Re/insurance provider Vantage Group Holdings has bolstered its political risk and credit team with a string of new senior underwriter hires.

Having appointed industry veteran Dan Riordan to set up the unit in May, Vantage has now hired Jamie Brache, Javier Gomez and Richard Abizaid as VPs and senior underwriters.

The trio is tasked with growing out the fledgling firm’s new political risk and credit business, which will target public and private sector institutions active in renewable energy and infrastructure development.

Riordan tells GTR that the new unit aims to provide cover to public finance institutions such as multilateral agencies and export credit agencies, large international banks involved in financing infrastructure projects in emerging markets, and corporates.

“There are quite a few global companies looking to buy multi-country policies, a type of policy where a multinational firm based in the US may seek political risk insurance cover for risks such as expropriation, political violence and currency inconvertibility. These are typically transactions brokered by the big players, and as a new company with no exposure to date, we’re interested in these sorts of deals,” he adds.

Abazaid joins after five years as head of Americas at AXA XL, and will be based out of the firm’s main political risk and credit office in the Washington DC area.

He previously held a number of senior posts in the US and Singapore during an eight-year stint at Zurich Insurance. He moved to the private insurer in 2008 after roughly a decade as a director of political risk insurance at the US International Development Finance Corporation.

Brache joins from New Energy Risk, an insurance solutions provider that operates as a majority-owned indirect subsidiary of AXA SA, where he was an advisor. He will continue to be based in Colorado.

Prior this this, he worked as a senior director for business development at kWh Analytics, responsible for origination, structuring and underwriting for projects in the solar energy sector.

Brache took on that post after a 15-year spell at Zurich, where he held numerous senior roles in the US and the UK, including as deputy global head, credit and political risk insurance.

Gomez is based in New York and joins after a decade working as a senior credit and political risk insurance underwriter, first at XL Insurance, and then at AXA XL after its acquisition in 2018.

He previously served as a senior underwriter for structured trade and political risk at QBE North America for three years, having also worked as an underwriter at Exporters Insurance Company for seven years.

The credit and political risk team had already been expanded through the appointment of Lila Granda from Zurich as a senior risk manager in June.

“Since May, we’ve been building the team and concluded our re/insurance treaty in early August. We have a US$60mn capacity and 15-year tenor for political risk, and US$40mn for credit and a seven-year tenor,” Riordan says.

“On the back of that, we’ve been quoting to potential customers and have completed two significant infrastructure transactions involving government sponsored organisations.”