Insurance veteran Patrick Snowball joins Sabre board

Former Aviva UK and Suncorp chief executive Patrick Snowball has joined Sabre’s board and will chair the motor insurer’s listed company, if it goes ahead with an initial public offering (IPO).

Sabre has set up a new company, Sabre Insurance Group Plc, in preparation for a possible listing. Snowball is listed as chairman of the new company on Companies House.

The new company was set up last Thursday.

When companies are considering an IPO, they need to choose or set up a legal entity to be listed and appoint a board for it.

Personal lines broker BGL, which is also planning an IPO, has recently undergone a similar process.

The process is not necessarily a confirmation that a company has decided to float.

Sabre chief executive Geoff Carter is listed as chief executive of the listed entity, and Sabre finance director Adam Westwood is listed as the new company’s chief financial officer.

Ian Clark is listed as an independent non-executive director of the new Sabre company.

Sabre is currently majority-owned by private equity firm BC Partners, and co-founder and chairman Angus Ball owns 18.8%.

Recent news reports have suggested the company is now focusing on an IPO after a potential sale to a consortium of private equity house Centerbridge and reinsurer Qatar Re fell through.

The reports said an IPO could value Sabre at £600m.

Sabre chief executive Carter declined to comment on Sabre‘s future ownership but confirmed that Snowball had joined the specialist motor insurer’s board.

He told Insurance Times: “Patrick is a very experienced general insurance executive. He has got a lot of experience in the UK and Australia, and we are really pleased to have him join us on the board.”

Snowball was chief executive of Aviva’s UK business until 2007. After a stint as deputy chairman of Towergate, he headed to Australia to become chief executive of insurance giant Suncorp. He left Suncorp at the end of 2015 amid rumours that he would return to the UK general insurance industry.

BC Partners declined to comment.