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EC News (7 January 2021)

Round-up of the weekly news and developments from the global (re)insurance market with stories from Arch Insurance International, Global Risk Partners, BMS Group and more.

Arch Insurance International appoints Tim Watson as senior underwriter

Arch Insurance International has announced the appointment of Tim Watson as senior underwriter, credit and political risk, effective mid-2021.

In his new role, Watson will report to Ed Cornish, head of credit and political risk and will be responsible for underwriting activities across the Credit and Political Risk insurance portfolio, build on the Company’s growth to date in this sector and enhance its service capabilities.

Watson brings over 10 years of market experience within the Credit and Political Risk class of business. He most recently served at Canopius Group as credit and political risk underwriter. Prior to this, he was credit and political risk underwriter at ANV and terrorism and political violence underwriter at Jubilee.

Cornish said: “Arch has achieved strong growth across its Credit & Political Risk portfolio since the establishment of the team two years ago. Tim’s experience and expertise make him an ideal addition to our team and he will play a key role in helping to further strengthen our broker relationships in this highly competitive and fast-evolving sector.”

Global Risk Partners acquires Birmingham-based Newstead Insurance brokers

Global Risk Partners (GRP) has announced the acquisition of Newstead Insurance Brokers Ltd (Newstead) of Birmingham.

Newstead, founded 33 years ago, is a commercial lines broker writing corporate, SME and private clients insurance. Paul O’Donnell (managing director), directors Julian Simon and Sarah Giles and all staff will remain with the business.

The company, which is based in Edgbaston with representation in London and Stoke, will retain its brand name.

Stephen Ross, GRP’s head of M&A, said: “Newstead is a flag in the ground in Birmingham from which we are keen to build. Paul, Sarah and Julian have a strong entrepreneurial heritage and are hungry to grow organically and by acquisition.”

O’Donnell said: “GRP is a fantastic business for us to be part of and the opportunity to draw from their financial muscle, technology and range of services is great news for us and good for our clients too.”

“In the current hardening market and with the wider uncertainty from the pandemic, there is value to be had from being part of a bigger organisation with the great reputation for looking after its brokers that GRP enjoys.”  

Mike Bruce, GRP CEO, said: “I warmly welcome Newstead to GRP and look forward to them making a significant impact to our footprint in Birmingham.”

BMS Group announces the launch of its Asia broking operations

Independent specialist (re)insurance broker BMS Group has announced the launch of its Asia broking operations headquartered in Singapore with proposed operations in Hong Kong pending regulatory approval.

BMS Asia will initially focus on M&A insurance broking which will enhance the firm’s existing capabilities in that class of business in London, Canada and Australia.

Sandra Lee will serve as CEO of BMS Asia and is joined by Martijn de Lange and Aris Wong, who will hold the position of managing directors in the regional Private Equity, M&A and Taxation operation. Additionally, Amy Fu will serve as executive director in Singapore.

Nick Cook, CEO of BMS Group said: “This is the latest stage in our strategy to provide our clients with a competitive and diverse, globally integrated offering by establishing scalable hubs in the key insurance markets around the world. The M&A insurance market in Asia is evolving and maturing at pace, and we are delighted that Sandra and the team will be driving our initial offering in the region.

“We will look to expand out from M&A insurance into additional specialisms, extending our existing areas of expertise into other sectors, potentially including reinsurance, renewable energy, marine, and capital markets. We hope our ambition and entrepreneurial culture will continue to attract the very best talent in the market.”

Lee added: “The creation of BMS Asia is a really exciting development for insurance buyers in the region. As a leading independent broker, we can offer a genuine alternative to the world’s largest intermediaries and our independence gives us the freedom to be innovative and entrepreneurial and thus pursue the very best solutions for our clients.

“Growth in the Asian M&A insurance market is accelerating and we expect a robust increase in deal flow in 2021, with buyers looking for ways to protect their investments and sellers seeking the best solutions to reduce their liability post closing.”

Arch Capital names Nicolas Papadopoulo president and CUO

Bermuda based specialty reinsurer, Arch Capital Group has announced the promotion of Nicolas Papadopoulo to president and chief underwriting officer (CUO) for Property and Casualty Operations, effective 1 January 2020.

In his expanded role, he will report to Marc Grandisson, CEO of ACGL, and will have responsibility for Arch’s three operating segments, its insurance, reinsurance and mortgage underwriting businesses, as well as oversight of the Strategy and Innovations team.

Papadopoulo joined the firm in 2001 and currently serves as chairman and CEO of Arch Worldwide Insurance Group and chief underwriting officer for Property and Casualty Operations. He has served in his current role since 2017, having previously held the role of chairman and CEO of Arch Reinsurance Group.

Grandisson said: “I would like to congratulate Nicolas on this well-deserved promotion. His underwriting acumen is second to none and, as a founding member of our company, he has a demonstrated track record of success across several high-profile roles. Nicolas has a strong understanding of our businesses and, by aligning our three segments under his leadership, we will benefit from additional focus and coordination as our company continues its growth trajectory. With Nicolas’ operational oversight of the segments, I’ll be able to continue to focus on Arch’s long-term strategic priorities and fostering our unique, entrepreneurial culture.”

Papadopoulo said: “I am excited and humbled to take on this new role and look forward to continuing to work closely with Marc, our strong executive team and employees throughout our organization. With Maamoun Rajeh running Reinsurance, David Gansberg leading Mortgage, our current Insurance leadership team of Matt Shulman, Hugh Sturgess and John Mentz, and Jay Rajendra leading Strategy and Innovation, I believe we are well positioned to succeed in today’s market and to continue our strong history of managing our businesses throughout the cycle.”

John Pasquesi, chairman of the Board of ACGL added: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to congratulate Nicolas on this significant accomplishment. I have worked with Nicolas for nearly 20 years and am confident he will continue to find ways to unlock value for our shareholders.”

Conduit Re bolsters team with senior hires

Property and casualty reinsurer Conduit Re has strengthened its underwriting, management and executive team with a series of senior appointments.

Chris Board was named as head of international property and short tail specialty, Marc Bearman joins from AXA XL as head of specialty – marine and energy and Bianca Harris will become head of human resources.

Additionally, Greg Roberts has been appointed as head of property, Erik Soria as head of US casualty, Andrew Smith as chief risk officer, and Keith Griffin as chief actuary.

Conduit Holdings’ shares were admitted to trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange on 7 December 2020.

Conduit Re holds a Class IV license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority and has been assigned a Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) by AM Best.

Trevor Carvey, CEO and chief underwriting officer, Conduit Re, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues to the business. We are now well into the 1/1 renewal season and are underwriting business on the lines we have been targeting. Market conditions continued to strengthen in the run up to completion of our IPO and we are very pleased with the quality and terms of what we are writing.”

Neil Eckert, executive chairman, commented: “Conduit Re is off to a strong start, benefitting from the year of preparation we put into the plan prior to launch. We are pleased to recruit a number of high calibre individuals who fit with the team ethos we set out at IPO. We will issue a formal trading update to shareholders on 19th January 2021.”

Sompo International announces acquisition of W.Brown

Bermuda-based specialty provider of property and casualty (re)insurance, Sompo International Holdings announced it has acquired W. Brown & Associates Insurance Services (W. Brown), a general aviation insurer.

W. Brown has been a managing general underwriter (MGU) for Sompo International (SI) since 2016. Following the acquisition W. Brown operations will remain intact and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sompo International.

Sompo states the acquisition also complements the broader suite of SI’s Aviation Insurance and Reinsurance products, that aligns with its long-term growth strategy.

Chris Sparro, CEO, U.S. Insurance, Sompo International, commented: “We are delighted to formally welcome Scott Brown and his team of loyal, dedicated employees into the Sompo International U.S. Insurance platform. This acquisition displays our dedication to the long-term general aviation market and reinforces Sompo International’s commitment to building a portfolio of industry leading, diversified and profitable products. I look forward to continuing to work with Scott and his leadership team, who have grown the W. Brown organization into the industry leader that it is today.  I am certain that together, we will build on this strong track record of success and achieve even greater things in the years to come.”

Scott Brown, principal, W. Brown & Associates, said: “We are thrilled to combine the financial strength and reputation of Sompo International with our commitment to service for our customers as W. Brown has done for over three decades. We look forward to being a part of an organization that we know and trust and where we can leverage additional resources, technology, capabilities and capital to help support and advance our efforts on behalf of our valued clients.”