Arch Relaunches Watford Re As Somers Re

November 6, 2021

Arch Capital Group Ltd., alongside investment partners Warburg Pincus and Kelso & Company announced that Watford Holdings Ltd. and Watford Re Ltd. have been renamed Somers Group Holdings Ltd. and Somers Re Ltd, respectively.

A spokesperson said, “Headquartered in Bermuda, the name Somers Re is a nod to Sir George Somers, who founded Bermuda in 1609.

“The name change is part of a strategic repositioning for Somers Re as it builds on the Watford platform that was originally established in 2014 as a total return reinsurer. Operating as Somers Re, the firm will follow a more traditional reinsurance business model, leveraging Arch’s underwriting expertise while pursuing a more conservative investment strategy.

“As an important step toward this objective, Somers Re is pleased to announce that its new strategy and financial backing have resulted in AM Best affirming a Financial Strength Rating of A- stable.

“Another important element of the reorganization of Somers Re is a change in leadership. Liz Cunningham has been appointed CEO of Somers Re. Cunningham is an actuary who has previously served as the Chief Risk Officer for Watford Re and boasts nearly 20 years of experience in insurance and risk management. Additionally, Sioned Butler has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of Somers Re. Butler most recently served as controller for Watford Re and has over 15 years of finance experience, including serving as an auditor at KPMG.

“Earlier this year, the company closed its acquisition of France-based insurance company Axeria IARD. Axeria is an established insurer in the French market and adds additional capabilities to Somers’ suite of insurance products and managing general agencies [MGA] strategy.”

“After seven years operating under the Watford name, reestablishing the company as Somers Re marks a new chapter for the franchise,” said Maamoun Rajeh, Chairman and CEO of Arch’s Worldwide Reinsurance Group and a member of the Board of Somers Holdings.

“Liz and Sioned bring fresh perspectives and strong leadership to the company, while maintaining institutional knowledge and continuity from their time in Watford. I am also pleased to remain engaged with our long-term partner, Highbridge Principal Strategies, as our primary investment manager.”

Cunningham stated, “I am looking forward to continuing the work with our founding sponsor Arch and welcoming the new Warburg Pincus and Kelso board members to Somers Re. We are taking the best parts of Watford and adding new strategies and capabilities.”

Michael Thompson, Managing Director at Warburg Pincus, added, “We are pleased to be able to partner with Arch to deliver performance for Somers Re policyholders and trading partners. The overall Somers Group platform — with insurance and reinsurance capabilities in Bermuda, U.S. and Europe — has a unique value proposition and is well positioned to deliver bespoke solutions and meaningful capacity to our clients around the world.”

Steve Dutton, Partner at Kelso, said, “I’ve been very impressed with the team’s ability to recognize an opportunity and then reimagine an entire business model to position the company to thrive in the coming years. We believe that Somers Re is uniquely qualified to augment its position with its clients and counterparties and look forward to leveraging our expertise and capabilities to support the firm in this next chapter.”

The insurance operations of Somers Group Holdings Ltd. will continue to operate under their existing names. Watford Specialty Insurance Company and Watford Insurance Company will serve U.S.-based customers, Watford Insurance Company [Europe] Limited will serve UK-based customers and Axeria IARD will provide capacity to clients across continental Europe.

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