Company hoping to hire teams defecting from larger firms

PPI complaints surge

Dubai-based insurance group International General Insurance (IGI) is looking to expand its UK operation through organic growth and hiring teams of people defecting from larger firms.

 The company is also hoping that the upgrade of its group financial strength rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to A- from BBB+, announced yesterday, will present it with more business opportunities in the UK.

 IGI UK chief executive Andreas Loucaides, who replaced IGI’s previous UK chief Peter Smith on 21 January this year, said IGI was hoping to capitalise on the fall-out from the merger and acquisition activity in the Lloyd’s market to hire teams of disenfranchised executives.

 The UK arm, which writes just under $100m (£67m) of annual premium and employs 19 underwriters, is hoping to hire teams that are responsible for between $10m and $15m of gross written premium, either in new areas or ones that compliment existing business lines.

 Loucaides told Insurance Times: “Some very good talent is going to be displaced by the mergers of some of these larger companies.

 “One or two of those teams would enhance us quite substantially if we are able to offer those individuals the opportunity to be part of a culture and an environment where the focus is 100% on the underwriting.

He added that the S&P upgrade could also help the company win new business in a highly competitive environment. “That rating allows us to open up more doors for business,” he said.

IGI’s UK division writes international business that comes to the London market, but it also plans to develop UK domestic business. At the end of last year it hired former AIG underwriter Michael Norman as a construction professional indemnity underwriter.

Loucaides said: “We are going to try and see if we can concentrate on that construction area where there is a tremendous amount of expertise within the group.”

Although IGI is trying to expand its UK division, Loucaides stressed that the main focus was profitability.

He said: “Growth plans are going to be very conservative because of the softening market.”

IGI’s UK division was established in 2011 as a subsidiary and is regulated by the PRA and FCA. The company also has a London-based underwriting agency called North Star Underwriting.

The IGI group was formed in Jordan in 2002. The writes a wide range of business classes, including political violence, aviation, marine and financial institutions.