Chubb’s long-serving chief reinsurance officer Bill O’Farrell is leaving the firm and will be replaced by Michael Kessler in the role.
O’Farrell joined Chubb’s predecessor Ace Group in 2003 from Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group. He first joined Ace as senior vice president for reinsurance recoverables before being handed the chief reinsurance officer role two years later.
In this position, O’Farrell was responsible in the design and purchasing of Ace and now Chubb’s reinsurance programme, including any capital markets’ involvement. He also managed reinsurance recoverables and was responsible for maintaining the firm’s relationships with its reinsurance brokers and its panel of reinsurers.
More recently, O’Farrell was a key figure in developing the structure of ABR Re, the joint venture that was launched in April last year between Ace and BlackRock that managed to raise $800m in capital. One of the examples of the so-called “total return reinsurers”, ABR Re is an independent company, albeit one that only receives reinsurance risks from Ace. As part of the deal, BlackRock serves as the sole investment management service provider to ABR Re.
O’Farrell played a critical role in both ABR Re’s capital raising and launch.
In a statement, Chubb said O’Farrell was leaving “to pursue other business opportunities”. It is not yet known what those opportunities are.
“We thank for more than a decade of strong, effective leadership as chief reinsurance officer,” said John Keogh, Chubb’s executive vice chairman and chief operating officer.
“We wish him the best in his new endeavours," Keogh added.
In response to O’Farrell’s departure, Chubb has appointed Kessler as vice president and chief reinsurance officer. Kessler currently serves the firm as chief actuary of Chubb Overseas General, the firm’s international general insurance arm.
Kessler has more than a quarter of a century’s experience in the insurance and actuarial industries. He was handed the chief actuary role at Chubb Overseas General in 2008, five years after he joined the firm as senior vice president and chief actuary for the specialty group of Ace Westchester, the company’s commercial property and casualty excess and surplus lines outfit.
Prior to joining Ace, Kessler spent a decade in various managerial and consulting actuary positions at Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In addition to taking on the responsibilities that O’Farrell has vacated, Kessler will also serve as the chairman of Chubb’s reinsurance security committee. He will also serve as chairman for the carrier’s global credit committee.
Kessler, who will formally take up the role on August 1, 2016, will report into Keogh.
“Mike is an experienced actuarial executive with a long tenure at Ace and Chubb,” said Keogh. “He has impressive technical capabilities and experience, both US and international actuarial experience, and deep first-hand insight into our businesses around the globe.
“He is also a proven partner to our company's insurance businesses and has actively supported our business unit leadership on the analysis of their reinsurance needs and reinsurance purchasing decisions.”