Cobalt Becomes Insurer of Preference for Major UK Infrastructure Project

August 21, 2015

Shariah-compliant managing general agent Cobalt Underwriting has been selected as the insurer of preference for the proposed London Paramount Entertainment Resort in Kent, England.

Valued at £3 billion ($4.6 billion), the Paramount Studios-backed project is set to transform the Swanscombe peninsula, near Ebbsfleet.

Under the terms of Cobalt’s agreement, the underwriter will be given the opportunity to quote for every insurance contract required during its construction, the underwriting agency confirmed. Work is expected to start in two years, with the project due to open to the public in 2020, creating 27,000 jobs. It will transform the area and its links to Europe are expected to see the site rival Euro Disney as a major family attraction, Cobalt said in a press statement.

Cobalt Underwriting have been given the preferred status because much of the investment for the infrastructure work and construction is being provided by investors from the Gulf States and as such they are keen for the insurance to be placed in a Shariah-compliant manner, when possible, the company said.

Cobalt Underwriting said the development has become the first commercial venture to be awarded the status of a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project” by the UK government – such is the scale and importance of the development to the local economy. As a result of this designation, the development proposals will be reviewed and authorized by the Planning Inspectorate which reports to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Cobalt CEO Richard Bishop said the first insurance covers already have been put in place. “Much of the money financing the initial stages and possibly the full development project is money coming from the Gulf.”

“We have been selected as their insurer of preference as they would rather have their policies Shariah-compliant wherever possible. Cobalt will have the opportunity to provide the Shariah compliant options for the clients to consider and will always be asked to at least provide terms on each risk. We will however need to be competitive.” explained Bishop.

“Contracts for property owners liability and some environmental impairment liability have been issued,” he noted.

“There are an increasing number of major projects that have been announced this year in London, the UK and Europe which are backed by Middle Eastern and Islamic investors,” said Bishop. “We feel sure that the demand for Shariah compliant options when it comes to insurance will continue to grow and we are working with leading underwriters both inside and outside of Lloyd’s and the London market to provide the capacity to meet these demands. We are delighted with the progress we have made, and believe that the London market has a major opportunity to deliver real value to the Islamic investors and insurance clients.”

David Testa, chief executive of London Paramount, said: “We’re delighted to have Cobalt on board – this is another important step in the right direction for the future of the project.”

Source: Colbalt Underwriting

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