Neon to close Bermuda office
The Bermuda office of London-based re/insurance specialist Neon is to close.
Personnel in Bermuda and London will be impacted by the move, the company said yesterday, adding that details have not been finalised.
The on-island office of Neon is thought to have a predominantly Bermudian staff.
A spokesperson said the office remains open for the time being, but no more new business is being entertained. A final date for its closure has not been decided.
The closure, Neon said, is due to the company’s decision to exit the property treaty reinsurance space due to a lack of sustainable and appropriate returns.
Neon is a member of Great American Insurance Group, which runs the insurance operations of parent American Financial Group.
Bermudian Chris Fisher, chief executive officer of Neon’s Bermuda operation, did not return a message requesting comment.
The company released a statement through its London-based public relations firm, Haggie Partners.
“Neon, today, can confirm that it will cease writing all property treaty reinsurance, effective 1 January, 2020,” the statement said. “In addition, it intends to centre all property insurance underwriting through its London platform.
“Over the past three years we have been incredibly proud of the traction and commitment to service that our property reinsurance underwriters in both London and Bermuda have brought. Whilst we had suffered some significant catastrophe losses in these books of business in 2017 and 2018, they were within our reinsurance/retro programme and below a number of our market peers.
“However, with the significant hardening of retro pricing exceeding the pricing expectations of the inward reinsurance business and to keep within the constraints of our risk appetite we, along with our parent, AFG, do not believe that the property treaty class of business can provide a sustainable and appropriate risk/reward balance for Neon.
“As a consequence of our exit from property treaty, Neon will refocus its global property and property binders business in London, resulting in the closure of Neon’s Bermuda platform.
“This decision has not been taken lightly. Our Property D&F team in Bermuda are held in the highest regard, and have made a significant contribution to Neon over the last three years.
“Personnel in Bermuda and London will be impacted, although details have not been finalised.
“AFG continues to support Neon and the Lloyd’s platform and believes that Neon can make a profitable contribution to AFG’s results. AFG remains open to new opportunities and the identification of new classes of profitable business.”
Neon opened a Bermuda office in 2016, appointing Mr Fisher to the top job. He started the firm with one other staff member, but within 12 months the office had six staff, five of whom were Bermudian.
When he spoke to The Royal Gazette in May 2017 on the occasion of the company’s first anniversary on-island, Mr Fisher said he hoped to grow the business from its expected $20 million in gross premiums written in 2017 to $100 million within three to five years, as well as increasing staffing numbers to more than 20.
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