Aurigen Re to enter Canadian reinsurance market

By Hubert Roy | January 27 2008 03:32PM

A new player wants to break into the Canadian life reinsurance market in the coming months. Aurigen Canada, run by Alan Ryder, former president of Employers Reinsurance Canada (ERC), aims to carve out a place alongside the key players in this market.

In late November, the Bermuda-based reinsurer Aurigen Re announced that it has secured $500 million to ease the integration of its Aurigen Canada division in the Canadian life reinsurance market. The reinsurer calls this the largest private equity raise in Canada in this market by a start-up player. The capital was committed by four companies: Edgestone, Englefield, Fine Brook Road and Soros Strategic Partners.Mr. Ryder, will be the CEO of Aurigen Canada,

Gregg Clifton, will be chief financial officer, Stephen Cooley, the chief reinsurance operations officer, and Yana Gagne, the chief business development officer.

"We have observed a real market need for additional capacity and alternate solutions. This situation resulted from the consolidation of the life reinsurance industry in Canada. Aurigen is a direct response to that need," Ms. Gagne told The Insurance Journal in an interview.She points out that Aurigen aspires to become a major player in Canada in the coming years. The reinsurer is confident it can hold its own against

Munich Re, Swiss Re and RGA Reinsurance in this market. "Of course, it will not happen overnight, but we believe that our capitalization signals that we are serious. That is why we have given ourselves three years to attain our objective, as our business plan indicates," Ms. Gagne explains.

Aurigen Canada will initially focus on the life reinsurance market. "We are also examining other possibilities in certain niche markets, but nothing is confirmed for now. In addition, we’re looking at critical illness reinsurance because of the real need in this area," Ms. Gagne adds.

Aurigen Canada will be headquartered in Toronto. The new reinsurer has submitted an application to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). If the OSFI gives it the green light, Aurigen plans to begin writing risks starting in mid-2008.