Canopius Launches Swiss Reinsurance Operation; Seeks Omega Deal

January 10, 2011

Canopius Group Limited, a privately owned Lloyd’s re/insurer, has announced its intention to “extend its international footprint with the establishment of a reinsurance underwriting platform, Canopius Europe, based in Zurich.”

The bulletin said the “new operation will initially have a dedicated focus on European treaty reinsurance business and will underwrite on behalf of Canopius Group’s Syndicate 4444 at Lloyd’s, subject to necessary consents.”

It is expected to commence operations in mid 2011 and “will be headed by Eric Gutiérrez, currently Senior Vice President, ACE Tempest Re International and General Manager, ACE Reinsurance (Switzerland). Canopius Europe will form part of Canopius’ International operating division, headed by Jim Giordano, Group Chief Underwriting Officer.”

Chairman Michael Watson commented: “I am delighted by this latest strategic development for Canopius and that Eric Gutiérrez will be joining our Group. Eric is a high caliber and experienced reinsurance professional, ideally suited to leading this new platform for Canopius. Zurich is a major financial centre and has become a well supported and established reinsurance hub, making it an ideal location for our expansion into Europe. The creation of Canopius Europe complements our existing activities in London, Bermuda and Singapore and supports the growth of our global reinsurance portfolio.”

Canopius is also reported to be interested in acquiring fellow Lloyd’s, Bermuda-based Omega Insurance Holding Limited. In a press release Omega’s directors noted that the group had “received an unsolicited approach from Canopius proposing an offer comprising a mixture of cash and unquoted share consideration.”

The statement added that there is “no certainty that an offer will be forthcoming, nor as to the terms of any such offer. Whilst any approach which may be in shareholders’ interests will be duly considered, the Board continues to build the business. The Board has consulted with Invesco Perpetual, the Company’s largest shareholder, who is supportive of that position.

“A further announcement will be made if appropriate.”

Source: Canopius and Omega

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