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New name and focus for established reinsurer

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Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group Ltd and its investment partners Warburg Pincus and Kelso & Company have announced that Watford Holdings Ltd and Watford Re Ltd have been renamed Somers Group Holdings Ltd and Somers Re Ltd.

Liz Cunningham has been appointed chief executive officer of Somers Re, and Sioned Butler has been appointed chief financial officer.

Arch said the name Somers Re is a nod to Sir George Somers, who founded Bermuda in 1609.

The company added that the name change is part of a strategic repositioning for Somers Re as it builds on the Watford platform that was originally established in 2014 as a total return reinsurer.

Operating as Somers Re, the firm will follow a more traditional reinsurance business model, leveraging Arch’s underwriting expertise while pursuing a more conservative investment strategy.

Somers Re said that its new strategy and financial backing have resulted in AM Best affirming a financial strength rating of A- stable.

Ms Cunningham is an actuary who has previously served as the chief risk officer for Watford Re and boasts nearly 20 years of experience in insurance and risk management.

Ms Butler most recently served as controller for Watford Re and has more than 15 years of finance experience, including serving as an auditor at KPMG.

Earlier this year, Arch said, it closed its acquisition of France-based insurance company Axeria IARD.

Axeria is an established insurer in the French market and adds additional capabilities to Somers’ suite of insurance products and managing general agencies strategy.

“After seven years operating under the Watford name, re-establishing the company as Somers Re marks a new chapter for the franchise,” said Maamoun Rajeh, chairman and CEO of Arch’s Worldwide Reinsurance Group and a member of the board of Somers Holdings.

“Liz and Sioned bring fresh perspectives and strong leadership to the company, while maintaining institutional knowledge and continuity from their time in Watford.

“I am also pleased to remain engaged with our long-term partner, Highbridge Principal Strategies, as our primary investment manager.”

Ms Cunningham said: “I am looking forward to continuing the work with our founding sponsor Arch and welcoming the new Warburg Pincus and Kelso board members to Somers Re. We are taking the best parts of Watford and adding new strategies and capabilities.”

Arch said the insurance operations of Somers Group Holdings Ltd will continue to operate under their existing names.

Watford Specialty Insurance Company and Watford Insurance Company will serve US-based customers, Watford Insurance Company (Europe) Limited will serve UK-based customers and Axeria IARD will provide capacity to clients across continental Europe.

Liz Cunningham, chief executive officer of Somers Re (File photograph)
Sioned Butler, chief financial officer of Somers Re
Maamoun Rajeh, chairman and CEO of Arch’s Worldwide Reinsurance Group (File photograph)

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Published November 04, 2021 at 5:06 pm (Updated November 04, 2021 at 6:03 pm)

New name and focus for established reinsurer

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