Bermuda-based Ariel Re is launching Ariel Specialty Insurance Managers (ASIM), a new Atlanta-based surplus lines property insurance underwriting unit. The venture will offer up to $20 million of limit starting on Mar. 1.
Ariel Specialty will write the business through wholesale brokers (on a limited appointment basis) and on behalf of Ariel’s Lloyd’s Syndicate 1910, Ariel Re said in a statement.
The $20 million limit is available for all risk, named storm and wind/hail property coverage on business with total insured values in the range of $5 million to $250 million.
Ariel Specialty’s focus is to be on property in coastal areas of Florida and the broader South East Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States.
Colin Mayo, executive vice president and chief underwriting officer, will lead the underwriting team. The number of individuals on the team and their names were not disclosed, although the announcement described the group as seasoned underwriters.
Mayo himself is a 17-year industry veteran. He was chief property officer for Rockhill Insurance Company, working there for nine years until December 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“The combination of Ariel Re’s superior track record in the property-catastrophe market, impressive financial backing and the security and flexibility provided by Lloyd’s of London offers an excellent platform for the development of Ariel Specialty,” Mayo said in a statement.
A former owner of Ariel, Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited, announced last July that it would sell Ariel Re to Brazilian investment banking firm Banco BTG Pactual S.A. (BTG Pactual). In August, Bloomberg reported that BTG Pactual would partner with shareholder Abu Dhabi Investment Council, which would take a 50 percent stake in the deal.
Ariel Re’s history dates back to 2005, when it was launched in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The first foray into the U.S. excess and surplus lines market came in 2007 when Ariel bought some shell companies that came to be known as Valiant Insurance Company and Valiant Specialty Insurance Company. Those companies have changed hands several times and are now part of Hamilton Insurance Group.
Prior to the ASIM launch, Ariel’s underwriting teams were located in London and Bermuda, including Ariel Re Bda Limited, which acts as a coverholder for Ariel Syndicate 1910.
Chris Fisher, chief underwriter of Insurance at Ariel Re Bda, said that Mayo and his new team are a good fit for Ariel as the group looks to grow its presence in the U.S. E&S marketplace, which he characterized as profitable.
Tom Hulst, CEO of Ariel Re Bda, added: “We are committed to the ongoing development of the Ariel franchise and adding a team of this caliber with best in class underwriting discipline is an important step in that process. Ariel Specialty will further equip the Ariel Group and its Lloyd’s Syndicate 1910 to successfully navigate the market and capitalize on growth opportunities as they present themselves.”
The announcement noted that ASIM will have regional underwriting capability in Kansas City, Mo., Dallas and Orlando, Fla.