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

Risk Management

The Profession

After 20 years in the business, Navy Pier’s Director of Risk Management values her relationships in the industry more than ever.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Working at Dominick’s Finer Foods bagging groceries. Shortly after I was hired, I was promoted to [cashier] and then to a management position. It taught me great responsibility and it helped me develop the leadership skills I still carry today.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

While working for Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel, one of my responsibilities was to oversee the administration of claims. This led to a business relationship with the director of risk management of the organization who actually owned the property. Ultimately, a position became available in her department and the rest is history.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?


The risk management community is doing a phenomenal job in professional development and creating great opportunities for risk managers to network. The development of relationships in this industry is vitally important and by providing opportunities for risk managers to come together and speak about their experiences and challenges is what enables many of us to be able to do our jobs even more effectively.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Attracting, educating and retaining young talent. There is this preconceived notion that the insurance industry and risk management are boring and there could be nothing further from the truth.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

In my 20 years in the industry, the biggest change in risk management and the insurance industry are the various types of risk we look to insure against. Many risks that exist today were not even on our radar 20 years ago.

Gina Kirchner, director of risk management, Navy Pier Inc.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

FM Global. They have been our property carrier for a great number of years and in my opinion are the best in the business.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

I am optimistic that policies will be put in place with the new administration that will be good for the economy and business.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?


The commercial risks that are of most concern to me are cyber risks, business interruption, and any form of a health epidemic on a global scale. We are dealing with new exposures and new risks that we are truly not ready for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My mother has played a significant role in shaping my ideals and values. She truly instilled a very strong work ethic in me. However, there are many men and women in business who have mentored me and have had a significant impact on me and my career as well.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I am most proud of making the decision a couple of years ago to return to school and obtain my [MBA]. It took a lot of prayer, dedication and determination to accomplish this while still working a full time job, being involved in my church, studying abroad and maintaining a household.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

“Heaven Is For Real” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. I loved the book and the movie.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?


A French restaurant in Paris, France named Les Noces de Jeannette Restaurant à Paris. It was the most amazing food and brings back such great memories.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Israel. My husband and I just returned a few days ago and spent time in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho and Jordan. It was an absolutely amazing experience. We did everything from riding camels to taking boat rides on the Sea of Galilee to attending concerts sitting on the Temple steps. The trip was absolutely life changing.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Many, many years ago … I went parasailing in the Caribbean. I had a great experience and didn’t think about the risk at the time because I was young, single and free. Looking back, I don’t know that I would make the same decision today.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I would have to say the relationships and partnerships I have developed with insurance carriers, brokers and other professionals in the industry. To have wonderful working relationships with such a vast array of talented individuals who are so knowledgeable and to have some of those relationships develop into true friendships is very rewarding.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

My friends and family have a general idea that my position involves claims and insurance. However, I don’t think they fully understand the magnitude of my responsibilities and the direct impact it has on my organization, which experiences more than 9 million visitors a year.

Katie Siegel is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]