Newly-Privatized AmTrust Announces Leadership Changes

January 9, 2019

AmTrust Financial Services announced leadership changes as it moves forward now as a private company.

Its $2.95 billion privatization plan was finalized on November 28, 2018 after receipt of all approvals, according to the company.

AmTrust Financial Services Inc. (AFSI) shareholders approved the go-private deal last June. The acquisition was spearheaded by entity formed by private equity funds managed by Stone Point Capital, along with AmTrust Chairman and CEO Barry Zyskind, and founders George Karfunkel and Leah Karfunkel. They acquired the 45 percent of the company’s shares that both the Karfunkels and Zyskinds didn’t already own or control.

This week, AmTrust announced retirements of two executives. Michael Saxon, executive vice president for U.S. Commercial Lines, and Max Caviet, chief executive officer of AmTrust International Ltd., the company’s European parent holding company, retired effective December 31, 2018. Saxon has been with the company since 2001 and Caviet has been with the company since 2003. Saxon will continue on a consultative basis, as vice chairman of AmTrust North America.

In addition, according to the company, Christopher Longo, the company’s chief operating officer, resigned effective December 31, 2018, to pursue other opportunities, following the completion of the company’s go-private transaction. Longo has been with the company since 2001.

Saxon will be succeeded by Christopher Foy and Caviet by Peter Dewey.

Foy will serve as executive vice president and head of North American Commercial P&C, with responsibility for North American commercial business and specialty programs segments. Foy joined AmTrust in 2016 as president of AmTrust Underwriters, with responsibility for the specialty program business segment. Prior to joining AmTrust, Foy was president and owner of Total Program Management, a specialty managing general agency. Previously, he was senior vice president at Clarendon National Insurance Co. specializing in MGAs and program business nationwide.

Dewey will serve as executive vice president, head of International, with oversight of AmTrust’s international business. Dewey joined AmTrust in 2003, and has served as CEO at AmTrust at Lloyd’s since 2014. Prior to joining AmTrust at Lloyd’s, Dewey was chief underwriting officer of AmTrust’s Specialty Risk & Warranty Division overseeing a team of actuaries, underwriters and risk management professionals. Prior to AmTrust, Dewey was an underwriter with Trenwick International Ltd. and prior to that, he worked for an MGA as an underwriting manager.

In July, not long after shareholders approved the privatization plan, A.M. Best downgraded the company’s financial strength and credit ratings,, citing adverse development of prior years’ loss reserves that occurred in 2016 and 2017. The insurer’s financial strength rating was downgraded to A- (Excellent) from A. Its long-term issuer credit dipped to “a-” from “a”.

A.M. Best said the privatization plan had a neutral impact on the rating.

The company has said that even though it will operate as a private company, it is maintaining its public filer status with the Securities and Exchange Commission, enabling access to public financing if needed in the future. A.M. Best said the ability of management to assess long-term plans removed from the shorter-term focus of public equity markets “should allow for improved development and implementation of those plans.”

This week AmTrust launched AmTrust Forward, its strategic plan for moving forward as a private company.

“Our vision for AmTrust is to be a leading specialty commercial P&C insurer. We believe we can achieve this by focusing on local markets and niche products where we can add significant value,” said Zyskind in prepared remarks. “As a private company, we have the opportunity to return to the core of what made AmTrust so successful over the past 20 years and manage our business for long term success through sustainably profitable future growth.”

AmTrust offers small commercial property/casualty insurance including workers’ compensation, specialty risk and extended warranty in the U.S. and internationally.

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Latest Comments

  • January 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm
    Dave Carterwoood says:
    When you have a company that has been systematically over-inflating its reserves for years to allow it to underprice risk to gain marketshare/AUM (California comp anyone?), be... read more
  • January 11, 2019 at 3:15 pm
    MightyQuinn says:
    Being privately held limits financial oversight which puts reins on public companies.......and you cannot seriously believe that the demands of hedge funds are less than those... read more
  • January 10, 2019 at 8:13 pm
    Observor says:
    They may be stronger being a private company. Public companies have the challenge of satisfying stockholders immediately which often forces management to make short term moves... read more

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