Aquila Underwriting has established WeSpecialty, a Paris-based MGA that will specialise in marine cargo insurance.
Heading up WeSpecialty as the MGA’s president is Patrick de la Morinerie. He was most recently deputy chief executive officer of AXA
corporate solutions France.
“We think that WeSpecialty, with its DNA of the various partners, can play a role in the marine insurance ecosystem to make the placement of risk exposure more fluid,” de la Morinerie said. While WeSpecialty will focus on marine cargo risk initially, the MGA will expand into other areas in the future when they make sense.
Aquila Underwriting was established in 2007 and selectively invests in and incubates MGAs with the eventual goal of selling them on when they become properly established. Christopher Spratt, chairman of Aquila Underwriting, explained WeSpecialty is a longer term investment for the company. He also said the support Aquila underwriting provides is more than just financial.
“It is important that our offering in terms of governance, in terms of regulatory support, in terms of all that stuff that sits behind a business, the coalface of the business, is really good, and we like to think we do that,” he said.
Spratt also explained the business is very selective about where it directs its investments.
“We have a clear and focused idea of where we want to go, where we want to take Aquila, how we want to grow and develop it,” he said. “Whether that be through the incubator vehicle or the investment vehicle. That doesn’t mean to say we preclude the windfall opportunities that might come our way.
“There is so much activity out there with consolidation in the market, not just here in London but elsewhere, that opportunities are coming our way and a lot of them are very compelling,” Spratt added. “We’re having to be increasingly selective, because we don’t have unlimited funds to support these opportunities.”
Aquila Underwriting recently sold its interest in Cove Program Managers, a MGA underwriting firm specialising in North American Construction risks that has been operating as part of Aquila since 2011.
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