Reinsurance broker Willis Re has announced that it will start broking life business.

The company has set up a new life solutions group, which it says will provide the market with advice on risk mitigation and financial leverage. The new unit will initially focus on North America.

Willis Re has hired life reinsurance and risk management experts Rick Hodgdon, Mike Kaster and Brian Holland to lead the new life team.

Willis said it established the new unit in response to the growing capital needs of the life insurance and annuity industry.

"Industry capital pressures and the demands for enhanced capital efficiency in the life and annuity marketplace have created an opportunity for Willis Re to establish a unique platform that will help clients improve their capital efficiency,” said Mark Hvidsten, executive vice-president and managing director of Willis Re in a statement. “Willis Re has a deep knowledge of the market issues and opportunities, and the analytical and transactional skills to frame advice and deliver on-point execution.”

Rick Hodgdon joins Willis from Fortegra Financial where he was president of the life solutions group. Mike Kaster joins from Kaster Actuarial Resources. Brian Holland joins from Mann Conroy Eisenberg & Associates, an international risk advisory firm, where he was a principal.