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Houston, Texas-based Skyward Specialty on Friday became the first U.S. company to launch an initial public offering in the calendar year, a move that CEO Andrew Robinson said will provide greater capital flexibility as it grows its business in the coming years.

“As a company we clearly have a view that we want to grow our credit strength and the size of our balance sheet,” Robinson said. “We don’t feel any particular pressure on that today, but that’s something that we think we can turn into an offensive weapon.

The specialty insurance company initially planned to go public in 2021 and had an IPO launch date for summer of 2022, but a volatile market forced Skyward Specialty to delay its public offering until the new year. Robinson acknowledged Skyward Specialty took a bit of a risk by ringing the opening bell of the 2023 IPO market.

Skyward Specialty (SKWD) announced an upsized initial public offering of 8,952,383 shares of its common stock at $15.00 per share. At the start of Wednesday morning, the company was trading at $19.48.

Skyward Specialty said it capitalizes on the specialty insurance market by focusing on specific trades with attractive risk-adjusted returns for which commoditized products are inadequate to meet the needs of customers, and offers both guaranteed cost traditional insurance solutions and captive solutions in core underwriting divisions of regional trucking, construction, and energy.

Skyward Specialty CEO Andrew Robinson

“That’s kind of a unique interesting combination, because we’re serving market adjacencies with many of the same skills and categories that we have,” Robinson said.

The company reported more than $879 million dollars in gross written premiums and $2 billion in assets as of Sep. 30, 2022. Skyward Specialty, which operates in all 50 states, has recently added 132 underwriting and claims professionals.

“We’re a company that’s trying to build a top tier specialty underwriting company,” Robinson said. “Our aim is to be top quartile underwriter in every category that we compete in.”

Robinson said that the diversity of Skyward Specialty’s book is built to weather a tightening fiscal environment.

“We’re very specific, but the diversification of our business is rather unique for a company our size,” Robinson said. “We have the benefits of both a lot of specialization like the best specialty companies, but also simultaneously a really diverse book. The principle benefit is that as a company to our investors, we can deliver very good results but not necessarily have a lot of volatility because of that diversification. We think we’re a heck of a lot better positioned in the case of changes in economic environment.”

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