Underwriting Risk Services (Middle East) Limited (URSME) granted a licence to operate from the DIFC

Joint venture between ADNIC and Talbot Underwriting to target MENA region

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), has joined hands with Talbot Underwriting Limited to form a new joint venture company, Underwriting Risk Services (Middle East) Limited or URSME.
URSME has been granted a licence to operate from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from where it will serve the entire Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
Talbot Underwriting Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bermuda-based Validus Holdings, Ltd, which operates in the Lloyd's of London Insurance Market. Talbot Underwriting operates at Lloyd's through Syndicate 1183 and focuses on a number of specialty risks. Syndicate 1183 has capacity of £400 million for the 2009 year of account.

ADNIC, a public shareholding company incorporated in Abu Dhabi, is a leading provider of insurance in the region.  Serving its customers through a wide array of products and services since 1972, ADNIC has established itself as the reliable insurer.

ADNIC and Talbot have created URSME as a managing general agency based in Dubai. From the DIFC it will be able to offer clients in the MENA region re-insurance services across a number of lines of business. It will assist regional insurers, brokers and corporate customers in addressing their large and complex insurance needs and will be able to provide the expertise to handle specialty risks.

URSME will operate under agency agreements granted by ADNIC and Underwriting Risk Services Limited and binding authorities granted to it by Talbot Syndicate 1183, all subject to Lloyd’s cover holder approval.

URSME expects to contribute significantly to the regional insurance industry by bringing in the expertise and good practices from the Lloyd’s market.

H.E. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC and Vice-Chairman of the UAE Central Bank, stated: "Though the MENA region's insurance and reinsurance market has picked up substantially in recent years, in per capita terms it is still way below the averages of developed markets. Our efforts have been directed towards bringing our region in line with leading economies.

"Arrival of companies such as Talbot Underwriting and formation of regional joint ventures such as URSME with leading regional players such as ADNIC will add depth and bring new expertise to the market, assisting in the development of the insurance industry in the MENA region," Dr Omar said.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority pointed out that the DIFC has become the preferred base for global institutions to tap into the region. “I am confident that with ADNIC and Talbot Underwriting behind it, coupled with our proactively business-friendly environment and reach across 42 countries of the region, will provide the ideal platform for URSME to become a highly successful venture."

Walid Sidani, CEO for ADNIC commented: “We are excited about the business opportunities that this Joint Venture with Talbot Holdings offers the region and how it supports ADNIC’s strategic expansion goals. The combination of ADNIC’s long history in the region and the reputation as the reliable insurer coupled with Talbot’s international underwriting expertise will generate the proper synergy for the new organisation to prosper. Having a seasoned and highly respected ADNIC executive like Samir Ahad to steer this entity, particularly during its initial stage, will serve both partners equally well.”

Nicholas Hales, Head of Business Development at Talbot, said: “We are delighted to be entering into this joint venture with ADNIC who are amongst the most highly respected insurers in the region. URSME will be able to offer substantial capacity across a number of business lines. We are excited by the prospects for this office which enables the companies in the Validus Group to expand their products into a new regional market place.”

Samir Abdul Ahad, Chief Executive Officer of Underwriting Risk Services Middle East, said: “We are very pleased to be able to set up our operational base in DIFC that is undoubtedly reckoned as a world class facility to do business from. Talbot and ADNIC are two reputed names in the insurance industry and URSME will contribute to the growth and development of the MENA region insurance industry and be able to create new opportunities to strengthen the handling of specialty risks. The regional insurance market is bound to grow and expand significantly and we would like to be an active participant. Our partners and customers will be able to experience world class services”.

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