An insurance start-up led by industry veterans Greg Hendrick and Dinos Iordanou is launching with $1 billion (around AU$1.34 billion) in equity capital from Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman and management.
Vantage Group Holdings will initially provide reinsurance, and plans to later underwrite other coverage as well, according to a Bloomberg report. Hendrick, former CEO of AXA XL, will serve as the start-up’s CEO. Iordanou, who previously headed Arch Capital Group, will serve as non-executive chairman.
The industry veterans have picked a relatively good time to launch a new reinsurer. Reinsurance companies have seen better pricing and terms and conditions lately. A series of natural catastrophes from 2017 through this year, along with man-made losses like airplane crashes and a broad increase in loss costs, have made the timing even more attractive, Hendrick told Bloomberg.
“All that was brewing and that’s what Dinos saw before COVID hit, and then when COVID hit, it became clear that that was not the changing moment – it was the last straw in the back,” Hendrick said. “We’re going to step in right now when others are stepping back to fill a void that brokers and customers need.”
Iordanou contacted Hendrick to pitch the idea for the new company the day after Hendrick left AXA XL, according to Bloomberg.
“I had the urge to get back into the business in some way,” Iordanou told Bloomberg. He said that starting a new business, rather than joining an existing one, “allows us to sort of make our own painting.”
Vantage plans to begin offering reinsurance coverage, including property catastrophe and specialty risks. It will focus on underwriting and plans to keep its investment portfolio “pretty vanilla,” Hendrick told Bloomberg.
Brian Schreiber, head of Carlyle Group’s insurance solutions business, said that Vantage would combine technology and data analytics with a focus on underwriting to help it succeed in all market environments.
“Timing is very important in these kinds of insurance enterprises, when you get them started and when you get your capital deployed, but it’s not everything,” Schreiber told Bloomberg. “It’s really about being able to select and price risk and manage capital efficiently through the cycle. We are very focused on Vantage being an underwriting-driven business. And with Dinos and Greg, you have two executives who have a proven ability and track record of having done that throughout cycles.”