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CrossCover recruits BHSI’s global property CUO LaPierre amid buildout

By April 26, 2024No Comments

Originally posted by The Insurer on Monday, April 22, 2024 – link to the original post

MGU CrossCover has beefed up its management ranks with the addition of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI)’s global property CUO Dean LaPierre and other hires as it aims to hit up to $250mn in premium in 2024, The Insurer can reveal.

Property-focused CrossCover – which was launched by former Amrisc executive Scott Hanson in 2021 during the pandemic – has also recruited Ironshore’s head of US builder’s risk Ed O’Brien for the launch of a $15mn program focusing on his specialist business line.

Additionally, David Lewis – who was previously the president of AmTrust E&S and a co-founder and chief underwriting officer at Aspen Specialty – joined CrossCover last October as its chief underwriting officer and will help identify other product lines to offer going forward.

LaPierre had been with BHSI since its 2013 launch and had served as chief underwriting officer for property and marine since 2015. He was previously CUO for the Ryan Specialty-owned property cat construction-focused MGU Technical Risk Underwriters (TRU).

He has also worked at Aspen Specialty, Mercator Risk Services, RLI, AIG, and Fireman’s Fund.

O’Brien was a charter member of Ironshore’s property unit, which he joined in 2009, after earlier working at Liberty Mutual and FM Global.

Cathay Miller has been appointed to LaPierre’s previous role of CUO for property and marine at BHSI, and Greg Freeman has been named head of property for North America.

A spokesperson for CrossCover – which completed a management buyout with Brown & Brown a year ago – confirmed the appointments in a statement to The Insurer.

“I’m excited by the talent and experience we’ve assembled at CrossCover since we opened our doors in late 2021,” Hanson, who serves as the MGU’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We’re an MGU, but each of us cut our teeth on the company side. We think and act like an insurance company,” Hanson commented.

“The compensation and focus of every employee is to deliver top-tier return on capital, and bottom-line results to our panel, both before and after major events and through the market cycle,” Hanson continued.

LaPierre, Lewis, and O’Brien are all based in Boston.

“I can’t wait to see everyone’s contribution to the next evolution of CrossCover,” concluded Hanson, who also served as a co-founder of XL’s property division in Bermuda.

Management buildout follows MBO in ’23

CrossCover completed a management buy-out with private equity firm Gallatin Point last year that brought the PE house in as a minority investor, while Brown & Brown has maintained a minority shareholding.

CrossCover had been purchased by Brown & Brown as part of a deal with sister property cat MGU Orchid Underwriters Agency in 2022.

The MGU currently has the backing of a panel of roughly a dozen carriers that includes QBE, Coaction, Lancashire, Fortegra, Axa XL and ReAlign, as well as several Lloyds syndicates, and reinsurers including Swiss Re and several Bermudians.

Brad Emmons – who served as vice chairman of Orchid – also played an instrumental role in the firm’s founding in 2021.

CrossCover offers limits up to $50mn per location for E&S middle-market risks and is believed to have roughly a dozen underwriters on staff, and is looking to grow headcount.

On pace to hit $220mn-$250mn in premium in ’24

Sources have said that the MGU – which primarily focuses on writing deals where cat-exposed business is paired with non-cat business – wrote somewhere in the vicinity of $60mn in premium in 2022 and around $140mn in 2023, and is on pace to write between $220mn and $250mn in 2024.

Last week, the firm published a blog post outlining the MGU’s concept and its founding, under the heading “We can’t fly under the radar any longer…”

“It was a simple concept, but hatched at the onset of Covid as department silos began to develop within companies,” Hanson said in the blog post last week.

“You could not advance past one department until you had been approved by another. We faced a myriad of obstacles, especially as a start-up, but eventually gained the trust of five entrepreneurial carriers and reinsurers,” he added.

“Our idea was to leverage CAT capacity to write commercial E&S risks country-wide to reduce our carrier’s volatility, lower their reinsurance costs and deliver top-tier returns,” Hanson said.

Hanson added that since the MGU’s “sparse beginnings”, it has tripled the number of supporters on its panel, focused on specific broker appointments, and expanded its product offerings each year so that today we are two years of ahead of plan.

CrossCover now offers $50mn per risk limits on open market business and up to $500mn limits per account ($125mn in Tier 1 counties) which the company says allows it to fill a critical need across the country.

“We expanded our offering to include equipment breakdown and recently introduced builder’s risk coverage with a $15mn line,” the firm’s blog post said last week.

“Additionally, we developed a legitimate ‘RealTime’ property product for small commercial business, $5mn TIV; we will add general liability and umbrella coverage to this portal-based product this quarter, it continued.

CrossCover recently opened a Chicago office to complement its existing Houston office with a Boston office planned for later this year.