Daily Willis Review – January 16, 2018

Argo Group renews collateralized sidecar
Argo Group has renewed Harambee Re, its collateralized reinsurance sidecar vehicle, for the 2018 underwriting year, the risk transfer blog Artemis has reported.

Harambee Re was first established in 2013 as Argo Group began to work with third-party investors to gain access to efficient reinsurance capacity, the report said.

According to the report the Harambee sidecar has been focused on providing capacity to back Argo’s reinsurance underwriting book since 2015.

The renewal of the Harambee vehicle in 2018 is to aid Argo in securing a source of alternative capital to back specific property portfolios underwritten by its reinsurance division Ariel Re.

Mark E. Watson III, Argo Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Harambee Re enables us to materially increase underwriting capacity for key business units and provide a more valuable product offering to the market.

“This renewal ultimately positions us to more aggressively pursue our mission to help businesses stay in business by providing innovative insurance and reinsurance solutions that meet and exceed expectations.”

European reinsures to see rate increases of 1.5%: Deutsche Bank
Analysts at Deutsche Bank are maintaining a positive outlook on the European reinsurance sector and expect a price increase of 1.5% over the next two years, Reinsurance News has reported.

The January renewals season is the most important for European reinsurers as roughly 50% of the entire portfolio is being renewed during the period, the report said.

While the sustainability of any price increases has yet to be seen in the market, Deutsche Bank believes there is some short-term visibility for reinsurers.

Deutsche Bank analysts said: “Simplistically, this suggests a c.10% price increase on 15% of the portfolio that was loss affected and merely stable pricing on the remainder of the portfolio – which we think is not aggressive.”

The analysts added: “If we see price increases as expected in 2018, then the spill-over effects should still lead to at least stable price levels in 2019. Within our reinsurance models we reflected a real price increase of 1.5% over 2018/19 which is split into 1.25% in 2018 and 0.25% in 2019.”

Davies Group acquires R&Q Insurance Services and Captive Management operations
Randall & Quilter has sold its Insurance Services and Captive Management Operations to Davies Group, a leading operations management, consultancy and digital solutions provider.

The agreed valuation for the businesses being sold is £20 million ($27.5 million), the net cash consideration payable by Davies, after deducting net debt applicable to the businesses, is approximately £18.6 million ($25.6 million), the company said.

Included in the sale is the share capital of JMD Specialist Insurance Services group and its subsidiaries, as well as Randall & Quilter Bermuda Holdings and its Quest subsidiaries.

Ken Randall, R&Q Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The sale of our Insurance Services and Captive Management operations is a significant milestone in the Group’s decision to simplify its operations and focus on our core areas of legacy acquisitions and the writing of quality program business, which is mostly reinsured to highly rated reinsurers.”

Brit strengthens professional lines offering with new hire
Brit has appointed Rich Hartman as Senior Vice-President, Construction Professional at Brit Global Specialty USA (BGSU).

Based in New York, Mr. Hartman will be responsible for building and developing a construction professional book and will report directly to Tom Bongi, Executive VP of Professional Lines.

Mr. Hartman brings more than 35 years’ industry experience, with extensive experience in the construction sector.

He joins Brit Global Specialty USA from Arch Insurance Group, where he led the design and environmental division.

Nick Davies, President, Brit Americas, said: “Rich’s hire by BGSU builds strongly on the progress we have been making in developing and growing our Professional Lines offering under Tom Bongi’s leadership.

“Rich brings both a long-track record in the industry and a high level of technical expertise and we look forward to delivering his skills to our clients in the construction space.”