For the third straight year, the story of Aon’s repeated bid to acquire Willis Towers Watson dominated international reports published by the Insurance Journal. In fact, most of the top 10 international articles and nearly 25% of the top 100 articles in 2021 focused on various aspects of the now-failed $ 30 billion merger.
As a result, we’ve grouped these Aon and WTW merger articles in the top 10 and moved the next non-Aon merger stories up the list. After all, there was more news during the year!
As a reminder, Aon and Willis’ marriage was first announced in March 2019 – and then abandoned very quickly due to Irish regulations. A year later, in March 2020, the merger was completed again. But until July 2021, after insurmountable objections from the US Department of Justice, which had antitrust concerns, the marriage was again called off. For a more detailed breakdown of Aon’s unfortunate attempt to buy WTW, check out the National Insurance Journal Stories’ Top 10 of 2021.
Other top international news of the year covers the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on business interruption, the giant container ship stuck in the Suez Canal, the fatal crash of a Sriwijaya Air passenger plane in the Java Sea, ransomware and labor agreements COVID, the future of passwords and insurance tariffs. Oh wait – there was one more story in the top 10 linked to Aon through its founder, Pat Ryan. Read on for more details.
Here are the top 10 pieces of news from the International Insurance Journal of 2021:
1) Update: Aon and Willis terminate $ 30 billion merger, Aon pays $ 1 billion separation fee
Although the news of the end of the merger is number one of the year, there are other Aon / WTW articles in the top 11, which are also listed here.
2) The UK Supreme Court orders that companies should be insured against COVID-19 claims
The longstanding dispute between UK insurers and their policyholders over COVID-related business interruption claims was settled by the UK Supreme Court in January. That article provided details of the ruling which stated that many policies should cover the losses small businesses suffer during the coronavirus lockdown. Hiscox, RSA, QBE, Argenta, Arch and MS Amlin had argued that their BI guidelines did not cover bans due to a pandemic, but the court objected. An article on initial reactions to the decision was also at the top of the list of top international articles in 2021.
Patrick G. Ryan
3) Aon founder Ryan retired at 71, then started a new $ 10 billion business
Okay, this is another Aon-related article, but we included it in the top 10 as a standalone article as it is a profile of Aon’s founder Patrick G. Ryan who now heads the Ryan Specialty Group. After retiring from Aon, he didn’t know what to do with himself, so he decided to start a new career. An inspiration for all of us …
4) Insurers of container ships due to the Suez Canal are threatened with losses in the millions
The giant container ship Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week after it failed in strong winds. It dominated the international headlines, not just the Insurance Journal headlines, when it broke off this important international route of supply. This article, ranked number four, was one of many about Ever Given in the Top 100 International Stories.
This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt on Saturday March 27, 2021. Image rights: Maxar Technologies via AP
5) Insurer AXA suspends payments for ransomware crime payments in France
Some cyber security experts believe that cyber insurance companies actually attract ransomware attacks as hackers are more likely to target companies with coverage. In response to the global ransomware epidemic and these concerns, AXA announced in May that it would no longer write cyber insurance policies in France that reimburse customers for extortion payments to ransomware criminals. The suspension applies to France only and did not affect existing policies, nor did it affect protection for ransomware response and recovery.
6) Shipping containers fall overboard as the bidding race increases the risks
This article describes the fact that the shipping industry saw the largest increase in lost containers in seven years. “More than 3,000 boxes fell into the sea [in 2020], and more than 1,000 have gone overboard in 2021, “read the Bloomberg article, which found the accidents disrupt supply chains for hundreds of US retailers and manufacturers. Perhaps it was these concerns about global supply chain disruptions that also got an article about an abandoned Dutch cargo ship into the top 20 items in 2021.
7) “Totally destroyed” Indonesia jet in the Java Sea makes search almost impossible
Details of the fatal crash of the Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 passenger plane and the salvage operations were the subject of this January article. While Indonesia had suffered several air disasters over the past decade, the Sriwijaya crash into the Java Sea was cited as the worst by one of the divers involved in the rescue.
8) PwC Announces Post-COVID Hybrid Working Model for UK Workers
Post-COVID work regulations are a problem for companies around the world as they move in what is known as the “new normal” for their employees. (Work-from-home, office work or hybrid arrangements?). While a large number of articles spun in our top 100 international news programs about workers in a post-COVID world, the article about PricewaterhouseCoopers and its hybrid work model topped the list in eighth place.
9) Did you forget your passwords? You could soon be completely lost – with the help of insurers
This article discusses how insurance companies are increasingly demanding specific IT security improvements before cover can be tied – and potentially solving the problem of employees using passwords like “123456”. The article was written by James Patterson, Vice President, Cyber & Technology E&O at Ambridge Partners, a Managing General Agent based in New York City.
10) Commercial insurance prices rose 22% in the fourth quarter, but some lines started on the plateau: Marsh
Articles about interest rates and their moves, up or down, are always well read and 2021 was no exception. This article on Q4 2020 tariffs was high on the list. Note: All rates continued to rise in 2021, although there are signs that some lines are stabilizing.
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