Bermuda-based insurer Ace has signalled further expansion in Europe with a £200,000, 10% stake in new underwriting management company Momentum Underwriting Management (Mum).
And Ace Europe's chief executive, Steve Schleisman, said the company had another “half a dozen” projects that it would announce within the next year, at least one before Christmas.
Under the Mum deal, Ace Europe has entered into an underwriting agreement with Mum, which will provide speciality underwriting for personal accident and life reinsurance. There will also be some professional sport cover.
Mum's boss is Chris Branch, ex-Cigna Re. He is joined by Martin Power as chief underwriting officer for personal accident, and Marc Frost on the life side. The company has also recruited Mark Edwards as chief financial officer from Duncanson & Holt.
Neil Smith, Ace Europe's accident and health vice president, said Mum would be writing other lines of business too, but Ace had agreed pre-determined capacities, stated by class of business.
Branch said he expected the firm to write £28m of business in its first year. It opens in October in Lime Street, London EC3, but will underwrite for business from January 1.
Schleisman said the Mum move was part of Ace Europe's strategy to buy expertise where it has no presence. He said the takeover of Cigna, which happened in July last year, had been much more painless than other mergers, as the two companies had not been competing previously. “We didn't have two companies doing the same thing and have to decide which was doing it better,” he said.
The Mum deal too was “very complimentary as it fills a gap”.
Schleisman said a few more plans were in the pipeline. “They will not take this form,” he said.
The future ventures would include a business-to-business ecommerce venture and an “equity involvement” in a consumer ecommerce operation.