Aon Founder Ryan Launches Specialty Wholesale Insurance Group

February 23, 2010

The founder and retired chairman and CEO of the world’s largest insurance broker, Aon, has revealed the management team and a second subsidiary for his new global specialty insurance operation whose first company was unveiled in December.

Pat Ryan announced the launch of his new company, Ryan Specialty Group (RSG), which will offer specialty services to insurance brokers, agents and carriers. RSG will develop managing general underwriters and managing general agents, wholesale brokers and a service platform for agents and brokers.

RSG said its approach will not include retail brokerage, reinsurance brokerage or human resource consulting.

“We see significant potential within our industry segment and clear opportunity to build a specialty company with meaningful scale,” said Ryan, chairman and CEO of RSG. “RSG is intent on addressing this opportunity with an innovative service platform, outstanding industry talent and targeted capital investment.”

As reported by Insurance Journal, the company’s first subsidiary, ThinkRisk, was announced in December and is based in Kansas City. ThinkRisk provides underwriting and claims management services in an evolving marketplace – media, technology, advertising, privacy and network security. Ryan serves as chairman of ThinkRisk, and the company is led by CEO Leib Dodell. From 2004 through 2009, Dodell was president and CEO of Media/ Professional Insurance (a subsidiary of Axis Capital), an underwriter of specialty errors and omissions insurance.

The former national practice leader at Marsh for media and intellectual property, Chad Milton, is now executive vice president of ThinkRisk.

On the ThinkRisk investment Ryan said, “Today’s advancements in technology are changing the way we do business and the way we think about risk. The ThinkRisk team provides innovative solutions to help clients address those risks.”

Now Ryan Specialty Group has announced its second subsidiary, Ryan Specialty (Europe) Limited – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ryan Specialty Group. Ryan Specialty (Europe) Ltd. is a U.K.-based managing general underwriting agency specializing in financial lines products, including directors and officers, financial institution and professional liability products.

The U.K. company is lead by Malcolm Nightingale and Adam Barker who bring experience in addressing these risks. Barker, the general and underwriting counsel, formerly worked for HCC Global Financial Products in London. Nightingale, chief underwriting officer, has written business in the U.K., Europe and all over the world during the span of his almost 50 year career.

Ryan also announced the addition of another leader, Timothy W. Turner, to the RSG management team as a managing director. Turner was the president of CRC Insurance Services, Inc., the largest wholesale insurance broker in the U.S. producing over $3 billion in annual premium.

The company said its overall management team has more than 250 years of collective experience; it includes several former Aon executives.

The management team includes Diane Aigotti, as managing director and chief financial officer. Prior to RSG, Aigotti spent almost eight years as a corporate officer at Aon before leaving in the spring of 2008.

Also on the team is Jerry Tegan, who, prior to his retirement March 1, 2009, served as chairman for Agency Specialty Product Network, (ASPN), a unit of Aon Corp., since January, 2007. From 1999 to 2007, Tegan served as president and CEO of ASPN, which markets insurance products to 30,000 independent insurance agencies.

Debra McClenahan will oversee the entire MGU/MGA business. From 2004 to 2007, she served as the CEO of Aon Underwriting Managers, where she had operational responsibility for managing the Aon-owned managing general underwriting agencies.

Frank Phillips, who was active in the affinity group, personal lines, small commercial brokerage and private risk management fields at Aon, has also signed on with RSG. Phillips most recently was president and CEO of Aon’s division responsible for all U.S. brokerage in personal lines, small commercial and private risk management. Phillips left Aon in summer of 2009.

Michael D. Rice, who has had a career spanning 40 years with Aon Corp. and was most recently executive vice president at Aon, is also now a managing director for RSG.

About Ryan

Ryan founded Aon at age 26. Under Ryan’s leadership, the company expanded through organic growth and acquisition, and in 1987 changed its name to Aon Corp., which today operates with more than 500 offices in 120 countries.

Most recently, Ryan served as chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, where he led the U.S. bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ryan recently stepped down after 14 years as chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University, where he continues to serve as a trustee. He is also an owner/director of the Chicago Bears Football Club and chairman of World Sport Chicago.

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