IGI’s entry into US E&S timed to perfection: Waleed Jabsheh

20-03-2020

IGI’s entry into US E&S timed to perfection: Waleed Jabsheh

Waleed Jabsheh, IGI

IGI is entering the US excess and surplus market at precisely the right time, with the market less competitive than it has been for years, according to Waleed Jabsheh, president of IGI. 

IGI, which recently completed a business combination with Tiberius Acquisition Corporation, redomesticated its holding company in Bermuda and listed on Nasdaq, is set to begin writing US excess and surplus business on April 1. It is likely to be just the first of a series of forays into new business lines, as IGI looks to expand its business, having secured the capital it needs to finance its ambitions. 

Jabsheh said: “US excess and surplus lines have been hardening very considerably, this is the most opportune moment to be entering that market in years.”

He noted that the US market has seen a number of larger players pulling back from particular lines, following several difficult years in which financial results have been disappointing. Some of the larger players have concluded the way back to financial health is to focus on fewer, core business lines, driving up rates and creating opportunities for new entrants like IGI. 

As a result, Jabsheh believes the timing of its deal with Tiberius, which was at least a year in the making, could not have been more fortuitous. 

“The market has been hardening for the past 12-18 months, with rate increases almost across all classes of business we write, with the exception of terrorism/ political violence insurance,” he said. “We expect that trend to continue throughout 2020 and into 2021. That creates a real growth opportunity. It is a great time to be raising capital, and we will be in a position to deliver good returns.”

The addition of US excess and surplus lines will take the number of classes and subclasses written by IGI to 17. IGI will focus exclusively on short tail classes, particularly property and energy, including upstream and downstream energy and renewables, it said. 

“For a long time we shied away from the US market, but now, given the opportunities in the US E&S markets, we feel the time is right to get into it,” said Jabsheh. “We’ll do that in the same thoughtful way that we approach all our business. We see significant opportunities for organic growth there.”

The US is not the only market where IGI sees growth potential. “There are dislocations across the insurance industry, in many classes and territories,” said Jabsheh. “The Middle East certainly provides opportunities, we have seen at least one re/insurer pulling back from that market and there are rumours that others will follow.” 

Jabsheh believes the region with the least dislocation in the market is Asia. “While we expect to see growth there, it will probably be less than what we see elsewhere,” he added.  

Waleed Jabsheh, IGI, Tiberius Acquisition Corporation, US excess and surplus

Bermuda Re