Do Industry Relationships Matter? Westfield Specialty’s Ray Ash’s Career Proves That They Do

Westfield Specialty’s Ray Ash is set to face down cyber risk, securities risk and a host of additional issues that menace directors and officers.
By: | November 13, 2023
Portrait of Ray Ash

It might be fair to say that management liability specialist Ray Ash actually made his name in surety. It was back in 2015 when both he and Westfield Specialty president Jack Kuhn worked at Endurance Specialty Holdings, which two years later became Sompo International. The head of Endurance’s surety business had just departed, and Kuhn asked Ash to step in and lead it.

“We were successful,” Ash remembers. “We were able to keep the remaining team together and they were able to spend the right amount of time to find the right person,” Ash added.

Kuhn’s faith in Ash now finds Ash as an EVP in management liability for Westfield Specialty.

“When Jack called me about this opportunity a couple of years ago, it was just too good to pass up,” Ash recalls.

Now to the work.

Mentioning new cybersecurity disclosure rules, a rash of bankruptcies, and the threat and promise of artificial intelligence is to name just a few of the risks that companies and their directors and officers face.

Being backed by Westfield, a 175-year-old mutual, and building their own in-house claims team are key advantages Ash thinks he can bring to the table. The other is a steadfast customer focus.

“Customer service is paramount,” Ash said. “If you want to open your doors and say that you are there to service the industry, customer service has to be number one,” he added.

Ash has built his career on relationships and in building the team he is leading in drawing on those relationships.

“We’re just really, really proud of the quality of the staff that we have,” Ash said. “I think it says something about this industry. It’s not viewed as a zero-sum game. People are willing to stretch for the right opportunity,” he said.

And it’s not a stretch to say that means being in the office and when you are in teleconference meetings, particularly with clients, turning your camera on.

“If you turn your camera on, you put that person front and center when they’re asking a question. It really helps engender the question, ‘Who is Westfield Specialty? Why should I know Westfield Specialty?’” Ash said.

Turning your camera on in a meeting might not seem like a big deal, but let’s give Ash credit for being on to something that might be just as important as underwriting platforms and expertise.

“It really helps differentiate us and our team embraces that ethos,” Ash said. “We couldn’t be more proud, working with this team.” &

Ray Ash has been selected as a 2024 Risk & Insurance® Executive to Watch. To see the other executives selected this year, visit here.

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

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