Howden said the response to the group’s planned combination with TigerRisk, announced in June this year, had been positive in discussions with both existing and potential clients in recent days.

“What we present is a business that is different to the three big brokers, where it has previously been a merry-go-round of where people can go.

“Now there is a new kid on the block – it is growing very fast and owned by people working in the business.

“We’re still waiting for regulatory approval so there’s only so much we can do, but we’ve been really active in working out how the businesses will work together and getting the structure right,” he added.

Howden emphasised the importance of culture to the merger, citing both firms’ entrepreneurialism and the ownership mentality within the business.

“Very bluntly, we weren’t talking to any other reinsurance brokers. We’d rather build a business with colleagues that would result in an outstanding independent reinsurance business,” said Howden.

News broke in June that Howden was buying US-based reinsurance intermediary TigerRisk in a landmark deal it said will position the overall group as a global firm placing $30bn of premium into the market with an enterprise value of more than $13bn.

Rod Fox, TigerRisk’s founder and executive chairman, said integration planning between the two companies is well under way and progressing well.

“One of the beautiful things about this deal is they’re so complementary, that it’s really about how we go forward together, and not what we have to fix or break up or anything like that,” he said.

“There’s a lot of work going on within the confines of what we can do, but also getting to understand each other’s businesses even better, have the people meet each other, and look at what the integration plans are going to be. The general word seems to be excitement,” he added.

On market reaction to the coming together of Howden and TigerRisk, Fox added there was talk of a new energy.

“There was a senior market figure that congratulated us on the transaction and said it brings energy to the market and the market needs energy,” he said.

“What this combined proposition brings is a really significant group of experienced professionals in the space, and I think that’s what these challenging conditions require. It’s innovation, it’s experience, having been through choppy, difficult markets,” he added.

“At Tiger we talk about something called Charlie Mike, we stole it from the Navy SEALs, it means continue mission. So if the first three attempts didn’t work, you still continue mission, and you find the solution.”

“Huge importance” of MGA market

Howden RE and TigerRisk have announced they will combine their MGA operations to form SabRE, a new reinsurance unit dedicated to the resurgent global program market.

SabRE says it will be the largest dedicated global MGA/program reinsurance intermediary, advising on the placement and structuring of $6bn of gross written premium.

“SabRE is about us recognising the huge importance of the MGA market,” Howden told The Insurer TV. “It’s a $100bn market in the US alone. We’ve been passionate about MGAs for years, we started Dual back in ’97 and it’s now a $2.5bn MGA in its own right.

“And I think it’s really exciting that we’re bringing for the first time together, everything that MGAs need. We’ve got the reinsurance side of it, we’ve got the placement side and we’ve got the capital market side of it,” he said.

“If you look at our space for MGAs, we’re actually involved in over $6bn of premium, by far the number one broker in that area. And I think if you’re thinking about the fastest growth market, well we’re absolutely number one, we’re going to deliver what MGAs really need, and I think that’s something that’s really new, different and exciting,” he added.

Watch the headline interview with David Howden and Rod Fox discussing their landmark merger, filmed in The Insurer TV’s Hôtel de Paris pop-up studio suite. Listen for more on:

  • Howden Tiger – a cultural fit
  • Co-broking and integration plans
  • Creating the fourth biggest broker