Insurer claims better policies for pleasure craft owners

Canopius has completed the line up of a new UK marine and pleasure craft team by hiring two more staff from Towergate, Insurance Times can reveal.

Tony Harris, the former chairman of Towergate Underwriting Marine, has been appointed divisional underwriter for UK marine.

Martin Cardus has joined as head of marine trades, and was previously managing director of the marine trade division of Fusion, Towergate’s underwriting arm.

Both will report to UK specialty head of underwriting Paul Dilley.

They join yacht underwriting manager Amanda Privett and Sam Turner, who joined from Towergate last year.

UK specialty chief executive Tim Rolfe said yacht insurance appealed to Canopius because sales of leisure boats have grown over the last five years, while rivals’ policy wordings had not kept up with consumer demand.

For example, several rival insurers only cover yachts in UK waters, despite UK boat owners increasingly leaving their boats harboured in other countries.

Rolfe said: “In time we’d like to put together a meaningful book as part of our growth ambitions.”

Canopius wants to triple its UK book from £335m to £1bn within five years.

Rolfe said Canopius had “very warm relations with Towergate”, which were not disrupted by the team move.

“We approached the team on the basis that this was an opportunity to develop a new book of business with Canopius,” he said.

Canopius is also in discussions with Towergate about becoming a capacity provider for its marine underwriting business.

It will look to distribute its yacht products to UK brokers either wholesale via K Drewe, an independently run broker it bought in 2011, or on a delegated authority basis for brokers with a larger number of clients.

Canopious was acquired by Japanese insurer Sompo in December. Rolfe said the security of Sompo’s ownership made Canopius an appealing place to work.

“It gives us the confidence and resource necessary to grow our business and to know the results of that investment will be realised over time rather than necessarily being pressured into immediate benefits,” he added.