July 22, 2024

Africa Specialty Risks opens Dubai office | Insurance Business America

New location marks reinsurance group’s first foothold in the Middle East

Africa Specialty Risks opens Dubai office


Kenneth Araullo

Reinsurance group Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) has announced the opening of its Dubai office, marking its first location in the Middle East.

The new office, named ASR Middle East, aims to strengthen ASR’s ties in Dubai and the wider region, where the group has been conducting business since February 2022. The office is located within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a major financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region.

ASR began underwriting in February 2021 and has since de-risked $23 billion worth of projects and assets. The company has written business across 14 countries in the Middle East and 49 African countries.

The Middle East expansion is led by Zouheb Azam (pictured above), head of political violence and terrorism at ASR, who will also serve as senior executive officer for ASR Middle East. Azam commented that the opening of the DIFC office represents a significant phase of growth, positioning ASR at the global crossroads for financial and insurance services.

“Our Dubai office will complement our existing operations and the progress we have made across Africa in developing bespoke and comprehensive risk mitigating solutions for developing markets,” Azam said.

Born in France, Azam brings 15 years of experience in both Africa and the Middle East as a broker and underwriter. He worked with Gras Savoye, Willis Towers Watson, and AXA before joining ASR.

ASR Middle East will offer a comprehensive suite of corporate and specialty covers across all nine of its business lines, supporting corporates and investors in the region. The Dubai office will add to ASR’s network of offices in London, Mauritius, Bermuda, and Morocco.

The DIFC office will also bolster ASR’s African portfolio and facilitate the expansion of its Middle Eastern book of business. The opening follows ASR receiving regulatory approval from the Dubai Financial Service Authority (DFSA) in December 2023.

“I am delighted that our new ASR Middle East office in Dubai is now open,” said Mikir Shah, CEO of Africa Specialty Risks. He explained that establishing a presence in Dubai is a natural progression for the company as it continues to grow in the region and enhance its capability to facilitate and de-risk inter-regional trade between Africa and the Middle East.

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