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Pen Underwriting acquires Tay River Holdings & marine specialist subsidiaries

4th April 2023 - Author: Kane Wells

Pen Underwriting has acquired Tay River Holdings and its wholly-owned marine specialist subsidiaries Vessel Protect, Trafalgar Marine Trades and BMM Ports & Terminals for an undisclosed sum.

pen-underwriting-logoEstablished in 2020 by marine underwriters Paul Hartley, James King and Chris Goddard, Tay initially comprised the three niche MGAs, backed by the A-rated security of Lloyd’s syndicates.

Based in the City of London, Tay deals exclusively through brokers and specialises in marine trades’ liability, ports & terminals liability, marine war risks and kidnap & ransom. Since its launch, it has grown to a team of 17, generating more than £90m gross written premium.

Tay has also recently expanded into maritime professional indemnity, freight and logistics insurance, as well as brown water hull through two new MGAs trading as Freeboard Maritime and Fortify Marine.

Commenting on the acquisition, Tom Downey, CEO of Pen Underwriting, said, “Having identified the specialty marine market as a core area of capability we are keen to add to Pen’s existing breadth of specialisms, the challenge was on to find the right partner.

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“In Tay, we have found a high-quality underwriting business that shares our focus on writing profitable, sustainable business underpinned by a robust underwriting discipline and excellent capacity management one that will enhance our ability to underwrite global portfolios of complex, international risks.”

Downey continued, “The underwriting skill and expertise of Tay’s management team in their respective niches within marine liability and trades is exemplary, and has empowered them to build a well-respected, dynamic and diverse business of real scale at an impressive pace.

“Their entrepreneurial talent and ambition have combined to create a standout marine specialist and we are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Paul, James, Chris and their colleagues into the Pen Underwriting family.”

Founder and Managing Director of Tay, Paul Hartley, said, “Full credit for the growth, performance and profitability of our portfolio over these first three years must be given to the skills and tenacity of our fantastic team of specialist underwriters.

“Now we want to take the business to the next level and Pen, with its depth of resources and established ‘virtual insurer’ infrastructure, offers us the ideal home to continue our story of expansion and diversification in niche areas of the marine market.”

Hartley added, “It is exciting to be able to help Pen broaden its capabilities while securing for our people all the benefits and support of becoming part of a larger organisation that still stays true to the agile mindset and client focus of a burgeoning business.

“We look forward to getting to know all our new colleagues and finding ways to deliver even more to our brokers, clients and capacity providers.”

J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, parent of Pen Underwriting, said, “Tay’s strong reputation for specialist underwriting, client excellence and diversified distribution will enhance Pen’s international capabilities.

“We are delighted to welcome Paul and his colleagues to our growing, global team.”

Founder and CEO of Vessel Protect, Chris Goddard, noted, “Vessel Protect has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading markets for marine war insurance and we are incredibly proud of our achievements.

“In joining Pen, our value proposition to our brokers, their clients and our capacity providers will further increase as we continue to grow and develop our digital offering.

“One of the key drivers for our success is our unrivalled service levels to our clients and it is clear there is a strong culture within Pen which will allow us to continue focusing on our core values.”

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