Flagstone Re's David Brown on the challenges and opportunities ahead

How did you make it to where you are today?

Centre Re founders Steven Gluckstern and Michael Palm persuaded me to leave Ernst & Young, where for 10 years I had specialised in reinsurance, and enter the industry as a principal rather than a service provider.

How has the industry changed since you joined it?

Professionalism and discipline has improved dramatically. The regulatory and ratings environment has certainly changed. Rating agencies were tougher with the class of 2005 than with the class of 2001. Frankly, it is a great thing – the discipline has partly come about because the rating agencies got tougher.

What are the key challenges for you and the industry?

One has to be modelling all the risks we underwrite, not just part scenarios. At Flagstone, we’ve invested in building proprietary systems to model the risks we write. As an industry, we must keep working on getting the most accurate information to people writing the risks.

And what are the biggest opportunities?

After a period of market softening, recent events will provide the best opportunities since 2005. Some of the best openings for investors will be in insurance-linked securities vehicles, which will allow them to target classes of business in a defined timescale.

What comes to mind when you think of friends and contemporaries in the market?

One of the best things about our industry is the people I meet. It’s full of characters and smart, interesting people.

What do you do to relax?

Spend time with my family and anything to do with water – fishing, sailing, swimming, diving.

David Brown is chief executive of Flagstone Re