19 March 2021News

ABIR plants tree to mark former AXIS chair Butt’s 50 years of service to the industry

A group of company executives representing members of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) gathered for a COVID19-compliant, ceremonial tree planting at Hamilton Ferry Terminal to commemorate Michael Butt’s five decades of service to the re/insurance industry.

Butt is a former chair of both ABIR and the Bermudian re/insurer, AXIS Capital, who announced his retirement in September 2020. As chairman of the AXIS Capital board of directors for nearly 20 years, he helped build that carrier from a start-up into an established player in the global re/insurance industry.

He also served as chairman at Sedgwick, as chief executive officer at Eagle Star Holdings, Eagle Star Insurance Company and MidOcean, and as director at XL Capital and Farmers Insurance Group. He was chair of ABIR from 2008-2009 and serves on the Bermuda Financial Policy Council, which was created to advise on the development of Bermuda’s financial stability framework.

In 2011, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) to commemorate his distinguished contributions toward the building of the Bermuda reinsurance industry, and in 2019 was named by the International Insurance Society as its 2019 Insurance Hall of Fame Laureate.

The tree, an Albizia Lebbeck, is commonly known in Bermuda as the Black Ebony and is classified as a large tree in Bermuda. The species originates in Indomalaya, New Guinea and Northern Australia, and is widely cultivated and naturalised in other tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is appreciated for its dense canopy and shade at the height of summer.

Marc Grandisson, chief executive officer of Arch Capital Group and current ABIR chair, said generations of Bermuda residents and guests seeing the tree will be reminded of Butt’s role in the development of the island’s leading industry.

“This planting, at the busy Hamilton Ferry Terminal, recognises Michael’s commitment and service to ABIR, Bermuda, the environment, and the global re/insurance industry,” he said.

Albert Benchimol, immediate-past chair of ABIR and chief executive officer of AXIS Capital, said Butt’s impact on the re/insurance industry and AXIS specifically has been “immense”, describing it as “an honor and a privilege” to have worked closely with him.

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said: “We have upward of 25 locations around Hamilton where we intend to plant new trees this year; species include mahogany, black ebony, jacaranda, allspice, pink shower, pride of India, southern hackberry and others.”

John Huff, president and chief executive of ABIR, said Butt’s “long-standing support of the environment, the changing climate and corporate responsibility are all symbolised in the planting of this tree, as a daily reminder of his commitment and service to Bermuda.”