The Reinsurance Power List 2010: Who's the daddy?

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After the usual team debates, tears and tantrums, once again the Reinsurance team presents its annual Power List. We give you our opinions on who is hot and who is not in the reinsurance world and why they are a force to be reckoned with

1 Mother Earth

The Chile and Haiti quakes have served to remind us all what our planet can do, not to forget the Icelandic volcano for stranding the Bermudans in London and the Londoners in Bermuda. By all accounts it's set to be a humdinger of a hurricane season this year - nothing excites reinsurance folk quite like hurricanes.

2 The buyers

They spend billions and command the attention of the leading CEOs. How could the industry exist without them?

3 Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

A living legend with a finger in every pie. At a mere $100,000 a year (according to Forbes) his salary is one of the lowest for a large company CEO in the US, but whenever he speaks, the whole financial world listens.

4 Stefan Lippe, CEO, Swiss Re

After predecessor Jacques Airgrain's experiment with investment banking, Lippe inherited a company facing an incredibly tough time and he has certainly shown his worth by turning around the fortunes of the Swiss reinsurer. In 2008 Berkshire Hathaway performed its own little bailout when it gave Swiss Re a $2.9bn line of credit; the reinsurer's Q1 results this year suggest that it is now almost in a position to be able to repay the debt.

5 Robert Benmosche, CEO, AIG

Another "comeback kid", Benmosche inherited the insurance giant last year on the understanding that he would sell enough of the business off and turn the insurer around in order to be able to pay back a crippling $182bn US government bailout. He is well on the way to achieving that goal with the insurance giant reporting a Q1 net income of $1.5bn compared to a net loss of $4.4bn in the first quarter of 2009. However, he still has plenty of hurdles in his path especially after the collapse of the sale of the AIA unit to Prudential in June.

6 Dr Nikolaus Von Bomhard, chairman of Munich Re and Torsten Jeworrek, reinsurance CEO

Last year we said that Von Bomhard's Munich Re stood to grow substantially following the problems faced by rivals from the financial crisis and we are happy to have been proved right. Munich Re Q1 gross written premium this year rose by 12.4% to €11.7bn and also made large profits on its investment books. Jeworrek appears to be playing an ever-increasing role at the (re)insurance giant and we watch his career with interest.

7 Barack Obama, US president

From health reforms to financial reforms and taxation, President Obama continues to throw his weight around in the financial sector and alternatively enamour and frustrate US and foreign (re)insurance CEOs.

8 The regulators

With the US financial reforms including a proposed insurance regulator and redistribution of the powers of the FSA in the UK, all is a little uncertain on the regulation front at the moment but the regulators can certainly not be ignored on this list. The regulators continue to throw their weight around with investigations and fines widespread in the financial sector and Solvency II continues to hit the top ten headaches for European (re)insurance CEOs.

9 Ajit Jain, Berkshire Hathaway

The second Berkshire Hathaway man on this list, Jain has set himself up as the king of Berkshire's insurance and reinsurance operations. He keeps himself to himself and avoids the media like the plague but when he speaks the market listens, so we love him.

10 Evan Greenberg, CEO of Ace

A regular fixture on our list, Greenberg is still king in Bermuda with a rumoured whopping $13m salary earned last year.

11 The CFO and the actuaries

Solvency II and the financial crisis have provided opportunities for the actuarially minded from our ranks to rapidly climb the ladders to power within insurance organisations. The CFO has an increasingly important role to play within a (re)insurer and we are starting to see more actuaries reach CEO level, such as David Cash of Endurance. Plus, who else can understand all this Solvency II malarkey?

12 Ulrich Wallin CEO, Hannover Re

After Wilhelm Zeller retired from Hannover Re, he left some large shoes to fill but Wallin has shown himself more than able in leading acquisitions with more in the pipeline.

13 Brian Duperreault, CEO, Marsh Group

Only part of the Marsh Group might be reinsurance focused (Guy Carpenter) but Duperreault is still one of the most respected executives in the space and is always a popular speaker at conferences and events.

14 Dominic Christian, Mike Bungert and Elliot Richardson, Aon Benfield

Christian and Bungert are sharing the helm of the biggest reinsurance broking empire around. The whole idea of co-CEOs is zany for some but it seems to be working so far. Richardson continues to be considered as at the forefront of the facultative arena rounding off the Aon Benfield family nicely.

15 Richard Ward, CEO and Tom Bolt, franchise performance director, Lloyd's

Bolt had a hard act to follow when he took over from former Lloyd's god Rolf Tolle after his market revolution but seems to have picked up the reins quickly. The Ward-Bolt team has continued to build on the successes of Lloyd's, keeping the market attractive for all involved.

16 Peter Zaffino and Henry Keeling, CEOs, Guy Carpenter

Marsh's reinsurance arm continues to go from strength to strength, succeeding in poaching executives from other (re)insurance and broking operations from around the globe on a regular basis although recently the giant has been beset by "restructuring" rumours in its facultative team.

17 Michael McGavick, CEO, XL group

The third "comeback kid" of the Power List this year, McGavick has begun to lead XL out of a troubling period in its history. XL's share price leapt 389% over the course of 2009 - the biggest in the S&P 500. Although XL is no longer writing life reinsurance, with its remarkable comeback, McGavick's influence has far from faded.

18 Joe Plumeri, CEO, Willis

Despite battling with redundancies early in the year, Willis still remains a major player in both the insurance and reinsurance broking world. As it continues to grow its reinsurance operations around the globe, Pulmeri's influence will grow with it.

19 David Cash, CEO, Endurance

Cash by name, cash by nature - David Cash has taken over the challenge of filling Ken LeStrange's shoes at Endurance and, as a former actuary, is finding himself popular with investors. Despite some opposition to his organic growth strategy, in the land of the acquisition he seems to be producing good results so far.

20 William R Berkley, chairman of WR Berkley

Close association with more than one politician has put Berkley in the position where he is able to influence the rules of formation of the potential US insurance regulator. His continued pro-tax reform lobbying appears to be getting through to the politicians, however unpopular that is making him with some of his fellow reinsurance executives.

21 Jong-won Park, CEO, Korean Re

A new entrant onto our Power List this year, Park has vocalised an ambition to take the Korean giant to a new global level, aiming to be the fifth-largest reinsurer in the world. He's worked in every area possible in South Korea, including government departments, and seems to have the drive to do a lot more. Frankly, we're a little scared.

22 Ratings agencies

Over the last two years the ratings agencies have taken a bashing from governments, regulators, investors and clients alike following the sub-prime debacle with only AM Best escaping relatively unscathed but a downgrade can still spell trouble for any reinsurer.

23 The investors

It is easy enough to forget the role played by the major investors as they are somewhat hidden in the background, yet a fallout with a major investor can lead to no end of problems not to mention what can happen if there are no investors to be seen for a company in our capital intensive market.¶

24 Marty Becker, CEO, Alterra

With the merger of Max and Harbor Point leading the 2010 Bermuda M&A race, Becker has placed himself at the helm of a much larger Bermuda player in the form of Alterra.

25 David Brown, CEO, Flagstone Re

Since Mark Byrne announced his intention to step down as chairman in May, Brown is finally finding himself in charge on his own after years in his charismatic business partner's shadow.

26 John Charman, CEO, Axis Capital

After partaking in the flurry of issuances in March, Charman's Axis has an undoubtedly strong balance sheet. The company is currently beset by rumours of M&A plans following strong first-quarter results despite high levels of catastrophe claims. Watch this space.

27 Costas Miranthis, president, Partner Re

The second actuary on our list, since the May announcement that Patrick Thiele is to retire, Miranthis has taken the helm of the Bermudan giant and has had a lot to keep him busy after the buyout of smaller rival Paris Re last year.

28 Shuzo Sumi, president, Tokio Marine Holdings

Sumi's (re)insurance group continues growing, TMG investing $117.6m in a life insurance joint venture with Indian outfit Edelweiss Capital, creating Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, which is expected to begin operations in the next few months. The group is set for a rejig in January to grow further.

29 Stephen Catlin, CEO, Catlin

While his company has been hit by a number of losses in the first half of this year, Catlin himself remains confident of the (re)insurance giant's outlook and continues along the acquisition trail.

30 Ed Noonan, CEO, Validus

Validus' takeover of IPC has not been popular with all and the Bermudan reinsurer has been hit hard by catastrophe losses in the first quarter. Despite this, Noonan still leads one of the biggest players in Bermuda.

31 Robert Orlich, CEO, Transatlantic Re

Orlich has completely distanced the company from the majority of former parent AIG's problems and Transatlantic continues to be one of the US' biggest players.

32 Joseph Taranto, chairman and CEO, Everest Re

Taranto's Everest was hit incredibly hard by Q1 catastrophe losses but investment gains have helped Taranto claw his place back on this list that he lost last year.

33 Scott Carmilani, CEO, Allied World

Carmilani, who has been at the helm of Allied World since 2004, has been having a busy 2010 so far. Finally putting an end to the rumours that they would buy a Lloyd's reinsurer, Allied World gained approval for its own syndicate 2232 which started underwriting at the end of June.

34 Barbara Merry, CEO, Hardy Underwriting

Once again, the only woman on the main Power List and the only female CEO in the Lloyd's market, Merry continues to show the boys how things are done.

35 James Vickers, co-chairman of international and specialty at Willis Re

Vickers has forged himself a strong reputation as a man that knows what is going on in the market and is willing to look at things a little bit differently to get the best deal for his clients.

36 Charles Dupplin, CEO, Hiscox Bermuda

A new entrant, Reinsurance gives respect to Dupplin after he gave us a hard time on a panel at our Bermuda Reinsurance Club event. Also the group's director of mergers and acquisitions, Dupplin succeeded Rob Childs.

37 Nick Metcalf, CEO, Liberty Syndicates

Liberty continues to quietly avoid the pitfalls that have plagued some of its rivals in the last couple of years, earning Metcalf his continued place on our list.

38 Gunther Saake, CEO, Novae Re

Starting a reinsurer is no mean feat at any time but starting a reinsurer in the middle of a recession is a massive challenge and one that Saake has risen to. Another new entrant to the list this year, Saake is one to watch.

39 Deepwater Horizon

The loss from the explosion of BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico and the resulting spill could be a game-changer for the energy markets, with several more (re)insurers now jostling in for their share as the prices rise.

40 Jim Bryce, consultant

He may have retired from his position as head of IPC after it was taken over by Validus last year, but he still has a lot of strings to his bow, with many Bermudans continuing to seek his advice on all things reinsurance related.

 

Top 10 law firms

1 Lovells

Now Hogan Lovells, it has evolved, diversified and kept its position as the global reinsurance firm of choice, merging with Hogan & Hartson while niche (re)insurance law firms suffer from a lack of claims and coverage work, litigator rainmakers departing and upskilling requirements to hardcore commercial and financial techniques

2 Edwards Angell Palmer Dodge

Still one of the biggest players in the insurance jungle

3 Barlow Lyde and Gilbert

With a multitude of insurance and reinsurance lawyers to solve every legal problem imaginable

4 Mayer Brown

With around 100 lawyers on the case, they're definately dedicated to (re)insurance

5 Clyde & Co

One of the first (re)insurance law firms to dabble in the Middle East, Clyde & Co has now become the player of choice for the region

6 Goldberg Segalla

Because they have been trying so hard to win over UK and Bermuda companies

7 Crowell & Moring

The US legal eagle has been active in expanding its UK and European operations recently, finally earning itself a place on our list

8 Beachcroft

Always featured on our list, it is hard to ignore Beachcroft's level of industry respect

9 Steptoe & Johnson

(Re)insurance continues to be a top priority for these international lawyers, with almost 50 attorneys in its dedicated practice area

10 RPC

Innovative in support areas as well as astute and professional in basics

 

Top 10 PR/marketing

1 Haggie

Still king of the PR jungle in the Lloyd's market

2 Kekst & Co

This New York-based giant still domicates in the US and Bermuda

3. FWD

It has lost a reinsurance client or two this year but gained more to make up for it. The firm benefits from having its own marketing, research and digital arms. It has also recently expanded and added a few more brains to the team too

4. Rein4ce

The new kid on the block, ex-journalist Mairi Mallon's Rein4ce is making waves, especially in social media. One to watch, especially in Bermuda: she's pulling in new clients at speed

5 Financial Dynamics

Good for both PR and investor relations, FD specialises in turning around difficult situations and has some very loyal clients as a result

6 Cubitt

Financial sepcialist Cubitt has a growing number of insurance and reinsurance clients

7 Graying

UK-based Grayling has a very healthy client list with a fair number in the insuracne and reinsurance space. The company is very good at writing press releases and all the usual corporate communications stuff

8 Kysen PR

If you are a law firm or service provider and want to persuade us reinsurance media folks that what you want to say really is interesting then Kysen will fight your corner doggedly

9 Effective Image

A relatively new player on the block, Effective Image is beggining to sneak into the reinsurance PR space with a number of service providers now on its books

10 Lucid Communications

Run by an ex-Lloyd's PR exec, Lucid has a healthy mix of reinsurance, insurance and legal clients on its books that warrants the final place on our list

 

The "others"

Randall & Quilter

For having battled Equitas, kepts its market "lead" as organiser of the German, US and UK RunOff Commutations Rendez-Vous, and challenged the Enstars and Berkshires of this world on new acquisitions

XChanging

With a few monster deals that make Xchanging a big part of the (re)insurance world, Xchanging is the largest insurance outsourcer around

RMS

Modelling giant and conference regulars. Always first out with the news to us media folks, RMS is always happy to talk. Who says we are biased?

AIR Worldwide

AIR has really upped its game in getting out its loss estimates faster; it could start to take a bite out of what until now has been predominantly RMS's pie

Lloyds TSB

So it has take a pretty big blasting from the press, especially in the UK, over the last 18 months but Bill Cooper and his team are still some of the best in the business

Total Objects

Insurance software provider Total Objects has been selected to manage the ECF2 Market Acceptance Testing project for the London Market with XChanging placing it firmly on the Reinsurance radar

L&T Infotech

L&T Infotech is said to have played a major role in revamping Munich Re's IT and there are rumours that the firm will be moving further into the (re)insurance space in the future

Symantec/Messagelabs

So, we've all got the message that we are supposed to care about these nasty little virus things that supposedly can make all our computers a liability. Symantec and its hosted Messagelabs arm now have some of the largest, and the smallest, reinsurers and brokers as clients, including Swiss Re as well as several governments and millions of other companies. Maybe it's not Starbucks we should be worried about taking over the world?

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