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StarStone appoints Agile as its Australia agent

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Lloyd’s underwriter StarStone has appointed Agile Underwriting Services as its Australia and New Zealand representative agent as the global specialty insurer pulls back from having its own operations in the market.

The appointment will see Agile represent the insurer across specialty classes provided by Lloyd’s Syndicate 1301, while StarStone, which is owned by Bermuda-based Enstar, will close its Sydney office.

Robin Barham, who has served as StarStone Australia MD, is also the founder and CEO of Agile and will be responsible for developing business activity under a new facility managed by the agency.

“The partnership will ensure customers retain access to StarStone’s capacity and expertise,” he said.

“StarStone will gain more efficient access to Australian customers, while Agile will continue to benefit from working with a global insurer.”

Enstar last year appointed investment bankers to investigate the potential sale of underwriting businesses Atrium and StarStone. In September Enstar said it stopped the evaluation process and would continue as the owners. John Hendrickson was appointed new StarStone CEO in October, taking over from Demian Smith, who resigned after eight years of service.

StarStone, which reported a net loss of $US61.7 million ($87.1 million) for the nine months ended September, has been seeking to cut costs globally and simplify its operations.

Last month it sold its Dubai-based managing general agent Malakite Underwriting Partners to Elesco, and under a new arrangement will continue to provide underwriting capacity.

The arrangement with Agile builds on a strategic partnership formed after StarStone launched its Australian underwriting capability in 2016.

Agile has operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Christchurch and already underwrites accident and health, aviation, cargo, cyber, financial lines, marine hull and marine liability as a Lloyd’s coverholder.

“As StarStone continues its strategy to reposition its operations, we are looking to develop long-term partnerships in key geographies to enhance our global reach,” StarStone CUO David Message said.

“The underwriting team at Agile already has close relationships with our international underwriting teams and is well-placed to assist us in developing our client proposition in the region.”

StarStone said last August it had established a casualty consortium targeted at the Australian and New Zealand markets that would offer an initial $50 million capacity and focus on middle-market risks not usually underwritten in London.

StarStone Australia Casualty Underwriter Mark Hunt has left the business and taken up the role of Head of Deal and Broker Management at Zurich.