Prendergast and Lyons lead 2018 cyber rankings

CFC Underwriting’s Andrew Prendergast has been voted the top cyber underwriter in the London market, according to the third edition of The Insurance Insider’s cyber rankings survey.

Meanwhile, Jack Lyons of JLT Specialty was the highest-ranked cyber broker for the second time after coming first in the inaugural 2016 survey.

Powered by the survey data, this publication on Friday held its second Cyber Rankings Awards to celebrate the merits of London’s cyber underwriters and brokers.

Lyons and Prendergast were presented with the cyber broker of the year and cyber underwriter of the year awards, respectively, while the event also recognised the most-skilled professionals, “rising star” individuals and the best law firm and service provider supporting the cyber market.

Recognising the expansion of the cyber market, The Insurance Insider’s research team identified more professionals in the industry, which translated to a 25 percent year-on year increase in the number of individuals invited to participate in the survey.

A total of 648 validated nominations were received in the survey this year – a 40 percent increase year on year.

With better-than-ever participation levels, underwriters and brokers making it onto the overall league table rose by almost 25 percent compared to the 2017 survey.

The independent research generated a total of 648 nominations for best cyber underwriter and broker, creating an overall ranking of 105 underwriters and 87 brokers.

As in previous years, the study asked brokers to list their three preferred underwriters, while underwriters picked three intermediaries they rated most highly.

Survey respondents also had the opportunity to leave testimonials for who they think are the best cyber professionals. One broker said Prendergast was “creative, brilliant to deal with and always makes time to help”.

“A lot of Lloyd’s underwriters could do with a dose of his humility!” they added.

Young and experienced brokers, with experience in the market ranging from three to 20 years, confirmed Prendergast’s adaptability in the cyber market and chose him as their preferred underwriter.

Previous rankings research has shown respondents generally vote for individuals with a similar level of experience as themselves.

Prendergast has consistently featured in the top five in the last three years, comfortably rising to first place from third place 2017 and fifth place in 2016.

Some 63 percent of nominations that Prendergast received were top-choice votes.

Competition in the underwriting space changed up this year, with Alex Jomaa, the highest-ranked underwriter in 2016 and 2017, falling to 17th place. Jomaa joined the cyber team at Tokio Marine Kiln earlier this year after working at CFC since March 2015.

The second and third positions were taken by Matthew Lewis of CFC and Ben Maidment of Brit, respectively. The 2018 survey was the first time Lewis received votes for best underwriter.

On the broking side, Lyons crept up to take the top position, beating last year’s winner, Max Perkins of Lockton, by just six points. Perkins shared the runner-up position with David Rees of RKH Specialty. Rees, along with Lyons, came joint third in the 2017 ranking.

Underwriters described Lyons as “innovative” and “always seeking to find the best option for the client as well as having regard for market consistency”.

He was also the favourite among underwriters that had written between £1.5mn and £3.0mn ($2.0mn-$4.0mn) in gross premiums in the past 12 months.

Underwriters were given the chance to rate brokers on a set of attributes including risk knowledge, honesty/integrity, analytical skills, communication skills, diligence, ownership and responsiveness when things go wrong, consistency and creativity.

Last year’s winner Perkins was noted by underwriters for having exceptional risk knowledge, getting a perfect score of 5.0 out of 5.0 for this attribute.

On the whole, London market underwriters rated their broking counterparts most highly on honesty/integrity this year, with an average score of 4.5 out of 5.0 – consistent with previous years’ survey data.

Meanwhile, underwriters were rated most highly on their knowledge and experience, with an average score of 4.6 out of 5.0.

Creativity seemed to be an area to improve as underwriters and brokers scored lowest on this trait.

The importance of independence

The rankings work is undertaken by experienced research staff who share the ethos and values of The Insurance Insider, under the ultimate oversight of managing director Mark Geoghegan.

However, just as The Insurance Insider jealously protects its editorial independence, so does the standalone research team, operating autonomously from editor-in-chief Adam McNestrie and his team of journalists.

As such, the rankings and editorial businesses respect the necessary distance between the very different work that they do.

To gain full access to the survey data please contact Ben Bracken at ben.bracken@insuranceinsider.com