On the tenth anniversary of their formation, Adrian Leonard tracks down the founders of Bermuda's penultimate wave of company launches.
A brand new group of Bermudian risk carriers - the Class of 2001 - is still making waves in the international reinsurance sector. Meanwhile, ten years have elapsed since the formation of Bermuda's cat pack, the Class of 1993. By launching eight highly capitalised catastrophe reinsurers, a handful of high-profile industry personalities made a big impact in the midst of an international cat capacity crisis. But where are they now? What has become of the cat pack alumni?
Mid Ocean Re
Mid Ocean Re was launched by XL. The insurer installed as Chairman former Marsh & McLennan President and Vice Chairman Bob Newhouse, who had helped to form XL. Newhouse assembled the Mid Ocean team, which included President Ian Heap, an XL director. About nine months in, Heap handed the reins to Michael Butt, who became President and CEO. Butt had been Sedgwick Group Vice Chairman and was the former head of UK insurer Eagle Star. Bermudian Mark Berry from Stockholm Re was appointed Vice President and Associate Underwriter, alongside Charles Skey, the former syndicate 219 underwriter and member of the Committee of Lloyd's, whose job was to handle the Q1, 1993 underwriting and find a permanent head of underwriting. He soon recruited as Chief Underwriting Officer Henry Keeling, a former M&G Re man who had been deputy underwriter at Lloyd's syndicate 51. Where are they now?
Skey was intimately involved in overall business planning at Mid Ocean as a consultant until about the time, in 1998, that XL consumed its offspring in a merger. Newhouse and Butt joined the XL board and acted as consultants to the insurer, but soon tired of running old insurance companies. Formations were their game, and the game was afoot in early 2001. Today, Butt is Chairman and Newhouse Executive Committee Chairman of Class of 2001 member Axis Specialty. Keeling stayed with the group, and now runs XL Re, the post-merger product of Mid Ocean, Latin America Re and Le Mans Ré. He is Chief Executive of XL's reinsurance operations and sits on the XL management board. Mr Berry also remained. He is XL Re's SVP for Bermuda Underwriting and President of the Bermuda Insurance Institute. Heap has retired.
Bill Adamson, GVP and COO of CNA Re, was appointed interim CEO of LaSalle when its formation was announced by Aon and CNA in September 1993, but the cat packer grew up under the stewardship of Victor Blake, who was appointed its President and CEO a few months later. Blake was a London market man whose track record included leading the charge to develop the London Underwriting Centre (LUC), a company market building to rival Lloyd's. From a broking background he had gone on to found CNA Re International in London in 1976. With Chief Underwriting Officer Guy Hengesbaugh and SVP and CFO Andrew Cook, Blake led LaSalle's IPO and took it to the New York Stock Exchange. Where are they now?
Blake continued to run CNA Re until 1996, when he went full time to LaSalle. At the end of 1999, Trenwick announced it would acquire LaSalle Re. Blake resigned his executive positions, and later stepped down from his by now non-executive Chairmanship. He returned to London in 2000, and in 2001 went back to the LUC to become its Executive Chairman. In early 2003 year he became a part-time consultant to the London Market Services unit of Capita Insurance Services. Meanwhile, Hengesbaugh temporarily took over as President and CEO of La Salle, but in 2000 he joined PXRE as President of its Bermuda reinsurance company and EVP of the PXRE Group. His job is to build the company's Bermuda business. Cook also remains in Bermuda: after the Trenwick acquisition he moved into the CFO job at Mutual Risk Management, but has since joined the Mid Ocean founders as CFO at Class of 2001 reinsurer Axis Specialty. Adamson was Deputy Chairman of LaSalle until the acquisition by Trenwick. Concurrently he continued as the President of CNA's global reinsurance operations until he was replaced in 2002, after a painful search for a buyer failed, forcing CNA Re into run-off.
Tempest Re was the creation of another serial company founder; Donald Kramer, former Chairman of the Board and founder of NAC Re Corp. He sat as Co-Chairman with John Hollis, Tempest Re's founding President, CEO and Co-Chairman. Where are they now?
As President and CEO of cat packer Tempest Re, Kramer led the company to a merger with ACE in 1996 (against a rival bid from fellow cat packer IPC Re). Initially Kramer stayed on in his dual role, but with the added title of Vice Chairman of ACE. Today he retains only his Vice Chairman's role, and officially "is responsible for the business communications programs of the ACE Group and ensuring that they are aligned with ACE's organizational goals," according to the company. Hollis retired in 1995.
Unlike most cat pack reinsurers, RenRe is operating today much in the same way it did when it was launched (albeit on a larger scale). After its enormously successful ten-year run, the majority of staff have remained behind their desks. The company and its approach is the brainchild of founding Chairman, President and CEO James Stanard, who launched RenRe after a two-year stint as EVP at USF&G. A few months afterwards he hired Old Republic and Berkshire Hathaway alumnus David Eklund as VP-Underwriting, and later modeling man Bill Riker, former VP of Applied Insurance Research and past SVP-Treaty and Fac at American Royal Re. Lawyer John Lummis, while EVP and General Counsel at USF&G, was a founding director of RenRe. Where are they now?
At RenRe, Stanard is Chairman and CEO, Riker is President and COO, and Eklund is EVP and CUO. Lummis left his job at USF&G when it merged with St Paul to join RenRe's staff as CFO and EVP. Stanard is also President and CEO of RenRe subsidiary Glencoe Insurance, and President of Top Layer Re, where Eklund is CUO and EVP.
Global Capital Re
GC Re was set up by Goldman Sachs and New York broker Johnson & Higgins, with some cash from Underwriters Re. They appointed Lawrence Doyle as CEO, who had just retired from his job as President of the international division of Hartford Insurance and Hartford Fire International. Where is he now?
When XL acquired GC Re in 1997, it promoted Doyle to EVP of XL. Later that year XL appointed him President, CEO and a director of newly-formed Annuity & Life Re. He retired in September 2002, as Annuity and Life Re was hitting hard times. Three months later, a class action shareholders' suit was launched naming Doyle, two executive colleagues, and the company. It alleges "that [the] defendants ... issue[d] a series of material misrepresentations to the market between February 12, 2001 and November 19, 2002, thereby artificially inflating the price of Annuity and Life securities." While the outcome of the suit is awaited hope remains that A&L Re's D&O insurer is solvent.
PartnerRe is a very big fish that began very small. It was founded under the sponsorship of Swiss Re, which placed Herbert Haag into the dual roles of President and CEO. Haag had spent 24 years at Swiss Re. Where is he now?
In retirement he has returned to Switzerland to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile, Swiss Re has sold its remaining shares in PartnerRe, which has grown way beyond its humble start.
International Property Catastrophe Re was an invention of AIG, so its original people came from there. President and CEO John Dowling and SVP and CUO James Bryce were the founding duo, led by Chairman Joe Johnson. All came to the reinsurer after long international careers with AIG and/or its affiliated reinsurer Transatlantic Re. Where are they now?
Dowling announced his retirement in 2000 and Bryce took over his executive positions. Johnson remains Chairman, as well as being President of AIG's Bermuda liability insurers, Starr Excess and Starr International, President and CEO of American International Company, and a member of the Bermuda College of Insurance MBA Advisory Council.
CAT was launched as 'Centre Cat' by its sponsor Centre Re, which appointed its own President and CEO, Michael Palm, as Chairman. McKinsey & Co consultant Paul Haase was named its CEO, and Charles Kline of Guy Carpenter & Co its President. Soon after, they hired NAC Re underwriter Steven Carlsen, who had helped to establish NAC Re UK, as CAT's CUO. Where are they now?
When ACE acquired CAT in March 1998, it announced that Haase and Kline were to become Co-Chief Executives of ACE Capital Products, a company that had not, at the time, been formed, and does not appear to exist today. In 1999, Carlsen went to Morgan Stanley Private Equity to work on its insurance ventures, which include troubled UK liability insurer The Underwriter, and US home and contents insurer Homesite. In November 2002 Carlsen joined Class of 2001 reinsurer Endurance Specialty as CUO and President of its US reinsurance operations.
By Adrian Leonard
Adrian Leonard is a freelance insurance journalist and a regular contributor to Global Reinsurance.