In financial services job market that is increasingly optimistic, insurance firms are more bullish than most sectors.
The number of people employed in general insurance grew by its fastest pace in a year during the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey, and – quite unexpectedly – insurance brokers bolstered their ranks too.
So, which firms are likely to hire?
1. Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT)
JLT added 850 people in 2012, having increased pre-tax profits by 17% to £156.8m, and has continued increasing headcount throughout this year. In January, Derek Jones joined its Nottingham office as a business development consultant – the sixth new hire in six months – and it added a trio of new recruits into its financial institutions team, Roger Maxted, John Greene and Tracy Miller, in March. It’s also been building its recently launched San Francisco office.
The German insurer employees some 144,000 staff worldwide, an increase of over 2,000 since 2011 and brought in over 21,000 employees throughout the course of 2012 (over 19,000 left). Despite this, Allianz is implementing some headcount reductions – 380 in its German operation, 320 in its asset management arm, 450 in its AMOS infrastructure team and within its US property and casualty insurer, Fireman’s Fund.
However, the firm says that it has “massive” plans to expand into Africa, and named four news heads of business for its operations on the continent in March. Delphine Maidou, CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Africa, said the firm is “looking to grow significantly” in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
After a year when pre-tax profit increased at the AXA-owned broker, Bluefin wants to expand. It made no acquisitions in 2012, but Chief Executive Stuart Reid has said that it would make at least three, if not six, during the course of 2013.
So far this year, it’s giving every sign of more organic expansion. This week, it named Steve Hook as its new head of high net worth, having already lifted Jim Pitchforth and Wendy Bushby from rival Jelf in February and Jon Wozniak as business development director for its solutions division in January. It also moved into a new office in Bromley in January in order to “provide us with enough space to continue our aggressive growth strategy”, according to Tim Mortimer, head of the firm’s private client division.
4. Standard Life
Meaty pay packets for its executive team aside, Standard Life was more associated with downsizing than expansion during the course of 2012. This is true in certain markets – over 400 staff departed in the UK and Europe during the course of the year. Its second biggest operation, Canada, also shrank.
However, it is expanding its asset management division, Standard Life Investments, and is focusing on Asia and emerging markets. It increased headcount by 43% throughout the course of 2012, to 264, and is continuing to focus on these markets.
ACE’s appointment of Mark Roberts as casualty manager for the UK and Ireland this week was just one of a series of new senior hires this year that hint at expansion. The firm’s profits for 2012 soared by 76% in 2012, despite Superstorm Sandy, due to a far lighter catastrophe burden than in 2011 and it now employs 17,000 people worldwide.
In the last month alone, ACE has promoted Chris Maleno division president for its US operations, Robery Courtemanche and Mary Boyd to lead its private risk services division and Pam Humphrey and Joe Connelly has been given executive roles in its Houston office.
It’s also launched a new Lloyd’s energy underwriting business in February and has stated its desire to grow its EMEA claims management team, particularly in accident and health.
Hiscox says that it’s breaking new ground by the formation of a new counter-terrorism team, which resulted in five new appointments and will be led by former British military officer James de Labillière. It’s also promoted a further five people in its terrorism underwriting team. The firm has also been building its casualty throughout the past 12 months and added Bill Lazzaro to its US property catastrophe team in March.
The specialist loss adjuster, Questgates, has been taking advantage of the fall-out from large insurance firms to embark on a recruitment spree. In November, it hired six new staff from firms like Merlin, Allianz and Aviva and has continued to hire this year, latterly with the recruitment of Allan Hunter, Graham Hay and Bob Mockridge to its major loss team.
8. American International Group (AIG)
AIG put its recent turbulent past behind it, has become the new darling stock of the hedge fund world, and is now looking to expand. Specifically, its chief executive officer, Robert Benmosche said that it was looking to expand its consumer life business into emerging markets like Turkey and China. “We are hiring and we are going to continue to hire,” he said.
More recently, AIG unveiled plans to build a new unit to buy individual home loans in the US. 15 people have been hired for the new unit so far. It’s also just launched a new apprenticeship programme that will hire 25 new people.
9. XL Group
Throughout this year XL Group has been quietly expanding its team throughout various geographies. Joseph Moylan joined its North America property team in January, Dieter Oelkers as a senior underwriter in its German casualty unit, Marcus Gonzeles in the UK, Matthew Huels was recruited as part of the expansion of its surplus lines team in Chicago and Guillermo Delfino has promoted in its Brazilian reinsurance business.
It’s also expanding into new areas having opened a new UK office in Manchester, launched a new recreational marine insurance division and bolstered its US reinsurance business with by opening a new office in Dallas, Texas.