Lloyd's insurer jumps on Zurich bandwagon

Lloyd's insurer Canopius has announced plans to set up a European reinsurance underwriting platform in Zurich, Switzerland.

The new unit, called Canopius Europe, is expected to start operating in mid-2011 and will be headed by Eric Gutiérrez, currently senior vice-president, ACE Tempest Re International and general manager, ACE Reinsurance (Switzerland). Canopius Europe will form part of Canopius’s international operating division, headed by group chief underwriting officer Jim Giordano.

Canopius Europe will initially focus on European treaty reinsurance business and will underwrite on behalf of Canopius’s Syndicate 4444 at Lloyd’s.

"Zurich is a major financial centre and has become a well supported and established reinsurance hub, making it an ideal location for our expansion into Europe," said Canopius chief executive Michael Watson in a statement. "The creation of Canopius Europe complements our existing activities in London, Bermuda and Singapore and supports the growth of our global reinsurance portfolio.”

On Gutiérrez's appointment, he added: "Eric is a high calibre and experienced reinsurance professional, ideally suited to leading this new platform for Canopius."

Canopius has become the latest Lloyd's insurer to set up a European reinsurance operation in Switzerland. Rival groups Amlin and Catlin both set up reinsurance operations there in 2010.