Start-up aiming for November opening of new rep office

Third Point Re is hoping that its new London representative office will eventually become much more, according to chief executive John Berger.

The Bermuda-based start-up reinsurer revealed plans earlier this month to open a representative office in London. The new office, which will have a marketing function and will not be able to underwrite business, will be run by former Allied World international treaty reinsurance head Clare Himmer.

Subject to regulatory approval, Berger is hoping the new office will open in November.

The new office will initially be staffed by Himmer, but Berger is hoping it will expand. “We’ll see how the market develops and what opportunities there are,” he said.

Berger pointed out that previous reinsurers he had run, such as F&G Re and Harbor Point, have followed a similar path of opening a London representative office and then building it up.

F&G Re, for example, bought a managing agency. Harbor Point hired Trevor Carvey to set up its London representative office, which is now the UK branch of Alterra Europe following the 2010 merger of Harbor Point with Max Capital to form Alterra. Carvey is reinsurance chief underwriting officer of Alterra Europe.

Berger said: “All of the other companies I have been with have started something in London with a marketing or rep office and it is a good way to start if you can find the right person.

“London, if not the best, is clearly one of the top two (re)insurance markets in the world, so having a presence there is a good idea.”

He admitted, however, that Third Point Re’s new London office was a bit of a happy accident. Himmer happened to be moving to London from Bermuda and Berger called her to see if she would be interested in running the representative office.

Berger stressed that Third Point Re will not rush to build up its London office. “There is no timetable for that. We have no specific plans. This is just the first step. We are very patient and in no hurry.”

As with Himmer and the London office, Third Point Re’s further expansion will be determined by whether Berger and his team can find the appropriate person to run a new office.

Berger said: “If the right person came along that was located somewhere that was interesting, we would certainly entertain that, but we’re not actively looking, just like we weren’t with Clare.”