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AM RE Syndicate owners launch E&S carrier AM Specialty Insurance

Am Re Syndicate owners Shevawn and Simon Barder have launched a new E&S carrier, Am Specialty Insurance Company (Asic), in a move to expand the group’s underwriting platform into risk retention, CEO Shevawn Barder told Inside P&C.

In an interview with this publication, the executive said that the new specialty carrier and Dallas-based Am Re will operate “in tandem” as sister companies, under AM Holding Company.

Further, Am Re will continue to operate under third-party capacity, while Asic will offer paper to other program managers. The E&S carrier will play only in non-nat cat specialty lines by providing low limits coverage.

“There are three capabilities that Asic can achieve: a paper provider ... a hybrid solution where it provides paper and risk shares, or a full stack accredited reinsurer,” Barder said.

“Asic will allow us to harness our deep industry knowledge and participate as a risk-sharing partner alongside our clients and supporting securities. We will have skin in the game.”

“We won't really channel the capacity through Am Re because that's just not the most efficient structure, but it certainly will work alongside as a complementary company,” she added.

Shevawn Barder will lead the carrier as CEO, and Am Re CUO Simon Barder will lead the firm’s underwriting platform. Asic plans to add new talent in the coming months.

The executive has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, where she has also been an entrepreneur, having first founded Marine Re – later sold to Ironshore – and then Am Re.

Asic will have a focus on specialty lines such as transportation, ocean marine, cyber, general liability and inland marine as a non-admitted carrier.

The executive also said that the new E&S (re)insurer, currently authorized in Arizona, intends to write business nationwide and is in the process of getting approvals.

“At Am Re, we defined our model writing business as one that has low limits, is geographically well spread and is non-nat cat exposed. We will continue to do the same with Asic.”

“Although authorized in Arizona, we plan on gaining authorization across all 50 states as we transition toward being a full-stack balance sheet carrier,” the executive added.

Launching in a hard market

The launch of the new carrier comes amid a “Golden Age” for the E&S segment, characterized by surging growth driven by standard lines business passing into non-admitted channels.

Last month, AM Best reported that the US surplus lines sector booked a 25% increase in direct premium written last year, reaching a record $82.7bn, as demand for coverage across a growing number of high hazards and evolving risks continued to increase.

“The market is in a hard cycle, so our timing is opportune. However, we have been in this space already for over 20 years and see strength beyond the current market,” Barder said. “We are long-term players.”

“We have been working towards this launch for two years and are excited to watch the E&S and program industry expand.”

Hurricane Ian is also expected to prolong the hard phase of the E&S cycle. Losses in the excess property and excess auto segments, along with some specialty areas such as marine and energy, will rise, which could generate additional upward pressure as capacity tightens.

Further, growth within the E&S space motivated other players to seek expansion opportunities in the sector.

For example, companies such as Coalition and Old Republic announced the launch of E&S arms earlier this year, while other insurers such as Axis and Zurich have recently expanded their wholesale operations.

“Over the last couple of years, we have seen a significant expansion into the E&S sector, as it can quickly respond to demand within the primary market, unlike the admitted market,” Barder said.

“It's an excellent time to launch a new company.”

“Covid, Ukraine, Hurricane Ian and ongoing inflationary pressures all create momentum within the market. Momentum creates change, and change creates opportunity.”


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