Ascent Underwriting (“Ascent”), the cyber and specialty lines MGA, and Cove Programs (“Cove”), the US construction-focused MGA, today announce that industry heavyweight Ian Beaton will join as non-executive director of the group, effective immediately.
Beaton, the founder and chief executive officer of Ark Syndicate Management, who also holds non-executive positions in Innova Re Investment Solutions and Mercury Capital, brings extensive experience to Ascent-Cove.
Beaton quickly rose in his early career at McKinsey & Company in the 1990s. As joint head of insurance, London, he was closely involved in the repositioning of Willis and the integration of Eagle Star with Zurich Insurance in 1998. He then joined Aspen where, as head of insurance in London, he led the development of more than $400m GWP of specialty insurance business. In 2007 Beaton formed Ark Syndicate Management with Nick Bonnar, which under their leadership has grown to be a $500m+ GWP business annually.
His considerable skill and expertise will be of significant value in the ongoing expansion of Ascent-Cove, which later this month will move to larger premises. At that time the combined group will be rebrand as Optio. The new name symbolises a future-focused organisation that will leverage the strength of its people and embrace technology to set new standards in the insurance market.
Optio CEO Kevin Hastings said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Ian to Optio. This aligns with moving to larger premises under our new name, which will enable us to take full advantage of our combined strengths as a single entity. Ian’s commercial dexterity has allowed him to navigate the complexities of the Lloyd’s markets for the past 15 years with great success. We look forward to working with him and his invaluable input into the development of Optio.”
Beaton said: “It is vital for capital to align with expertise, a goal met efficiently through the MGA structure. Both Ascent and Cove have consistently outperformed in their chosen niches based on their focussed knowledge and intent capital support. Their combination to form Optio capitalises on this alignment to create one of the largest independently-owned specialty MGAs. Optio has enormous potential, and I look forward to working with Kevin, chairman David Umbers and the team to help realise it.”
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About Ascent Underwriting
Ascent is a specialist cyber-focused managing general agent underwriting on behalf of a number of Lloyd’s syndicates. It provides innovative insurance solutions face-to-face, and via a proprietary electronic underwriting platform. Ascent believes that all insurance products should be complemented by value-added solutions, and therefore partners with other professionals, including risk assessors, forensic experts, and proactive claims management companies, to assist clients in making informed choices and ensuring the claims process is smooth and efficient.
Cove, formed in 2011, is a provider of specialty insurance products. It comprises Cove Program Underwriting Limited, a London-based managing general agent and approved Lloyd’s coverholder with underwriting authority on all its programs, backed by highly rated insurers. Cove Programs Insurance Services LLC, a California-based surplus lines intermediary, is licensed in each state in which it operates.
About Bay Risk Services
Cove-owned Bay Risk Services Limited is a Lloyd’s broker that specialises in placing and managing delegated authorities for profitable coverholders. Bay is dedicated to developing bespoke, independent, long-term solutions across two core specialisms, in which it has many years of experience: programme business /binding authority, including program creation and design, and specialty single risk replacement, even for the most challenging risks.