It is an unusual name, Julius. Christened, by my idealistic parents in the later 1950’s, named after the Czech anti-Nazi journalist Julius Fučík, and now with my work offices about a mile from where the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, invaded Britain in 55 / 54 B.C.; that serves as an introduction. I write, looking over my shoulder: “Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer’s message to Julius Caesar, warning of his death in mid-March 44 B.C. But enough of ancient history.
AIRROC asked me to introduce my research to the membership. Since the millennium, I have run my own bijou publishing empire, BIRO (Bannister International Research Organisation), writing about the insurance sector: the London Market and, in particular, the run-off/legacy sector. My regular research newsletter (Insurance Legacy News) reports on a multi-billion dollar area of the market that is ignored by the mainstream trade press. Prior to that, I was a founder of the Risk Research Group and later Head of Insurance Research Publications at Lloyd’s.
I can’t imagine that at the age of 8 or 12, any of us would have thought: I know – I want to make a career out of working in insurance, let alone collecting statistics on legacy insurance.
But, I think we all know that life takes us on many interesting paths and that, although a natural dinner party conversation-stopper (if handled in the wrong way), we have found that the ‘legacy’ insurance industry is full of ground-breaking challenges, people, and characters that keep us coming back for more.
I well remember back in the 1980s attending cocktail parties and press conferences for famous underwriting names of the run-off, legacy world as they were being actively launched into an unsuspecting London Market. On one occasion, I was greeted by none other than Prince Michael of Kent, a cousin of our Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, at an event promoting the KWELM companies / London United Investments (H.S. Weavers) in Chicago.
So, if I don’t have ‘run-off ’ in my blood, at least I have the memory of its warm glow of hospitality in my veins – and some quite unusual ‘gifts’, including English & American’s famous floating ball-point pen set, a much-treasured Municipal Mutual glass paper weight, and a fine motoring atlas, as well as countless music disks sponsored by a major UK failure, Independent Insurance.
March 2015 marks the publication of the last year’s financial statements of US property-casualty insurers and reinsurers. With a trusted list of target companies, we’ve managed, over the years, to compile a major listing of commutations, the chosen weapon of many in the legacy sector to assist in their quest to find the Holy Grail of ‘finality’ to their liabilities. We have, so far, identified around 3,000 commutations, both between US insurers and those overseas, that make a ‘fascinating read’ (well, not quite of New York Times best-seller list proportions) and throw some daylight onto this quiet, shady, and hidden world.
For the full article, refer to page 15 in the Summer 2015 issue. https://www.airroc.org/assets/docs/matters/airroc%20matters%20summer%202015%20vol%2011%20no.%202.pdf