XL Catlin merger finalised

Australian staff of the newly merged XL and Catlin Groups will know in the coming weeks how deeply job cuts will affect their operations.

Ireland-based XL completed its acquisition of Catlin earlier this month, creating a firm with $US10 billion in premium and strong interests in specialty risks and reinsurance.

The new firm has publicly pledged to cut at least $US200 million and XL Catlin CEO Mike McGavick told Broker Buzz that the 180-odd Australian staff would know the local outcome of that in the coming weeks.

“It’s not so complicated here though because we’ve been mainly underwriting operations, so there’s very little that’s expected in job losses,” he says.

“It’s more in the big processing centres where people are likely more concerned.”

McGavick says Australia will be an important market for XL Catlin, with specialty and professional lines a strong focus.

“I think that the specialty lines are the best opportunity in a marketplace like this,” he says. “There you can really get into unique coverages and offerings that are not as widely copied around them. As a result, can get a fairer price for your product.

“I think emphasising specialty and the kind of innovation we’ve been focused on around the world will really make a difference here.”

McGavick says he is confident the combination of XL and Catlin expertise will help drive innovation in a soft market.

“As risks mutate and technology drives risks, I think the insurance industry has a fair bit of catching up to do,” he says.

“That’s one of the reasons we saw this combination as so powerful. It’s not just a bigger company and has the advantage of scale. It’s scale with a purpose to be very deep and rich in the specialty area which we tend to think leads the way to innovation.”