Asta, the London-based Lloyd’s third party managing agent and specialist MGA investor, announced it has agreed to invest in the development of Arma Underwriting Ltd. Asta will take a minority equity stake in Arma and will also support the company’s infrastructure including finance and IT.
Arma received “in principle” approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority on Feb. 19, and remains subject to approval by Lloyd’s and the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Backed by Lloyd’s capacity, Arma intends to underwrite a broad spectrum of reinsurance capacity, designed to support local insurance companies in the Middle East, Asta said.
The MGA will be under the leadership of Michael Rafter as chief executive officer and will have an office in the Dubai International Finance Centre led by Hajar Fadel as senior executive officer. (See below for their biographies.)
They will be joined on the board by former AIG president and former CEO of Oman Insurance Co., Patrick Choffel, with Asta’s CEO Julian Tighe and director of underwriting Simon Norton on the board to represent Asta’s investment interests in the business.
Arma will “actively contribute to the continued development of reinsurance capability in the Middle East,” said Tighe. “Asta is committed to supporting innovative MGAs like Arma as they develop new lines of business not currently seen by the market.”
Tighe explained that Asta provides business and regulatory support, combined with investment, for start-up MGAs. “The success of our efforts so far is driving a very healthy pipeline of interest from successful underwriting teams, keen to set up their own insurance enterprise.”
“We are committed to the development of the reinsurance market in the region, and we will quickly be adding real value to our brokers and insurer clients,” said Arma’s CEO Rafter. “Asta’s investment in us and the high-quality infrastructure they have put around our business, is allowing us to focus our energies on the development of our underwriting operations and the needs of our clients.”
Michael Rafter, chief executive officer, Arma, has more than 26 years of experience covering various senior roles across the globe, with the past 11 years based in the UAE. He formerly was head of general insurance at Oman Insurance Co. He spent much of his career underwriting in the Middle East and other emerging markets, having previously held senior roles at AIG. His career has spanned all aspects of commercial and consumer lines through general management, underwriting, brokerage and reinsurance.
Hajar Fadel, senior executive officer, Arma, was previously a senior executive vice president at Oman Insurance Co., with “a proven track record of managing partnerships with multinational insurers across lines of business,” said Asta. Prior to that, Fadel was an affiliate with McKinsey & Co.’s insurance practice across Europe and the Middle East.
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