Newly formed Ironshore Inc. boldly announced that it will go where others fear to tread. With an initial capitalization of more than $1 billion, the Bermuda-based company said it will “begin underwriting specialty lines of insurance immediately through its Bermuda-based insurance subsidiary, Ironshore Insurance Ltd.”
Ironshore is addressing the lack of capacity (and taking advantage of the greatly increased premiums) to focus on “commercial risks with wind exposures in the catastrophe-prone coastal states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, as well as the Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula,” said a Company bulletin. Just for good measure it will also “provide commercial earthquake coverage in California.”
In addition to the $1 billion in the bank, provided by private share placements, Ironshore has an ace in the hole and a big name on the door. The company is the latest start-up guided by Robert Clements, who has made a second career after leaving his top-level post at MarshMac, of founding successful start-ups. He participated in both ACE and XL, and more recently in Mid-Ocean Ltd. and Arch Capital Group. His reputation, experience and tacit endorsement of the foundering nat cat commercial market in areas hit by the 2004-05 hurricanes should come as welcome relief to beleaguered agents and brokers searching in vain for coverage for their clients.
CEO Robert V. Deutsch and Leslie J. Rock as President and Chief Underwriting Officer lead Ironshore’s Bermuda-based management and staff. Deutsch has over 25 years of industry experience with a number of major companies. “Rock has long been recognized as the leading property underwriter at Lloyd’s, having served as chief property underwriter for three of its leading property syndicates over the past 25 years,” said the bulletin. In addition Ironshore’s leadership team also includes Mitchell E. Blaser, most recently the CFO of Swiss Re America and Marsh Inc, who has been appointed Chief Financial Officer.
“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other notable catastrophic events over the past two years, tens of billions of dollars have flowed into the reinsurance sector, but to date, permanent, adequate capacity has not been established on the insurance side,” Deutsch noted. “Ironshore is very pleased to be able to provide significant new insurance capacity with a substantial, unencumbered capital base and a proven, strong management team.”
Robert Clements and John Clements through their investment vehicle, Tara Partners, Fund LLC, and Ironshore management are among the founders. Other major Investors include: Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, Corporate Partners (a business unit of Lazard Alternative Investments), Fremont Partners, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Greenhill Capital Partners. Integro Ltd. [another of Clements’ start-up projects] is also an Ironshore sponsor.
In fact, Clements indicated, “Integro initiated the idea of Ironshore as an independent, open-market facility available to all brokers, which we know from experience works best for all concerned.”
Ironshore Insurance Ltd. will be located at Swan Building, 3rd Floor, 26 Victoria Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda, 441-279-8200.
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