By JACK ROBERTS, editor in chief of Risk & Insurance®
It's been quite a month for Ironshore Inc., the 2006 Bermuda startup. The specialty insurer in the last year has expanded its offerings, hired a pool of experienced insurance executives from a variety of insurance companies and just announced that it had lured four key executives from American International Group Inc. to expand the lines it can offer.
Ironshore President Robert V. Deutsch attributed the recent announcements that four senior AIG executives joined Ironshore as opportunistic.
"It was not by design that we've hired these particular talented people. They just became available," he said.
"We want to be able to seize the opportunity when the right talent becomes available, and that's not just with executives at AIG," he added.
Deutsch expects to see Ironshore's casualty lines grow faster than originally expected.
"The idea to diversify into areas other than property, especially casualty and in the London market, was always part of our original plans. We now have the ability to do that in the United States a bit earlier than we thought," he said.
Ironshore was founded in 2006 with more than $1 billion in equity by Robert Clements and his son John Clements, two long-time insurance investors. Robert Clements was key in the founding of XL and Arch insurance companies, among others. His most recent investment, prior to Ironshore, was Integro, the brokerage firm. Clements' roots date back to Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. and its investment operation, MMC Capital. A key part of his investment strategy has been to bring together the best talent his management teams can find.
On Dec. 9, Ironshore announced that Kevin Kelley, the longtime CEO of AIG's Lexington Insurance Co., the largest excess-surplus carrier, would become Ironshore's CEO. Deutsch, Ironshore's founding CEO, remains on the job as president.
"Kevin is a unique, talented individual. It's a real coup for us to get him," Deutsch said.
Shaun Kelly, the former president and chief operating officer of Lexington under Kelley, also joined Ironshore. He was named the CEO of U.S. operations.
Then last week, not even a month after the Kelley and Kelly announcement, Ironshore announced that Joseph Boren and John O'Brien, the two top executives at AIG Environmental, the largest underwriter of environmental insurance, would start an environmental insurance facility at Ironshore.
Boren, the former CEO of AIG Environmental, would become CEO of the environmental facility and O'Brien would become president.
"We had been looking for the right executive to lead our environment business, and when Joe became available, there was no question that we would act," Deutsch said. "He's a legend in the environmental market."
The newly named quartet of top AIG executives will join a number of other AIG colleagues now at Ironshore. For example, Greg Flood, president of IronPro, Ironshore's professional liability operation, was executive vice president and chief operating officer of National Union Fire Insurance Co., another AIG subsidiary, before he joined Ironshore last year. Also among the Ironshore executive management team is Mike Mitrovic, president of IronProf claims, who was vice president of claims for AIG and president of AIG Worldwide Financial Lines Claims.
After the Kelley announcement was made, A.M. Best, the ratings agency, speculated that, as the new executives "become acclimated in their new roles, a shift to complementary commercial casualty lines of business may occur, resulting in a more diversified business profile."
For the past year, Ironshore has been working to set the stage for an increasing expansion of offerings. It announced IronSelect, an excess casualty facility, and IronHealth, a facility focused on healthcare liability, particularly liability coverage for hospitals and long-term-care facilities.
When Ironshore was founded, it initially focused on property-catastrophe and property all-risk coverage for midsize companies. Later, it added construction contractor risk and liability coverage for midsize commercial risks, along with offerings for manufacturing, retail and wholesale companies.
Deutsch said, "We're always out there looking for talented people."
He expects that the flow of announcements of new people at Ironshore will continue.
(Read the rest of the Jan. 13 R&I One.)
January 9, 2009
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