An interview with Robin Spencer-Arscott, president of Cyrus Re, deputy chairman of AAA Risk Solutions, president of RSA Services and chairman of the World Insurance Forum.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself.
Charismatic, easygoing, fair and energetic.
Which historical figure do you most admire and why?
I’ve always admired Winston Churchill. I think he was the best leader Britain ever had – especially during those difficult times. I have a little white porcelain statue of him on the sideboard in my living room.
Who in this industry do you most admire and why?
Brian Duperreault, the former chairman of ACE. He’s done a wonderful job with ACE, a wonderful job in our community and now he’s very active on the charitable side in Bermuda.
Outside of this industry what are you most passionate about?
The political stabilisation and future of Bermuda. I should probably be careful what I say about this but I hope and pray that things will be good for my children and all the other children of the island. We’re a country with less people in it than General Motors hires, so if General Motors can be run successfully, why can’t this island be run just like a business? We’re very profitable; we have a reasonably good tourism industry and a terrific international industry (which more and more Bermudians are getting involved in). I don’t like the way the government is running things but my hope is that the island will remain stable. One thing I am is an optimist.
What qualities do you most admire in other people?
I definitely admire honesty, integrity and a good sense of humour.
What qualities do you dislike in other people?
Arrogance and self-centredness. There have been people in the industry who have been that way and some of them have fallen from great heights – but luckily not a huge amount.
“I donâ€™t like the way the government is running things but my hope is that the island will remain stable
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in the industry?
I didn’t know what I was going to do when I finished school in Bermuda. I was going away to college in Canada and then a friend of my mother’s said: “There’s this new business in Bermuda, a company called American International starting up and it might be worthwhile Robin going to talk to them”. Thirteen years later I was still there. Whilst I appreciate the training I got, I wasn’t involved in the open reinsurance market as we know it and I wish I’d started earlier.
What was the last thing that completely surprised you?
A surprise birthday party last year – it was my 65th birthday. I’ve never been surprised by one before – it’s a small place and someone inevitably lets something drop. But I was totally caught off guard. I’ll never forget it.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Coming home, sitting down, talking to my wife and having a glass of wine.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
No day is the same here. I do a lot of work for an energy broker, AAA Risk Solutions, a lot of work for Cyrus Re and I get involved in things like the World Insurance Forum. Plus I help other people who come to Bermuda. I point them in the right direction to help them get their companies started. It’s never a dull moment and I keep busy and I love working.
Whose job would you most like to have and why?
I’d probably like to have a job like Michael Butt has. As chairman of Axis he works very hard, but he’s very charismatic and a very intelligent man and he looks the chairman part. He’s a big help to me personally and to us at the World Insurance Forum and I admire him a great deal.
What are you most proud of having achieved?
There are three things. Putting together a team and building up a captive reinsurance company for the Grumman Corporation. We received a great deal of support from London brokers and underwriters at a time when companies in Bermuda were not doing well. Most of the people who have worked for me over the years have gone on to succeed with other companies, which makes me very proud. Finally, the World Insurance Forum, which has grown beyond our expectations.