DARAG Group makes swathe of new appointments
Legacy company DARAG Group has made several key senior appointments. It said the hires further broaden out the Group’s capabilities and support its continued progress towards becoming a highly focused, competitive and data driven legacy company with reach across Europe and North America.
Alastair Lauder has been appointed group chief actuary. Based in London, Lauder most recently served as Syndicate Actuary at Arch (formerly Barbican) Managing Agency, where he led the reserving team and oversaw the capital modelling and pricing for Syndicate 1955. Prior to that, Lauder was at Lane Clark & Peacock where he worked on reserving for various London market clients focused on worldwide commercial casualty and medical malpractice. He is a particular advocate of using technology to make actuarial processes as efficient as possible and believes that more focus is needed on data quality within the insurance sector and the actuarial profession.
In addition, DARAG has appointed Ciaran Russell as senior actuary in DARAG North America. Based in Bermuda, Russell worked most recently as an actuary at ILS Investment Management in Bermuda where he had direct experience with legacy transactions, having prior to this worked for 7 years at Aspen, performing roles including product and pricing actuary.
To assist with the growing importance of harnessing and streamlining data for the pricing and reserving process as well as to provide a wealth of valuable management information to monitor and improve portfolio performance, DARAG also welcomes Vivek Bhandari as head of data. Bhandari was most recently Data Warehouse Consultant at Siemens Financial Services.
As a further sign of the investment in data, systems and technology, DARAG has appointed Matt Watson as group head of IT. Watson was the former group head of IT at Armour Risk Management. He brings both technical and strategic experience to DARAG, including the management and delivery of IT infrastructure projects, cyber security and post-deal integration of systems.
Finally, Alastair Whitfield joins as group head of investments. Whitfield will help manage the Group’s asset portfolios, which are primarily managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He joins DARAG from RBC Wealth Management where he was head of fixed income, UK. Prior to that, Whitfield worked at Chubb Insurance as Portfolio Manager, co-managing the company’s multi-billion dollar international asset base. Whitfield will help ensure DARAG has a structured and well considered approach to asset allocation with a view to optimising risk and capital adjusted yields. The aim is to enhance the Group’s competitiveness and further control the risk of the Group’s growing asset base.
Tom Booth, Group CEO of DARAG, said: “As DARAG continues to expand globally, these senior hires reflect the successful growth and maturity of the Group as well as its ambition and innovation. These highly experienced and skilled staff will lead the continued development of our actuarial, data, IT and investment functions as we move beyond the initial scale up phase of the business.
“This new talent will serve to enhance our competitiveness as well as cement our reputation as a well-resourced global legacy player with an enviable blend of industry experience and data led innovation.
“DARAG now benefits from a significant balance sheet, ready access to growth capital and the ability to transact across key territories. We expect our full platform build out to be complete by year end, making the Group one of only a few legacy players able to provide the entire suite of solutions across Europe, North America and the UK. DARAG has built up a substantial, well diversified and medium tail portfolio since its recapitalisation three years ago, reinforced by strong risk metrics, underwriting discipline and expert claims management. Our future growth will be built upon those same foundations.
“It is a testament to what the business has achieved in recent years, its controlled ambition and outlook in an attractive segment of the insurance market, that we have attracted such high calibre senior personnel to help continue the growth of DARAG into a highly respected and competitive mid-market legacy player.”