London-based insurer Markel International has acquired an initial 50% stake in the Munich-based Anglo Underwriting.

As per the terms of the joint venture agreement, Markel has an option to acquire the remaining 50% by 2017.

Markel said Anglo Underwriting’s Munich office, it’s first in Germany, will add to its growing European network.

Markel International president and COO William Stovin said that with premiums of more than €180 billion a year, Germany is one of the largest and most attractive markets in Europe. The agreement is a first step in building a much stronger presence in Germany and is part of their overall plan for European expansion.

Anglo Underwriting was founded in 2005 and now works with 2,500 brokerage firms in Germany and Austria and has 8,000 individual clients.

Anglo’s business is split into six lines, which include industrial, commercial, private, errors and omissions, professional indemnity and specialties.

Markel has recently been expanding its presence in Europe and opened an office in Rotterdam in 2011.