Insurance Investor - news round-up 26/5/23

A guide for all the news you may have missed in the investment space for insurers featuring Castel Underwriting, Honey Insurance, Asta, Harford Mutual, AIG, Ryan Specialty, and Encova Insurance.

Insurance Investor Editorposted on Friday, May 26, 2023

@Shutterstock. Weekly comings and goings and portfolio management news for the investment community in insurance.

Comings and Goings

Castel Underwriting

Castel Underwriting has appointed Anthony Williams as its new Chief Risk Officer (CRO). Williams announced his role on LinkedIn.

Prior to joining Castel, he was Interim CRO at IQUW and CRO at CNA Hardy. He has also held CRO and Group Actuary roles at Hardy (Underwriting Agencies) Limited. Prior to this, Williams was Associate Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Harford Mutual

Donald Fry, Harford Mutual Board member since 2005, has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors at the Maryland-based company.

Fry is the former President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), a regional business advocacy group. He joined the GBC in 1999 and became President and CEO in 2002. Fry has also previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland State Senate.

Fry has been a member of the Audit, Compensation (Chair), and Executive Committees at Harford. He succeeds Abigail Smith as Board Chair.

Smith was on the board for more than two decades. She joined in 2003 and in 2019 was elected the 12th Chair of the Board, the first woman to hold the position. During her tenure as Chair, Harford Mutual has seen a 54% growth in company revenue and a 44% growth in policyholders' surplus. At the Annual Meeting, Smith was re-elected for her final term, ending in 2026.

Harford Mutual also announced the elections of Sandra Rich and John DeMartini to the Board of Directors.

DeMartini is the former Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Nationwide Insurance and Nationwide Financial, retiring in 2021. He will sit on the Board's Governance and Risk Committees.

He is the former Executive Vice President and Principal of Towers Perrin, which was acquired by Guy Carpenter, LLC. DeMartini was Managing Director at Guy Carpenter before transitioning to Treaty Broker. He will sit on the Board's Compensation and Risk Committees.

Found in 1842, Harford Mutual finished 2022 with $327 million in direct written premium in ten states and Washington, DC.

Honey Insurance

Australian start-up insurer Honey Insurance has announced Galia Durbach as its new Chief Revenue Officer.

Previous to starting at Sydney-based Honey, Durbach spent 12 years at Hollard Insurance Australia in a variety of rules including Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Integration Officer, and Integration Lead. Prior to that she was at Investec and FirstRand Bank.

Founded in 2020, Honey focuses on retail insurance.


Lloyd’s third-party managing agent, Asta, has appointed Seema Bradbury as its Chief Risk Officer (CRO) and Liz Catchpole as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chair of Audit Committee. These appointments follow a number of changes made to the board late last year in line with long term succession planning.

Bradbury has 20 years’ experience in the market and joins from AXIS, where she was Group Risk Director and CRO of the managing agency. Prior to this, she held a variety of roles in the Lloyd’s and London market including at Lloyd’s, Beazley, ArgoGlobal and Miller. Bradbury will be part of Asta’s executive team, leading the business and with specific responsibility for the leadership and development of the risk management function.

Catchpole was appointed to Asta’s board in January 2023 and, subject to regulatory approval, will be appointed Chair of the Audit Committee. A certified chartered accountant, she has more than 20 years of executive board level experience gained primarily in the insurance, outsourcing and property sectors.

She is also an independent Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair at Investec Wealth and Investment; Independent Non-Executive Director, Senior Independent Director, and Audit Chair of GBG plc; and independent chairman of TP Bennett. She was previously Non-Executive Director and Chair of Audit at British Gas Insurance and British Gas Services. She will replace the current Audit Committee Chair, Andrew Hubbard, who has held the role for nine years.

“We are delighted to welcome both Seema and Liz to Asta,” said Lorraine Harfitt, CEO of Asta. “Seema will be a fantastic addition to the executive team. Her excellent leadership skills and expertise in risk management, as well as her recent involvement in culture and ESG initiatives will be of immense value to both us and our clients.”

M&A activity


AIG has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Validus Re, including AlphaCat and the Talbot Treaty reinsurance business, to RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. for $2.985 billion, consisting of $2.735 billion in cash and $250 million in RenaissanceRe common shares.

In addition, AIG will receive all capital in excess of $2.1 billion of shareholders’ equity of Validus Re and achieve future capital synergies of approximately $400 million from the recapture of reserves as a result of transferring the Validus Re balance sheet to RenaissanceRe, which together, as of 31 December 2022, was over $1.5 billion. The total estimated transaction value is expected to exceed $4.5 billion.

AIG will retain Talbot Underwriting and Western World, which were purchased as part of its 2018 acquisition of Validus Holdings Ltd., and which currently represent approximately $1.6 billion of AIG’s total gross premiums written.

On 2 May 2023, AIG announced that it reached an agreement to sell Crop Risk Services, also purchased as part of the 2018 acquisition of Validus Holdings Ltd. in 2018, to American Financial Group, Inc. for $240 million. This transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.

The sale of Validus Re is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Following the closing, AIG expects to make significant investments in RenaissanceRe’s DaVinci Reinsurance and Fontana Re managed funds through AIG’s Investment portfolio.

Encova Insurance

Encova Mutual Insurance Group and Pan American Life Insurance Company (PALIC) announced that Encova Life Insurance Company an affiliate of the Encova Mutual Insurance Group, will be acquired by and merged into PALIC.

The acquisition and merger will add approximately $60 million in revenues, $600 million in total assets, $38 million in insurance premiums to PALIC’s US life insurance business.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by Encova Insurance and PALIC’s Boards of Directors and is likely to close at the end of 2023, immediately followed by the merger of Encova Life into PALIC, subject to certain customary closing conditions, including approval by relevant insurance regulatory authorities.

Following the merger, all Encova Life policies will be assumed by PALIC. There will be no changes to product terms or features for current policyholders.

New Orleans-based Encova has in more than 20 countries across the Americas and 49 US states.

Ryan Specialty

Ryan Specialty has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Socius Insurance Services, a wholesale insurance broker headquartered in Northern California, from Abry Partners, employees and other shareholders. Socius will become a part of RT Specialty, Ryan Specialty’s wholesale distribution specialty.

Founded in 1997, Socius generated approximately $40 million of revenue for the 12 months ended 30 April 2023.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in July 2023.


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