Isle of Man insurer authorised as Gibraltar tightens up

Isle of Man-based IOMA Insurance Company has set up an operation in Gibraltar to write after-the-event (ATE) insurance.

The insurer was granted its licence by Gibraltar's Financial Services Commission (FSC) last week. IOMA chairman Robin Bigland said it had chosen Gibraltar in order to expand its operations further into Europe.

"We have been specialising in the pecuniary loss market for many years and have watched the state of the market for some time.

"We know that there is a way of writing legal expenses profitably and we wanted to choose the correct jurisdiction, which allows us, in the long term, proper access to Europe. This is a necessity," he said.

But Bigland said it was too early to give any projections on how much premium income the operation would write.

"What we will concentrate on is correctly writing legal expenses, namely a business plan which shows net claims against net earned."

He said nine staff were based in Gibraltar at present, but he said he hoped to employ up to 12 people as the business grew.

Meanwhile, head of insurance supervision at the FSC, Chris Collins, said last week that he expected "at least 25% solvency margin" for any new start-up looking for an application in the domicile.

"This is a minimum requirement if the company does not have a claims track record or inherited risk portfolio," Collins said.

He added that he would also reject an application from any "insurance broker wishing to run an insurer without a proper risk-taking background".