New Neon subsidiary recruits Lavaretus Copenhagen executives

Several executives at the Copenhagen office of Denmark and Finland-based shipping and energy insurer Lavaretus Underwriting AB have resigned to join specialist Lloyd’s underwriter Neon Underwriting, a subsidiary of Great American Insurance Group.

The fast-expanding and ambitious Neon recently joined with Beat Capital to launch MGA Chord Re in London. It also linked with Cabiaso Risso to launch Neon Italy. Both of these will be approved coverholders for Lloyd’s syndicate 2468 from January 1st.

Lavaretus Underwriting is a subsidiary of Jardine Lloyd Thompson which was established in 2010, with the Danish office being launched in 2013. Last week the broker wrote a market memo email to underwriters who participate on the agency’s binders, informing them that CEO Hendriksen, previously of Survey Association and Codan Marine, had “submitted his resignation to move to a new agency controlled by Neon.”

The memo from JLT Specialty senior partner John Atkins informed the market that other resignations had been received from underwriting and claims staff at the Copenhagen office, with varying notice periods. Lavaretus is a Lloyd’s coverholder that is registered in Sweden, but operates from Copenhagen and Helsinki.

Apparently all eight Copenhagen office employees handed in their notice in October, including CEO Lars Lou Hendriksen. The four-strong Helsinki team was also thought to have intended to leave, but were persuaded to withdraw their resignations. The notice periods for the employees appears to have run until February 2018, although Hendriksen stepped down with immediate effect.

Oversight of Lavaretus operations has, at least for the moment, passed to the Helsinki office.

Mårten Backström founded Lavaretus with Jan Forstén and quickly established its reputation on the Danish market when it ended Codan’s position as the only Denmark-based insurer to cover damages for Maersk’s fleet.

Neon, meanwhile, plans to launch Orca Insurance services, earning fee income from risk consultancy advice in addition to premiums from the new Copenhagen marine team. Orca Services AS was established on the Danish corporate registry October 10th this year, owned by Neon Holdings UK and chaired by Neon CEO Martin Reith.

Neon also intends to add new classes and underwriting teams to the Orca platform. Neon has received approval from Lloyd’s to expand from 2017’s £280m stamp to £385m for 2018. Since its rebranding and particularly since Ascot founder Martin Reith arrived in 2016, it has significantly altered its book in favour of specialty classes and short-tail lines. It is reported to be in discussions with legacy-book acquirers about offloading its 2015 and prior years. Earlier this year it signed a deal with a subsidiary of Enstar, eliminating Neon’s (formerly medical malpractice specialist Marketform) Italian public hospital legacy liabilities.