Lion Underwriting has signed an agreement with Hong Kong-listed China Taiping Insurance Company to write marine-related risks in Australia, citing frustrations with Lloyd’s lack of “consistency and enthusiasm” in the sector.
The agency last month started assessing and accepting business in areas such as agriculture, exporters, livestock and stock throughput.
“We have had good reception so far,” Lion Portfolio Manager Marine William Rich told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “The hardening market is good for writing risk at a sustainable and realistic price.
“We are very proud that China Taiping has taken us on and given us its pen to go out there and write business.”
The binding cover authority agreement is the first in Australia for the Chinese insurer, which was approached by the underwriting agency.
Lion has declined to reveal the capacity it has available, but says the agreement extends for more than two years and every opportunity is looked at on its own merit.
It says it decided to seek other capacity suppliers after London could not come up with a realistic solution.
“Everybody knows there is a huge change in appetite and structure for marine in London and other markets around the world, which becomes frustrating for brokers and their clients when they are looking for a consistent approach to their business,” Mr Rich said.
“Lloyd’s, from my perspective, has no consistency in its approach right now. Its lack of enthusiasm in a harder market has caused Lion to seek opportunities with long-term partners that are committed to a long-term solution.
“We at Lion decided to do things a little bit differently and approach a market that had not normally been thought of in Australia. That is why we started speaking to China Taiping Insurance, which has an office in Sydney, to look at what its future opportunities and appetites were in Australia’s insurance market, including the marine space.
“It understands the market and has consulted with some very senior marine elder statesmen in Australia, so it is not coming in blind.”
China Taiping says the partnership will bolster its local presence.
“I’m delighted to [have a] footprint in the Australian insurance market by launching a cargo insurance facility through partnering with Lion Underwriting agency,” PL Chan, China Taiping Insurance Hong Kong’s GM, told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“In the wake of the development of the marine cargo business, we look forward to having tremendous success ahead, as well as other insurance products launched in future.”
Lion Underwriting is a Lloyd’s coverholder for other lines.
China Taiping Insurance, established in 1949, is one of the largest general insurers in Hong Kong, with Grade A ratings from AM Best and S&P.
Article first published 3 June 2019