Pioneer Underwriting – Everything you need to know
7 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 3AR, UK
US$25.15 million (according to 2018 annual report)
| Size (employees)
| Global Locations
UK, USA, Switzerland, Belgium
| Underwriting Expertise
Property, marine, casualty, and energy insurance
| Key People
Group CEO: Andrew McMellin
About Pioneer Underwriting
Pioneer Underwriting operates in more than 20 underwriting facilities via Lloyd’s and non-Lloyd’s platforms across the property, marine, casualty, and energy markets. Its four active insurance and reinsurance underwriting teams are Pioneer CAT, Marine Specialty, Financial Institutions, and International Property Facultative.
Pioneer Underwriting established the Pioneer CAT team in September 2013 to provide property catastrophe reinsurance underwriting, distribution, and portfolio management services to customers worldwide.
The company’s marine specialty business underwrites across the cargo, project cargo, fine arts & species, and political violence markets. Its cargo coverage protects goods in transit, stock, and standalone storage from all risks of damage and physical loss. Meanwhile, its coverage for project cargo offers comprehensive protection for customers, brokers, lenders, and suppliers.
Its coverage for fine arts & species protects museums, private collections, auction houses, commercial galleries, and exhibition organisers from damage and physical loss. Meanwhile, its political violence product provides coverage for damage or physical loss extended to business interruption for terrorism, riots, strikes, civil commotion, war, and civil war.
Pioneer Underwriting also provides bespoke insurance solutions for start-up and large asset management firms worldwide, and its International Property Facultative team focuses on primary property facultative and binder risks.
History of Pioneer Underwriting
Pioneer Underwriting was founded in 2011 to offer quality insurance and reinsurance products and services in the UK. The company has since grown organically until it launched a new division in 2013 – Pioneer CAT, which incorporates property catastrophe reinsurance underwriting.
In 2014, Pioneer Underwriting launched Incidental Sub Syndicate 1980 in conjunction with Liberty Syndicate 4472, which writes Pioneer businesses and supports the company’s MGAs and insurance carriers. The company also established the Financial Institutions business, which focuses on the global fund management sector.
Pioneer Underwriting was busy in 2015 as it launched an EU regulatory compliant product for alternative investment managers. It provides traditional financial lines coverage and ensures that policyholders remain compliant with the insurance provision requirement of the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). The firm also launched Pioneer Natural Resources (PNR), which underwrites a portfolio of onshore energy risks.
During the same year, Pioneer Underwriting launched its marine specialty underwriting capability division, which underwrites a portfolio of cargo, fine arts & species, and political violence risks. It also commenced underwriting Excess & Surplus Casualty, launched the Zero Capital AIFMD Investment Management Insurance Policy, and added PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited to the Pioneer CAT team. The firm also partnered with Simmons & Simmons LLP to provide regulatory and risk management support to Pioneer Underwriting’s financial institution customers.
In 2016, Pioneer Underwriting launched a comprehensive financial lines product that covers investment management activities.
In 2018, the firm launched a Latin American hub that complements the company’s international facultative underwriting operations in London. It also launched a product addressing the needs of investment managers relating to cyber risk.
In 2019, Pioneer Underwriting created a global platform for its Financial Institutions division and merged with specialty insurance services holding company K2 Insurance Services LLC.
Leadership at Pioneer Underwriting
Andrew McMellin – Group CEO
McMellin joined Pioneer Underwriting as the group chief executive officer (CEO) in October 2018 after years of serving senior roles in other companies.
Before joining Pioneer Underwriting, McMellin was the CEO of XL Catlin’s UK & Ireland Insurance business as well as a member of Catlin’s group executive committee and insurance leadership team. He also served as the CEO for Catlin US and UK, and the deputy group chief underwriting officer of Catlin Group’s insurance and reinsurance businesses.
Previously, McMellin was a class underwriter for general liability at Amlin and a divisional director for Willis Towers Watson’s London broking team.
Culture at Pioneer Underwriting
Pioneer Underwriting supports children and young adults by providing educational opportunities, strengthening family relationships, and addressing harmful behaviours.
In 2016, Pioneer Underwriting partnered with Greig City Academy (GCA) to support the school’s sailing programme and provide insurance experience to sixth form students. In 2017, the school completed the Fastnet Race – making it the first state school to enter a team and receive an RYA special award, the Musto Median Prize. It also completed its second Fastnet Race in 2019 and regularly competes in keelboat races worldwide.
In 2020, Pioneer Underwriting supported Harrow Horizons as its charity of choice for the year. The charity helps young adults by offering mental health and therapeutic support such as early intervention and addressing the risk of homelessness.