Atlas & Vanbridge partner to channel risks to alternative capital & ILS

by Artemis on July 31, 2015

Atlas General Holdings, a specialist in commercial insurance solutions, and intermediary Vanbridge Holdings, have partnered to channel re/insurance risks to both traditional and alternative reinsurance capital investors, as they aim to target the convergence space.

Atlas is a California-based full service insurance services company, specialising in commercial insurance origination and underwriting, as well as specialty risks program services. Vanbridge is an insurance brokerage, capital advisor, insurance and reinsurance management firm, that counts Dowling & Partners and Alvarez & Marsal Capital as strategic investors.

The two firms see an opportunity to combine their expertise in order to acquire, structure and place risks directly with insurance-linked securities (ILS) markets and other alternative capital investors, as well as to more traditional sources of re/insurance capacity.

The partnership has been affirmed after Vanbridge made a permanent capital investment in Atlas, through a newly formed Vanbridge Strategic Partners unit, giving Vanbridge a seat on the Atlas board.

The pair intends to pursue opportunities where they can leverage each others expertise and experience, to originate and underwrite commercial insurance risks, using distribution structures enabling placement of these risks into either the traditional or alternative reinsurance markets.

Kenneth Pierce, Managing Principal at Vanbridge LLC, told Artemis that the partnership brings complementary expertise together, making a compelling proposition for ILS and alternative capital investors.

Pierce explained; “Atlas is a top-tier originator and underwriter of commercial insurance risks, while the principals of Vanbridge have extensive experience structuring sidecars, cat bonds and other insurance linked securities along with a core client base consisting of over 150 private equity and hedge fund clients.”

The partnership will be able to make good use of its existing roster of private equity and hedge fund type investors, to capitalise on the increasing interest in directly accessing insurance and reinsurance risk linked investments among these groups.

The offering that the Atlas and Vanbridge partnership can provide will also prove interesting to ILS fund managers, who may be looking to source different types of risks, perhaps also enabling the capital to get closer to the risk, ultimately making the distribution chain more efficient.

“We are excited to have Vanbridge as a strategic partner,” commented Bill Trzos, CEO and President of Atlas. “This partnership and investment by Vanbridge will bring Atlas closer to alternative asset managers, the capital markets and new sources of deal flow, acquisition opportunities, capital and capacity.”

“This is a unique opportunity for Vanbridge,” added Philip V. Moyles, Jr., Managing Principal and CEO of Vanbridge Holdings LLC. “Atlas’ strong management team led by Bill Trzos, has positioned the company perfectly in the commercial insurance market, as demonstrated by the firm’s steady growth and underwriting track record over the last few years. Not only will this investment and partnership help accelerate Atlas’ expansion into other states and offerings, but it will also create a number of opportunities for Vanbridge’s core client base of private equity firms, hedge funds and other alternative asset managers.”

By working together to source and structure insurance and reinsurance risks into forms that investors can easily access and allocate capital to, the partnership should make Atlas and Vanbridge a popular channel to access the returns of re/insurance through.

And the partnership clearly aims to position itself as a service provider and source of risk for the ILS sector, having the experience to bring a commercial risks focused offering that should differentiate them. The program services angle should also prove compelling, as the pair could offer ILS investors more direct access to commercial insurance risks.

“The Atlas-Vanbridge partnership will enable both parties to stay at the cutting edge of capital markets-insurance convergence,” Pierce commented.

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