International General Insurance Set Up in Malta To Access Europe

Reading Time: 3 minutes

International General Insurance Company (Europe) SE (“IGI Europe”), a subsidiary of Bermuda-based International General Insurance Co. Ltd., has been granted licensing by the Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) and is authorized to begin writing business.

International General Insurance (IGI) is confident that its new business in Malta will be unveiled soon, as employees on the ground complete preparatory work with the Malta Financial Services Authority.

IGI also announced that Keith Mallia-Milanes has joined IGI as Chief Executive Officer of IGI Europe. Mr. Mallia-Milanes has more than 35 years of industry experience. Keith joins IGI from MAPFRE Middlesea, where his latest role was Assistant General Manager responsible for the the Technical & Operations Division that included underwriting, reinsurance, claims, policy issuing and product management. He previously held other senior management and executive roles within MAPFRE both in Malta and Italy, and before that with other leading Maltese insurance operators.

Waleed Jabsheh, IGI’s president, admitted Europe has traditionally not been a big focus for the carrier, but said the new operation, which it is launching in response to Brexit, will help it grow its business in the region. 

IGI has already hired a handful of people on the ground in Malta, Jabsheh said, who are currently working with the regulator ahead of the official launch of the operation. “Europe is not a new market for us but the volume of business we do there is low so there is significant growth potential,” he said. 

“I am delighted to announce the launch of IGI’s European operation,” Mr. Loucaides said. “IGI’s footprint in mainland Europe, prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, was managed through relationships between our UK-based underwriters and London brokers. Operating from Malta presents a good business growth opportunity and will better enable IGI to service European clients. Under Keith’s leadership, we will continue to build out our European team and grow our portfolio in continental Europe.”

“IGI Europe is open and ready for business,” Mr. Mallia-Milanes said. “IGI has a well-established reputation as an agile and disciplined underwriter, and IGI Europe will deliver that focus and ingenuity to the European market.”

IGI Europe is authorised by the MFSA to write a full suite of IGI products and will exercise passport rights across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).

Jabsheh compared the potential for growth in Europe to that of the US, where IGI launched operations in April 2020. Both markets are dominated by large domestic carriers, he noted, making it traditionally challenging to break into. The current market conditions have now created opportunities, he explained. 

IGI currently offers around 20 different lines of coverage globally, most of which could potentially be offered in Europe, Jabsheh said. The Malta operation will share its balance sheet with IGI’s other offices, serving as one node in the broader network of offices that work together to drive growth. 

He pointed to strong rating momentum in the first quarter, especially in its long tail segment, which saw rate increases of around 33 percent. Short tail lines also saw rate increases of around 9 percent, he said, while expressing confidence that the hardening environment will continue at least for the rest of 2021.

“There is a lot of dislocation in a lot of lines,” said Jabsheh. “I have been telling our teams that we have been waiting for this market for a long time, we thrive in these kinds of markets. These conditions certainly won’t last forever, and once the market turns it could be a long time before we see these conditions return.”

Jabsheh confirmed IGI has seen the most growth in the lines that have suffered the most dislocation, including downstream energy and directors’ and officers’.