African MGA to offer pandemic and terrorism

Recently launched pan-African reinsurance group Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) is expanding its remit to include political violence, terrorism and pandemic covers.

The expansion, which also includes liability and construction lines, follows the securing of additional multi-year binder capacity of up to $25 million per risk through a partnership with GIC of India and Peak Re.

To support its business across the continent, ASR has also established a fully licenced reinsurer in Mauritius.

“We will support insureds during the economic downturn by providing adequate cover, and through proficient client service, we will look to form strong, long-term relationships,” said Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR.

“Securing additional capacity could not come at a more meaningful time for ASR. Following our launch mid-Pandemic in September 2020, we have seen an industry-wide reduction in available capacity as traditional underwriters withdraw from emerging markets to focus on their more developed domestic markets.”

He added that securing multi-year capacity through 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 long-term commitment to the African markets.”

ASR was launched by Helios Investment Partners, 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.

Souleymane Ba, a partner at Helios, added: “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.

ASR is funded through Helios Investors IV, whose investors include the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and marks the fund’s second investment this year.