An impromptu wordplay brainstorming session gave Sparta Insurance Co. its name.
During an interview in Sparta Insurance Co.'s Hartford, Conn., headquarters in December, Chairman and CEO George L. Estes III recounted how the company's founders dreamed up its name, following one of their long days of presentations to potential investors on Wall Street.
"You come back from New York after you've done five presentations, it's 7:30 at night, you're tired, you've had a couple of beers and you start to do the banana-fana-fo-fana game," says Estes.
"For a time we thought we'd be Dart, direct alternative risk transfer, but we knew people would play around with that name. Someone said Sparta, and we all looked at each other and Kevin, being the brilliant soul that he is, shouts out, 'Specialty Program and Risk Transfer Alternatives!' We all think it's great and start high-fiving each other, but then we think we'll never get the trademark. Kevin goes right on the Web, and we find that the name's not already taken."
After the catchy name was settled on, Estes and Kevin Costello, president and chief operating officer, did some research into the culture of ancient Sparta. Estes says there were certain positive traits of the society that he liked: "the team orientation and the elitism of the group--the idea of high standards and having to measure up to those standards."
The name is particularly appropriate considering that the three founders, all former Discover Re employees, wanted to form a company with a more independent model. Costello says that quality is mirrored in the company's tagline: "Exclusive practice, collective purpose." And the company logo is a modern take on the well-recognized image of Spartan society, featuring a minimalist spray of red over the "S" of "Sparta" that mimics the plume of a warrior's helmet.
March 1, 2008
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