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Mapfre Global in London specialty push

Mapfre Global Risks will start offering specialty lines of business in aviation, energy, marine, construction and engineering from its London offices in 2015.

The global specialty insurance arm of the Spain-headquartered insurance group has been operating in the UK for the last seven years, focusing on property lines.

The firm, which is the largest insurance group in Latin America, said that, subject to obtaining the appropriate licences, it plans to extend its property line to other markets such as the US, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East.

In September 2013 The Insurance Insider revealed that Mapfre was in the early stages of work on a start-up syndicate at Lloyd's.

Mapfre was working with third-party managing agency Capita as it weighed up its entry to the 326-year-old market. According to sources, Lloyd's was favourably disposed towards an application due to the group's premier position in fast-growing Latin America. At the time Standard & Poor's rated Mapfre Global Risks and Mapfre Re - the two companies most sensitive to rating issues - at BBB+ with a negative outlook, and the firm's interest may in part have been due to Lloyd's well-rated paper.

The importance of London to this part of Mapfre's business was demonstrated last year by Mapfre Global Risks CEO Alfredo Castelo's decision to relocate from Spain.

However, in February Standard & Poor's restored Mapfre to an A- rating after it passed the agency's sovereign default stress test, and it is possible that the group's interest in Lloyd's began to wane at this point.

Castelo presented the new strategy to clients and stakeholders during the company's annual market event in London on 16 October, commenting: "To support this new strategy we are expanding our local team, building our capability in London, while working closely with our colleagues in Madrid."

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