Castel Underwriting Agencies, the MGA platform for individual specialist underwriters, has split off its niche forestry physical damage platform Weald Risk Partners into a separate cell within its Castel Specialty portfolio.

The newly-independent entity will be led by Gordon Steward, the first underwriter to join the platform after it launched back in 2016.

Steward is a seasoned market leader in the forestry sector, and the underwriter will be backed with capacity from Fidelis and other Lloyd’s syndicates.

He previously spent three years as class underwriter for forestry at Catlin and head of the same business at IGI. 

Bugaboo forest fire

“Castel’s understanding and support of Weald Risk Partners’ business plan has been fundamental to our growth over the last 18 months,” he said.

“Mark [Birrell] and his team have provided the operational infrastructure needed to turn a niche book of business into a full insurance business.”

Weald writes business on a global basis, but is understood to be particularly concentrated in the southern hemisphere with a sizeable portion of the book also in the US.