Amwins-owned specialist transportation MGU Trinity Underwriting Managers (TUMI) has partnered with hybrid fronting carrier Obsidian in a move that will augment its reinsurance panel relationships, allowing it to write more business and expand its offerings, The Insurer can reveal.

Tumi, Amwins and Obsidian

Led by Stephen Standing, TUMI is now part of Amwins Underwriting following the acquisition of Worldwide Facilities by wholesale giant Amwins in a deal that closed earlier this month.

Although details of the reinsurance panel are not known, sources said State National had provided fronting capacity to TUMI for a number of years.

In a statement confirming the Obsidian tie-up, the Savannah, Georgia-based MGU said the partnership will enhance its automotive liability product offerings in response to demand for specialty insurance products in a “challenging and complex industry”.

It highlighted emerging threats such as fraud and nuclear verdicts, which have led to retrenchment from the market by carriers even though the automotive industry itself continues to grow.

The new program with Obsidian sees TUMI offer exclusive insurance solutions for towing, automotive repossession, sand and gravel, paratransit and intermodal trucking businesses.

Those areas are often described as being among the most difficult-to-place segments of the transportation space.

The statement added that the partnership with Obsidian augments TUMI’s existing reinsurance relationships, providing the ability for it to write more premiums on a larger scale and expand its product and program offerings.

“The automotive industry has faced volatility and a myriad of complex challenges, leaving a growing need for liability solutions,” said Standing.

“We look forward to working with Obsidian to enhance our automotive programs and fill a niche gap in the marketplace, while providing the ideal support for our retailers,” he continued.

Obsidian CEO Bill Jewett added: “Stephen Standing has positioned TUMI exceptionally well in this rapidly evolving market segment, and we believe that our partnership represents a very attractive and sustainable opportunity for Obsidian and our reinsurers.”

It is thought that reinsurers on the panel represent the domestic, Bermudian and Lloyd’s markets.

In contrast to State National, Obsidian – which was launched last year with backing from private equity firm Genstar – is a participatory front.

It can provide admitted and non-admitted paper to MGUs and MGAs and will typically retain up to 10 percent of the risk on a program, ceding the rest to reinsurers.

Program manager and Lloyd’s coverholder TUMI was founded in 2008 and acquired by Worldwide Facilities in 2016.

According to its website, its offerings include a local and intermediate trucking program; a dump-truck and roll-off program; commercial auto; a towing program; a cargo/physical damage and non-trucking liability program; a repossession program and an intermodal program.