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Bermuda insurer expands into U.S. admitted insurance market

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Surplus lines insurer Watford Specialty Insurance Co. said Monday that it has acquired Professionals Direct Insurance Co. as part of its strategy to expand in the United States.

Professionals Direct Insurance Co., a previously-dormant insurer licensed in 50 states and the District of Columbia, has been renamed Watford Insurance Co. and has re-domesticated to Morristown, New Jersey, Watford Specialty Insurance Co. said in a statement.

Liabilities related to Watford Insurance Co. pre-acquisition business is fully reinsured in a 100% quota share agreement with Hanover Insurance Co. Watford Insurance Co.'s past liabilities are made of professional liability claims. Gross reserves were around $10 million as of last year and are 100% reinsured by Hanover, a Watford Holdings Inc. spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Monday.

The acquisition “provides Watford with the ability to access the U.S. admitted property and casualty insurance market in partnership with Arch Underwriters Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arch Reinsurance Co.,” a Watford statement said.

The unit's “focus will be to partner with experienced program managers who are seeking a long-term relationship with a carrier that can provide highly-rated capacity,” the statement said.

Watford Specialty is a unit of Bermuda-based Watford Re Ltd., which has an existing underwriting relationship with Arch.