Canopius Group, a specialist (re)insurance underwriting business, plans intention to extend its international footprint with the establishment of a new reinsurance underwriting platform Canopius Europe, based in Zurich.

Canopius said that the new operation will initially have a dedicated focus on European treaty reinsurance business and will underwrite on behalf of its Syndicate 4444 at Lloyd’s, subject to necessary consents.

Canopius Europe is expected to commence operations in mid 2011 and will be headed by Eric GutiƩrrez, currently senior vice president, ACE Tempest Re International and General Manager, ACE Reinsurance (Switzerland).

Canopius Europe will form part of Canopius’s International operating division, headed by Jim Giordano, group chief underwriting officer.

Canopius chairman Michael Watson said that Zurich is a major financial center and has become a well supported and established reinsurance hub, making it an ideal location for the expansion into Europe.

"The creation of Canopius Europe complements our existing activities in London, Bermuda and Singapore and supports the growth of our global reinsurance portfolio," Watson said.