CNA is set to extend its reach in the alternative energy insurance market with the opening of its first office in the Republic of Ireland.

The insurer has set up operations in Dublin in order to establish a presence in the broker market, where it will initially write around €3m of business.

David Leary, formerly of Norwich Union (NU), has been recruited to head up the Irish operations as distribution manager.

He will be responsible for the promotion of all CNA's product lines, but Andrew Coutts, UK and Ireland director, said a particular push will be made in specialist lines, including wind energy.

Coutts said: "We have a number of products in the alternative energy field and very much a leading product in wind energy. With Ireland potentially becoming the largest market for wind energy in the next 20 years it is an area of particular interest.

"The move into Ireland underlines CNA's commitment to the broker market and demonstrates the company's very real desire to invest and grow its European insurance business," he added.

CNA is expected to expand its Irish operations in 2008 with the recruitment of a team of dedicated underwriters.