AIRROC is honored to remember David Scasbrook of Swiss Re with Person of the Year Award. A fitting tribute to an industry giant who will be very missed.
Don’t count the days, make the days count.
― Muhammad Ali
It is with profound sadness and deepest respect that the AIRROC community remembered and honored David Scasbrook at this year’s 15th Annual AIRROC NJ Legacy Transactions & Networking Forum. David passed away before he could receive the award himself, but David’s son, Josh, his colleague, Mark Hallam, Head of In-Force Management, Swiss Re, and AIRROC Executive Director, Carolyn Fahey described his life and his work with such vivid affection that all in attendance could applaud his contribution and feel his loss. His legacy to us all was to inspire pride in the professionalism and creativity of handling legacy business because he was the epitome of such qualities.
Dave was nominated by more than 10 members, and their testimonials include the following:
“Dave has been at the forefront of Swiss Re’s run off and discontinued lines business for many years, overseeing billions of transferred liabilities and participating in all the various forms of industry solutions for addressing such liabilities. He has proven to be an astute competitor in the increasingly competitive field, and having participated in the business myself for many years, I can think of no one that does not regard Dave with the highest respect and regard for his professionalism, persistence and creativity.”
“…His involvement and advocacy on pushing for IBT legislation in the US has started an industry movement.”
“…I feel his contribution to legacy has been phenomenal, particularly, in the last few years, on both sides of the Atlantic.”
“Dave has great industry visibility, has closed a number of large run-off deals, is leading the change on Rhode Island, and is now closing some of the pioneering run-off deals in Asia. “
Dave has “spent most of his career (~30 years) in run-off: a member of the ground breaking Equitas team following starting his career at Lloyd’s, a key player in market defining commutation approach whilst at GE IS and Swiss Re, a leader in evolving the Retrospective / Legacy transaction approach, known to be driving the Rhode Island activities, a leading role in some significant run-off transactions; he is well respected for knowledge, technical skills and network as well as his negotiation skills and fun approach. I know that everyone he deals with would support this proposal…Clients, competitors, brokers, lawyers.”
“…He has been in the forefront of pushing for IBT transactions and was a frequent speaker on the subject, including… at AIRROC. I think a posthumous run-off Person of the Year award would be an appropriate and fitting honor for his legacy.”
Mark Hallam, accepting the award on behalf of David:
It is a great honor to be here today to receive this Award on behalf of David Scasbrook. It is an even greater honor to be here with Josh, Dave’s son, who I will pass over to shortly to say a few words on behalf of the family.
Dave has been a great friend and colleague to so many of us here today and to so many others who are not able to attend. We are so proud for him that he was nominated for this award by so many different people, even prior to us knowing he was ill. This makes this moment even more special by the fact that we can remember his contribution and achievements even when he is not with us.
His passing has created quite a shock across the industry. Everyone who knew Dave, saw this strong, powerful, high energy guy, who was invincible. It is still really hard to believe that he is no longer with us in person. A large number of colleagues from our industry attended Dave’s funeral. Jason Richards gave a wonderful tribute so it only seems fit that some of the words I am sharing today are from that speech.
One thing I know for certain is that Dave lived his short life to the fullest. A famous US President once said, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” Dave definitely had a very fulfilling life. I know Dave is looking down on us right now with great pride and a smile on his face. In great Dave humor he would say “cheer up you bunch”. It is so important that we remember Dave and his contribution to our industry but do this with a smile on our faces.
Dave had a fabulous career, he loved his work and worked really hard. Dave came to the insurance industry straight from school in his mid-teens, into Lloyd’s, then into the run-off space at Lloyd’s working for the ground breaking Equitas, where he progressed really quickly. Then Jason Richards recruited him at GE which later became part of Swiss Re. Here he was a key player in the market defining our commutation approach.
Dave was a self-made man. From the beginning, Dave sought to learn everything about our business. Dave never lost this thirst for knowledge. Dave was an entrepreneur and he was determined to move forward. He didn’t want to get pigeon holed in one area and was constantly on the search for new challenges. When we created a new business area at Swiss Re a few years later, to focus on our run-off transaction offering, Dave put his hand up to build and lead the team. Over the past 10 years Swiss Re has completed legacy transactions with a total liability of $6.8bn globally, with $220m being in North America. This would not have happened without Dave’s drive in bringing this Swiss Re offering to the market.
Dave spent much of his career in the run-off or legacy part of the insurance industry, nearly 30 years in total. As I have already said, he became the driving force at Swiss Re in this area and recognized as a thought leader across the industry. He was extremely creative, innovative and always looking at things in different ways. Always loving a good challenge.
He worked so well with all sorts of teams, all around the world, especially here in the US. I don’t recall ever hearing an issue on collaboration, everyone just loved working with Dave. Both clients and competitors alike. As you may well be aware, in recent years, Dave worked tirelessly to create a new industry changing legacy product in Rhode Island. We made tremendous progress, but didn’t quite reach the goal, before his time ran out. Dave leaves behind a committed team, some are here today. They are dedicated to reach that goal. I know Virgin Atlantic will certainly miss him on their flights to the US, with him being one of their most frequent flyers, I will toast him in the JFK lounge, a place where we spent many a happy time discussing the week’s progress and events. I would also like to give a moment of thought to all the US airlines, New York steak restaurants and Oregon Vineyards (especially the North facing slopes) who will notice an impact on their revenues. Dave loved the US, the people, the big cities, the sport (especially the Washington Red Skins and Kansas City Royals), the culture and especially the food.
Dave was a great sales person, able to listen, interpret needs and come up with great creative solutions. He could engage at the most senior levels in an organization with ease. He also intensely cared a lot about people, especially in developing younger employees. He hired some of the first people into our graduate program and helped countless other younger staff grow and develop. One of those early graduates cut his teeth here in the US and is now working for one of our competitors, beginning with ‘B’. Just goes to show that Dave has helped us all in many ways.
His informality was infectious. It meant nearly everyone liked the guy. At the same time he was an awesome negotiator. Always well prepared, knowing the technical details, but laid back and likeable. So, whilst you thought you were getting a great deal, he was winning you over in his very special style. He used that trick time and time again to great effectiveness in many of our largest contracts. Obviously it was always a win win!!
He was extremely hard working all the years I knew him. He spent hundreds of nights away travelling around the world visiting clients and team members. He enjoyed his travel, but I know he missed his family lots and often spoke about them when he was away. He would be so proud to see Josh standing here today accepting this award for his dad. In short, David leaves a massive legacy in the legacy industry.
…I will reiterate what Mark has already said about my dad and his numerous qualities and I also want to add some qualities specific to family life, such as his selflessness when he would return from a transatlantic trip and the following day he would travel to collect my sister from university.
It is incredibly sad that my father’s life was cut shorter than we had all envisioned; however, in the years that he was given, he showed what it meant to lead a full life. My father’s work life has already been touched upon by Mark who has known my father for longer than I have been alive and it means a lot to my mother, sister and myself that Dad has been attributed with these accolades for all of his hard work over the years. In all honesty, we did not really have much of a clue as a family to how well known my dad was in the industry because he would never act like a big shot when he got home. What he accomplished is reflected in his rise from humble beginnings, leaving school with few qualifications, and showing what it is to be a self-made individual.
Throughout my father’s life he has achieved many things including sitting on the boards of companies, spearheading large transactions across the globe and playing an instrumental role in the build of run-off insurance legislation in Rhode Island. However, above all of this, my father always put family first and I am thankful for the opportunities he has granted me throughout my life.
Over his career in insurance, America had become a major part in his life and his adopted second home. He was also a massive fan of American sports which was detailed by Mark earlier.
My father’s personality was infectious and he was always known as a larger-than-life character who wouldn’t give up a microphone easily when it came to karaoke. Though he may have fallen short in the talent department for singing. My father’s talents include the innate ability to smell bullshit, which made it very hard to pull the wool over his eyes. Another trait that my father possessed was his wide stretching generosity. He enjoyed nothing more than entertaining friends, family and colleagues with food and drink. He was well known for his knowledge of wine where he thought of himself as a sommelier and could spout numerous facts about cheese pairing and the appropriate time of drinking a particular vintage.
It is necessary to touch on my father’s short illness, not in the exact details of his battle but rather his attitude towards it. Throughout the 9 weeks from diagnosis to his passing my father was always optimistic and wanted to fight to his last breath, which he did. Even in the most testing of times he was always comedic, with one of the standout moments being the response to “how are you feeling today?” He said: “I feel like Dave.” That really shows the kind of character he was.
As has already been reiterated a number of times my father knew how to live life to the fullest and the memories that we have of him that have been shared with everyone in this room will last forever and all of his family, friends, colleagues and work associates were lucky to have a Dave Scasbrook in their lives.
Thank you, Dave, for the many impacts that you had on the legacy insurance sector.
Your memory is one we can turn to when we think about the reason that AIRROC exists, to foster creativity, professionalism and a supportive network that respects and values its colleagues in the business. Myself and many others that honor him today will continue to raise many a fine glass of wine in his honor at AIRROC events for years to come.
To read the announcement of the 2019 Person of the Year Award, please see http://airrocmatters.org/david-scasbrook-named-airroc-person-of-the-year-for-2019/