27 February 2013 News

Q-Re offers capital diversification to cedants

Gunther Saacke, the chief executive officer of Q-Re, the reinsurance subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), believes the unique ownership and capital structure of the reinsurer can offer cedants much-needed diversification on their panels away from the “vagaries of Wall Street”.

Q-Re recently unveiled ambitious global expansion plans. Speaking just days after taking the reins of the business, Saacke told Intelligent Insurer that one of the reasons he believes there is demand for Q-Re is that it can offer cedants a stable and alternative source of capital that offers diversification away from reinsurers funded via the capital markets. This is because its parent company QIC is ultimately owned by large Qatar-based companies, with a sizeable 20 per cent stake owned by the State of Qatar.

“The global economy has been through some difficult times and one of the things that has exposed is the sometimes erratic flow of capital both in and out of the reinsurance industry driven by external factors,” he said. “Our capital base is not impacted by external factors in this way. The vision for the business is long-term and that sort of stability can only make a reinsurance panel stronger.”

Although it was first established in 2009, Q-Re had originally focused on local markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Saacke is now tasked with building a global reinsurance company. The business already has full offices in Doha (its headquarters) and Zurich, a representative office in London and is awaiting regulatory approval to open its doors in Bermuda. It expects to employ 80 staff by the end of this year.

Saacke said he expects the business to rapidly establish a global reach covering both speciality lines of business and writing more traditional lines such as property-catastrophe. But he added that its core focus will still be high quality technical underwriting and on offering very high standards in the execution of placements and accounts.

“Don’t be surprised to see us global by the end of the year,” he said. “We are already a sizeable operation and we have taken a number of steps to ensure we have a substantial presence in a number of locations to quickly access markets. We have hired some very high profile executives already and expect more to come.”

Last year, it announced it had hired eight new senior executives from various parts of the reinsurance industry. In addition to Saacke, these included Willi Schuerch from Novae Re, Alain Chiolero, formerly of Swiss Re, PartnerRe and Converium, Stefano Lorenzini, formerly of Swiss Re, and Karl Schneider, whose career includes a long stint at Munich Re.

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