W. R. Berkley Forms Cyber Risk Unit with Chubb’s Vispoli at Helm

By | November 21, 2016

W. R. Berkley Corp. announced the formation of Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions. The new organization will offer specialty commercial insurance coverages on a worldwide basis to clients of all sizes on behalf of W. R. Berkley Insurance Group member insurance companies, the company said in a statement.

Tracey Vispoli, who worked previously as a cyber liability insurance leader at Chubb, has been named president of the operating unit. Vispoli has 25 years of experience in the property/casualty insurance industry and most recently served as senior vice president at Chubb.

In a statement, W. Robert Berkley, Jr., president and chief executive officer of W. R. Berkley Corp., described Vispoli as “a pioneer in the cyber insurance space with a wealth of expertise in cyber security related issues. ”

“This will enable us to be on the forefront of providing effective solutions for this continually evolving risk,” Berkley said. “Demand for such solutions is increasing rapidly in every corner of the market, and the coverages offered by this new unit will enhance the suite of products available to our clients.”

Berkley hinted that the announcement of a new unit would be forthcoming during a third-quarter earnings conference call late last month. In the third quarter, the company recorded just 2 percent growth in net written premiums, causing an analyst to question whether that continued low growth would make it difficult to bring the overall expense ratio (over 30) down in the near term.

Berkley and Chief Financial Officer Richard Baio both referred to the expenses of starting up new units—including a high-net-worth business launched in April and other “yet-to-be-announced” companies.

Countering the analyst, Berkley said, “I am not prepared to make the leap that it sounds like you’re suggesting—that it will be low single-digit growth going forward. It may or it may not. We have certain things that we haven’t announced which we think could offset some of the market conditions.”

In addition to starting up the Cyber Risk Solutions and a personal lines high-net-worth division in April, led by former Chubb executive Kathleen Tierney, W.R. Berkley announced the launch of a transactional risk unit in September, which is being led by former Chubb executive Randy Hein.

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