Insurance shares to rise on catastrophe

BBC Radio 5 Live

Wake Up To Money

Notre Dame on fire

Insurance analyst Cathy Seifert reckons that the Notre-Dame fire will boost insurers' shares.

She told Wake Up To Money: "When you have a large scale fire like this you typically see insurance stocks up because there is, in the somewhat counter-intuitive world of insurance, excess capacity.

"In a catastrophe like this insurance and reinsurance stock rise on the notion that losses will drain excess capacity from the marketplace and drive up share prices."

We'll see if she's right when markets open at 8am.

Cost of insurance could fall

graphic showing speed restrictions work

Those plans to put speed limiting technology in cars, mentioned earlier, could make car insurance cheaper.

This is from the Association of British Insurers.

"Motor insurers support measures aimed at improving road safety. Any steps that can be shown to make our roads safer, reducing road crashes and insurance claims, can be reflected in the cost of motor insurance," a spokesperson for the ABI said.

'We've still got a huge amount to do on diversity'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Bruce Carnegie-Brown
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More on Lloyd's of London which has published 2018 results today.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the chairman of the insurance market, has just been on the Today programme to discuss its new initiative to tackle sexual harassment after a Bloomberg report that female employees have been "leered" and "letched" at and judged on their looks.

"We really didn't know the extent of the problem until Bloomberg shone a light on it. We've actually had a number of initiatives over the last few years trying to make the market more diverse and inclusive, but we hadn't got to the root of the issue," Mr Carnegie-Brown told Today.

He said that previous Lloyd's of London chief executive Inga Beale had done a great job in championing diversity for the five years until she stepped down in June 2018, but "I think we realise that we've still got a huge amount more to do on diversity".

Mr Carnegie-Brown added that there were definitely women on the shortlist to become the next chief executive, even though John Neal was eventually picked for the job in October.

He said that Lloyd's of London had powers over the businesses in its building, and could enforce a life-time ban from the market for failure to tackle sexual harassment.

Insurance losses

inside lloyd's, views of escalators
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Full-year losses at the Lloyd's of London insurance market have narrowed to £1bn from £2bn.

The market said there were several large natural catastrophes last year including hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Jebi in Japan, as well as the Californian wildfires.

These disasters led to major claims costing the market £2.9bn, significantly higher than the long-term average of £1.9bn.

Lloyd's new chief executive, John Neal, said: "The market's aggregated 2018 results report a combined ratio of 104.5%, and a £1bn loss. This performance is not of the standard that we would expect of a market that has both the heritage and quality of Lloyd's".

"We have implemented stronger performance management measures which will remain an enduring feature of how we go about our business. We expect these actions to deliver progressive performance improvement across the market beginning in 2019 and in the years to come," he added.