UK General and Aro Underwriting get capacity injection

Catlin, which aims to join Lloyd’s rivals Brit and Hiscox in becoming a greater force with UK regional brokers, has thrown capacity behind two managing general agencies working with UK brokers.

Catlin this week backed UK General with capacity for its liability book and also Aro Underwriting, an MGA targeting the UK and European schemes and affinity market, as revealed by Insurance Times.

Since April last year, when Catlin bought professional indemnity and directors’ and officers’ specialist Angel Underwriting, the Bermuda-headquartered insurer has been targeting UK brokers for business.

In May this year, Catlin unveiled a brand new suite of products through Catlin Select and then targeted SMEs with Catlin Online, which lets brokers quote and bind a range of polices online.

Catlin aims to leverage its brand in a similar way to Hiscox and Brit, which have broken out of their Lloyd’s shell in recent years, and now have a network of regional offices, targeting both the corporate and SME sectors. Over the past 10 years, Hiscox UK has grown its business by 360%, culiminating last year in £327m gross written premium at a combined ratio of 94.6%, roughly around a quarter of the group’s £1.4bn total premium income.  

In 2010, Brit’s UK commercial and specialist personal lines wrote £441.2m GWP in 2010, 28.8% of the group’s £1.53bn GWP.

Catlin Group is bigger than both Hiscox and Brit, with group GWP of $4bn (£2.48bn), but it is much smaller in the UK regions. By expanding in the UK, Catlin is also diversifying its allocation of capital, which falls in favourably with

Solvency II rules. The latest decision to back UK General and Aro with capacity will increase Catlin’s footprint in UK SME.

UK General will use the capacity to offer high-risk product liability insurance to a broker panel, starting this week. Catlin will also provide capacity for the Leeds-based MGA to access Catlin’s ‘Cargo’ product set, including transit, exhibitions, and stock throughput products.

The arrangement is open-ended and sits alongside UK General’s existing capacity agreement with Ageas.

UK General technical director Karen Smith said: “UK General will be able to offer a full product solution to brokers, as opposed to brokers having to place property and liability separately.” On Cargo, she said: “We now have the ability to offer a more complete insurance solution for the risks we want to write, on a one-stop shop basis.”

Aro is a creation of James Bright, – son of former Independent chief executive Michael Bright – who will become chief underwriting officer for the City-based underwriter.

Bright said he was drawn to schemes, having received a number of enquiries from brokers. He said: “We have a number of partners. Our plan is to work with a relatively small panel of brokers, many of whom we know already. We are looking to build schemes with others and offer quotes where we are able.”

Catlin declined to comment.