Our Christmas Letter 2023
December 15, 2023
That was quick. It’s nearly the end of the year again. And that means that it’s time for our 2023 Christmas letter – a tradition we started back in 2018 and enjoy clinging onto as we take a moment to reflect on the year that has been.
As ever, we’d like to start by expressing our thanks for the support and trust that many of you have once again placed in us. 2023 has been another fantastic year at Oxbow Partners and we are happy to share a few highlights with our clients, colleagues and business partners.
Our 2023 highlights
2023 kicked off with the pleasant news that we have (for the third consecutive year) been named one of the top management consultancies in the UK by the Financial Times. Whilst awards are what Eric Ries would call a “vanity metric” in his must-read book The Lean Startup, it’s nice to be vain every now and again. (Interestingly, the author of this paragraph has just realised that “You’re so vain” is playing on the radio in the background – and having made that connection one must presumably conclude that we are so vain as to think that the song is about us…)
We were also pleased to be cited in RenaissanceRe’s November press release about their acquisition of Validus Re. As our client work is generally confidential, it is generous and kind of our friends in Bermuda to have ‘outed’ us as working on this high profile transaction. Again, with Sidley Austin named as the other advisors on the RenaissanceRe team, we are proud of the company we are keeping.
In March we announced that we have certified as a B Corporation, which is an accreditation for companies that balance purpose and profit. We are proud that our strong historic focus on culture and doing the right thing meant that we did not have to change anything material about the way we run the business to achieve the accreditation.
On 1 December we were pleased to announce some ‘personal news’ when we moved into our new offices at 68 King William Street. Londoners will know this as the old House of Fraser building at the top of London Bridge, onto which we have glorious views from our extensive new office. Please come and visit after your lunch at the Wolseley below!
People – and careers
The Partners continue to be blown away by the intelligence, capability and enthusiasm of our team with whom it is a joy and privilege to work. The calibre of new joiners each year is phenomenal and we are proud that we are able to attract and retain such talented people. The office atmosphere manages to be both “high performance” and deeply collaborative and supportive.
We continue to grow our team to support our growth and are looking forward to the next set of graduates starting in Q1. We are hiring at all levels so please have a look at the careers pages on our new website if you are keen to find out more.
Publications / Christmas reading
We have published a number of well-received reports in 2023. Here is some reading material for your comfy chair by the fire:
- In May we published a report on the UK motor market, where we forecast the 2023 and 2024 market loss ratios using our proprietary fundamental model of 21 players representing around 90% of market premium. Clients tell us it is the most robust market analysis of its type in the market.
- In January we published a report on using ESG data in underwriting, where we provided insights on how insurers can and are using ESG data within underwriting, based on the views of a wide-range of market participants.
- In September we published a report in conjunction with the London Market Group on the role that insurance plays in unlocking the potential of net zero projects. Aimed at parliamentarians and other decision makers, it showcases how insurance is already supporting the transition to net zero.
- In the summer, we were proud that Magellan, our insurance technology navigator, powered the Insurance Times InsurTech 50.
You can catch up on all of our articles and blog posts here, for example our note on London Market cycles, our eight tell-signs that you have a post-bind reinsurance processing issue, and series on Underwriting Workbenches.
We are proud that our analysis is often picked up by publications such as the Financial Times, who covered our motor report and quoted members of our team on topics including affordability and technology this year.
2024 outlook: Chapter 3
Our business goes into 2024 in a strong position. We have the track record, people and connections to make a real impact in the industry and get a step further towards our company mission statement: “to be the most trusted, best informed and most entrepreneurial insurance advisory firm and have more fun delivering than any of our competitors.”
In 2024, we start Chapter 3 of the life of this business. Chapter 1 was (only partly jokingly) called “don’t’ go bust”. Chapter 2 was “Broaden and Deepen” as we grew more meaningful relationships with more and more clients. Chapter 3 is about “elevating” our business to be one of the true powerhouses for strategy consulting in the insurance industry. We look forward to delivering on our strategy in the next years.
What do we actually do?
We continue to divide our time approximately equally between reinsurance, London Market / corporate & specialty and UK & Ireland Retail. Our reinsurance work takes us to Bermuda, the US and Continental Europe, whilst the other practice areas are more focused on London and Dublin.
Often our engagements are a continuous cycle of enabling senior leaders to make good decisions and supporting delivery. We describe the end-to-end process as “strategic transformation” and illustrate it on our website.
The context varies. In RenaissanceRe’s case it was an integration. For a London Market client we have been transforming the underwriting process by building a new underwriter workbench. For a leading UK personal lines player we have supported an end-to-end strategic overhaul.
We believe that our senior team is well positioned to advise C-level management on their options and trade-offs to define a strategy, and that our sector specialism means that our teams are able to work collaboratively and productively with executives across the organisation to deliver operating models and technology.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything.
In the meantime, we wish you a very happy end of year break and Christmas if you celebrate it.