Announcement ends months of speculation about a sale

Markerstudy announced that it has agreed to sell its Gibraltar-based insurance companies to Qatar Re.

The announcement follows months of speculation that the firm’s insurance business was up for sale.

The deal includes Markerstudy Insurance Co, Zenith Insurance, St Julians Insurance Co, and Ultimate Insurance Co.

No financial details were disclosed.

The deal includes only the insurance businesses. Broking and other operations will remain with existing shareholders and founders, chief executive Kevin Spencer and group underwriting director Gary Humphreys.

Markerstudy said it underwrites more than 5% of the UK motor market, and this deal will secure long term capacity for the business, at the same time creating one of the largest retail insurance MGAs and underwriting its position in the UK market, whilst adding more than £750m to Qatar Re.

“For a long time we have had a tremendous relationship with Qatar Re,” said Markerstudy chief executive Kevin Spencer.

“Their proactive approach has assisted our development and this is a natural evolution; to combine our strengths to establish a primary player in the UK insurance sector.”

He said that Capsicum Re had played a role in the transaction.

“This strategic alliance has three-fold benefits; it enables us to simplify our product offering and processes for our intermediaries and broker partners; it provides us with A-rated capital backing, and ensures we maintain the continuity of marketing, distribution, service and support, Spencer said.

“Ultimately, this arrangement will facilitate our strategy for growth and profitability, positioning us for further success.”

Qatar Re chief executive Gunther Saacke commented: “This transaction builds on the strong foundation of our existing relationship. It provides Qatar Re with a greater share of lower volatility business that has performed consistently well for us, balancing our specialty and catastrophe book. In addition, the transaction will enable us to write UK business under any post-Brexit scenario.”

Raja Balasuriya, partner at Capsicum Re, said: “We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Markerstudy for many years, having arranged the original quota share and co-insurance following their acquisition of Chaucer’s UK motor business in 2015. The burgeoning partnership between Qatar Re and Markerstudy Group will create a formidable force in UK personal lines, and we are delighted with the part we have played and look forward to continuing to work with both companies.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is anticipated to complete in the first half of 2018.

Privately-held Markerstudy was set up by founders Kevin Spencer and chief underwriting officer Gary Humphreys.