Ironshore news

Ironshore: Everything you need to know

Founded: 2006

Gross written premium (combined operation with Liberty Mutual): US$16 billion

Global offices: 30+

*As of March 03, 2019

Ironshore is a global insurance company that offers broker-sourced specialty commercial property and casualty coverages for a variety of risks spread across the globe. Areas of specialty expertise include health, environment, energy, construction, property, casualty, and professional liability, among other sector-focused product offerings, depending on the region. A key component of the products that Ironshore sells to policyholders is its risk, claim, and litigation management services. In fact, the company considers the claims function to be integral to its offerings.

While Ironshore was launched in the United States in 2006, Ironshore Europe DAC was incorporated in Dublin, Ireland in 2010, and is licensed to write all classes of business, except for motor and travel assistance. The company’s Asia-Pacific office locations include Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. In Canada, Ironshore Canada is part of Ironshore International, and started offering specialty insurance in 2010, backed by the underwriting capacity of Lloyd’s Syndicate 4000.

Liberty Specialty Markets, formerly known as Iron-Starr Excess Agency and Ironshore Bermuda, offers property, excess casualty, financial lines and healthcare insurance products through a managing general underwriting agency, writing on behalf of Liberty Specialty Markets Bermuda Ltd., Starr Insurance & Reinsurance Limited, Antares Syndicate 1274, Oil Casualty Insurance, Ltd and Lancashire Insurance Company Limited. The team in Bermuda provides local expertise, and is supported by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group.

A major acquisition

In 2017, Ironshore was acquired by Liberty Mutual from China’s Fosun International Limited, a US$2.6 billion deal that was first announced in December 2017 – only a year after Fosun International completed its own acquisition of the rapidly expanding insurer. Liberty Mutual then combined its existing Liberty International Underwriters business with Ironshore’s US speciality lines business, with the merged firm operating under the Ironshore brand.

At the time, David H. Long, chairman and CEO of Liberty Mutual Insurance, outlined the benefits of the merger, stating that the new firm will create the sixth largest writer of excess and surplus lines in the US based on 2016 direct written premium, among other benefits.

“The combination of our two operations will create a top tier US specialty insurer with a broad and deep set of solutions for clients and brokers,” he said. “For Liberty’s worldwide operations, Ironshore becomes an ideal complement to our US$5 billion global specialty business by providing additional scale, expertise, innovation and market relationships.”

Ironshore formed a key part of the new Global Risk Solutions business unit, which later on centralised its mergers and acquisitions insurance expertise into the Global Transaction Solutions Group (GTS). The division operates as an international, stand-alone business unit, and provides brokers and clients with centralised M&A expertise across a global platform.

Stormy beginnings

Ironshore was launched during less than ideal market conditions, when it was founded in the midst of the subprime meltdown as well as the catastrophic losses stemming from Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita. Two industry leaders, Bob and John Clements, came together in 2006 with the belief that, “The right leadership leads to the best partnerships.” With that in mind, they assembled a team filled to the brim with years of expertise in specialty areas of insurance. The company also strives to provide its clients ready access to senior level decision-makers, who have the ability to affect the long-term vitality as well as the well-being of each business with which they work.

Expanding its specialties

Ironshore continues to grow its business, with a series of details around expansions and new services announced in 2018 and early 2019. In July 2018, Ironshore announced the creation of an energy equipment facility, Syndicated Risk Services (SRS), which offers property and inland marine insurance coverage for onshore middle market classes of business in the US. A release said that SRS will underwrite the middle market sector risk on behalf of four Lloyd’s of London subscribing partners.

On the environmental side, Ironshore has made it easier for brokers to quote and bind storage tank policies, following the launch of a new online portal for insurance brokers. Alongside this launch, Ironshore enhanced its storage tank policy’s third-party bodily injury and property damage coverages to cover against certain risks, like National Resource Damages and Medical Monitoring.

“Ironshore Environmental is recognised as a market leader for hard to place environmental risks and now the Storage Tank Policy broadens our ability to expand coverage throughout this specialty sector,” said Ironshore Environmental president Toby Smith. “With this product offering and our online portal, businesses with storage tank exposures can quickly and easily secure reliable coverage through one carrier, backed by Liberty Mutual and Ironshore expertise and financial security.”