Lloyd’s has opened a specialist underwriting platform in Dubai to provide insurance solutions across the Middle East.

Operating from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the new platform will underwrite risks including marine and energy, property, construction and engineering, terrorism, political risk and trade credit, casualty, personal accident, professional and financial risks, aviation, and contingency.

It brings the number of Lloyd’s businesses trading in the DIFC to nine: Amlin, Argo Re, Beazley, Catlin, Liberty, Markel, Talbot, Visionary, and Watkins. Seven of these (including Markel) will now operate from the new platform.

William Stovin, president of Markel International, says: “We already generate significant business from the Mena region and we are expecting that to grow on the back of the Lloyd’s brand and presence.

“In Dubai, not only do you have a strong and established presence of the major international brokers, there is also a vibrant local broking community, which may well have access to clients with a different set of profiles to those looked after by the big brokers. People are worried that winning business off the Lloyd’s platforms is a zero sum game. It’s not.

“Our initial focus is on trade credit business but we think there will be other classes that will be of interest.”

Lloyd’s director of international markets Vincent Vandendael adds: “While the London market is still the global hub for specialist insurance and reinsurance, it is important Lloyd’s continues to expand our global footprint, turning perceived threats into opportunities, and ensuring London stays global for future generations of underwriters and brokers.

“The Lloyd’s Dubai platform gives us a presence in the heart of the Middle East, allowing us to build even stronger relationships and deeper risk insights. This is an important region, with strong economic growth and rates of investment, but little insurance to protect that investment.”