Lines. Niki and Janin will be based in Frankfurt and Jaco in London.

DUAL’s M&A team has ambitious expansion plans and further hires are expected.

NEWS | 'Capped Conveyancing' product launched in New Zealand

Mainprice King, in association with DUAL NZ Limited (a part of the world's largest underwriting agency and backed by Lloyd's of London's largest international cover holder) has developed a 'Capped Conveyancing' insurance policy.

For one low premium per policy, per conveyancing transaction (prices start at NZ $50.00, must be purchased for all New Zealand conveyancing transactions), lawyers and their clients can now better manage their risks in residential conveyancing than ever before.

Jeff Williamson of Mainprice King, which is launching the new service in New Zealand, spoke with Law News to answer questions about Capped Conveyancing insurance policies. That article is available in full as a PDF or via the ADLSI website.

NEWS | DUAL appoints Angus Watson as new Chief Claims Officer

DUAL, the underwriting arm of the Hyperion Insurance Group, is today pleased to announce that it has appointed Angus Watson as Global Chief Claims Officer, joining 1 September 2015.

Angus will join from Arch Insurance Company (Europe) Limited where he was Head of Claims and Senior Vice President. He has more than twenty years’ experience in the insurance industry which he joined after a career in the Metropolitan Police. Before joining Arch, Angus was Head of Claims for Hiscox Insurance Company responsible for managing the insurance company’s claims function including all UK and European offices.

Shane Doyle, DUAL CEO, commented, “I’m delighted that Angus has decided to join DUAL. He brings a wealth of top level claims experience to our business and his appointment reinforces DUAL’s commitment to excellence in our claims service. Arch and DUAL have a relationship spanning many years which means Angus has a strong understanding of our business and its customers.”

Arch has provided capacity to DUAL for over ten years and supports the Group’s current worldwide quota share binder.

Angus commented, “This is a new role for DUAL and timely given that the Group is approaching $1 billion GWP. I look forward to helping take the Group’s claims proposition to the next level offering industry-leading standards of responsiveness and service.”

BLOG | Climate Change, Adapt or Die

In June, behind closed doors at the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany, the agenda as always included the need for the world’s most developed nations to take action on Climate Change. Specifically, this requires a lowering of carbon emissions on a planet where the economic system requires a continued consumption of energy-rich carbon resources.

What we can also discover from the G7’s Meeting Declaration is a growing acceptance of inevitable Climate Change. While this deeply concerning to all of us, it should also be recognised that this reality needs to be planned for. At the G7 we can see clear signs of a shift towards preparing our financial institutions, services and products in support of a world which will require safety nets that specifically protect our lives and assets from a radically different weather environment.

Here’s the key excerpt from the Meeting Declaration:

Mobilization of private sector capital is also crucial for achieving this commitment and unlocking the required investments in low carbon technologies as well as in building resilience against the effects of climate change. To overcome existing investment barriers finance models with high mobilization effects are needed.

To this end, we will:

a) Intensify our support particularly for vulnerable countries’ own efforts to manage climate change related disaster risk and to build resilience. We will aim to increase by up to 400 million the number of people in the most vulnerable developing countries who have access to direct or indirect insurance coverage against the negative impact of climate change related hazards by 2020 and support the development of early warning systems in the most vulnerable countries. To do so we will learn from and build on already existing risk insurance facilities such as the African Risk Capacity, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility and other efforts to develop insurance solutions and markets in vulnerable regions, including in small islands developing states, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean as set out in the annex.

Let’s be upfront about it – Insurance won’t save the planet. But as a mechanism for coping with and adjusting to Climate Change? Areas of the Insurance marketplace which are not going to need to factor in Climate Change in their next generation of products will be very limited. Just like the G7, we need to think and plan 25 years ahead.

At Lloyds of London, as you’d expect, they already are. In June Lloyds published a report called ‘Food System Shock’ that was developed by Anglia Ruskin University’s ‘Global Sustainability Institute’ using models supported by the UK Foreign Office.

The models used doesn’t allow for inevitable changing of habits and human adaption to environmental change. The models simply play forwards the current global statistics and trends in order to reach conclusions that are widely backed on that basis. The efficacy of such models proving accurate is therefore small. We are adapting and changing at an increasing velocity.

As the report states, 100% of the earth’s population needs to eat and 40% of the world’s population are employed as a result of the need to grow, process and distribute food to an increasing population. In just ten years from now up to two-thirds of the population will suffer ‘water stress’ and this in turn makes food supplies vulnerable.

Humans adapt, as we always have, so our own personal shock at the report predicting a collapse of the global food supply around the year 2040 needs to be suitably tempered.

As insurers, our job is to provide protection from risk. So we too must adapt, quickly, for Climate Change means that there are both opportunities and dangers ahead that we have an important role in resolving. To ignore them will cause our own demise.

NEWS | DUAL launches M&A liability insurance operations

DUAL, the underwriting arm of the Hyperion Insurance Group, today announces the launch of its Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) business, located in Frankfurt and London.

M&A activity has reached unprecedented levels both in Germany and worldwide. According to a recent EY-study (Source: ey.com) 56% of companies surveyed are seeking to expand through acquisition within the next twelve months.

DUAL’s M&A products will provide protection against the risks associated with a merger, acquisition or capital restructuring. DUAL believes its products will help fill a significant gap in the market, M&A liability insurance business is underserved in Germany while even the London market has few carriers with the specialist underwriting expertise necessary to support the largest transactions.

The full press release is available here.

NEWS | Howden Group's monthly newsletter 'Premium Matters'

Howden Group's 'Premium Matters' is a monthly publication that looks at the news and issues affecting the legal sector from viewpoint of the Professional Indemnity Insurance experts.

To download Premium Matters (pdf) click here.

NEWS | DUAL Asset Underwriting appoints Mark Dennis

DUAL Asset Underwriting, the specialist asset protection division of The DUAL Group, is delighted to announce the appointment of industry veteran Mark Dennis, who will be joining from August, to lead its new DUAL Residential Risks division, based in Norwich.

Mark has led the growth of the UK legal indemnities market since the 1990s, when he worked at Aviva and launched the first online offering. He moved to Countrywide nine years ago, where he established the legal indemnities business Isis.

Andrew Hillier MRICS, DUAL Asset Underwriting’s Executive Chairman said “Our focus at DUAL Asset Underwriting has been specialist commercial property risks and developing our international offering. Only 18 months since its launch, DUAL Asset Underwriting now boasts a significant international reach, having already insured property in 18 countries worldwide. It is now the right time for us to focus on building a UK residential business to match this and we are thrilled that Mark has agreed to lead this proposition for us”.

“I’m delighted to be joining DUAL Asset Underwriting to build its UK residential proposition,” added Mark. "DUAL is a forward thinking and entrepreneurial business, with significant growth plans; this move will combine the best commercial and residential teams in the legal indemnities market.”

BLOG | The Irish Recovery

"Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face"

This famous "Iron" Mike Tyson quote could summarise the last boom bust cycle that European real estate and lending has experienced these last few years, none more so than our Irish cousins.

The Celtic Tiger was certainly a shining example.

I am proud of the small part that we played in using our insurance to facilitate some of the asset transfers into and out of NAMA. The scale of the financial disaster in Ireland is hard to comprehend even now. I remember visiting Dublin in around 2010. I was walking back to the Shelbourne at the end of a long day, it was cold, dark and raining. There was a queue of a couple of hundred people snaking out of a building on St Stephen’s Green, down Grafton Street. I asked what they waiting for-it turned out that a well known convenience store was selling a few franchises and people were waiting to make their offers and try to get work.

The attached article compares how Ireland and Greece have reacted to that serious face punch and of course the Irish have taken their medicine, endured a tough few years and are now firmly back on the road to recovery.

Original article at Newsweek

NEWS | Introducing XL Catlin

DUAL Asset Underwriting would like to introduce XL Catlin, a provider of property, casualty, professional and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises throughout the world. XL Catlin are the 8th largest global P&C reinsurer with an estimated combined net premium written (NPW) of more than $3 billion.

XL Catlin provide the main insurance capacity for DAU, without them we could not write our insurance policies.

To find out more about XL Catlin in their brochure or via their website.

NEWS | Contingent Building and Contaminated Land products launched

DUAL Asset Underwriting is pleased to announce the addition of two new products to our offering, Contingent Building and Contaminated Land.

Contingent Building Insurance

This product provides coverage for missing, defective or unenforceable insuring provisions for leasehold properties.

Available as a specific risk, or in combination with our defective lease (flat / maisonette indemnity), this new policy offers comprehensive and cost effective coverage for a purchaser and their lender to protect the asset and security.

Prices start at £75 plus IPT at 6%.

Contaminated Land Insurance

Following recent developments to the contaminated land regime under the EPA 1990, we felt it was time to bring a broader, less restrictive and cost effective contaminated land offering to the residential market.

Our policy protects a seller and a new purchaser for 15 years as standard, and protects a lender for the full term of their mortgage. Unlike products available elsewhere in the market, we do not have a maximum acreage for the insured property.

Moreover, our online policy provides cover where there is no contaminated land search available and in instances where a search is inconclusive and no passed result is provided.

Prices start at £275 plus IPT at 6% for up to £1m cover.

The press release for this article is available at here.

NEWS | New partnership for NHBC and DUAL Asset Underwriting

NHBC registered builders and affiliated conveyancing solicitors are now able to take advantage of a range of discounted legal indemnity and title insurance products thanks to a new partnership with DUAL Asset Underwriting.

The deal gives builders and conveyancers registered with NHBC, the UK’s leading insurance and warranty provider for new homes, a 10% discount on DUAL Asset Underwriting’s range of residential and commercial legal indemnity and title insurance products.

These products are specifically designed to overcome the issues involved in land acquisition and complex site development and general commercial and residential property transactions. This partnership also brings exclusive benefits for new build plot buyers.

Commenting on the new partnership, Boyd Hackett, NHBC’s Product Development Manager said; “This new agreement will bring further benefits for NHBC registered builders, with access to an extensive product range at discounted rates.”

Philip Oldcorn, Managing Director of DUAL Asset Underwriting added, “We are proud and delighted to partner with NHBC in offering a range of exclusive benefits and our highly skilled, experienced team look forward to working with their builder partners and their registered solicitors and conveyancers”.

For further information:
Residential enquiries - register here.
For commercial enquiries - please call 0207 3378787 or e-mail nhbc@dualgroup.co.uk

The press release for this article is available for download here.

BLOG | Here we go again?

"5 years after the financial crisis started, in Davos this week ECB are proposing a new phase of Quantative Easing..."

On Tuesday night, I started reading the FT in Warsaw. We were staying in a lovely hotel built by the Orco group, who had collapsed after the 2009 credit crunch.

Hopefully it was just thoughts of this that got me spooked, but there it was-the first 3 stories in that day's FT:

  • Rush to Swiss franc
  • Calpers lays off lots of its private equity managers - the first out are “Fund of Fund” managers
  • Big falls in Shanghai stock exchange, after Margin Lenders pull their horns in

Just before Xmas I was chatting to a mortgage lender and discussing terms for an insurance policy for them. Our quote was too expensive for them. Because they couldn't insure, they were pulling out. Too expensive, because with all the bid costs they thought they were uncompetitive. Turned out there were nearly 30 lenders bidding for the loan business.

Is it just me or have we seen this all before, fairly recently?

NEWS | Hyperion Group Financial Results

Hyperion Insurance Group Limited announces today its financial results for the year ended 30 September 2014.

Click here to download/view the results as a PDF.

Financial Highlights

  • Revenue increased by 19% to £199.0m from £166.6m
  • EBITDA of £43.2m, up 20% from 2013 (£35.9m)
  • EBITDA margin stable at 22.0%
  • Underlying organic revenue growth of 7.0%
  • The Board has agreed to pay an interim dividend of 4.0 pence per share (2013 comparative: 4.0 pence per share) in December 2014 to shareholders on the Register at 5 December 2014

Operational Highlights

  • In line with our strategic objective to build scale in the world’s high growth insurance markets, the Group announced four acquisitions during the year ending 30 September 2014, including PGI in the US, Bar-Ziv Ravid in Israel, Colemont in Finland and Donoria in Poland.
  • Howden Broking Group restructured into Retail Broking regions, a unified Wholesale division, and two Specialty divisions of Marine and Financial and Professional Lines
  • DUAL also restructured, with regional hubs in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, bringing increased local governance in order to deliver further profitable expansion
  • Strengthening of Group infrastructure and central functions, including appointments of Adrian Colosso as CEO of Howden Broking Group, David Jack as Chief Information Officer and Mo Kang as Group HR & Communications Director
  • First Employee share offer launched in January, with over 300 employees now Group shareholders. The Group further diversified its sources of funding by raising $250m of USD Term Loan B financing in October 2013
  • Post year-end, the Group announced advanced merger discussions with RK Harrison Holdings Ltd (“RKH”), as well as the acquisitions of Wacolda S.A., Proseguros Corredores de Seguros S.A. and NMB in Colombia (strengthening its Iberoamerican platform), UBK in Spain, Powell Bateson in the UK, SSI in Germany, Harmonia in Brazil and CIMB in Malaysia. These build on our international footprint while at the same time further diversifying our product specialism
    • The acquisition of RK Harrison would create the largest independent, employee-owned insurance intermediary in the world with 3,000 employees in 40 countries and projected annual revenues of £400m

Commenting on the Group’s results, David Howden, Chief Executive, said:

“This November marked the 20th Anniversary of Hyperion; it has been a remarkable journey with the Group now employing over 1,800 people in 90 operations in close to 40 countries around the world. With revenues of £200 million, these results are a testament to how far we have come. Our focus on organic growth and selective acquisitions has built a powerful and balanced business across both retail and wholesale broking and underwriting through our MGA.”

“2014 was another year of continued growth, and it was particularly pleasing that we achieved this against a volatile and challenging global insurance market. Our ability to generate strong organic returns is testament to the quality, breadth and specialism of our offering while our skill in integrating high quality acquisitions has helped us build a truly global business. We are building a company ready for the next 20 years, and in 2015 we will continue to strengthen our platform, investing in our operational infrastructure to allow us to take advantage of our increasing scale and the opportunities that being a larger group presents.”

“Consolidation continues to change the face of our competition and highlights just how critical it is to have scale and reach in the new world of a market swamped with capital seeking product and distribution where data is the differential. As the insurance value chain shortens and the race for expertise intensifies, the question for the market's entrepreneurial talent is: where do they want to call home?”

"Hyperion is very well placed to achieve a unique position in the marketplace as the only viable, independent alternative for both clients and industry specialists. With our strong, enterprising culture, ethos of innovation and balanced business model we offer something very different, and we look forward to the future with excitement and confidence.”

Divisional Highlights

  • Underwriting: continued diversification and solid core portfolio performance driving strong growth in revenue and profitability
  • GWP growth of 49% with revenues up 36% on 2013
  • Launched a simplified worldwide binder structure bringing together US$425 million of non-US international capacity in a quota share vehicle
  • PGI Commercial rebranded as DUAL Commercial in March 2014, following its acquisition in 2013
  • Continued diversification of product capability, with Financial Lines now accounting for under 50% of portfolio
    • Broking: solid performance despite market volatility, with focus on investment in infrastructure following 20 years of rapid growth and significant acquisitions
  • Revenues of £143.5m, 14% growth on 2013
  • Product and service capability further strengthened through recruitment of specialist Aviation, Fine Art and Specie, Construction and Political Risk teams
  • Global Marine practice launched through the combination of FP Group with the Howden marine division
  • Transactional Liability team launched in Germany
  • Expansion of Eastern European offering through expansion of Donoria, and continued expansion in Colombia following acquisition of Wacolda S.A., Proseguros Corredores de Seguros S.A. and NMB Colombia