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Agile syndicate set for April launch 

Agile Underwriting’s new syndicate will “shorten the chain” between Australian brokers and Lloyd’s specialty expertise, sources say.

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin last week, understands Sydney-based Agile has been given in-principle approval to launch a Lloyd’s syndicate. An official announcement from Lloyd’s is expected later this week.

While other syndicates have been operated by Australian organisations, one source close to the deal says Agile’s is different because its senior underwriters are based in Australia.

“Other syndicates have been branch offices of the London operation,” the source said. “The power base from an underwriting perspective always remains in London.”

But Agile’s senior underwriters “are on the ground in Australia”.

“They are in and out of brokers’ offices, not just visiting once a year. The chain is quite long in terms of distance, often, to get access to that specialty expertise of Lloyd’s. By being on the ground, Agile can shorten that chain.”

Agile is already a Lloyd’s coverholder, but the syndicate could turbocharge its growth and provide more capacity to Australian brokers as hard market conditions continue.

Asta will be the managing agency for the syndicate and the active underwriter will be former Zurich Australia head of deal and broker management Mark Hunt.

Agile was formed in 2015 and is led by CEO Robin Barham, who has more than three decades’ experience working with various Lloyd’s syndicates in London and Australia.

The agency, which has 40 staff across Australia, operates only through brokers and provides financial lines, cyber, aviation, construction, and accident and health, among other lines. It also offers insurtech solutions.

The syndicate will be launched under Lloyd’s “syndicate in a box” model. Lloyd’s says the scheme gives “smaller, entrepreneurial” operations the opportunity to “establish an underwriting platform in Lloyd’s at a smaller scale and lower cost base”.