Specialist insurer Markel International has hired Ramzi El Kadi as an underwriter in its trade credit, political risk and surety operation in Dubai.

El Kadi joins from Coface, where he worked in trade credit for five years, most recently as risk underwriter.

In his new role, he will report to Leroy Almeida, head of Markel’s Middle East operations. He will assist with business development across the Gulf and North African regions.

Headquartered in the UK, Markel International offers commercial insurance and reinsurance for businesses. The hire of El Kadi comes as the firm is looking to grow its presence in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE.

Speaking recently on the opportunities in the region, Ewa Rose, managing director of Markel’s trade credit, political risk and surety business, said: “The UAE is currently the largest market for trade credit insurance in the Mena region. This has also been the strategic location where a majority of the credit insurers have their base and use it as a hub to support businesses in the region. The UAE offers a stable economic and political environment, ease of doing business, a relatively healthy regulatory and legal environment and geographical positioning, making it a trading hub for the region with access to quality talent.”

In November, the insurer signed a memorandum of understanding with Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE’s new export credit agency, to work together on designing and delivering bespoke conventional trade credit insurance solutions and services to UAE businesses, focusing on the growth of non-oil export trade.

In a statement, Almeida says the hire of El Kadi follows a “hugely successful year for the team, which saw a substantial growth in our business portfolio”.

“With strong and growing connections in the industry regionally, Ramzi will be part of the continued success of our business,” he adds.