Francisco Monteiro, Managing Director of Elmore Europe, discusses the growth of the Lisbon office and the priorities and challenges for insurance across the continent
Elmore Europe has been operating for more than a year now. Why did you create a European hub in Lisbon?
Five years after launching in the London Insurance Market, our founder and MD Simon Gilbert decided to target Europe and build on Elmore’s success. Brexit, of course, was a key consideration. Like other insurance businesses, we needed to think long-term and ensure we could operate across the EU. Establishing a European hub gave us the required legal foothold, and one of the reasons for choosing Lisbon was because of its highly skilled workforce. Simon also had connections with Portugal as well as good relationships with the local broker community. Our Lisbon hub means we have passporting rights across Europe, and most of our clients – for now – are outside Portugal.
What are your focus areas and plans for growth?
Financial lines are our main focus and we offer all the services that we provide in London. Amongst others, we cover professional liability, management liability, cyber insurance, financial institutions insurance, and fintech insurance. Although the team in Lisbon is still quite small, Elmore in London provides backup and we intend to hire more staff locally. We have plenty of submissions coming through so will definitely need to expand.
Our current designation is ‘insurance agent’ but we’ll become an authorised broker in the near future. We’ll be following in the steps of the London office, which has been granted a Lloyd’s of London broking licence for the UK operation and is directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Once our Portuguese business has broker status, we can access the Lloyd’s Brussels capacity.
How important is cyber insurance and what are the challenges?Cyber insurance is a strong growth area for Elmore. We’ve seen high-profile cyberattacks in Portugal recently, and it’s an issue across all geographies and sectors. Moreover, with the conflict in Ukraine and the growing risk of largescale attacks, there is no room for complacency: governments, businesses and individuals are all vulnerable.
As the risks mount, insurers are finding it increasingly challenging to provide cover. With so many attacks and new threats, and the sophistication of cybercriminals, it’s difficult to remain one step ahead. At Elmore, we’re cyber specialists who stay abreast of the ever-changing risk landscape. We help businesses to understand the risks, strengthen their defences through best practices and cyber awareness, and find appropriate insurance policies.
How are partnerships shaping your business? What organisations do you work with in Europe?We firmly believe in collaborating with fintechs and other industry experts and specialists. Partnerships facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge and create strong relationships that can promote better insurance products and services. We aim to be highly visible and active in the community, and we’re keen to work with organisations that can learn from our industry and sector expertise and in turn add value to our business. Our current partners include Fintech House, DIFC FinTech Hive, and Fintech Belgium.
Fintech insurance is one of your key strengths. How has this evolved and what are your plans for the future?The growth of fintech is an important side effect of digitalisation and open banking. Innovation and disruption are everywhere across financial services, and digital challengers are competing with established players and developing new products to better serve customers. But with innovation and new business modes comes risk, so insurers must play an increasingly important role in managing those risks and protecting fintechs as they move from start-up to scale-up and beyond.
Elmore is committed to fintech insurance and has developed market-leading knowledge and expertise. We have watched the fintech marketplace develop, we understand the risks facing new business models, and we know the measures and behaviours that fintechs must adopt to protect their businesses as they grow.
This is why we launched fintechinsurance.com, our dedicated portal to guide and protect fintechs. From risk identification and silent reviews through to risk transfer, incident response and claims handling, we enable fintechs to trade confidently and build their businesses. Fintechinsurance.com is a joint initiative by our London and Lisbon offices, and it draws on an international network of brokers who can coordinate both local and global insurance through a single channel.
What other areas is Elmore Europe looking at?We’re a multidisciplinary insurance specialist that continually monitors the risk landscape. We provide insurance where it’s most needed, and, like many of the clients that we serve, we’re also an innovator. We’ll develop new lines as appropriate, filling gaps in the market and meeting new demands and emerging risks. For example, digital assets is a growing area of focus, and we’re also looking at media industries. One thing is sure: with climate change, pandemics, geopolitical instability and conflict, the world is becoming more dangerous and there has never been a greater need for risk awareness and all types of risk transfer – not least insurance.
Written by Francisco Monteiro – EU Managing Director of Elmore Lda.