By Peter Sturgess, Butcher Robinson & Staples International Limited
I was lucky enough when I started work in Minet in 1966 to have a really good training, starting in Aviation, moving to Aviation Claims and Marine claims and then onto the Marine division where I mainly dealt with cargo business and Fine Art and Specie business, before settling down in the Home Foreign unit, where we were dealing with overseas non-marine business throughout the world.
I was lucky to start as a broker in 1969, which was a hard market, as the market had just paid out on hurricane losses in the USA. I was given the responsibility of dealing with Financial Institution business and in a hard market our lineslip had collapsed so every risk was placed separately in the open market, until a few years later, once the market had settled, I was able to put lineslip facilities together, one for worldwide ex USA business and a separate one for USA business, which enabled me to bind FI business with agreement of the leading underwriters only. A lot of the banks that I dealt with were in the Middle East and some in the UK and USA. Distressed banks in the USA, became popular in the market if a survey had been done and recommendations carried out.
I was also given the chance to deal with our Middle East and Far East treaty business reinsuring local companies, so that they could offer this capacity in the local market and spread the risk with reinsurers, which was fascinating, as it involved a completely different market and was a new challenge for me, which involved travelling as well. I was then asked to go out to Beirut for 6 months which developed even more business, however after 30 days the Palestinian Camps were being bombed. I finished my time at Minet in the Reinsurance division and then joined Lowndes Lambert.
I spent just under 3 years dealing with Financial Institution business, as my specialist subject, and as I knew the leading underwriters and following market well, this period strengthened my technical knowledge of this business which proved to be most useful before I joined H.Pitman & Company one of the smallest Lloyd’s brokers.
Starting to build my own account took some time, but as well as searching for business, I was able to work on Aviation business for one of the directors. Friendly brokers who used me in the past to deal with their FI business still sent me business and then one of the Directors brought in a very large FI account and I was able to place this business for him. He then decided to leave the company and join Norman Butcher and Jones where I would end up in a years time, but in the meantime I had to increase my own account. I approached an underwriting friend of mine who very kindly said that I could deal with his facultative reinsurance business on certain FI risks, and he advised me to show this business around to other Lloyd’s syndicates, who might decide to give me even more business.
I was then asked to place a reinsurance facility for this syndicate, which started my entry into London Market Excess of Loss business. I knew the marine market underwriters well, who at that time could write non-marine business as well, so was able to utilise this capacity including ILU companies. I joined Norman Butcher and Jones a year later with a small, but expanding account and they needed someone with FI and professional indemnity experience. By the end of my first year my London Market FI account had increased substantially and my Managing Director had kept his large FI business, that I had placed for him in H.Pitman. I was approached with the chance of getting involved with Prize Indemnity Contingency business, out of the first three placements two of these had claims and I wondered what I had got myself involved in, but as the account progressed it turned out to be very profitable. I placed a lot of Win A Million prize competitions and paid out only once on an Irish placement. I also did a lot of work on the insurance of lotteries. My good relationship with the Lloyd’s market enabled me to place a binder which covered all types of prize indemnity insurance, including cancellation and non-appearance for a Managing General Agent, which gave them the authority to bind business on behalf of underwriters supporting the binder. After 15 years at NBJ I joined Manning Williams, another small broker and was able to expand my reinsurance book, FI and contingency business, however, the firm went through a difficult time and the day it went into liquidation I joined Miller Insurance Services Limited the largest independent Lloyd’s broker at that time.
This was a big step up for me and I was employed in their PI, D&O, FI and Specie and Fine Art unit. I concentrated, at first, on FI business and bringing in my own business. This was then followed by a period dealing with USA FI business. I then got involved with a lot of German Fine Art business mostly in Museums and one very big museum in Denmark. The next challenge that I was given was dealing with Brazilian Cash in Transit business and managed to double the brokerage on this business. I had previously done some work on latent defects insurance especially in the event of a clash of losses from one common cause. I found a syndicate who needed this reinsurance and discussed this with the reinsurance unit who managed to place the business and received a firm order. I also introduced Solicitors and insurance brokers who needed PI cover, to our PI team and one broker was very involved with Russian business. There was a conference coming up on IPO’s in Moscow and the D&O team wanted to attend, two of us went and were hosted by my Russian broker friends. They also introduced us to some very big energy business in Kazakhstan.
I had to retire from Miller after 8 years but was keen to continue in business, so had to find a small broker to work in who were not a competitor to Miller, if they were going to pass over some of my business and use my expertise in certain areas in the future. I joined Ramon International Insurance Brokers, who had a large book of Israeli business and was able to bring in my Contingency binder and some Fine Art and Specie business as well as work on new Israeli business that came in. I then started my involvement in Contractors All Risks business, and through a connection from my school days at Uppingham, I was able to find a leader for this business and started to learn how this business was placed and the wordings involved. I really enjoyed finding the market to support this business and kept my hand in on FI business,
Contingency, Public and Products Liability business plus inland transit business. After 5 years at Ramon International, I joined Butcher Robinson & Staples International Limited, one of the largest privately owned FI brokers in the market who had a place for me on their high tech liability and contractors business side including other non-marine business coming in from their overseas clients, including bloodstock and livestock, specie and Fine Art, and my FI business experience could also be used hence the word Speciality in my title which basically covers everything. I am still working as if I was 25 in the market today.
I have been a member of FIDES Network since I was at Miller. Fides is a trusted independent network focused on providing a range of services and solutions for financial organisations and their stakeholders, particularly during times of event-driven change. Lenders and Private Equity play a transformational role in enabling companies to realise their growth potential and to increase enterprise value.
Our team at FIDES has been working on Private Equity business over the last couple of years and we have an unbeatable team, who can assist Private Equity companies and we have the expertise in our FI unit, that you need in a hard insurance market, when premiums and deductibles are increasing. Butcher Robinson & Staples International Limited want to help to keep costs within reason and make sure that the cover that you are getting will respond to the risks of today, including Cyber Liability. I am working on this business together with Andy Leech in our FI team and I hope you will take advantage of what is on offer from us and our FIDES group.