Private equity funding fuels underwriting agency’s drive into new markets.

Underwriting agency Dual International is eyeing the US market after opening an office in Hong Kong.

Dual, a division of the Hyperion Insurance Group, is also set to open a handful of new offices around Europe.

The London-based company, which was recently handed a £50m investment by private equity firm 3i, already operates through subsidiaries in Australia, Spain, Germany and Italy. It will use the investment to expand its global network.

Stephen Crowther, executive chairman of Dual International, said he was considering the possibility of moving into the US within the next three years.

Towergate recently said that it was also considering acquisitions in the US.

Crowther said: “There is a possibility that we would make an acquisition [in the US] to give us the impetus. There is some good money to be made there.”

The firm’s expansion into Hong Kong is the first move by Hyperion since the 3i investment. Crowther said the backing would open new doors for Dual. “It gives us the opportunity and the nudge so that we can be a little bit more speculative,” he said. “It also gives us the courage to move more quickly in developing new products.”

He said Dual would use its Hong Kong base to target directors’ and officers’ business, before looking into opportunities in the professional indemnity market.

“Hong Kong has appealing business that matches what we are looking to achieve,” he said. “We would be looking to open up in other regions too, and Korea is another one where there are opportunities.”

Crowther also revealed that the company was set to open offices in the UK and in Barcelona before the end of the year.

“We are also talking to people in Amsterdam and Paris, we are constantly looking at opportunities,” he added. “We will have more new branches in Europe within the next 12 months.”