Initially, the new life reinsurer will have a focus on providing MassMutual and its subsidiaries with reinsurance capacity on existing products, with plans to later serve other life and annuity insurance carriers.
Investment manager Barings, alongside alternative asset manager Centerbridge, will manage Martello Re’s investment portfolio and also provide access to extensive public and private asset origination and underwriting capabilities across all asset classes.
Prior to this, he held various other leadership roles including CEO of Longitude Re, Managing Director at BlackRock Solutions, and Head of US Life Insurance Solutions at Deutsche Bank.
The reinsurer will be led by Dennis Ho as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He brings 22 years of experience in the life sector to the role, most recently founding online insurtech platform, Saturday Insurance.
Martello Re is a licensed Class E reinsurer with initial equity of USD 1.65 billion and intends to offer a differentiated value proposition to its clients.
MassMutual is set to cede approximately USD 14 billion of general account liabilities to Martello Re and also enter into a flow arrangement to reinsure new business. After receiving regulatory approval, both the first and second transaction are expected to close in February of this year
“This is an ideal time to build a new life reinsurer given the growing consumer demand for retirement products and challenging market environment for insurers,” said Ho.
“Through Martello Re, we’ve combined the DNA and core values of MassMutual with the agility of a start-up to create a premier reinsurer that will provide the industry with access to a unique combination of product expertise, capital, and investment capabilities that is not currently available today.”
Commenting on the launch, Roger Crandall, Chairman, President and CEO, MassMutual, said: “The launch of Martello Re represents a unique and strategic opportunity for MassMutual that supports our future growth. “By coming together with established, world-class partners to build a leading reinsurer, we will be able to more efficiently manage risk and deliver on our long-term commitments while providing ongoing value to our policyowners and customers.”
Mike Freno, Barings Chairman and CEO, added: “Today’s announcement underscores Barings’ deep expertise in alternative asset management and insurance. “We are proud to be teaming with leading firms like MassMutual, Centerbridge Partners and Brown Brothers Harriman to create and support an innovative new player in the reinsurance field.”
The life reinsurer will be overseen by a Board of Directors made up of investors and Martello Re’s CEO. The initial members of the Board of Directors will include Chairwoman Ellen Conlin from MassMutual, and Michael Baumstein of Barings, as well as Matthew Kabaker and Eric Hoffman from Centerbridge, Jeff Meskin and Taylor Bodman from Brown Brothers Harriman, and Ho.
“Joining together with these firms to create Martello Re for the benefit of our wealth management clients will be an exciting journey. My partner, Taylor Bodman, and I look forward to joining the Board of Directors and to working with the Martello Re team and our partners to grow this unique reinsurance platform.”
While Jeff Meskin, Brown Brothers Harriman Partner and Head of BBH Private Banking, noted: “We have enjoyed long-standing relationships with Barings, MassMutual, and Centerbridge. Jeff Aronson, Centerbridge’s Co-Founder and Managing Principal, said: “The creation of Martello Re is ground-breaking for the reinsurance sector. We’ve had a longstanding relationship with MassMutual, Barings, and Brown Brothers Harriman and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support in including us in this innovative partnership. We also appreciate the support from our clients who participated in the capital raise for Martello Re. We look forward to serving them and Martello Re in helping to create a full-spectrum, industry leading asset management solution for fixed income and private credit.”