The Middle East launch takes a multi-line approach out of the blocks

This summer saw the launch of an innovative offering for the Middle East – Arma MGA. Backed by Asta, the leading Lloyd’s third party managing agent and specialist MGA investor, Arma Underwriting provides specialist, multi-line tailored risk solutions across the Middle East and African markets.

Arma chief executive Michael Rafter explained the decision to focus on a region over a specific line: “Usually an MGA is about expertise in a narrow field and matching distribution. Our expertise is the Middle East and the UAE, and it is across all lines of business in those markets. We’ve garnered the people who have that expertise to be able to write that business.”

He added: “This is about local expertise with international acumen, and portfolio-driven partnerships across multiple lines of business. And we’re backed by Lloyd’s, so we have that connection also.”


Rafter said he wanted to start as he meant to go on by launching nearly all lines from the MGA’s inception on 1 July.

He said: “When I first started this journey, I was advised to start with one or two lines and build up slowly. I ignored that, because I wanted to offer a full service to our clients. We offered nearly all of the lines from day one. The only one which we delayed slightly was energy due to a timing issue with our new hire.”

As well as its multi-line offering, Arma intends to trade on its intellectual capacity as a USP.

“We offer intellectual capacity as well as the traditional risk transfer capacity. That’s our value proposition,” Rafter explained.

According to Rafter, there are decades of regional experience within the team: “I have been in the Middle East for 11 years, and most of the team have been operating in the Middle East, in the UAE, for around 7 years. They have all worked for the largest companies and have underwritten and been involved in the largest risks in the world, including Burj Khalifa.”

As well as taking a minority equity stake, Asta supports Arma’s finance and IT infrastructure.

Rafter said: “With Asta, we have 150 people all providing the back office service that they would provide to a syndicate, so we’re almost as strong as a syndicate with regard to compliance and audits.”