Providence Life, the Mauritius-regulated life company founded in 2009 by Austin Blair, has named Steve Harmer to head up its new operation in Latin America, as it looks to expand its distribution in the fast-growing South American insurance market.
As regional director of Latin America for Providence, Harmer, (pictured), who is British, will be responsible for growing the distribution of the Providence Life brand in the greater LatAm region, Providence Life said in a statement.
News of Harmer’s appointment comes as Providence Life has been in a growth phase, following its hiring in April of ex-Legal & General Gulf and Friends Life executive Peter Drummond as executive director, in charge of global strategy. Also in April, as reported, the firm hired ex-Generali executive Neil Broadbent to oversee its expansion into the Asian market.
At Providence Life, Harmer will assist Simon Littmoden, global business development director, who joined Providence in January 2014, and Drummond.
Prior to joining Providence, Harmer had been with Generali International for more than 19 years, most recently as its Ireland-based regional director for Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Blair, a Dubai-based Brit from Belfast who founded Providence Life and who continues to head it up as chief executive, said in the statement announcing Harmer’s appointment that the company was “clear about our distribution objectives for Latin America, and how we can tailor our approach for distributors in the region”.
In his new role Broadbent will support Simon Littmoden, global business development director who joined Providence in January 2014, and Drummond, according to a statement announcing his appointment.
New generation life company
Providence Life – or Providence, as it is in the process of re-branding itself – is seen as one of a new generation of tech-savvy companies in the international financial services space, which have sprung up in the last few years to compete with such large, established players as Zurich, Friends Provident International and Generali.
The company specialises in providing investment and savings products for expatriates, including investment funds provided by such asset managers as Invesco, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, Jupiter GAM and JP Morgan Asset Management. Its catchphrase, on the home page of its website, is: “Retirement and saving solutions for the modern-day explorer”.
Its products are distributed by financial advisers located throughout Africa, South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.Because it is privately held, no data about its sales or assets under management is available.
Providence promotes itself as an agile alternative to the big life companies, and says its Mauritius domicile is a well-regulated as well as “neutral” domicile, which makes it attractive to expats and other multi-jurisdictional individuals of all nationalities.