QIC-owned sister (re)insurers Antares and Qatar Re are mulling both the integration of their back office capabilities and combining their reinsurance buying in the next chapter of a 2018 efficiency drive at the group. 

Speaking to Re-Insurance on the eve of the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous, Antares’ head of ceded reinsurance Richard Anson said the carrier was working with colleagues at Bermudian bedfellow Qatar Re, as well as parent company QIC, to explore jointly purchasing reinsurance cover possibly in time for 2019 renewals.

“We’ve kicked off a project with Qatar Re and are looking at the potential to join up reinsurance covers,” Anson said, adding that the firms will be speaking to their carriers over the next few days.

Anson said the move would make it easier to manage retention levels at group level. Also speaking to this publication, Antares’ head of reinsurance Alex Craggs said both carriers felt it was “entirely appropriate” to consider buying combined reinsurance across the portfolios.

“It makes no sense for Antares and Qatar Re to buy cover individually,” Craggs said.

“There’s going to be harmonisation,” he added. This “harmonisation” between Antares and Qatar Re, Craggs said, would also extend to administration functions across both carriers.

“We’ll certainly be looking at the back office,” Cragg said.

“We’ll be looking at the areas where we can make efficiencies,” he added.

However, both Cragg and Anson stressed that they did not expect these changes to impact frontline underwriting or involve any restrictions on the products either carriers currently offer.

“From an underwriting perspective we will remain sister companies and we’ll continue to be run completely independently,” Cragg said.

“There’s no harmonisation of underwriting philosophy or portfolios on the cards,” he went on.

“I don’t envision the underwriting environment being impacted either at Antares or Qatar Re,” Anson said.

Cragg added that the initiative wasn’t thought up as a way of making redundancies at either firm.

“I would stress this isn’t aimed at reducing headcount,” he said.

Anson said that the he would be using this year’s Rendez-Vous as an opportunity to inform Antares’ reinsurers of the potential changes afoot to the carrier’s reinsurance purchasing.

“At this point I don’t know exactly what this will all mean for the programme,” Anson said.

“But I need to warn them that change is coming,” he concluded. QIC has already undertaken a number of what it has deemed “streamlining” activities so far in 2018, with these mainly focused at Qatar Re which was hit by significant losses in 2017 both from cats and UK motor. These included the closure of Qatar Re’s facultative business in Dubai and its Singapore office.