Canadian Underwriter

Reinsurer opens shop in Canada

December 19, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Validus Reinsurance Ltd. has established a branch office in Toronto with Heather Legg as its new chief agent, parent company American International Group Inc. announced Thursday.

Legg, currently a senior vice president at Validus, is a former senior executive with Aon Canada.

In Canada, Validus Re “will focus on treaty reinsurance, initially in the property, catastrophe, agriculture, and surety lines of business, with the goal of broadening the reinsurance offering to include casualty and specialty as the local team expands,” said AIG, which closed its US$5.6-billion acquisition of Validus Holdings in July, 2018.

Validus Re’s Canadian branch office is at 55 York Street, near Toronto’s Royal York hotel.

“We are pleased to receive (federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) approval to open the branch in advance of the important January 1 renewal cycle and look forward to supporting Canadian brokers and their clients,” Legg said Thursday in a release.

Before it was acquired by AIG, Validus Re was a mid-tier reinsurer, with US$1.38 billion in gross written premiums in non-life insurance in 2017, A.M. Best Company Inc. reported last year. That put Validus Re at rougly the same size as Aspen and OdysseyRe in the P&C reinsurance space.

Before joining Validus Re in early 2019, Legg was senior vice president on Aon’s reinsurance solutions team and a member of the Canadian leadership team. She started her insurance career at Guy Carpenter and worked 19 years for Aon.

Validus Re’s subsidiaries including Talbot Underwriting, which writes marine, aviation and other commercial risk through Lloyd’s Syndicate 1183. By acquiring Validus Re, AIG re-entered the Lloyd’s market, which it left in 2016 when it sold Ascot Underwriting to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

One reason AIG bought Validus was to access more advanced underwriting tools.

Subsidiary Validus Research Inc., which has offices in Toronto and Waterloo, Ont., does catastrophe research, risk modeling and development of analytical tools. It employs experts in atmospheric sciences, seismology, civil engineering, mathematics and statistics.

The Validus acquisition “filled in parts of our portfolio that we didn’t have,” AIG CEO Brian Duppereault said in 2018 during an earnings call shortly after the deal closed.

“It added great people and capabilities to the company,” Duppereault said at the time. “We continue to look for businesses that do that.”

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