Hamilton Insurance Group is considering strategic options amid growing momentum for deals involving insurance and reinsurance companies, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Bermuda-based group has been discussing options with potential advisers, including an initial public offering (IPO) and a private sale, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A transaction could value Hamilton at more than $2 billion, one of the people said. The group reported a book value of nearly $1.7 billion at the end of December. Listed peers trade at a premium to their book value.
Deliberations are preliminary and a transaction may not materialize, the people said, with one person suggesting that a deal is more likely to happen after hurricane season ends in November given the company’s underwriting exposure to natural catastrophes.
A spokesperson for Hamilton declined to comment.
The timing of the strategic discussions benefits from a number of industry tailwinds.
Investors have shown appetite in the sector, with shares in Skyward Specialty soaring since their New York debut in January. Reinsurer Everest Re successfully raised about $1.5 billion to fund growth last month. Bermuda-based Fidelis Insurance said in April it planned to seek a U.S. IPO.
Private sales have also returned, most notably the near-$3 billion divestment by AIG of its reinsurance unit Validus Re last month to RenaissanceRe.
Insurers have been racking up the premiums they charge to underwrite commercial risks for some time, providing a boost to their finances. Global commercial insurance prices rose 4 percent in the first quarter of 2023 after 21 consecutive quarters of price hikes, according to a market index by broker Marsh McLennan.
A property and casualty insurer and reinsurer, Hamilton was established in 2013 and was run by industry veteran Brian Duperreault until he departed in 2017 to become CEO of American International Group (AIG).
It has since been led by Pina Albo, with Hamilton deriving the bulk of its revenues from business in the United States followed by Britain, where it is active in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
Hamilton has a partnership with Two Sigma, whereby the assets which Hamilton generates are managed by the U.S. hedge fund. Such asset management arrangements have become commonplace in insurance in recent years.
However, a sale could be complicated by Hamilton’s convoluted governance structure, another person added. No one shareholder in Hamilton owns more than 11 percent of the group, while all investors have their voting rights capped at 9.5 percent, according to its 2022 financial condition report.
On the downside, profit in the insurance industry has been dented by underwriting losses from natural catastrophes, as well as by losses on investment portfolios amid rising interest rates.
But insurers have been taking steps to diversify their underwriting risks, while losses on investment portfolios are expected to ease from this year, one of the people added.
(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London and David French in New York; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi)