Ascent Underwriting, the cyber and specialty lines MGA and a founding partner of OPTIO, today announces the appointment of two cyber underwriters, Kieran Shiret and Henry Rydon, effective immediately

8 October 2019

Both will report to Caspar Stops, head of cyber. As announced in September, Ascent is now a group company of Optio, which together with Cove Programs forms one of the largest independently-owned specialty MGA groups. Optio recently hired market veterans Ian Beaton, as non-executive director, and Paul Western as group CUO.

Shiret and Rydon bring additional cyber expertise and experience to Optio, particularly in its core market of North America. Both previously held underwriting roles at Beazley and Equinox respectively.

“ I am extremely pleased to announce the appointments of Kieran and Henry; two extremely talented underwriters with considerable drive, composure and technical ability. Their appointments reflect the strong demand for cyber products in North America and our ongoing efforts to keep pace with that demand.

I am delighted to welcome them to Optio and look forward to working with them to further leverage the strengths of our organisation and set new standards for our clients. ”

Caspar Stops, Head of Cyber.

Optio comprises:


  • star Ascent is a specialist cyber-focused managing general agent underwriting on behalf of a number of Lloyd's syndicates.
  • star It provides innovative insurance solutions face-to-face, and via a proprietary electronic underwriting platform.
  • star Ascent believes that all insurance products should be complemented by value-added solutions, and therefore partners with other professionals, including risk assessors, forensic experts, and proactive claims management companies, to assist clients in making informed choices and ensuring the claims process is smooth and efficient.


  • star Cove, formed in 2011, is a provider of specialty insurance products.
  • star It comprises Cove Program Underwriting Limited, a London-based managing general agent and approved Lloyd's coverholder with underwriting authority on all its programs, backed by highly rated insurers.
  • star Cove Programs Insurance Services LLC, a California-based surplus lines intermediary, is licensed in each state in which it operates.

Bay Risk

  • star Cove-owned Bay Risk Services Limited is a Lloyd's broker that specialises in placing and managing delegated authorities for profitable coverholders.
  • star Bay is dedicated to developing bespoke, independent, long-term solutions across two core specialisms, in which it has many years of experience: programme business/binding authority, including program creation and design, and specialty single risk replacement, even for the most challenging risks.

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