Thomas M. Mannsdorfer, EVP, Head of European Specialty Insurance Underwriting
What’s your back story?
Many people don’t know this, but I’m a lawyer having trained in Switzerland, Germany and the U.S. I worked in tort litigation and liability law before the chance came up to lead the complex claims team at Allianz in Zurich. From there, I moved into financial lines underwriting with another global insurer in Paris, where I was also responsible for innovation. In March of 2018, I joined Sompo International to build out our underwriting capabilities in Continental Europe, initially focusing on management liability, professional indemnity and financial institutions lines of business. Since then, our team and my role has grown to currently include heading Sompo International’s European specialty lines business from an underwriting point of view, serving as branch manager of our Barcelona underwriting, and leading the London Market/Europe Insurance M&A insurance business.
Tell us about your market
M&A insurance is a young and dynamic sector and I am one of the oldest guys working in it! Ten years ago, there were only 30-40 people in the market worldwide. Today the number is still relatively small – around 400 to 500 people. The fact that M&A insurance is non-recurring business makes it challenging, compared to other classes, but I love the excitement in that every deal is very different. In 2020, we saw the first downturn in M&A since the global financial crisis. However, I believe activity will rise again as postponed deals are resurrected and, as recessionary pressure builds, we will see distressed transactions as well as sell-offs and carve-outs as larger companies move to get rid of non-core operations.
What’s your USP?
The Sompo International philosophy is a fantastic and unique mix. On one side we have all the Japanese traits of our parent company – we are relationship oriented and look out for the well-being of our clients, prioritising loyalty and trust as we look to develop the right solutions – combined with the professionalism, expertise and pragmatism of the London market. Meanwhile, here in Europe we have a very diverse team spanning a range of nationalities and ages, all of which adds up to a compelling proposition.
Sompo International’s key focus is getting closer to our clients. That is why we are building our European underwriting hub in Barcelona – to provide bespoke solutions offered by local specialists with in-depth experience of the market.