DUAL North America (DUAL), a unit of UK-based insurance broker Howden, has launched a new surety underwriting division.

The new unit offers a wide range of underwriting solutions and expertise for customers in both commercial and contract surety lines of business.

DUAL has formed an alliance with speciality insurer AXIS Capital to provide these services.

In addition, AXIS Insurance Company has agreed to provide DUAL with delegated authority for the US surety business.

When combined with available referral capacity, the arrangement offers DUAL and its US clients a potential Treasury Listing exceeding $100m.

Concurrently, DUAL has announced the appointment of Mark Farina and Brendan Keating as executive vice-presidents of its surety unit.

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Farina has more than 35 years of experience in the surety industry while Keating joins DUAL with over 12 years of experience.

DUAL said it has also assembled a team of 27 surety specialists including engineers and underwriters.

DUAL North America CEO John Johnson said: “Entering the surety marketplace in such a significant way represents an important milestone in the execution of our strategic expansion and diversification plan at DUAL North America.

“This is an exceptional group of talented surety industry professionals whose team structure of experienced underwriters, field engineers and legal experts provides a uniquely deep in-house expertise. In AXIS, we are partnering with a company that is a proven specialist market with a strong global platform and established financial strength.”

AXIS Capital North America head Mike McKenna said: “We are pleased to partner with DUAL and its exceptional team of proven Surety professionals.

“This partnership demonstrates our commitment at AXIS to be a global market leader in speciality insurance, working with knowledgeable, experienced partners to develop additional solutions that meet the needs of our clients.”

Last month, DUAL Europe launched a new marine underwriting hub in the Netherlands to provide coverage in builders’ risks, ocean and inland hull, cargo and land equipment lines.