Pan-African (re)insurer Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) has entered a partnership agreement with Moroccan reinsurer Société Centrale de Réassurance (SCR).
A joint statement said that the pair will be combining capacities to write multi-business line coverage across Africa and the Middle East, with the joint capacity being led by the ASR team outside of Morocco for a proportion of SCR’s capacity.
ASR says its partnership with SCR reflects a mutual mission to develop and accelerate an international presence across the African and Middle Eastern re/insurance markets.
Mikir Shah, CEO of ASR, said: “Partnering with SCR is an exciting time for ASR as the Group continues to protect the African continent from a range of risks, while simultaneously extending our presence and expertise in the Middle East. The partnership increases the protection we can provide to international and other African organisations. We look forward to working with SCR, the continent’s first Arab reinsurer and second largest African reinsurer and continuing our work in filling the insurance gap in Africa and the Middle East.”
ASR was established in August 2020 focused on providing bespoke risk mitigation solutions to the African Corporate and Specialty market. Since February 2021, ASR has written business in 47 African countries through a range of business lines, including political risk insurance & trade credit, political violence and terrorism, property, energy, construction, liability and parametric. In 2022, ASR extended its geographic coverage to the Middle East. ASR has offices in the United Kingdom and Mauritius and a presence in Kenya.
Youssef Fassi Fihri, CEO of SCR, said: “The partnership with ASR is a testament to our 2021-2023 strategic plan ‘We Transform Tomorrow Together’ and reflects our commitment to strengthening the positioning of SCR internationally while partnering with likeminded business partners.”
SCR was established in 1960 by an agreement between the Moroccan State and the Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion, a majority shareholder. SCR maintains its leading national re-insurance position in Morocco with over 50% market share of ceded premium, while simultaneously developing an international footprint supported by its representative offices in Rwanda, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa. SCR has more than 500 clients worldwide and operates in 70 markets.
This new announcement is further good news for SCR. In August, the firm had its IFS Rating of ‘AAA(mar)’ affirmed by Fitch Ratings, with its outlook said to be stable.
SCR has gradually increased its international diversification, as reflected in the share of the gross premiums written outside Morocco of 25% in 2021, up from 22% in 2018.
SCR’s rating benefits from the unlimited guarantee issued by the Moroccan state (BB+/Stable) on the company’s domestic business, which is considered to be a credit positive for the company’s profile assessment, compared with local peers.
Fitch has assessed SCR’s exposure to investment and asset risk as high, reflected in a risky asset-to-capital ratio of 283% at end-2021 (end-2020: 288%). Fitch has stated it views SCR’s investment strategy as prudent versus its domestic peers.