- Sportscover targets international growth to capitalise on proposed
Wild Goose Holdings Chairman Peter Nash tells Insurance Day Sportscover is eyeing growth opportunities in the US, Asia, Africa and South America. Published on 11th September 2014 on the Insurance Day website.
Sportscover is targeting international growth after revealing Brian Duperreault’s Hamilton Insurance Group is in exclusive talks to invest as a major capital partner.
Australian-owned Sportscover has held a Lloyd’s business since 2006 and has been searching for a capital partner for some time.
Everest Re has been linked to the business.
Duperreault, the former Ace and Marsh and McLennan chief executive, returned to the international insurance sector in December last year as chief executive of Hamilton and had previously stated the group’s intentions to expand beyond its Bermuda base.
While the size of the proposed Hamilton investment has not been disclosed, Sportscover’s founder, Peter Nash, who chairs the group’s holding company Wild Goose Holdings, confirmed to Insurance Day the company will also be increasing the capital it puts in to back the business for 2015, in addition to the Hamilton investment.
The existing Sportscover capital providers will be providing between 10% and 15% of capital for 2015, and maintaining a strong interest in the Lloyd’s business, with Hamilton also expected to bring business into the syndicate.
Talks for expansion are already ongoing, with a potential US joint venture and deal in Asia expected significantly to increase the size of the business if the Hamilton investment completes as expected in the coming weeks.
Nash told Insurance Day the experience of Duperreault, alongside Hamilton’s chief strategy officer, Bob Deutsch, was a significant factor in reaching agreement to hold the exclusive talks.
“We think the support and advice of Duperreault and Deutsch will be great to have on board. We talked to a number of entities, with some excellent people, but we settled on Hamilton in part because of the experience of their senior people,” he said.
And international growth is at the forefront of Nash’s plans once the capital investment is in place.
“We haven’t had the capital behind us that some others have had. As a consequence, it has made it difficult to grow the distribution side of the business in the way we would have liked,” he said.
“These days, compared with previous generations, more people than ever are playing sport. As a consequence, gymnasiums and other sporting facilities are developing across the world. Growth opportunities in this sector are huge. There is a growing middle class in China, South America and Africa who want to stay healthy. Therefore our market is growing exponentially.
Nash said the company would be hiring staff to support its expansion. “There will be a need to recruit more people as we grow. We’ve been in a reorganisational phase for the best part of a year. The recruitment won’t all be in the London market – we are looking to bring people in from other markets.”
The recruitment is likely to include a sports marine specialist and Nash confirmed Sportscover was already seeking an underwriter for this line of business.
- Cancellation insurance key for sports hospitality
Sportscover’s Class Underwriter, David Boyle, comments in a lloyds.com article regarding cancellation insurance in the sports hospitality industry.
Originally published on Lloyds.com - 18 June 2014
- Covering the Cup on and off the pitch
Ahead of the 2014 Football World Cup, Sportscover Europe Business Development Director Paul Thomas looks at the variety of insurance risks facing the competition.
Originally published in Post Magazine and Post Online - June 2014
- Underwriter flags plans to grow regional business mix
Insurance Business has written a story interviewing Sportscover Australia CEO David Lamb about Sportscover's plans for regional growth plans in New Zealand and Asia beyond the more 'mature' Australian insurance landscape.
Click here for the article.
- NRL career ending injury shines light on inadequate cover
Sportscover Australia CEO David Lamb is quoted in a story in Insurance Business on the availability of career-ending injury cover for sport.
Click here for the article.
- Risky Business: Insuring the Film and Television Industry.
Sportscover Contingency Class Underwriter, David Boyle, is quoted in a lloyds.com article on the effects that unforeseen production delays due to cast injuries, damaged equipment, accidents and natural disasters can have on a film’s bottom line.
Click here for the article.
- Extreme Weather - Are you covered?
Sportscover Business Development Director, Paul Thomas, contributes to a lloyds.com article on the aftermath of a winter of extreme weather and the increased awareness of the benefits of event cancellation insurance.
Click here for the article.
- Tens of Thousands of Grassroots Sports Clubs Affected By Winter Washout
This article, featuring Sportscover's business development director Paul Thomas was published on 27th February 2014 on One-Two Magazine website.
While this winter’s wind and rain has been good news for umbrella and anorak manufacturers, it has not been such good news for hosts of the UK’s sporting and leisure events, according to leading sports insurer Sportscover Europe. The UK is a great sporting nation at all levels of sport whether professional or amateur, but waterlogged pitches are resulting in football league games being postponed while at semi-pro or amateur level, where every penny counts, treasurers and financial controllers are counting the costs.
Thousands of grassroots sports teams have been badly affected in 2014 with many not being able to play for a number of weeks now. The challenges are numerous. Pitch hirers, to take one example, are facing a shortfall in revenue as a consequence. Will pitches be fit for purpose once waters have receded? This adds pressure to match officials when making a judgment as to whether fixtures should go ahead.
It is at grassroots levels, however, where the greatest damage is being been done. 38,000 clubs in the UK provide organised football at all levels. 67% are adults involved in the game at grass roots level. The majority of these are players, coaches, managers, administrators and volunteers, many of whom have purchasing responsibility and sit on their club committee and are crying out for practical risk management and insurance advice from insurers and their brokers. At this stage it is too soon to say what the long-term damage to the nation’s sporting infrastructure will be.
Sportscover Europe’s, Paul Thomas, said: “Before organisers can effectively prepare and protect themselves they need to undertake comprehensive risk assessments covering every aspect of an event, including flooding. A risk register will be an essential part of any plan that helps event organisers to register and assess risk. It is a tool often used in project planning and organisational risk assessment and will work in tandem with business continuity planning.
“However, while we all know that the show must go on, with the best will in the world, it can’t if a venue is 5ft under water, which is where event cancellation insurance kicks in. Event cancellation insurance and non-appearance insurance cover provides financial protection in the event of cancellation due to circumstances beyond your control or non-appearance of pre-booked entertainers that are essential to the event proceeding.
“At Sportscover, we have a dedicated team, from both an Underwriting and Claims perspective, that understands the challenges currently being faced by sports club owners, treasurers, administrators and volunteers during this difficult time. We work – hand in hand with our insurance broker partners – to provide insurance solutions that ensure the thousands of clubs in operation today can continue to enjoy insurance protection when they perhaps need it most.”
- Winter “washout” warning from Sportscover
This article by Sportscover business development director, Paul Thomas was published on 24th February 2014 on the Insurance People website. Find the article here..
Winter rain and waterlogged pitches have resulted in football league games being postponed while treasurers and financial controllers are counting the costs.
By Paul Thomas, Business Development Director at Sportscover Europe
24 February, 2014
Sportscover Europe points out that the winter rain and waterlogged pitches have resulted in football league games being postponed while, at semi-pro and amateur level, where every penny counts, treasurers and financial controllers are counting the costs. It also draws attention to potential problems faced by the likes of horse-racing, worth £3 billion to the UK economy every year.
Paul Thomas of Sportscover Europe says, "While we all know that the show must go on, with the best will in the world, it can't if a venue is 5ft under water, which is where event cancellation insurance kicks in. Event cancellation insurance and non-appearance insurance cover provides financial protection in the event of cancellation due to circumstances beyond your control or non-appearance of pre-booked entertainers that are essential to the event proceeding.
“At Sportscover, we have a dedicated team, from both an underwriting and claims perspective, that understands the challenges currently being faced by sports club owners, treasurers, administrators and volunteers during this difficult time. We work – hand in hand with our insurance broker partners – to provide insurance solutions that ensure the thousands of clubs in operation today can continue to enjoy insurance protection when they perhaps need it most.”
- Downhill ski, medals triumph and failure, world records and
curling - a risky business?
Downhill ski, medals triumph and failure, world records and curling - a risky business?
Published in Post Online - 7 February 2014
Ahead of Sochi, Sportscover Europe business development director Paul Thomas looks at the insurance risks behind the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
By Paul Thomas, Business Development Director at Sportscover Europe
7 February, 2014
With the arrival of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, this week sees the start of one of the world’s great sporting spectacles. With 98 events across 15 disciplines, it looks set to deliver a feast of entertainment and endeavor. Sport takes central importance across the world, but it has particular resonance here in the UK. It was the UK, after all, that codified a good proportion of the world sporting events that take place every day -including the curling event at this year's Winter Olympics
As we all know, curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric rings. It is related to bowls, boule and shuffleboard, and will no doubt play an integral role in the nation's sporting imagination next week.
But as with the London Olympics of two years ago, which attracted the scrutiny of the world's media and a plethora of security analysts, areas such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Georgia - all nations close to Sochi's location on the north coast of the Black Sea - are likely to be a part of the narrative
Two recent bombings in Volgograd and reports of suicide bombers dubbed "black widows" in operation prompted the US government to say it viewed the Games as an "attractive target for terrorists."
It is hard for us sports lovers in the UK to get our heads around this kind of talk. Sport is ingrained in our collective psyche as being a topic of fierce pub debate, tribal loyalty, or even national handwringing -like when the ball clearly crosses the line but the linesman somehow misses it, as happened in the last FIFA World Cup when Frank Lampard had his shot ruled out against Germany - but security nonetheless looks set to play a major role in the Winter Olympics.
Yet Sochi is merely part of a greater festival of sport that we can look forward to this year. Lest we forget, another global sporting extravaganza, the FIFA World Cup, takes place this Summer in Brazil, the spiritual home of football.
Closer to home we can look forward the Tour de France visiting the UK once again and commencing for the first time in Yorkshire. Of course, these events are not without risk, and it is here that the Lloyd's insurance market comes into its own as a leading provider of specialist sports cover for participants.
Indeed, when it comes to the blue ribbon events of the year, the top athletes will certainly be well-advised and have appropriate bespoke protection. But worryingly, at the amateur level there is still a lack of education of the benefits of suitable insurance cover.
With diverse participant bases, it can be challenging for sporting bodies to satisfy the varied insurance requirements of their membership. Having access to additional products is therefore crucial to ensure peace of mind, whatever your sport or performance level.
Ultimately, whether you operate as an amateur light head third eleven prop in the Rugby union or an elite Olympic downhill skier, advice about personal welfare and insurance protection will always be needed -and the London insurance market is particularly well serviced to provide it.
- Olympic adrenaline: insurers do not shy away from dangerous sports
Olympic adrenaline: insurers do not shy away from dangerous sports
The attached article – Olympic Adrenaline – by Sportscover business development director, Paul Thomas, published on 7th February 2014, is reprinted with kind permission of Insurance Day.
If you require further information or news services from Insurance Day please visit their website www.insuranceday.com or contact Carl.Josey@informa.com.
With the Winter Olympics now under way in Sochi, the potential for serious sporting injury rises.
By Paul Thomas, Business Development Director at Sportscover Europe
7 February, 2014
After seven years of waiting, the Russian resort of Sochi between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains will for two weeks be the centre of global media attention with the start of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
Already Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been on the slopes in the mountains in full ski regalia in a move intended to silence the sceptics who claimed as with Vancouver four years ago a potential lack of snow could have hampered some events. Well, the snow has arrived, the weather forecast looks encouraging and, besides, such has been the extent of planning and preparation for this sporting spectacle even if conditions do deteriorate there will be no need to worry. The organisers have 500 snow guns ready to make artificial snow, with 710,000 m3 of snow also in special storage, having been taken from the Caucasus mountains last winter.
Out of organisers’ hands
Despite the meticulous preparation for these Winter Olympics, however, one factor will always be out of the hands of the organisers: sporting injury. The simple fact remains these games will have a slew of events which are by their nature inherently dangerous. As recently as 2012 Canadian World Cup skiing cross-country specialist Nic Zoricic and World Championship-winning freestyle skier Sarah Burke both lost their lives on the slopes.
At a World Cup race on March 10 in Grindelward in Switzerland, Zoricic crashed head-first into netting lining the course after going wide and falling on the final jump. He suffered severe skull and brain trauma and was airlifted to a hospital in Interlaken where he was later pronounced dead. Earlier that year, Burke was seriously injured while training on the Park City Mountain Resort Eagle superpipe in Utah and later died in hospital. Four years previously, Austria’s Mathias Lanzinger lost control in a men’s World Cup downhill event at Kvitfjell, Norway and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee.
Wide range of activities
Of course, the Winter Olympics encompass a much wider range of activities than skiing. Indeed, one of the attractions of the event for the casual viewer is the opportunity to engage with some of the more esoteric winter events which have increasingly come to the fore in recent years such as the luge, snowboarding and skeleton. Unfortunately, however, these events can pose just as much danger to competitors, as sadly demonstrated at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili lost control at 88 mph during a late-morning training run and flew off the final corner at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The 21-year-old Olympian struck one of the structural poles lining that part of the course and attempts to revive him at the track were unsuccessful.
It is important to remember nonetheless these sports are not limited to the Olympic Games. Skeleton, a spin-off from the popular British sport of Cresta sledding, where a person rides a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down, became permanently added to the Winter Olympic programme in 2002. Popularity in the sport has grown since then and now includes participation by some countries that do not or cannot have a track because of climate, terrain or monetary limitations. Athletes from such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, South Africa, Argentina, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Brazil and even the Virgin Islands have become involved with the sport in recent years.
Another more esoteric winter sport, the luge (which translates as “sled”) sees competitors travelling feet-first down an icy track at up to 85 mph with only a helmet for protection. This is catching on in countries you would not necessarily expect; for example, you can learn to luge in Britain, with Chill Factore in Manchester offering a dedicated luge facility. It is only 60 m long and far removed from the Olympic event, but still offers a taste.
No shortage of cover
Whether at the highest level of competition or at a more amateur level, participants in such dangerous sports should be comforted by the knowledge underwriters do not shy away from cover. The insurance market, especially at Lloyd’s, has a distinguished history of offering accident insurance to cover death or disablement for professional athletes participating in such events, with similar cover also available for those wishing to participate at an amateur level, typically offering compensation and/or rehabilitation for disabling injury, medical expenses and loss of income. Indeed, Sportscover has recently signed a four-year partnership with the UK’s high-performance sports agency, UK Sport, which is responsible for unlocking Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic potential.
It is reassuring to know even though for many of us the nearest we will get to a head-first slide down an ice track at 80 mph is merely as a spectator from the comfort of our lounge, for those who do want to get serious this winter – whether in Sochi or Manchester – bespoke cover is there to support them.
Sochi by numbers
7 winter sports represented: biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing
11 venues to be used in the games
18 days for Sochi Games from start to finish
48 distance (kilometres) between Sochi’s “Coastal”’ and “Mountain” clusters
85 nations participating
98 sets of bronze, silver and gold medals
6,000 athletes competing in the games
25,000 volunteers working at games
$50bn estimated cost
- Chris Nash interviewed for Insurance News Australia about Boston Marathon Bombing
Chris Nash interviewed for Insurance News Australia about Boston Marathon Bombing
Sportscover's Managing Director Chris Nash has been interviewed for Insurance News Australia about the Boston Marathon Bombing. Mr Nash described how the bombing will influence risk management of these types of events, and the effect it will have on cancellation rates.
The article has been transcribed below:
CANCELLATION RATES COULD RISE
THE BOSTON Marathon bombing could cause cancellation premium rates to rise for major events around the world.
The world also could see much stricter controls on risk management of big events especially those that draw big crowds.
“This terror act is really going to change the game,” Chris Nash, managing director of Sportscover Australia and active underwriter for Lloyd’s Syndicate 3334. “It is a real tragedy.”
Society would even have to think about major events like Sydney’s City to Surf where some 70,000 people participate.
From a risk management perspective and from liability and cancellations there were issues that were going to rise up.
Nevertheless, he was pleased to see and to say that the London Marathon went “without a hitch” at the weekend. This event was as much a festival as a run and had to be preserved.
However, such an event now took a much stronger demand on risk management.
Mr Nash said event organisers were going to be asked to do the impossible to prevent any similar circumstance.
The only way they could mitigate any financial fall-out was in insurance. It was “guaranteed to be an increase in premium.”
Although he sympathised with all the wounded in Boston, there would be no or little personal accident-injury insurance cover because they would be without act of terrorism cover.
However, the main change in the insurance game would be cancellation cover and this might be being sought after two big sports events were cancelled after the marathon bombings – understood to be the Boston Bruins ice hockey team and the Boston Celtics basketball team matches.
Mr Nash also cited the matter when AXA withdrew its cover for the Japan-Korea FIFA World Cup 2002, following the WTC terrorist bombings a year before having accepted the risk several years before.
Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway picked up the insurance and no terrorist act was committed.
RISK MANAGEMENT TO BE A BIG ISSUE
RISK MANAGEMENT procedures for major open space events will have to change around the world following the Boston Marathon bombings last week.
Boston was a second tier city, that is not like the majors New York, London, Berlin, for instance, and thus it was unexpected that any such terrorist act would explode there.
But that was not to say it could not happen again in such a city, even Melbourne, said Chris Nash, managing director of Sportscover Australia and active underwriter for Lloyd’s Syndicate 3334.
“We also will go through a change in the terrorism insurance market,” he told INAcom.
There would be opportunities for people to write terrorism and over time the market also would across expand liability and contingency businesses.
The disappointing thing about such acts as Boston was that people who were injured were going to miss out on cover. Also people who want to enjoy such events could miss out also, especially as many of them want to run for charity.
For Sportscover, because of the knock-on effect of cancellations a lot of its cover was written through binders, especially in the US.
“So we do not know to what extent the claims will be,” he said.
Mr Nash added that the Boston Marathon was not actually cancelled because most of the runners had finished. The bombs were set off 4 hours after the race started. “My feeling is that there will be no claims (cancellation) on Boston Marathon itself but on subsequent events.”
“We will definitely see cancellation rises for this type of event and underwriters will be very, very nervous,” he added.