Next Steps for Probitas 1492

Chief executive Ash Bathia on emerging markets and relationships.

Former QBE chief underwriting officer Ash Bathia returned to the market in October as chief executive of Probitas Syndicate 1492, which has emerging economies in its sights.

Here, Bathia opens up about his ambitions for the new venture, which will write a portfolio of property/casualty direct insurance and facultative reinsurance.


This business is about building a long-term legacy in the Lloyd’s franchise. Our aspiration is to build a quality business which is diverse, in terms of people, geography and the types of business we write.

Local markets are becoming more sophisticated, there are global reinsurers playing in local markets and local insurance companies are keeping much more of the business via co-insurance and buying more reinsurance etcetera. That is strangling, to a certain degree, the quality and quantity of business coming into the London market. So I think what we really want to try and do is find a way to get much closer to our client base and the origination of business.

There are a couple of ways we can do that. One is people, and I come back to my point about diversity. I just don’t think we fully recognise the quality of people sitting outside the London market in many other jurisdictions of this world.

But the second corollary to that is about knowledge transfer.

We want underwriters in London to spend time in markets that we operate in. Not just a quick trip, a game of golf and a few client meetings, but to spend quality time out there and really get to know the culture and the people in the local markets.

Then to get the local talent pool sitting outside London to come and spend more time in London. Suddenly you create a much richer vein of people available to you, and rather than having to push all the time in terms of business you create a pull force…

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