Qatar Re, the reinsurance arm of the Qatar Insurance Company group, has received approvals from the regulators to open a branch in London.
Bermuda-based Qatar Re has been authorised by the Qatar Central Bank and the UK regulator, Prudential Regulation Authority to carry out certain regulated activities in the UK from its branch office in London, a company spokesman said.
This is a strategically important addition of the QIC Group's global platform. QIC through Qatar Re has existing branches in Zurich, Singapore and Dubai. QIC's global presence also includes another UK-based insurance vehicle, Antares, which operates on the London Lloyds Market and QIC Europe (QEL) based in Malta.
“This development is an important step in the QIC Group growth strategy that was approved by the Board in 2012. The UK branch office, therefore, positions Qatar Re with an opportunity to grow its UK based portfolio in an essential reinsurance market," according to Khalifa al-Subaey, QIC Group president and chief executive.
Highlighting that London is the leading global hub for speciality and wholesale insurance, Qatar Re chief executive Gunther Saacke said, therefore, a local underwriting presence is almost imperative for any aspiring global reinsurer.
"This is particularly true for Qatar Re as proximity to our clients and brokers is one of our proven value drivers,” he added.
Terming that for Qatar Re, Britain is a major market of growing importance; Saacke said only a few days ago, it announced the acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, of Markerstudy Group’s Gibraltar-based insurance companies, which underwrite more than 5% of the UK motor insurance market, generating annual premiums of about £750mn.
The proposed companies to be acquired are Markerstudy Insurance Company, Zenith Insurance, St Julians Insurance Company and Ultimate Insurance Company.
Qatar Re, licensed as a Class 4 Insurer by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, is a global multi-line reinsurer writing all major property, casualty and speciality lines of business.