Skuld on Friday 20 May announced it has signed a letter of intent to purchase SMA/Gerling Norway.
In a press release Skuld says;
“The acquisition would give Skuld renewal rights on SMA/Gerling Norway’s hull & machinery book of business, which today covers 6,000 vessels paying around US$40m in premium. Any successful renewals would be insured with Skuld’s own corporate paper and operate separately from Skuld’s syndicate 1897 at Lloyd’s. Skuld 1897 will continue its strategy as before and will not be affected by the acquisition of SMA/Gerling Norway. SMA/Gerling Norway is run by Tron Nummedal who has a first-class reputation and track record in the shipping market and it is Skuld’s intention that he and his team of 19 would continue to manage those client relationships on a day-to-day basis. Further details of the deal, which remains subject to completion and regulatory approval, will be announced later in the year.
Ståle Hansen, Skuld president and CEO said: “This is a very exciting deal for Skuld, and is very much in line with our strategy of diversification. Tron and his team are highly regarded in the shipping market and we are proud to have him on board. The most important thing that we are committed to is ensuring that brokers and policyholders experience no downgrade in service: it is simply a change of ownership and we are confident that in Skuld they will enjoy the service and competence that our existing partners and clients rely on.”
Nummedal added: “I’m very pleased that SMA/Gerling Norway can announce its intended acquisition by Skuld. For me, my staff and our clients, it was important that we found a partner that shares our commitment to the quality of our underwriting operations, takes pride in its members, and importantly, is dedicated to the care of clients. I’m truly excited about the next step for my team and our business as we come together under the Skuld banner.”
The transaction closes the circle for insurance veteran Tron Nummedal and his team, and brings the operation back under Norwegian ownership. Tron started his marine underwriting career from a background as a claims manager of Gjensidige where he held the helm until 1997, and subsequently transferred to Gerling where he set up a successful marine branch office. The new start up was not without challenges, as the Gerling Group in 2001 was put on credit watch and its insurer financial strength rating subsequently downgraded to BB since the group’s reinsurance operation, Gerling Globale Rückversicherungs-AG (Gerling Global Re) took significant losses from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The company turned the corner in the summer of 2004, when S&P following a restructure of the group which involved capital injections and the sale and subsequent reduction in exposure to its former reinsurance business, raised its longterm rating from BBB to BBB+
In a rating sensitive marine industry Tron Nummedal was successful in keeping his highly regarded team together throughout this period, and worked actively with brokers to manage the situation, at times deploying unconventional tactics to fight off competitors eager to take over his business. He is recognized in the Norwegian market as an underwriter prepared to take on conventional wisdom’s, and in providing an alternative to the model operated by other Scandinavian marine leaders Gard and the Norwegian Hull Club.
As this article is published Tron and his team is meeting with brokers from around the world at their annual Spetses (pictured) Seminar, with this Friday’s announcement no doubt a headline item in the seminar. We wish Tron and his team the best in their new structure with Skuld!