Meeting the people

01-05-2020

Meeting the people

Shutterstock

Ed Bermuda received regulatory approval to begin operating in Bermuda in June 2019. As the team builds, Bermuda:Re+ILS finds out a little more about the executives who want to make Ed Bermuda the best broker on the Island.

Ed Bermuda wants to build a multiline, multiclass re/insurance and capital markets broker on Bermuda. It will serve many independent clients around the globe and bring greater distribution to the Island.

From a staff of zero, Ed Bermuda has grown to a team of 11 people who include some of the most senior producers and re/insurance thought leaders in the business, with more high profile hires joining soon, the company says.

An important part of Ed’s plan is to ensure it builds a business embedded in the fabric of the Island. It has kept this priority in mind as it has built its team, with an active focus on the diversity of its employees: half are Bermudians, with industry experience ranging from zero to more than four decades. Ed is determined to create future Bermudian leaders in the industry.

Ed Bermuda’s senior insurance team includes individuals who understand risk, know how to structure programmes, and are well respected. Many have worked through multiple hard markets, so they understand the industry’s current challenges, what they mean for customers, and how they can best be resolved.

Here, Ed Bermuda introduces some of its key personnel.

Chief executive

Chris Bonard has been a market stalwart since the late 1980s. He began his career with Guy Carpenter in 1986, and moved to R.K. Carvill three years later. He remained there as it became the dominant force in specialty and casualty reinsurance broking, rising to its main board.

His journey with Ed and its predecessor companies began in 2005 when he joined NMB Specialty as managing director. Later he became Ed’s CEO of Specialty and was one of the group’s biggest producers. Bonard has a strong client following from these many years of service, having worked in almost every line of the re/insurance business, and built close relationships with managing general agent platforms.

“I was the first one to arrive, tasked with hiring the team and building the businesses,” Bonard says.

“I saw a huge opportunity on the Island, especially with the sale of JLT, which left a gap for a full-service independent broker. With the acquisition of Willis Towers Watson in the offing, it is the perfect time to establish a company that blends enormous industry experience and a leading-edge technological approach.

“We have said that our ambition is to build the Island’s largest independent broking house, and we are very focused on that. It’s exciting to start something from scratch, and it’s fun, too.”

Having resided in various insurance centres around the world, Bonard now lives in Hamilton with his family.

Chris Bonard is CEO at Ed Bermuda. He can be contacted at: chris.bonard@edbroking.com

Chairman

John Turner, Ed Bermuda’s chairman, is a client-facing producer despite his job title. Known as a ‘heavy hitter’, before joining Ed he was chairman of Aon Commercial Risk Solutions UK & Americas, which made him one of the most important retail brokers in the world.

Turner has more than 40 years’ market experience, and has led teams covering property, casualty, terrorism, power, energy, and construction. His depth and breadth of knowledge are unparalleled. He originally joined Aon predecessor Alexander Howden to set up its retail onshore energy broking business at Lloyd’s from scratch—a highlight of his career. He went on to work with many multinationals from around the world, amassing a huge global network.

Turner’s extensive contacts and connections suit his role at Ed, but his greatest contribution is his ability to connect a team through his energy and alternative thinking. That helps them work as one to always find the best solution for a client facing a challenge. He is also focused on the follow-up: over his career, Turner has collected client claims in excess of $1 billion.

Turner, a Harvard Business School alumnus, admits that leaving Aon after such a long time was a big move, but says the opportunity to build something new in Bermuda, and in particular to build the best broker on the Island, was irresistible.

“I am excited to join an independent company with no legacy, with cutting-edge technology and the backing of a major player in the financial services sector which is looking to reinvent the way we do the commercial insurance business,” he says.

John Turner is chairman at Ed Bermuda. He can be contacted at: john.turner@edbroking.com

Head of business development

Mark Simons, head of business development and production, is one of Bermuda’s highest-profile and most respected brokers. The Island native was previously senior vice president of financial and professional lines at Marsh Bermuda, but began his career at Bowring Bermuda in 1989, after graduating from American International College. In the interim he worked for JLT Park, Aon, Starr Excess and HSBC, before returning to Bowring Marsh, where he spent nearly 10 years. Then he joined Ed.

For a man who fell into insurance by chance, Simons’ rise has been impressive. He pairs a detail-oriented approach with a keen eye for a challenge, and will leave no stone unturned to secure the best terms for his clients. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of arcane subjects such as employment practices liability, and has placed significant D&O, EPL and wage and hour programmes into the Bermuda market.

Simons says: “I’m impressed by the scope of Ed’s ambition in Bermuda and globally, and the way we are setting out to provide a distinct, independent service for clients. It’s great to work at a firm which isn’t involved in the M&A frenzy that’s shaking up the global brokers.

“Being independent gives us freedom of action with a refreshing approach to client service, and to technologies that create efficiencies to better serve our clients.”

Mark Simons is head of business development and production at Ed Bermuda. He can be contacted at: mark.simons@edbroking.com

Head of property insurance

Carrie Kelley, head of property insurance in Bermuda, has been on-Island for a decade of her 17 years in the industry. She describes that move as the highlight of her career: what was meant to be a three-month secondment turned into a 12-year adventure.

Kelley is experienced on both sides of the desk. She spent 2019 seconded as property D&F underwriter at Barbican Underwriting Bermuda, but has now returned to broking corporate property risks. A proven producer, after that secondment from Marsh Chicago she held senior roles at Bowring Marsh and Guy Carpenter in Bermuda.

Over the years Kelley has accrued impressive experience working on complex multinational accounts, and was instrumental in developing a middle-market book new to the Island.

“Ed has clearly invested heavily in technology, so I’m able to focus on clients and risks, rather than paperwork,” she says.

“The idea behind the business is to bring new business to Bermuda, and that’s my specialty. Ed has created an environment where that is possible, with a fresh new approach, so I jumped at the possibility to be part of a new and exciting venture here, and build up a business from ground level.” 

Kelley holds a BSc in finance and economics and recently had a daughter.

Carrie Kelley is head of liability at Ed Bermuda. She can be contacted at: carrie.kelley@edbroking.com

Head of liability

Colin Kelley, head of liability, is another veteran of both broking and underwriting. He’s a highly knowledgeable producing broker with impeccable professional lines credentials and an enviable profile among risk managers.

After his BA in 2003, Kelley joined Marsh Bermuda to handle financial and professional lines, and then spent 10 years as commercial lines practice leader for professional lines at Sompo Bermuda. While working as a full time underwriter, he also managed to squeeze in time for an MBA from Duke University, and to get married.

Kelley has an impressive capacity to talk effectively to anyone across multiple industry classes and products. He shares his knowledge freely, giving clients and colleagues enormous and deserved confidence in his abilities. That translates into an unusual ability to handle challenging situations and break things down in a straight-forward and transparent manner. It is a time-consuming business: Kelley typically sees at least 80 percent of his clients in person every year. That investment in face time is the foundation of his broking approach.

As a Bermuda underwriter, Kelley understood the real need for a local independent broker that offers the full suite of insurance, reinsurance, retro, and insurance-linked securities products.

“I often wondered why we lacked the vibrant community of smaller brokers other markets have. The creation of Ed will immediately fulfil that need,” he says.

“Clients will benefit enormously from the diversity which a broad-based, experienced, and truly independent brokerage brings to the Island.”

Colin Kelley is head of liability at Ed Bermuda. He can be contacted at: colin.kelley@edbroking.com

Reinsurance

Ed’s initial focus is on the insurance business. But with its core insurance team in place, the company will turn its attention to building a reinsurance, retrocession and capital markets capability. It has already brought in Kirk Chesley, who relocated from London in June 2019.

Chesley has strong experience producing and placing industry loss warranties, retroceded business, UK and Canadian casualty binders, and quota shares for more than a quarter of a century. Across his career he has held various positions at Aon Benfield, Arthur J. Gallagher and Tysers.

Ed Bermuda, Chris Bonard, John Turner, Mark Simons, Carrie Kelley, Colin Kelley,

Bermuda Re