Helios Investment Partners has launched Africa Specialty Risk Group (ASR), a reinsurance business focused on the provision of risk mitigating insurance solutions.
Helios says in a statement that it launched ASR in partnership with Mr Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks, and Mr Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations.
Helios, through its extensive financial services expertise in Africa, identified an unmet need in the reinsurance space to expand the continent’s long-term domestic capacity beyond its current capabilities.
ASR will create tailored solutions for local and global customers, using Africa-specific pricing models coupled with a deep understanding of African risk and cultural environments. This provides corporates and investors with the confidence to grow their businesses, thereby unlocking investment activity, and the associated developmental benefits.
Mr Shah, commenting on the partnership, said, “We chose to work with Helios given their extensive reach across Africa, their knowledge and experience in our key markets, as well as their established track record in helping entrepreneurial businesses to scale.”
Mr Souleymane Ba, a partner at Helios, said, “We have identified a sustained lack of adequate insurance capacity across Africa, which has been exacerbated further by COVID-19 as global reinsurance providers focus on their home markets. ASR has been established to address this gap by providing specialist risk mitigation products which companies and capital providers operating in Africa have found difficult to access to date. As demonstrated in the US and Europe, private equity has a long and successful track record of stepping up to fill unmet insurance capacity to derisk and support investment activity.”
ASR intends to work proactively with local regulators and clients to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters. Environmental, social and governance considerations are central to ASR’s values, particularly in relation to local capacity building.
The investment in ASR is being made from Helios’ latest fund, Helios Investors IV, whose investors include CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution) and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
Established in 2004, Helios Investment Partners is billed as the largest Africa-focused private investment firm.