Insurance Executive

Ironshore’s Kelley Enthused by Liberty Acquisition

Combining Liberty Mutual’s standard line depth and Ironshore’s underwriting expertise bodes well, he says.
By: | May 5, 2017 • 3 min read

Ironshore CEO Kevin Kelley said this week that he views the combination of specialty carrier Liberty International Underwriters, a Liberty Mutual subsidiary, with the U.S. operations of Ironshore as a “phenomenal opportunity” that should advance the fortunes of both Ironshore and its new parent company.

“What I think is interesting and positive is that we now become a US insurer and that fundamentally  means we can cross-sell all of our products to our US customer base,” Kelley said.

On May 1, Liberty Mutual announced that it closed on the acquisition of Ironshore, a specialty carrier that has been in existence since 2006.  Lexington veteran Shaun Kelly, who came over to the Bermuda-based Ironshore with Kevin Kelley in 2008, is CEO of Ironshore US and reports directly to Mr. Kelley.


The new Ironshore unit will become the sixth largest E&S writer in the country based on 2016 direct written premium, according to Liberty Mutual.

For Kelley, the merger means he can leverage his team’s underwriting experience and begin working with standard commercial lines like workers’ compensation, general liability, and commercial auto that Ironshore wasn’t involved with previously.

“I think by joining a firm such as Liberty that has very, very strong ratings and a desire to be an even stronger commercial alternative we have really entered into the next phase in Ironshore’s evolution,” Kelley said.

“We will see more activity and that is fundamental to selection.”– Kevin Kelley, the CEO of Ironshore

“The combination of our two operations will create a top-tier U.S. specialty insurer with a broad and deep set of solutions for clients and brokers,” said Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long in a company press release.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Liberty Mutual is the fourth largest property and casualty insurance carrier in the U.S. based on 2016 direct written premiums.

The scale of the Liberty Mutual balance sheet, the amount of capital it can deploy against risk, and the sheer number of customers Liberty Mutual serves are assets Kelley said he is happy to align himself with.

“It enhances our looks,” he said, meaning the scope of risks and customers Ironshore can now potentially underwrite.

“We will see more activity and that is fundamental to selection,” Kelley said.

“We just see a phenomenal opportunity to build on the activity we currently have. Through the integration of LIU U.S. and Ironshore U.S., we will be in excess of a $2 billion company in the U.S. and over $3 billion under the Ironshore global brand,” Kelley said. “Scale matters.”

Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long

In a career at AIG that spanned three decades, Kelley rose to lead specialty carrier Lexington, which is still the biggest U.S.-based carrier in the specialty insurance space.

Since its origins in 2006, Ironshore grew to become a specialist in environmental, professional liability and health care, among other disciplines.

Kelley said this week he is confident the combined LIU and Ironshore specialty underwriting teams will thrive.

“I think what we bring to the table is a fundamental concept of ownership of our performance with creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit,” Kelley said.

“Believe me, that’s in our DNA so we are going to continue to embrace that approach and will be a positive influence on Liberty Mutual’s already strong, reputable culture,” he added.

Ironshore has its own presence at Lloyd’s, Pembroke, and Liberty Mutual also has a strong London presence and a strong surety business, he added.

“I think Liberty brings an awful lot of resources to the market now,” Kelley said.

“With us being a part of the Liberty family we hope that we can help them achieve new heights,” he said.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Risk All Stars

Immeasurable Value

The 2017 Risk All Stars strengthened their organizations by taking ownership of improved risk management processes and not quitting until they were in place.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 3 min read

Being the only person to hold a particular opinion or point of view within an organization cannot be easy. Do the following sound like familiar stories? Can you picture yourself or one of your risk management colleagues as the hero or heroine? Or better yet, as a Risk & Insurance® Risk All Star?


One risk manager took a job with a company that was being spun off, and the risk management program, which was built for a much larger company, was not a good fit for the spun-off company.
Rather than sink into inertia, this risk manager took the bull by the horns and began an aggressive company intranet campaign to instill better safety and other risk management practices throughout the organization.

The risk manager, 2017 Risk All Star Michelle Bennett of Cable One, also changed some long-standing brokerage relationships that weren’t a good fit for the risk management and insurance program. In her first year on the job she produced premium savings and in her second year is in the process of introducing ERM company-wide.

Or perhaps this one rings a bell. The news is trickling out that a company is poised to dramatically expand, increasing the workforce three- or four-fold. Having this knowledge with certainty would be a great benefit to a risk manager, who could begin girding safety, workers’ comp and related programs accordingly. But things sometimes don’t work that way, do they? Sometimes the risk manager is one of the last people to know.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance.

In the case of 2017 Risk All Star winner Steve Richards of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the news of an expansion spurred him to action. He completely overhauled the company’s workers’ compensation program and streamlined its claim management system. The results, even with a much higher headcount, were reduced legal costs, better return-to-work experiences for injured workers and a host of other improvements and savings.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance. Sometimes it took years for a particular risk solution, as promoted by a risk manager, to find acceptance.

In other cases a risk manager got so excited about a solution, they never even considered getting turned down. They just kept pushing until they carried the day.


Butler University’s Zach Finn became obsessive about what he felt was a lackluster effort on the part of the insurance industry to bring in new talent. The former risk manager for the J.M. Smucker Co. settled on the creation of a student-run captive to give his risk management students the experience they would need to get hired right out of college.

The result was a better risk management program for the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and immediate traction in the job market for Finn’s students.

A few of our Risk All Stars told us that the results they are achieving were decades in the making. Only by year-in, year-out dedication to gaining transparency about her co-op’s risks and learning more and more about her various insurance carriers, did Growmark Inc.’s Faith Cring create a stalwart risk management and insurance program that is the envy of the agricultural sector. Now she’s been with some of her insurance carriers more than 20 years — some more than 30 years.

Having the right idea and not having a home for it can be a lonely, frustrating experience. Having the creativity, the passion and perhaps, most importantly, the perseverance to see it through and get great results makes you a Risk All Star. &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]