Expansive MGA platform Paragon Insurance Holdings is continuing its push into the E&S market with the hire of AmTrust’s head of North American E&S Duffy Koller to launch a primary and excess casualty business, The Insurer can reveal.

Duffy Koller – Paragon and Nationwide

According to sources, Koller will take the position of president of casualty E&S at Paragon, which is owned by Galway Holdings, the private equity-backed company that is also the parent of retail broker Epic and wholesaler Jencap.

Paragon has not yet confirmed its primary insurance carrier paper for the launch or the reinsurer panel behind it but is understood to be aiming to begin underwriting primary and excess casualty by Q1 2022.

Classes of business targeted by the new unit are likely to include construction, manufacturing/distribution and premises liability.

Paragon has key carrier trading relationships with Arch, Argo, Nationwide, Clear Spring and Falls Lake and sources said they would expect new fronting company entrants to be among parties interested in supporting the new platform.

Paragon is known to have key relationships with a number of fronting organisations including Falls Lake, Accredited, Obsidian and Sutton National.

Fronted approach

It is likely that Paragon will consider a fronted approach with some of its key reinsurance partners providing supporting risk capital.

As previously reported, earlier this year Brown & Brown’s Arrowhead took a similar path when the MGA partnered with Obsidian to launch a casualty E&S excess program.

Limits available on individual offerings are not known, with excess casualty in particular continuing to be a market where capacity remains relatively restricted.

Koller has been a key underwriter in this space and is known to have a strong distribution and capacity following.

The underwriting executive joined AmTrust in 2015 from XL Catlin and has also held positions at Admiral and Kingsway America.

At AmTrust he is thought to have overseen a book of business running into several hundreds of millions of dollars across the carrier’s specialty casualty, professional liability and small business/contract binding units.

Paragon’s E&S move…

Paragon E&S expansion continues

For Paragon, led by co-founding CEO Ron Ganiats, the E&S casualty move is the latest this year as the MGA builds out its E&S platform and diversifies its portfolio beyond its established admitted offerings.

In February this publication reported that the firm had secured a long-term deal to take on the shared and layered E&S property business from Nationwide led by Mike Denton.

The arrangement sees Nationwide’s E&S carrier subsidiary continue as the capacity provider for the book as the insurance giant explained that it saw an opportunity to grow the business more quickly with Paragon than it could internally.

The offering includes up to $125mn of capacity for best-in-class risks, targeting total insured values in the range of $100mn to $7bn and is distributed solely through wholesale brokers.

In April Paragon confirmed that it had hired Christian Phillips from Beazley – news first broken by this publication – as president of its newly created Paragon Contingency Practices unit.

Phillips has capacity in place to write event cancellation business from Beazley, with support also coming from Arch and Convex.