Sportscover targets international growth to capitalise on proposed Hamilton investment

Wild Goose Holdings Chairman Peter Nash tells Insurance Day Sportscover is eyeing growth opportunities in the US, Asia, Africa and South America. Published on 11th September 2014 on the Insurance Day website.

Sportscover is targeting international growth after revealing Brian Duperreault’s Hamilton Insurance Group is in exclusive talks to invest as a major capital partner.

Australian-owned Sportscover has held a Lloyd’s business since 2006 and has been searching for a capital partner for some time.

Everest Re has been linked to the business.

Duperreault, the former Ace and Marsh and McLennan chief executive, returned to the international insurance sector in December last year as chief executive of Hamilton and had previously stated the group’s intentions to expand beyond its Bermuda base.

While the size of the proposed Hamilton investment has not been disclosed, Sportscover’s founder, Peter Nash, who chairs the group’s holding company Wild Goose Holdings, confirmed to Insurance Day the company will also be increasing the capital it puts in to back the business for 2015, in addition to the Hamilton investment.

The existing Sportscover capital providers will be providing between 10% and 15% of capital for 2015, and maintaining a strong interest in the Lloyd’s business, with Hamilton also expected to bring business into the syndicate.

Talks for expansion are already ongoing, with a potential US joint venture and deal in Asia expected significantly to increase the size of the business if the Hamilton investment completes as expected in the coming weeks.

Nash told Insurance Day the experience of Duperreault, alongside Hamilton’s chief strategy officer, Bob Deutsch, was a significant factor in reaching agreement to hold the exclusive talks.

“We think the support and advice of Duperreault and Deutsch will be great to have on board. We talked to a number of entities, with some excellent people, but we settled on Hamilton in part because of the experience of their senior people,” he said.

And international growth is at the forefront of Nash’s plans once the capital investment is in place.

“We haven’t had the capital behind us that some others have had. As a consequence, it has made it difficult to grow the distribution side of the business in the way we would have liked,” he said.

“These days, compared with previous generations, more people than ever are playing sport. As a consequence, gymnasiums and other sporting facilities are developing across the world. Growth opportunities in this sector are huge. There is a growing middle class in China, South America and Africa who want to stay healthy. Therefore our market is growing exponentially.

Nash said the company would be hiring staff to support its expansion. “There will be a need to recruit more people as we grow. We’ve been in a reorganisational phase for the best part of a year. The recruitment won’t all be in the London market – we are looking to bring people in from other markets.”

The recruitment is likely to include a sports marine specialist and Nash confirmed Sportscover was already seeking an underwriter for this line of business.