Jobs lost and London office closed as insurer withdraws from commercial let property

IGI Group has pulled out of the UK commercial let market, closing down its London office at the same time.

In a letter seen by Insurance Times, which was sent to brokers, the company said: “Following a review of its business strategy, IGI has decided to focus on core accounts and has taken the decision to discontinue underwriting commercial let insurance.”

IGI confirmed that it had made a number of London-based staff redundant at the end of June after it was acquired by US insurer, AmTrust.

Max Caviët, president of AmTrust International, told Insurance Times: “When AmTrust acquired IGI it was always our business plan to focus on under-served niche products.”

Caviët said the London office, which was brought in by the company’s previous owner, Icelandic insurer Vátryggingafélag Íslands hf (VÍS), handled larger commercial property risks that did not fit its business model.

IGI admitted that the closure of its London office would mean the London market property account, which included some international business, would cease.

But, the insurer insisted it would continue to write its normal, provincial property account, including residential and property let, as well as caravan and legal expense insurance.

Caviët denied speculation that the withdrawal from the commercial property market was related to recent flood losses in Yorkshire.

Suggestions had been made that the company had suffered £2m of losses as a result of business interruption claims, which were set to rise.

He insisted: “[The office closure] has absolutely nothing to do with the floods as staff were officially given their redundancy letter through normal procedures on 18 June.

“It is not to my knowledge that we have suffered £2m in losses.There will be some losses but I don’t know the extent of those losses.”

Meanwhile, Broker2Broker Insurance Services, which sells UK commercial property insurance on behalf of IGI through its online quotation site, insisted it was standing by all the outstanding IGI quotations.

Jason Gandy, B2Bi director, added: “We use a wide panel of insurance companies. Therefore the fact that one insurer has decided to withdraw from the UK market will not affect our ability to offer instant competitive quotations.”