Mr Taylor stressed that with HDI Global and HDI Global Specialty now working closely together, the companies will increasingly be able to service entire risk profiles.
HDI Global Specialty’s areas of focus include delegated authority business, accident and health, aviation, crime and crisis management, including cyber, energy renewable and offshore, extended warranty, financial and professional lines, legal expense, marine, political violence and political risk, pet and farmpack, sport, leisure and entertainment, and bloodstock.
It is looking to acquire new teams or businesses to expand its expertise. The company acquired Neon Underwriting’s bloodstock team in March and said more specialty acquisitions are likely. Later that month, HDI Global Specialty Australia appointed Jamie Bowes from QBE to create and head up a new general aviation team in Asia-Pacific.
Mark Mackay will join HDI Global Singapore from AXA Corporate Solutions this month, to head up energy in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
“We are looking for well-known, established teams. We are looking for leaders in their market. We are looking for teams that fit our mandate. If necessary, we are looking at acquisitions if they fit. We have budget for it. Bloodstock shows our statement of intent. When an opportunity comes along in specialty classes, that is exactly the sort of thing we are looking for,” said Mr Taylor.
“The changes at Lloyd’s and M&A that is going on are throwing up a lot of opportunities. But we need to work our way through those and have the infrastructure to absorb any addition,” he added.
Of course, the famous Lloyd’s specialty market has run into trouble in recent years as losses hit. It has been forced to cut back the worst loss-making business and remedial work continues. So how will HDI Global Specialty avoid making the same mistakes and make money where Lloyd’s has recently failed?
The answer, said Mr Taylor, is a long-term look at risk and strict underwriting discipline.
“Within HDI’s DNA is long-term stability. The company takes a very long-term view on risk and we are not looking for short-term gain. If you have that in your DNA, then you are quite prepared to walk away from poor markets and poor risks. I think that underwriting discipline will help us grow and have sustainable profits over time. That is the only way you can make money,” he said.
While specialty business offers slightly higher margins than typical P&C and some lines are firming quite considerably, it remains, overall, a competitive landscape, continued the insurer.
“With competition comes price considerations,” he said. “So, for us it is about maintaining a lean organisation, a low-cost base, delivering quality service, but, crucially, maintaining underwriting discipline.”
So, is the hardening of certain specialty lines and continued difficult P&C market conditions the reason for this play by HDI? Apparently not.
“The P&C market is very difficult at the moment. But that is not the reason for doing this. Both Hannover Re and HDI Global have been successful in P&C business,” said Mr Taylor.