Specialist managing general agent (MGA) platform Pine Walk has announced the launch of Pernix, a new UK-based credit and political risk insurance provider.

The underwriter has started operations in London and is being led by former Channel Syndicate duo, Kade Spears and Caroline Coulson, who have respectively been named CEO and chief underwriting officer at the firm.

The MGA aims to support European commercial banks, but also corporates, commodity traders, multilaterals and export credit agencies, and is capable of covering transactions up to US$100m and with a maximum tenor of 18 years.

“We will cover the full ambit of deals out there, everything from short-term trade or supply chain finance to 18-year project financings for offshore wind farms,” Spears tells GTR.

Bermuda-based Fidelis Insurance Group is supplying underwriting capacity, while Pine Walk will provide operational and technology support through its platform, which already includes six other MGAs from other lines of insurance.

“Having worked for Richard Brindle [group CEO at Fidelis] in the past, and been an underwriter for him in this class of business, I know he has a deep understanding and strong appetite for it,” Coulson says.

“Some other credit and political risk insurance MGAs have struggled when their capacity providers, who did not know the class of business well, became unsure and started putting in restrictions and pulling their capacity. We know that we have got the full support,” she adds.

The launch follows Spears leaving his role as global line head of political and credit risk at Scor Specialty last year, while Coulson moves from her role as senior underwriter at Scor’s Channel Syndicate.

Another former colleague at the Scor Specialty unit and Pernix co-founder, Mark Grimpson, has been appointed head analyst at the firm.

“One of the benefits of moving to this vehicle is being able to launch without legacy IT infrastructure. We live and die by underwriting profitability, but the data set we can develop will be fascinating and really provide additional value to us,” he says.

Pine Walk’s technology will enable the firm to capture a “wide range of data points”, including those covering ESG for each risk, Spears tells GTR. “These could be external ESG ratings from a third party or internal classifications.”