By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
Bob Clements, an architect of the Bermuda reinsurance market, died Saturday. He was 77.
In truth, Clements, former president of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., never quit--until Saturday. He just kept creating new carriers and brokers. From Marsh, to Arch, to Integro Insurance Brokers, to Ironshore, slowing down wasn't in Clements' genes.
So prolific was Clements that one columnist once referred to him as "Bob the builder." Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of MMC, called Clements a "giant of the global insurance industry."
"From his time as president of MMC, he went on to play a leading role in the foundation of the Bermuda insurance market," said Duperreault, in an e-mailed statement. "Our industry, and our clients, owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
No one would question Clements' contributions to the insurance industry.
In 1984 as president of MMC, on a Concorde flight Clements sketched out an idea to Robert Newhouse Jr. that would change the fate of the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
The idea was to solve the dislocation in the excess liability markets that whiplashed the insurance markets in the mid-1980s. From that idea, two companies were born, ACE Ltd. and XL Capital, which helped ease capacity constraints at the time and have since grown to be among the most important carriers in the marketplace.
"He was a pioneer in every respect, and all of us are tremendously saddened by his passing," said James H. Veghte, chief executive of XL's reinsurance operations, in a statement e-mailed to Risk & Insurance®.
In the mid-1990s, Clements established the Trident Funds for Marsh, offering pre-event funding for the property-catastrophe marketplace. At the time it was a bold, new business model.
In 2000, Clements left Trident to convert a U.S. reinsurer he led, Risk Capital Re, into Arch Capital Group. It was an auspicious move, coming as it did one year before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"He was instrumental in the formation of several insurance organizations in an effort to better serve the policyholders' needs and to create efficiencies in the marketplace," said Dinos Iordanu, chairman and CEO of Arch Capital Group Ltd., in an e-mailed statement.
Clements was "a visionary," added Iordanu.
In the wake of the insurance brokerage bid-rigging scandals uncovered in the mid-2000s by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Clements forged ahead and continued to build when others were content to stay put.
"Bob Clements was a well-respected competitor and creative thinker who found ways to bring capital to the marketplace when his clients needed it the most," said J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. "Our industry has lost a true innovator."
In 2005, with the help of his son John, he co-founded Integro Insurance Brokers from scratch with the help of $300 million in equity capital. Integro's mission was to serve the needs of corporations with the most complex risks.
"Bob was a force of nature, and his vision of what a brokerage firm could be initially attracted me and many of my colleagues to Integro," said Peter Garvey, president and CEO of Integro, in a statement. "His impact will be felt for years to come, and we will miss him greatly."
"Bob Clements had a legendary career, immense impact on the insurance industry and was a mentor to many of us in it," Garvey added.
Not content with having prospered in reinsurance and brokering, in the fall of 2006, well into his 70s, Clements started Ironshore Inc., a $1 billion property/casualty insurance company.
In addition to serving as nonexecutive chairman of Integro, Clements was also nonexecutive chairman of Island Heritage Insurance Co. and a director of Riskclick Ltd., as well as a former director of ACE., Arch, Mid Ocean Ltd., Hiscox PLC and XL Capital Ltd.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Clements was chairman of the Risk Foundation, chairman emeritus of the College of Insurance and former chairman of the Board of Overseers of the School of Risk Management at St. John's University, and an overseer emeritus of the Institute for Civil Justice.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marilyn; his four children, Paula Sager of Providence, R.I.; John Clements of Southport, Conn.; Jeff Clements of Concord, Mass.; and Ben Clements of Newton, Mass.; their four spouses; and 12 grandchildren.
September 8, 2010
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