Insurance underwriter R.J. Kiln & Co. Ltd. of London, is entering the space-insurance market with a $15 million line available to cover satellite launch and in-orbit risks for 2010, Kiln’s regional director for Europe, Olivier Terlinden, said Sept. 25.

Terlinden said Kiln has hired space insurance veteran Laurent Esquirol, formerly with underwriter Scor, to manage the business from Paris.

“Kiln is a conservative company that has been considering an entry into the space market for a couple of years,” Terlinden said. “We are certainly not entering the market to try to reduce premiums, which are relatively low at the moment. We are in this for the long term. The reason for our decision to come into the sector now has more to do with the fact that we were looking for the right person to develop the business for us.”

Space insurance premiums, both for satellite launches and their in-orbit operations, have been trending downward in the past couple of years. So far, 2009 looks like it will be the fifth consecutive year of underwriter profit in the sector — assuming this year’s remaining two heavy-lift Ariane 5 launches and the two to three  International Launch Services Proton launch campaigns carrying insured commercial satellites are conducted with success.