Africa Specialty Risks Group appoints Head of Political Violence & Terrorism Underwriting
London, 7 April 2021 – Africa Specialty Risks (“ASR”), the Pan-African focused reinsurance group, is today pleased to announce the launch of War, Political Violence and Terrorism (PVT) capacity.
ASR is also pleased to announce the appointment of Zouheb Azam as Head of Political Violence & Terrorism Underwriting. His appointment comes after the recent arrival of the Group’s first actuarial hire, Peter Way, who joined earlier this month.
ASR will provide its clients with a bespoke offer which caters to the specific requirements and challenges of PVT risks in Africa, covering a broad range of perils and extensions. Zouheb brings almost 12 years’ experience across Political Violence and Terrorism (PVT) risk management solutions. This includes underwriting role at AXAXL and broking responsibility in the Global Risk Management divisions at Willis Towers Watson and Gras Savoye in Paris, where Zouheb placed a global book of PVT and PRI risks into the London reinsurance market.
His background in broking and understanding of the risk management solutions that businesses require, will greatly bolster the Group’s reinsurance offering.
Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR, commented: “ASR continues to move from strength to strength and we’re delighted that Zouheb will be joining to launch a new line of business. Zouheb’s extensive experience in the PVT markets and his work across broking and risk analysis further develops our reinsurance offering to clients across Africa.”
Zouheb Azam commented: “Joining ASR is an exciting next step in my career, and I look forward to working alongside the rest of the team to establish and grow the PVT division from its outset. Insuring against this type of risk is as important now as it ever has been, and the events of the past twelve months have reinforced the need for comprehensive solutions that meet customer needs.”
ASR was launched by Helios Investment Partners, LLP (“Helios”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. The group announced in February that it had secured an additional multi-year binder capacity of up to $25 million per risk through a partnership with GIC of India and annual capacity from Peak Re.
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Mikir Shah, CEO
Bryan Howett, CFO
Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) provides comprehensive, risk transfer solutions through high quality underwriting to local and global customers across the African continent; giving them the confidence to grow their businesses sustainably.
ASR works proactively with local regulators to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters. Environmental, social and governance considerations are central to ASR’s values, particularly in relation to local capacity building.
ASR is backed by Helios Investment Partners’ fund IV and benefits from their extensive reach across Africa, as well as their knowledge and experience in our key markets.
Africa Specialty Risks Ltd. is an Appointed Representative of Crispin Speers & Partners Ltd. We operate as a Managing General Agent sourcing world leading capacity for African insurance and reinsurance risk. We are a proud member of the MGA Association.
London, 11 March 2021 – Africa Specialty Risks (“ASR”), the Pan-African focused reinsurance group, is today pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Way as an actuary, who will focus specifically on the development of in-house pricing models.
Way joins as the Group’s first Actuary and brings nine years of experience working in the insurance industry, having previously performed both actuarial and underwriting roles. His experience includes exposure to the African markets via his former role as Property Underwriter at Brit, where African risks made up a material part of the international book.
Way’s primary role will be to design the in-house pricing models in conjunction with the underwriting teams. Given its recent launch, this means that the Group will have the opportunity to build bespoke African specific pricing tools, unencumbered by legacy software and data issues.
Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR, commented: “Peter’s talent and experience is a real boon for ASR. His knowledge of the Lloyd’s and African markets will be invaluable as we develop our in-house pricing strategy to provide proficient, client-led services across the African reinsurance market.”
Peter Way commented: “I am thrilled to be joining ASR and its dynamic team as they continue to grow. The role presents a significant opportunity to join a burgeoning business with great expertise working across Africa, a continent I know well.”
ASR was launched by Helios Investment Partners, LLP (“Helios”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. The group announced in February that it had secured an additional multi-year binder capacity of up to $25 million per risk through a partnership with GIC of India and annual capacity from Peak Re. Both deals were supported by Aon.
London, 05 March 2021 – Africa Specialty Risks Group (“ASR”), the Pan-African focused reinsurance group, is today pleased to announce the appointment of Constança Sampaio Soares, who joins as one of the company’s new Business Development Executives.
Constança will be responsible for growing relationships with private equity funds, development finance institutions, and banks, as well as corporates and other potential partners. Her role encompasses marketing and PR alongside strategic projects, enabling ASR to deliver an enhanced service offering via engagement with stakeholders.
Furthermore, Constança brings an extensive African network to the Group, having held managerial roles over the past eight years supporting companies such as Moody’s Investors Service, Invest Africa and Mitrelli Group, grow their market coverage across Africa.
Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR, commented: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Constança to ASR. Her experience in the African finance markets will provide additional breadth to our team’s expertise and extend our reach to more businesses across the continent. This will enable us to support even more clients to grow and facilitate further investment into Africa.”
Constança Sampaio Soares commented: “Now more than ever, managing and understanding risk is of great importance to encourage investors to maintain and drive capital into the African continent. ASR is unique in its ability to provide bespoke and innovative solutions to its clients and will contribute towards unlocking the African insurance industry. It’s an honour to be a part of this highly experienced team.”
ASR was launched last year by Helios Investment Partners, LLP (“Helios”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. Its Mauritius outfit supports business operations in Africa and the Group accesses its binders out of its underwriting centre in London. ASR’s team of underwriters will work alongside local stakeholders in key African territories, aiming to deliver expertise, work proactively with regulators, and develop skills at a local level.
Africa Specialty Risks Group partners with GIC of India and Peak Re to launch new capacity through its MGA.
ASR secures $25 million line size capacity per risk
London, 15 February 2021 – Today, Africa Specialty Risks (“ASR”), the newly launched Pan-African focused reinsurance group, is pleased to announce that it has secured additional multi-year binder capacity of up to $25 million per risk through a partnership with GIC of India (“GIC”) (AM Best BBB+ (Good)) and annual capacity from Peak Re (AM Best A- (Excellent)). This has been supported and completed with the help of Aon.
ASR can now offer capacity across the following lines of business:
– Political Risk
– Trade Credit
In the near future, ASR will be expanding its current line up to include Political Violence and Terrorism, Liability, Construction, and Parametric covers for its clients. To support its business across the continent, ASR has established a fully licenced reinsurer in Mauritius.
Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR commented: “We will endeavour to support insureds during the economic downturn by providing adequate cover, and through proficient client service, we will look to form strong, long-term relationships. Securing additional capacity could not come at a more meaningful time for ASR. Following our launch mid-Pandemic in September 2020, we have seen a reduction in available capacity as traditional underwriters withdraw from emerging markets to focus on their more developed domestic markets.
Securing this capacity through our strong international partners is a testament to our robust business plan which will provide long-term security. At ASR we will focus on portfolio resilience which will form our core strength, and diversification to cater for a wide range of business lines cementing our commitment to the African markets.”
ASR was launched by Helios Investment Partners, LLP (“Helios”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. ASR intends to create a dynamic and versatile business of scale, deploying an innovative, forward thinking strategy to capture a portion of this growing market. ASR’s data analytical approach will allow for faster and more accurate decisions, providing a high level of client-centric service.
Souleymane Ba, a Partner at Helios, said: “ASR has been established to supply specialist expertise and address the capacity gap present in Africa by providing customer-focused risk mitigation products. We are delighted that ASR has secured further risk capacity to support the African markets. Private equity has a long and successful track record of stepping up to fill unmet insurance capacity, allowing it to de-risk and support investment activity. We are very pleased to be backing ASR on its journey.”
ASR accesses its binders out of its underwriting centre in London, and is supported by its operations in Mauritius, highlighting that local capacity is at the core of the company’s mission. ASR’s team of underwriters will work across key territories in Africa, delivering their expertise at a local level. Furthermore, ASR will work proactively with local regulators and clients to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters.
ASR is funded through Helios Investors IV, L.P., whose investors include Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), and marks the fund’s second investment this year. They have committed capital to fund ASR’s growth and expansion plans.
Supporting experienced industry specialists in establishing innovative reinsurance business focused on the African market
Helios Investment Partners (“Helios” or the “Firm”) is pleased to announce the launch of Africa Specialty Risk Group (“ASR”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks, and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. ASR is a reinsurance business focused on becoming the partner of choice to corporations through the
provision of comprehensive and bespoke risk mitigating insurance solutions.
Helios, through its extensive financial services expertise in Africa, identified an unmet need in the reinsurance space to expand the continent’s long-term domestic capacity beyond its current capabilities. Having previously founded market-leading businesses such as Helios Towers, the Firm took a similar pioneering approach in partnering with Mikir Shah and Bryan Howett to develop and
increase domestic reinsurance capacity. ASR will create tailored solutions for local and global customers, using Africa-specific pricing models coupled with a deep understanding of African risk and cultural environments. This provides corporates and investors with the confidence to grow their businesses, thereby unlocking investment activity, and the associated developmental benefits.
Mikir Shah, commenting on the partnership noted: “We chose to work with Helios given their extensive reach across Africa, their knowledge and experience in our key markets, as well as their established track record in helping entrepreneurial businesses to scale.”
Souleymane Ba, a Partner at Helios, said: “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. As demonstrated in the US and Europe, private equity has a long and successful track record of stepping up to fill unmet insurance capacity to de-risk and support investment activity.” ASR intends to work proactively with local regulators and clients to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters. Environmental, social and governance considerations are central to ASR’s values, particularly in relation to local capacity building. The investment in ASR is being made from Helios’ latest fund, Helios Investors IV, L.P., whose investors include CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution) and the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group).
About Helios Investment Partners
Established in 2004, Helios Investment Partners is the largest Africa-focused private investment firm, with a record that spans creating start-ups to providing expanding companies with growth capital and expertise. Led and predominantly staffed by African professionals with the language skills and cultural affinity to engage with local entrepreneurs, managers and intermediaries on the continent, Helios leverages its local and global networks to create attractive proprietary investment opportunities, with an emphasis on building market leaders in core economic sectors and driving performance through a highly engaged approach to portfolio operations. The firm’s unique combination of a deep knowledge of the African operating environment, a singular commitment to the region and a proven capability to manage complexity, is reflected in the firm’s diverse portfolio of growing, market-leading businesses and its position as a partner of choice in Africa. Helios is the largest emerging markets-focused private equity firm, and second mainstream private equity firm globally, to receive B Corp certification. B Corp status recognizes the firm’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices.
For more information, visit https://www.heliosinvestment.com/
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