Howden enters Eastern Europe with new office in Poland

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14 April 2008

Howden, a leading Lloyd’s broker offering a range of specialist insurances and part of global insurance group Hyperion, today announced the opening of its latest international operation and its first step into Eastern Europe with the launch of a new office in Poland. This also represents the first business initiative announced by the Howden since the investment of £50 million for a minority shareholding in its parent company, the Hyperion Insurance Group, by 3i – a world leader in private equity.

The Polish operation, located in Warsaw, will focus on developing wholesale broking and reinsurance broking opportunities for directors’ and officers’ liability, general and product liability, financial institutions crime and liability, professional indemnity and large property programmes.

Tim Coles, Howden’s chief executive in the UK comments: “Howden’s growth both at home and overseas is a direct result of not only having a strong focus on our key product areas and leveraging our expertise in our chosen fields, but also by pursuing business opportunities in countries which are experiencing economic growth and in particular, rapid development of their insurance market. Poland is such a country, as well as being a vital financial centre in Eastern Europe. We believe that there is significant potential in this entire region and this represents the first step in our ambition to grow our presence throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Our aim is to become the first point of call for local brokers and insurers in the region.”

Located in Warsaw, the operation will be led by Krzysztof Wasilewski. He previously worked for AIG Poland, Generali, Cigna and EOS Risk Poland.

Wasilewski says: “Service delivery will be the key to our success. The combination of local market knowledge and expertise with Howden’s global reach and market relationships gives us a significant advantage over our competitors, and one we intend to exploit to achieve our goals.”

The total non-life premium income from Russia and Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) amounted to US$ 10.9bn in 2000 growing to US$ 36.3bn in 2005. Total premium income is forecast to grow to US$ 90bn by 2010. CEE consists of 26 countries and has a combined population of over 262 million people. Poland represents the biggest insurance market in the region with a non-life premium income of US$ 5.5bn in 2005. It is estimated to grow to US$ 8.5bn by 2010.