Optio, the London-based MGA that comprises Ascent Underwriting, Cove Programs and broker Bay Risk Services, announced it has acquired specialist political-violence and terrorism MGA Newbridge Risk Partners from Castel Underwriting Agencies Ltd., the club-style MGA formation platform.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Newbridge launched on Castel’s MGA formation platform in 2015, writing a book of political violence and terrorism risks in emerging markets regions. With capacity from both Lloyd’s syndicates and company markets, its portfolio for industrial and commercial risks spans the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin and South America and Asia, said Optio in a statement announcing the deal.
The Newbridge team of Chris Kirby and Henry Buchanan are joining the Optio business with immediate effect, said Castel, noting that Optio and Castel will work together to ensure a seamless transition for the business.
Optio said the acquisition extends its niche expertise, complementing its political risk proposition for foreign direct investors, launched in November under veteran underwriter Nick Hedley.
“Huge opportunity exists in distributing Newbridge’s products to our core markets, particularly the U.S. via Optio’s well-established channels, and we look forward to working with them to realize its full potential as part of Optio,” commented Kevin Hastings, CEO of Optio.
Mark Birrell, chief executive of Castel, said: “The Castel business model is a proven structure enabling entrepreneurial underwriters to launch and build successful businesses. We are delighted to have supported Chris and Henry in building their business over the last four years using our proven platform and wish them continued success in the future.”
“Castel provided us with the support needed to launch our business to clients and brokers in our niche area quickly and successfully. We are now at the stage where we have the opportunity to continue our growth and development with the support of Optio Group,” said Kirby.
About Optio Group
The merger of Ascent Underwriting with Cove Programs and Bay Risk Services in September 2018 created a large independently-owned specialty MGA group called Optio Group. Ascent Underwriting is a specialist cyber-focused MGA, underwriting on behalf of a number of Lloyd’s syndicates. Formed in 2011, Cove is a provider of specialty insurance products. It comprises Cove Program Underwriting Ltd., a London-based MGA and approved Lloyd’s coverholder, and Cove Programs Insurance Services LLC, a California-based surplus lines intermediary. Cove-owned Bay Risk Services Ltd. is a Lloyd’s broker that specializes in placing and managing delegated authorities for coverholders.
Source: Optio and Castel Underwriting Agencies
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