By DAN REYNOLDS, senior editor of Risk & Insurance®
Peter Raymond, who in 22 years rose through the ranks to become director of captive insurance for the state of Vermont, is leaving to take a contract examiner and consultant position with the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, Vermont state officials said Wednesday.
Raymond will be replaced by Sandy Bigglestone, a 13-year veteran of Vermont's Captive Insurance Division who has worked side-by-side with Raymond.
Raymond, who could not be reached Wednesday, is not leaving Vermont physically, said Dan Towle, director of financial services for the Vermont's Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development. Towle said that Raymond will travel for the Florida job but will live in Vermont.
"It was sad to see Pete go because he was the ultimate professional and a very good personal friend as well," Towle said. "But we are really excited for Sandy. Sandy has done this role. We've done a lot of cross-training so the position is not a new concept to her."
In a 2008 interview with Risk & Insurance®, Bigglestone described herself as a Raymond protege. She most recently held the position of director of financial exams within the captive division.
Raymond's move next month from Vermont's insurance regulator to Florida may seem risky, given the volatile nature of Florida's political climate and property insurance industry. But the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is in its best shape in years, according to reports quoting Gary Landry, the vice president of the Florida Insurance Council.
Two weeks ago, according to a report in a Florida newspaper, the Lakeland Ledger, catastrophe fund officials told Florida cabinet members that easing credit markets and favorable rates were helping the outlook for the fund to meet its obligations in the event of a series of major hurricanes.
That could be just what the state is in for, according to forecasts by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),which predicts an 85 percent chance of an above-normal storm season for the Atlantic. According to NOAA, the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, is expected to produce between eight and 14 hurricanes.
Of course, any actual storm might fail to make landfall, let alone landfall in Florida.
Raymond leaves behind a department that oversees the largest domestic captive insurance domicile. The estimated gross premiums written by Vermont's captive industry in 2009 were some $20 billion. The state licensed 39 new captives in 2009.
Raymond was along for much of the captive insurance industry's growth in Vermont. Raymond started with Vermont's captive division in 1990 as a principal examiner. After that, he rose to chief examiner, director of financial examinations and, ultimately, director of captives. Raymond starts the Florida position on July 16, according Vermont's state Web site.
June 9, 2010
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