The timing was right for Alliant Insurance Services to launch Alliant Re, its reinsurance brokerage division, after it had built out enough capability and put together a strong team to lead its foray into the market.
In conversation with Insurance Business, Peter Arkley (pictured), president, Alliant Retail Property & Casualty, stressed it was the “natural progression” for the firm, one of the largest and fastest growing insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the US.
Alliant has also established itself in Canada through its Calgary and Ottawa offices.
“We have the tools as well as the individuals to go to market and have impact in the reinsurance space,” Arkley said.
“We saw a natural opportunity for our own reinsurance operation, to work with our specialties and with our underwriting operations, and putting together facultative placements on the back of a lot of the programs we have.”
As to the motivations behind the venture, Arkley said: “Our businesses are using reinsurance, and essentially, we wanted to get into that business ourselves. We felt like creating our own facultative operation was the best first step.
“Alliant also got to a size where it really made sense for us. If you look at the alternatives of what business the businesses you get into for us going forward, reinsurance was a natural progression for the company.”
Alliant had spent several years building out its technical capacity, especially in data and analytics, ahead of the launch in late April.
Armed with its parent firm’s extensive industry partnerships and insurance expertise, Alliant Re aims to deliver customized reinsurance solutions to its clients.
The reinsurance brokerage’s offerings include facultative insurance, automatic and semiautomatic reinsurance structures, deductible buy-downs, captives, managing general underwriters (MGU), and individual risk placements and programs.
Arkley envisions Alliant Re as supporting the wider company’s specialized business, particularly in property and construction. He also cited the strong relationships Alliant has built with carriers as a boost for its new reinsurance arm.
“We have great relationships we've built up with the markets over the years, and we think insurance carriers would support Alliant Re as a solid reinsurance partner,” he said.
Property reinsurance is in tough cycle as shown by this year’s 1/1 renewals. Amid losses from natural catastrophes, economic uncertainty, and the lingering impacts of COVID-19, reinsurers are shying away from key markets or shifting their business away from reinsurance altogether.
“In some areas, it’s still very difficult market,” Arkley acknowledged. “Certainly, some types of specialty businesses we have are considered difficult placements. We would look to Alliant Re to provide reinsurance expertise in these areas.
“We've hired some very good people that are respected in the facultative field, and we believe that those talented folks can really get those deals done.”
For Arkley, data and analytics are key to surmounting the challenges in reinsurance. A team of about 20 individuals have worked exclusively on Alliant’s proprietary data and analytics capabilities over the last two years to “tell the story of the market” for clients, he shared.
“We’ve been working on our data and analytics developments over the last few years. We intent to go deeper into those analytics with our reinsurance operation,” Arkley said.
“It’s about making sure that the underwriters have the tools to make decisions, so we've been investing in that and developing that.”
Finally, a strong management team served as the last piece to complete the Alliant Re picture. Nick Ambriano, a more than 20-year veteran in the reinsurance field, had been tapped as executive vice president and managing director.
“I was very familiar with [Ambriano] and the talent that he brings to the table. We see Nick as a great leader who understands the business very well,” Arkley said. “I think that his leadership will be very good for us for developing Alliant Re into a major player in the reinsurance space.
“We felt that it was the right time for us [to launch a reinsurance brokerage], particularly since we had the right quality people,” said Arkley.
Alliant is embroiled in a legal dispute with rival broker Aon over its hiring of several key Aon personnel. Aon has sued for the former’s alleged “unlawful raid” of its employees for Alliant Re.
Alliant has vowed to defend against the allegations.
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