In conversation with Robin Hamilton, Senior Casualty Underwriter, we discuss Arch’s approach to the energy market, where opportunities for growth exist, and what he sees as critical to the broker relationship, as well as finding out what sparked his insurance career and brought him to Arch.
What specific areas of the Casualty market are you focused on?
The International Casualty division offers coverage across a very broad range of industries. My particular area of focus is Energy Liability, spanning upstream, midstream, and downstream risks, and power generation, as well as a rapidly growing renewable energy portfolio.
What are the key aspects of your risk appetite?
We’re proud to be a recognised lead market in the energy sector with a broad risk appetite and are able to offer cover on a worldwide basis. From a territorial perspective, key markets include Canada, Australia, the UK, and Europe, and we also write business in regions such as Latin America, Asia and Africa. In terms of our line sizes, we’re able to offer a maximum line size of $40 million for Energy Liability, while for offshore Energy Liability our maximum is $30 million.
Where are you seeing the clearest opportunities for growth?
We’re seeing growth potential across several market areas – onshore and offshore, up-, mid- and downstream, as well as on the renewables front, and there are multiple drivers for this. For example, the Russia/Ukraine war is seeing a shift in energy focus as countries look to source energy from other territories, triggering a marked increase in both offshore and onshore exploration and development.
Another example is the European Parliament recently rejecting a motion to oppose the inclusion of nuclear and gas as environmentally sustainable economic activities, proposing that certain activities be classified as transitional contributing to climate-change mitigation. This will encourage ongoing construction of LNG (liquefied natural gas) import and export terminals around the world.
That transition is also of course driving a surge in the construction of both onshore and offshore renewable energy facilities, including wind and solar farms. Additionally, we’re seeing an uptick in decommissioning activity as parts of the offshore oil and gas infrastructure reach the end of their operational life.
What are the most pressing issues currently facing your brokers and clients?
ESG is certainly a top consideration for brokers and clients alike, with significant time and resource being devoted to setting and achieving targets across the environmental, social and governance spectrum.
The current geopolitical situation and the resulting sanctions that have been introduced are also key areas of focus, while other factors such as market volatility, oil price hikes, and social inflation continue to be priority issues.
“Having been a broker for 11 years, I understand the incredible effort involved in bringing a risk to market, as well as the pressure of competition the brokers are under.”robin hamilton, senior casualty underwriter
How has your previous experience as a broker fed into how you approach broker relationships as an underwriter?
I would say that I have a strong sense of empathy with the broker’s position. Having been a broker for 11 years, I understand the incredible effort involved in bringing a risk to market, as well as the pressure of competition brokers are under. I also have a clear understanding of what’s most important in the underwriter/broker relationship – trust, clarity, transparency and speed of response. These are all critical to the longevity of that relationship.
How does Arch look to differentiate its offering in the market?
Fundamentally it comes down to service – we see that as a major differentiator for us. Arch has one of the largest and most experienced underwriting teams in London. That depth of specialist knowledge has cemented our lead-market position and makes us a go-to insurer for brokers seeking innovative solutions to often highly complex risks.
What aspects of the Arch culture help set the team apart?
I would say we are an extremely diligent, hard-working, and diverse team which is committed to working with brokers to find the best possible solution. Brokers know us as a company that will always go that bit further where possible for their clients. At Arch, we describe the way we do business as ‘Pursuing Better Together’ and I think that really comes across in how we work.
I’ve been heavily involved in a group-wide initiative called ‘The Arch Experience’ which has helped to cement the behaviours we see as core to our culture, and which we’ve worked to embed at every level. This has really helped create a culture we can all live and breathe and which is clear to any broker we work with.
What three words would you use to describe the Arch Casualty team?
Driven, Knowledgeable, Responsive
What drew you to the insurance industry and Arch?
I became aware of the insurance industry through friends who were already working in the market. They described it as an exciting and dynamic sector to work in that offered a range of opportunities, as well as one built on relationships and face-to-face meetings which was something that really attracted me. At the time, I was aspiring to be a rock star and was the drummer in a band – so working in insurance sounded quite similar!
I joined Arch’s casualty team in 2018 having previously worked with its underwriters in my broking role. It was clear they had considerable growth ambitions and wanted to expand their risk appetite and I wanted to be a part of that. Since then, I’m incredibly proud to have played my part in helping almost treble the size of the casualty portfolio and more than quadruple our energy book.
If you had chosen a different profession, what would it be?
I would have continued my music career. Touring the world and playing your own music to thousands of fans every night – who wouldn’t want a job like that?