Our Christmas Letter 2022
December 19, 2022
It’s hard to believe two things just now.
First, how can it already be time to write our annual Christmas letter? Second, is it really just a year since we were all locked down for the festive season? Time seems to go simultaneously quickly and slowly.
If you happen to be a property cat underwriter, you may also be wondering how it can be that there are only two weeks left this year to finish off all your renewals. Good luck.
Wherever you are in the festive cycle, we wish all of our clients, partners and friends in the industry a restful break and energy for 2023. It looks like it will be a busy year for everyone.
Oxbow Partners goes from strength to strength
2022 was another exciting year for Oxbow Partners. We grew the business by 40% and our team by 30%.
We are also proud of the impact we are having with our clients. Our average engagement size more than doubled in 2022, reflecting the fact that we are becoming more and more central to our clients’ strategic and transformation agendas.
We have been active across reinsurance, London Market and specialty and UK personal lines, and have supported on several transactions normally for private equity sponsors.
People and hiring
What is the thing we Partners are most proud of here at Oxbow Partners? It’s the team we have built.
We hire top graduates from the UK’s leading universities and senior consultants from top-tier competitors. Our people are inquisitive, analytical and engaged and hold their own against the very best performers in our industry.
But professional talent is table stakes: this is also the friendliest and funnest team any of us have ever worked with. It is a pleasure coming into work each day.
We have open roles at all levels in our consulting team and some in our business services team. Please let all of your friends and family know if they are planning a move in 2023.
We were very happy to win two awards this year: we retained our top-10 ranking for consulting firms in the UK for insurance by the Financial Times and won London Market Advisory Services Supplier of the Year at the London Market Forums People Awards. We’re proud of the reputation we are building: many thanks to the survey respondents and judges for recognising it. (If we knew who you were, we would thank you personally!)
New technology practice leader
Technology is not exactly a new topic for insurance, but one that seems nonetheless to be occupying the executive agenda more and more. Perhaps the thing that is different now to, say, a decade ago is that technology is now a critical component of strategy, whereas in the past it was just an enabler.
Technology has always been a significant component of our business and we were excited to welcome Neil Bayles, previously Director of IT Strategy, Architecture and Governance at QBE Insurance into the business as technology practice lead in November. Neil is already helping clients with topics like underwriter workbench development, policy admin and claims system selections, and data transformation. If these topics are on your agenda, drop him a line.
ESG – at Oxbow Partners and beyond
ESG has burst onto the corporate agenda in 2022 and our colleague Miqdaad Versi has built a fantastic practice advising reinsurers and specialty players in the UK, Bermuda and beyond on the topic. In early 2022 we published a ground-breaking report based on in-depth interviews with over 20 insurers, reinsurers and regulators in Bermuda.
But we feel strongly that if you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.
In Q1 we applied for B Corp accreditation. B Corp is a designation for companies who balance purpose for profit. We are proud of the transparent and meritocratic way in which we manage our business, and believe that B Corp certification is a badge that signals this to the outside world.
We were hoping to announce that we had received accreditation by now – but it seems many other companies had B Corp on their agendas this year so it’s a bit delayed.
2023: where to find us
Strategy for underwriters or underwriting strategy – sometimes but not always the same thing – is a big topic for many reinsurers and specialty players. If you need to do work in this area in 2023, drop Chris Sandilands a line.
We expect to remain busy in the reinsurance world in 2023 as more and more companies refocus from an intense renewal season to the scalability and operational effectiveness of their businesses. If this is you, please speak to George Hanks.
We also expect the London Market to continue investing actively in strategic transformation particularly around (digital) distribution as well as building the underwriting capability of the future. Run-off players will also be investing heavily in technology and transformation to manage their rapid recent growth. If this is you, please contact Greg Brown.
ESG will continue to confuse and delight. Boards will ask exec teams questions ranging from the basic to the specific. Miqdaad Versi can help you make sense of it all.
UK personal lines will settle down in 2023 after the gyrations of the FCA’s Pricing Fairness regulations. But this is a market where nobody can stand still – and many are still running fast. If you need to know what’s going on, then Paul De’Ath can help.
Technology will remain an evergreen topic across the insurance value chain. If that’s where you work, then Neil Bayles is watching his inbox.
If insurance M&A picks up again in 2023 after a slightly slow 2022, then various members of the team can help you understand the different aspects of the businesses you are looking at.
We look forward to working with you in 2023 and wish you all the best for the year-end break.
The Oxbow Partners team