SiriusPoint deal ‘not about expense reduction’

  • At the helm: Siddhartha Sankaran, chairman of Third Point Re, who will be CEO of SiriusPoint

    At the helm: Siddhartha Sankaran, chairman of Third Point Re, who will be CEO of SiriusPoint

  • Exciting time: Dan Malloy, Third Point Re CEO, will be a senior underwriting executive with the combined company

    Exciting time: Dan Malloy, Third Point Re CEO, will be a senior underwriting executive with the combined company

Job losses are not expected as a result of the proposed merger between Bermuda reinsurers Third Point Re and Sirus Group.

Two executives who will have senior roles in the new combined company, to be called SiriusPoint, say the deal is focused on creating a bigger company to take advantage of market conditions rather than cutting costs through synergies.

Siddhartha Sankaran, the Third Point Re chairman destined to become chief executive officer of SiriusPoint, said in an interview: “There are different types of transaction, but this deal is all about people, not about consolidation and expense reduction. I don’t anticipate any material change to the composition of the workforce.”

Sirius, a 75-year-old company, employs about 1,100 people across the world, while Third Point Re employs 35 people. In Bermuda, Sirius employs 15, while Third Point Re has a staff of 25.

Mr Sankaran added: “I don’t see a lot of integration risk. Usually in a deal like this, there are a lot more people coming on board and a lot more going on. Here, I think it’s pretty straightforward.”

He added that Sirius’s global platform “adds components to the business that we just don’t have, such as their European branch network and their wonderful accident and health business”.

Dan Malloy, the CEO of Third Point Re who will take a senior underwriting role in the combined business, said: “We’re going from a company with 35 people to a company with 1,135 people.

“It’s an exciting time to be an underwriting organisation with a bigger balance sheet and more product offerings.”

He added that there was little overlap between the businesses.

“This transaction is strategic and transformative,” Mr Malloy said. “You don’t have two big infrastructures crashing into each other, as when two big companies combine and there’s a shakeout. That doesn’t exist in this case.

“For example, Sirius writes catastrophe business out of Bermuda, we don’t. We’re more heavily focused on casualty and they have a smaller profile in that business.”

SiriusPoint will have capital of about $3.3 billion and will be headquartered in Bermuda.

Mr Malloy said: “I think it’s important we have a significant presence in Bermuda. I’m a believer in the Bermuda market. There is flexibility, innovation and resilience here and it’s remade itself a few times.

“As we emerge post-closing, I think you’ll se that Bermuda is a very important part of our plans, post Covid-19.”

Mr Sankaran, a former chief financial officer of American International Group, said: “Bermuda has a very strong and effective regulatory regime, proximity to major markets that makes it a hub and I don’t see Bermuda’s place in the insurance market going anywhere.”

Third Point Re was launched in 2011, founded by Dan Loeb and his hedge fund Third Point LLC.

The company’s initial focus was more on investment returns than underwriting, but the firm has evolved, Mr Malloy said.

He pointed to Third Point Re’s underwriting profitability during the first six months of the year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the combined ratio — the proportion of premium dollars spent on claims and expenses — of 97.5 per cent, was the result of “a deliberately different mix of business”.

“It wasn’t so much a case of fixing the machine, it was changing the direction of it,” Mr Malloy said.

In a conference call with analysts, after the merger was announced last week, Joshua Targoff, partner and chief operating officer of Third Point LLC, said Third Point Re had started out as “a reinsurer focused on total return, generating float by writing low volatility, long-dated reinsurance”.

He added: “Over time, however, we came to realise the limitations of the model. It was difficult to find profitable low volatility underwriting business, and the inherent volatility of our strong investment returns was off-putting to many insurance investors.

“Now we are poised for a new chapter on our evolution, one that introduces new paradigm of a reinsurer partnering with an investment firm.”

Third Point LLC, which managed most of Third point Re’s investments, will have a smaller-scale relationship with Sirius Point.

The combined company’s traditional investments, the vast majority of its portfolio, will be outsourced to third-party asset managers, while Third Point will continue to manage investments in specialty asset classes.

Asked whether the merger amounted to an admission that the “hedge fund re” model did not work, Mr Sankaran said: “I’m all about looking forward. I think we’re very pleased with evolution of the business, that we’re going to have a company with a strong balance sheet and a diversified portfolio, both on the asset and liability sides, and is positioned to succeed. I think the future looks great for the combined company.”

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Published Aug 13, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 12, 2020 at 8:30 pm)

SiriusPoint deal ‘not about expense reduction’

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