The first month of the year was a time for several of the largest captive managers in the world to make statement moves ahead of a significant year
If January is anything to go by it’s going to be an extremely busy year for the captive industry.
Symbolically a good time for new beginnings and signalling intent for the year ahead, a flurry of significant developments and key people moves have greeted the start of the year.
No more so than among captive managers.
Some of our biggest stories of the month came from captive managers, as they made statement moves to keep up with the ever-evolving insurance market.
The launch of Marsh’s new product ReadyCell set out its ambition to better serve SMEs with lower-cost captive solutions.
SRS’ acquisition of Guernsey-based captive manager Robus aligned with its long-term project to keep building out its European operation, plus grow its wider alternative risk transfer (ART) specialism – something SRS CEO Brady Young told Captive Review would be a key direction of travel for SRS following new Integrum investment last year.
And Artex’s restructure of its North America operation was the third major development, with its new three-pillar model set to “further enhance collaboration among its group and single parent captive teams”, according to Artex.
All three reflect the fact that more investment is going into the captive industry, and these firms see there is opportunity for returns to be made.
For Marsh it’s about investing in technology that could dramatically improve accessibility to captive insurance for an underserved audience at a time when more SMEs are looking at how to manage escalating premiums in lines like property.
SRS’ investment reflects the opportunities it sees from scaling up the business and expanding the services it offers, as well as growing its European presence at time when more countries, like France, Italy and the UK, are taking an interest in developing captive regimes.
And for Artex, it sees an opportunity to provide a better service, which could help retain and attract more captive clients.
These investments are good news for captive owners and risk managers, and we can expect more captive managers to follow suit. In our recent Captive Managers Survey, 11 out of 12 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that more investment would be deployed towards captive management.
We can also expect more captive manager M&A this year, after half of respondents in the survey indicated this was something they were interested in.
Predictions from last year are that after more than five years of relentless market hardening we may start to see a slight slowdown in interest for new captive formations, amid a stabilisation in commercial rates. Many lines are already softening in the commercial market, including cyber.
However, it is investments like the above from these captive managers which could go a long way to countering these headwinds – by responding to where the market is evolving and where opportunities are arising.