In Memoriam

Readers’ Tributes to Steve Yahn

Experts in the art and insurance world share remembrances of Steve Yahn.
By: | August 10, 2016

Long-time Risk & Insurance® contributor Steve Yahn passed away at the age of 69 on June 28.

We knew Steve as an enthusiastic, skilled reporter who seemed to take a special joy from his ability to make connections and turn information from those contacts into interesting, many times groundbreaking stories.

Former R&I contributor Steve Yahn

Former R&I contributor Steve Yahn

In 2008, a three-part series reported and written for Risk & Insurance® by Steve and Peter Rousmaniere won a national gold award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

The series documented the workers’ compensation plight of first responders to the terror attacks that brought down the Twin Towers.

Steve’s journalism career was long and impressive.

Just to note a few hallmarks, he was the first editor of Crain’s Chicago Business in 1978, served as the editor of Ad Age in the 1990s and later included in his resume stints as an editor with the Philadelphia Daily News, the New York Daily News and the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Since his death, we’ve received a number of notes from readers and Steve’s industry contacts. In tribute to Steve, we’d like to share some of those letters with you.


“I just today learned that Steve Yahn passed away in June. I was very sorry to hear about it. I only just met Steve in early June for a story he was writing. We ended up having several rambling and wonderful conversations about the insurance market.

“We had a follow-up call one evening while I was at home, and he heard my 10-month old son babbling in the background. He insisted on sending him a couple of knitted caps that his friend had made, and they are adorable. I knew that he needed information for his article, but he had a way of being so kind and genuine that I really wanted to help him with his story as much as possible.

“I don’t know if there is any point in writing this or who will read it. But I was so sorry to hear about his death that I just wanted to express it to someone who might have known him. I want to say to his family and his colleagues that I am so sorry for your loss.”

Lacey Pevey

Vice President of Insurance, Next Insurance


Steve was such a great reporter and I enjoyed working with him on art insurance articles. Especially as we got to know each other through the years doing Power Broker® articles. He was always so encouraging whenever I talked to him. It was always a pleasure to hear from him – courteous and professional to the core.

“He will be missed and I will definitely keep his family in my prayers.”

Adrienne Reid

Vice President, Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc.


“I had the opportunity to serve as a resource to Steve for news content a number of times over the years. Steve was a quintessential professional who always took great care and pride to gather information accurately and to provide the most substantive and authoritative content he could access. And he was always just a pleasure as a person. We will miss him as a respected and esteemed journalist.”

Lawrence M.  Shindell
Chairman – ARIS Title Insurance


“I met Steve in the 1970s when he became the first editor of Crain’s Chicago Business.

“Over the years we stayed in touch and soon found that we shared a common interest – the Art World. Steve would call or email me to ask if I had any interesting and unreported art related incidents to share. He was always looking for a scoop so that he could best the competition. I had the good fortune to be one of his primary sounding boards and sometimes he even quoted me with my permission.

“Steve’s keen investigative mind and his superior writing skills were his professional hallmarks. I will miss his ‘sweet’ personality and sincere friendship, and so will my secretary, Linda Fritz.”

Scott Hodes

Senior Counsel,Bryan Cave LLP


“Steve was irresistible. Despite how busy I always was when he contacted me, he compelled me to put everything aside and get interested in whatever topic currently intrigued him. His passion and good nature were irresistible.

Sandra Berlin Senior Vice President · Fine Art, Jewelry, & Specie — Willis Towers Watson

Sandra Berlin
Senior Vice President – Fine Art, Jewelry, & Specie, Willis Towers Watson

“I will miss him and think of him often.   I will miss those opportunities he brought me to step back and reflect on the greater issues facing us in risk and insurance and grasp the wider view of the dynamics at play. I am saddened by this loss.”

Sandra Berlin

Senior Vice President – Fine Art, Jewelry, & Specie, Willis Towers Watson


“While I didn’t know Steve Yahn as well as many did and never had the pleasure of meeting him personally, I did have the opportunity to work with him on several projects he was involved in for Risk & Insurance®, including a wonderful profile of EPIC that he wrote in October 2014.

I was consistently impressed by Steve’s process, his attention to detail, his interest in understanding and accuracy, and his obvious passion for the work he did and his craft — as well as his genuine good nature, friendliness and sense of humor. There was just something about the man that I connected with, enjoyed and appreciated. I was truly saddened by the news of his death. I think we have lost one of the ‘good guys’ here.”

Dave Hock

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications, EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants


“I had the pleasure of working with Steve on stories for nearly 20 years. I only got to meet him once in person when RIMS was in Philadelphia and (former Risk & Insurance® editor) Jack Roberts held a little get-together for us communications folks and R&I writers.

“He was a true professional who made sure he got to the heart of a story, even an insurance story. And he took a personal interest in his contacts.He always asked about my daughters and I in turn loved to hear stories of his boys. He was a proud papa in addition to a pro writer.

“He’s the kind of guy that makes our jobs more enjoyable.”

Chris Weirsky

Communications Director, Marketing & Communications-North America, XL Catlin


I had no idea of Steve’s passing. What incredibly sad news. I just spoke to him a few weeks ago and he just sent me a hat and blanket for my baby.

Mary Pontillo Vice President — DeWitt Stern

Mary Pontillo
Vice President, DeWitt Stern

“Never have I met someone who was so enthusiastic about insurance and learning something new.

“His energy and sincere interest in our conversations was touching and inspiring.  Steve was a great collaborator and truly fun to interact with.

“Please give my regards to his family and colleagues that he leaves behind.”

Mary Pontillo

Vice President, DeWitt Stern


“Steve will be most sincerely missed! He was always a delight and his curiosity was contagious. I was always so pleased to work with him on his stories and appreciated his enthusiasm for even the most technical and esoteric details around our industry! My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Jennifer M. Schipf

Senior Vice President Fine Art & Specie-Americas, Specialty Broker Client Management-Americas, XL- Catlin

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

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]