Africa Specialty Risks (ASR), a reinsurance managing general agent focused on the African corporate and specialty market, announced it has launched a fully capitalized and licensed reinsurer based in Mauritius.
Alongside the reinsurer license, ASR has also been granted a license in Mauritius to act as an MGA.
ASR is backed by Helios Investment Partners, the largest Africa-focused private investment firm, through its private equity fund Helios Investors IV, which was launched in June 2019. Its investors include CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution) and the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), as well as institutional investors.
In addition to the local reinsurance capacity, the group announced in February it had secured a multi-year binder capacity of up to $25 million per risk through a partnership with India’s GIC Re and annual capacity from Hong Kong based Peak Re. This has been supported and completed with the help of Aon.
“We have identified a sustained lack of adequate insurance capacity across Africa, which has been exacerbated further by COVID-19 as global reinsurance providers focus on their home markets. ASR has been established to address this gap by providing specialist risk mitigation products which companies and capital providers operating in Africa have found difficult to access to date,” commented Souleymane Ba, a partner at Helios Investment Partners.
In addition to the operation in Mauritius, ASR plans to establish business development hubs in six other African countries, namely Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Nigeria. ASR will be investing in local training of the market in specialty insurance lines, where appropriate, as well as recruitment and infrastructure surrounding the hubs.
“[Mauritius] has an educated population, making it an ideal reinsurance hub because there is an abundance of potential skills that can be developed further with training. It already has an established insurer presence expanding into the continent, and we believe that Mauritius has the capability to become the reinsurance hub for Africa,” commented Mikir Shah, CEO of Africa Specialty Risks, who is a former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks. (In addition to Shah, ASR is also led by Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations).continued.
Shah said Mauritius will be one of the ASR’s major operations. “We are delighted to have both our reinsurer and insurance manager licenses in place as we prepare to establish our business on the ground. We will have underwriting, claims management, office support, compliance, accounting and business development functions in Mauritius. We will shortly be making further announcements regarding our plans for recruitment on the island,” he added.
Launched in September 2020, ASR now provides bespoke insurance solutions in property, construction, political risk, trade credit, energy, liability and war, political violence and terrorism, with further lines of business in development.